[053117] Truly Knowing Him: a series in 2 Peter (Part 1) by Andrew Farley


Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,       
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:     

  May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

 Confirm Your Calling and Election

 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,  by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.  For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,  and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.  Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.  For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.  I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder,  since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.

2 Peter 1:1-14

There will be an infiltration against your rightness in Jesus Christ. The mark of maturity is graciousness and peace. What does this mean? Peace means stability, that we are anchored in Christ. Once we were all over the place, but now we are at peace no matter what sort of doctrine comes your way. We are no longer brought to and fro by all sorts of new words coming up, but we now are established in our stories, as our stories are established in Christ. 

Stability is living in today, living anchored in Jesus Christ no matter what sorts of winds blow, no matter how doctrinal or familial they may be. As we continue to get to know Christ according to the Bible (and not the Bible belt, take note) we see the difference between the religion and reality, and we are naturally drawn to the reality of who Christ is, and we are therefore established in grace upon grace. 

The mark of maturity is grace upon grace, and peace. Why do we have overflowing graciousness and peace and stability. It comes from us knowing Christ, and seeing that He has already granted and given us everything pertaining to life and godliness. If we run into religion and man-made thinking, we have a choice, whether to think that we need more, or if we already have everything we need - and obviously, Peter is saying that we don't need more, we already have everything we need in Christ, and we can draw not from the outside, but from Christ who is alive within us. 

We are not waiting for God to empower us, we are not waiting for God to prepare us, because we know that God has already given us Christ, who is our power. We have everything we need in Christ, so we shouldn't entertain these thoughts that we need more than Him. 

The resurrection answers our 'Friday questions': Am I okay? Is God angry with me? Am I forgiven? Are my sins cleansed? The empty grave has answered all these questions for us! Halleluyah! Am I blessed? Do I have power? Do I have wisdom? The empty grave has answered all these questions! Rightness and righteousness are right now, as Christ is with us right now. Don't stop at the cross, and see that Christ was raised from the dead and ascended, and we are made new and seated in heavenly places with Christ!

Because of this, we can say that God is just so awesome and excellent. When we realize this, this is when we genuinely become thankful; this is when we certainly celebrate Christ. Let the cross be the cross, let the resurrection be the resurrection, let Christ be Christ. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you!

It's so precious, what God has done for us! Think of all the awesomeness of what God has done for us.. it's magnificent! We have become partakers of the divine nature.. isn't that just beautiful? This is a truth, Christ is a living Truth that encompasses all time, and there is no such thing as a Truth that only becomes true in the future... we are made new creations, and we are made new right now! The reality we are in is no longer what we see and what we are bound to right now, but we have been ushered into the Truth which is timeless and boundless.. 

...Indeed, in Christ we live and we have our being.. there are many places we can live and have our being, but the salvation we have received has ushered us into a new life, a new existence, where we truly walk by faith, and not by sight. Our reality is no longer bound by time and space, as Christ who is our life and our everything is boundless and timeless. 

We used to act and speak based upon what we see and taste, in order to reach God, or Nirvana, a 'higher plane', or supreme enlightenment... when the Truth is that it is God who was the one who came to us, and became as one of us, who could see and taste as us, and through His death, resurrection, and ascension with us here, we have been brought to act and speak based on eternity, to impact the temporal world. We couldn't climb to God. He came to our rescue. 

All this is important for us to know before we even speak about how we ought to be living in this world. We shouldn't jump into morality and the way to talk and walk in this world without even appreciating what, or rather whose nature we have. We have Christ, and we have been equipped with Christ. Therefore, when we speak of knowledge, then we speak of knowledge of Christ. In knowledge of Christ, then we have self-control from the Holy Spirit, and we are able to persevere in Christ... ad so ad infinitum. 

We can look at this in the sense of levels, like we work on self-control before perseverance... But the thing is, all of it is in a bundle, and this bundle is found and produced by the Holy Spirit moving in and through us. These aren't separate lessons and categories for us to study. Peter is calling us to know and trust Christ more and more every day so we would definitely be more effective and efficient in this world. 

We must always, ALWAYS remember that we have been totally forgiven of our sins in Christ. We must always remember that our sins have been cleansed and taken away, separated from us as the east is from the west. We must always remember that we have been made as white as snow. We must always remember that Christ became sin for us to become His righteousness. We have been purified. Though we have sinned a billion times, God sees us and Christ in union and we are blameless, we are righteous and nothing can ever compromise and separate this union. We ought to know that we are 0% sinful as much as our 100% sinfulness has been taken away from us. We are 100% righteous as Christ is righteous - not just 100% righteous, but absolutely righteous. We must always remember this. 

It is because of this that we know that we are not just not established in sin, but we are established in righteousness. It is because of this that we know that we are not just set free from fear, but we are free by perfect love, by perfect love, for perfect love, through perfect love. The more we take in Christ and the more we immerse and indulge in Him, the more we walk in grace and in peace. All the characteristics of Christ have been abundantly supplied to us. 

Let's continue to preach this to ourselves and to others. Let's continue to encourage each other with Christ. 

Grace and peace is multiplied to us in the true knowledge of Jesus. Are you not enjoying grace and peace? Then get to know Jesus more. He delivers grace and peace every single time. 

We have everything we need through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. If you are pure and you know it, you will think pure, if you are pure and you know it you will act pure. 

Be diligent and be ready to remind each other of these incredible truths!



_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com



May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[052117] Notes from Suffering, the Spirit, and Other Concerns (Part 3) by Andrew Farley




What is your response to Martin Luther: 'We are more wicked than we will ever know, but more loved than we ever dare dream.'

Does God love sin? Does God love wickedness? In salvation we are changed from wickedness to the righteousness of God in Christ; He put wickedness on the cross and it died with Christ. We WERE more wicked than we will ever know, but NOW we are more loved than we ever dare dream.

God does not love wickedness, He transforms it. We were made new creations, no longer sinners but righteous in Christ. 

If there is no work left to be done, what about spiritual disciplines? Where do they fit in?

God has prepared good works in advance that we could walk in them. There are good works ready with every day we trust in Him, as demonstrated through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We let the Holy Spirit counsel us. We allow the power of Christ run our life. There are works left to be done, but this is FROM the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

Let's remember where the fruit comes from. Let's remember that we are the branch, and Christ is the vine. Christ changes the world through us, but we ourselves are not the world changers. Christ is the source, Christ is the strength we have. We let the power of Christ counsel us. 

There are ongoing works and fruit of the Spirit, these things happen daily when we wake up and walk in them, but these are different from the finished work of Christ, which is the saving work, which we definitely cannot add into. 

When we talk about 'spiritual disciplines' - well, here's another 'buzzword'. Who said anything about 'spiritual disciplines'? Prayer, for one, shouldn't be a 'discipline'; It's talking to God. In fact, the moment you call something a discipline, it sounds like you don't want to do it in the first place. 

'Spiritual disciplines' can be found in the Bible belt, but it isn't in the Bible. There is a sense of freedom when it comes to the things we do with God - Prayer is talking to God, Reading the Bible is reading His love letters. 

How do our behavior and attitudes and actions progressively improve and change? Only by our choices or with spiritual intervention? 

We work out our salvation, for God is at work in you. We have salvation inside us. We have the saving life of Christ inside of us, and we choose and allow the Spirit to help us to express this life daily. Again, we work with the mindset that it's all of us, and all of Christ in an absolute union. 

Don't be fooled. If you made bad decisions or poor choices, there are earthly consequences to that... but if you make good decisions, trusting in Christ, there are good consequences to that as well. 

[There were 5 more questions, but I felt like listening to them more than noting them.]




_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com



May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[051517] Suffering, the Spirit, and Other Concerns - Part 2 by Andrew Farley



'What are we to do with our sins that do so easily beset us?'

We have to get to the point where we say that God is right. And God is right about the fact that we are forgiven people. God is right to have forgiven us and we have to agree with Him.

'I know God has forgiven me, but I just can't forgive myself' - by this line, we aren't self-humbling, but self-punishing. We tend to self-punish ourselves, practicing 'penance' but effectively disagreeing with God.

Are you harder on yourself than the God of the universe? There is no easy grace. There is no license to sin. God was extremely serious and severe about our sins, to the point that He himself came to the point of death to address the wages of sin, which are not just petty consequences, but death itself!

The only payment for sin is death, and hello, Jesus died. Sin deserves exactly death, and that is exactly what Jesus death.. forgive yourself! Agree with God that you are completely forgiven because of Christ, and do away with your own 'standards'.

Pursue agreeing with God, and doing away with our ego and beating ourselves up, faking humility. True humility is agreeing with God.

Ever think, 'You've already blown it, big time! Why not one more? Look at your track record! Why not one more?'

To this, God says, 'I've already destroyed your track record. You are perfectly forgiven, and perfectly cleansed.'

Not only are you forgiven, but in Christ, you have a way forward. Take every thought captive. Tune out every accusation, every false accusation and temptation. The enemy is all bark but no bite. He is all noise.

Tuning out this voice is a demonstration of how we believe that we are dead to sin.

'Does God bring suffering, allow suffering, or has no power to prevent suffering?'

God does not bring suffering; the suffering was brought to Jesus. Planet earth has too much suffering, and God works in the midst of it.

Does God allow it? How could God allow it? If God didn't allow it, then there would be no choice in the Garden of Eden, and we would have been mindlessly following Him. It wouldn't have been healthy if there was a lack of choice.

The darkness came from Adam, but Jesus Christ is the Light. Don't confuse the darkness with the Light. People called Jesus the devil when He was healing.. and today people think God blinds people to the Gospel.. and it just makes no sense to continue pushing that 'argument'.

All we know is that we are in participation in the midst of a collision between the world and Christ, the hurt and the Healer. We don't have to know all the answers.. but all we need to know is that He is the Author and Perfecter of our Faith.

'Do you think that sometimes people in grace focus so much about our identity in Christ that we leave Christ himself out of the picture?'

[Quick answer? Christ Himself is our identity.]

You will never be the Source, the Power, and the Strength, but you are the instrument. God uses you and doesn't want to get rid of you. You are united with Christ. You are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. Christ made you compatible.

Once you were darkness, now you are Light, as Christ is your Light. We honor Christ when we say that we have a new heart, when we say that we have been completely forgiven. We honor Christ when we believe and live the fact that we have died with Christ, and we rose with Him as new creations.


It's all of Him, and all of you, in a beautiful union.


_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com



May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[050817] Notes from Suffering, the Spirit and other concerns! by Andrew Farley

The enemy has a voice, but he cannot touch you. He can accuse you and therefore keep you focused on your faults. He can tempt us - there is a war, but it's not a war where we actively and constantly cast out demons.. The enemy flings fiery darts, so the attacks come from outside. Fortunately, we have Christ within and without - He is our armor. Christ is our Helmet of salvation. Christ is our belt of Truth. Christ is the breastplate of Righteousness.

Demons cannot attack us, they can accuse us, but we have the Truth.

--

We're enjoying Christ and the grace of God! How do we let everyone else know to jump into the pool?

The answer is not to press a sense of urgency. There are people who are born for the missions, but do not allow yourself to grow up aiming for cookie-cutter perfection.. You are already made right and you have Christ as your righteousness. Your rightness is not according to your occupation or your occupancy.

On the other hand, it's not that we sit on our hands... look, Christ, the savior of all, is alive in you, and something's bound to happen! Get to know Jesus, and be ready!

You aren't stressing, but you aren't passive either, because of Christ alive in you.

--

When we really understand the grace of God, that leaves us anchored, not angered. We leave people off the hook for us to be free from resentment. The anger may be there, but really, are you going to live there? The fact of the matter is that we are all on a journey with Christ. Let it go. Forgive. Release.

--

When we add any sort of emotion as a requirement for our salvation, then there is no baseline or no way for us to say if anyone is saved; but the Truth of the matter is, if we call on the Name of Jesus Christ, trusting Him, not depending on any emotion, then we will be saved!

Adding emotion makes salvation immeasurable. Adding any other sort of requirement adds ambiguity and just promotes confusion - the focus should be on the fact that Jesus Christ already met all the requirements. Christ is alive in you. Know that you are saved. Know that you have eternal life, and your life is Christ.

Your faith is not a feeling. Christ knocked on your door, and the door was opened, and He came in and dined with you.

--

If we press on towards anything, we press on to know Christ and His finished work more.

There is a natural pressing on that is part of the adventure of being with Christ. If we knew everything there is to know about Christ, it'd be kind of boring, wouldn't it?

--

Do we have to consciously depending on the Spirit to live through us to be walking by the Spirit?

We should know that by default, we are in the Spirit. We are always in the Spirit. We are never in the flesh.

It could be possible to walk in the flesh, and suffer the consequences, but we will always be in the Spirit. Our walk may differ, but our location will always be in the Spirit. Walking in the flesh is possible, but eventually, we find out that it just doesnt fit because we are in the Spirit. Always in the Spirit.

Enjoying Jesus is walking in the Spirit. Enjoying is the Walk.

Christians can have more fun than anyone else. We're the only ones who can live out our destiny, live from the heart, totally forgiven for all our mess ups.. what's not to like about that?

Christians can have more fun than anyone else, but religion has us just trying to have fun.

How are you doing? You are okay.
How are you doing? God is well-pleased with who you are.


Don't get fixated on the walk, get fixated on the Savior.


_________________________
jb.redeemed
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

Indomitable

Christ. Christ is my all in all, as one song would say... and by the life I have within, I would have to agree. There was a time I thought that I could compartmentalize my faith and my beliefs in my life, but I think it is simply inevitable for us to see how Truth is more apparent, contrary to how elusive it is, according to how the world would have us believe. 

As we learn more and more about Christ, and as we learn to grow more and more in the awareness of our absolute union with Him, we see how He simply cannot be compartmentalized - in fact, we see how He fits into all compartments, and how He encompasses all things - That He is not just an entity that takes a certain priority in our lives... no, we realize more and more how He Himself IS our life. 

Every breath that we take and every beat of our heart is taken and performed in his presence, which will never fade nor diminish even in the slightest. 

I believe this, and much as I want to keep it within so my actions speak this belief more than my words, I believe that I need to declare it now more than ever - not for it to come true, but because it is true, and that my being absolutely needs to be aligned to this truth more now than ever. It's not for God to move, because He has already moved - personally, it's just for me, and for all that is within me to just swing and swoon and flow with this truth.. That every word, every action, even the slightest of activity would flow from a heart that is absolutely soaked in the reality and truth of Christ and His love. 

So, yeah, this is for me. This is for me, and if you need it for you, then absolutely, this is for you too. 

_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com



May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[050417] Buzzwords! by Andrew Farley


'We are both saint and sinner.'
- It all sounds good, but it sounds good before salvation. It doesn't respect the finished work of Jesus Christ, simply because while we may still sin, we are no longer sinners.

The Bible teaches that we were born sinners - in other words, we aren't sinners because we sin, rather, we sin because we were sinners. After salvation, we were given new identities, which means that we are no longer sinners.

We are saints, not because of our works, but because of Christ's righteousness alive in us. We don't have 2 identities. Our works do not define who we are.

'Now and Not Yet'
- We are definitely learning and our minds are constantly being renewed. We are growing. There are things to come, such as the new resurrection body which reflects what we already have on the inside. These are the 'Not Yets' we should be knowing.

People try to twist this in the sense that they say 'we are now saints, but not yet saints'; 'we are now righteous, but not yet righteous'; and while this may help people to sound somewhat intelligent (and not yet intelligent), this cannot be further away from the truth.

Simply put, Christ's finished work guaranteed our righteousness NOW. We are saints NOW. We are saved NOW.

"Sinful Nature"
- The original greek word which was 'translated' to 'sinful nature' is 'sarx', which is literally, 'flesh'.

For the longest time, the words 'sinful nature' have been keeping people in bondage, giving people the lie that though we have been saved, we still have work to do to get rid of or to suppress our 'sinful nature'.

Fortunately, this 'sinful nature', which was eventually associated to our 'old self' - ALL this has been crucified with Christ, and we are ONLY the new creation, the new self, as Christ was raised new, NOW.

You may think according to the flesh, but the truth is you are a new creation. That encompasses everything about you.

'Spirit-filled'
- Here's another term that promotes nothing more than exclusivity.. However, if Jesus Christ is alive in you, then you should already know that you do not just have the Spirit, but you are always filled with the Spirit!

The feeling we seek which is associated with what the world calls 'spirit-filled' is already with you, when you know that Christ is alive in you, and that you are alive in Christ.

Have an overflowing joy associated with the indwelling of the Spirit by knowing the love of God has already been poured out, soaking and filling you, because of Christ's finished work!

'Lordship'
- Jesus Christ is Savior AND Lord. There is NO way for you to have Jesus Christ as Savior, but not Lord - don't separate His roles, because He is all of these things, and more!

Instead of picking and choosing as if that was an option, let us lovingly understand more about his roles, and let us grow more and more in the fullness of who Christ is.

'Obedience'
- Not that this is a bad word, but it's just been so misused and abused.. In the case of Christ's finished work, we need to know and dwell on the fact that we have been made obedient in the heart.

Paul also mentions the obedience of faith - He puts these two terms together by saying that believing is obeying. The unbeliever has an unbelieving heart, but because of Christ, we have an established faith, and consequently an obedient heart.

Faith is obedience, obedience is faith.

'Brokenness'
- Perhaps we've misjudged this term. Do you believe that God is trying to break you?

The only thing that God wants broken in us is our dependency in the the fleshy way of thinking. He wants my confidence in the flesh to be broken... but He is absolutely NOT breaking you - you have been made a new creation in Christ, and He is NOT about to break the new creation!

If you are in Christ, then God is not breaking you down - in fact, He's building you up.

'Surrender'
- 'You need to surrender to God'; Now, if the context here is to say 'You need to trust God', then that's perfectly in Christ..

..but if you're saying you surrender as if you and God were on warring sides, then you need to know, again, that you have already died and were raised in Christ, and this means that you are in God's team.

'Under the blood'
- 'Don't worry about your sins because they're under the blood' - false. Your sins are not just soaked in the blood of Christ, but they have been washed away!

Christ is the Lamb of God who TOOK AWAY your sins.

'Get closer to God'
- Some people take this statement and put the focus back on you and your performance to somehow get physically nearer to God.. and when it's said that way, you've missed the point.

The fact is, it's God who got as close as He could be to you, because of Christ's finished work.

Christ guaranteed that you are as close to God as you could ever be.

'Out of Fellowship'
- There was a time that it was pretty prominent that people would say that there were times they would feel close to God, and other times they would feel disconnected and out of fellowship...

...and obviously, what follows is pressure for you to read the Bible more, and for you to sing out louder, pray more, and more, and more...

The truth is that sin cannot take you away from God's presence. You are no longer made for sin.

'Generational curses'
- There ARE consequences to our actions, but if we already have Jesus Christ, these sorts of 'curses' - well, we are no longer under the curse of the Law, and Christ is the end of the Law - We are, in fact, BLESSED with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Don't believe this fake news of curses! Why be fixated on curses and trying to be 'free', when you have already been freed in Jesus Christ! Count yourself free and liberated.

Live free! Fix your eyes on Christ!

'All of God, none of me.'
- That just sounds so spiritual, doesn't it? It makes you feel so humble and good...

...but if you're saying that, what did God need with you in the first place, if you're saying it's all of Him? Why are you here?

The truth is that God has invited you to the table; He wants you to participate; like an excited Father, God wants you involved, for you to celebrate with Him; that it's ALL of GOD, with ALL of YOU.

What about 'dying daily'? Paul mentions this simply because he was literally under mortal threat each and every day in Ephesus. He knows very well that he already died once, and that He is already a new creation - and that's what we should know and believe!

It's all of God, and all of you in a beautiful union.

THE TRUTH SETS US FREE.  

_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com


May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[Notes] Andrew Farley - Session 1 of Convention 220: Freed from Guilt


We have an enemy that accuses us day and night, and we suffer from these accusations if we don't know any better.

12 Accusations and the Truth that sets you free:

12. You are going to pay at the judgment. 
- Quite the confusing statement, this sparks fear of meeting God face-to-face; We are told that there's a second, more extreme judgment that we are ALL going to face... But the truth is pretty black and white on this one. We're scared of this and we're falling for this because it opens up a grey area. 

In the final chapters of Revelation, chapter 20 shows people being judged according to their deeds, and they are thrown into the lake of fire if your name is not in the Book of Life. But if you are in Christ, your name IS in the Book of Life, and you ought to be reading chapter 21 instead! We are either goats or sheep - there are no shoats, there are no geep! 

There is only one judgment, and the only deciding factor of where you go is Christ. Are you in Christ? Then that's all you need!

11. You have missed God's will for your life. 

God's will for your life is for none to perish but for all to have eternal life. God's will is for all to be saved. God's will is not based on your choices. God's will has a name, and His Name is Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is alive in you, so God's will is alive in you! God's will is for us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in everything.. literally, 'Wow! Thank You! Thank You, Jesus!'

Jesus Christ is behind every door because Christ lives in you. Be wise! God's will is Jesus!

10. God brought this pain and circumstance on you to break you.

The truth is God wants to break our confidence in the flesh. The epistles say that we are actually being built up in Christ. We have been made a new creation that doesn't need to be broken. 

There's nothing wrong with you. There's everything wrong with the world, but because of Christ's finished work, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. God loves you deeply, through and through. He wants to break our confidence in the faith, but He does not break the new creation. Those are 2 different things. 

9. You are too selfish and you need to be broken. 

The flesh is selfish, but you are not of the flesh. You are of your self, and because of Christ, you are the new self. You are not fighting an inner 'civil war' with supposed more than one 'self' - This isn't true, at all! The enemy is the flesh, the enemy is not the new self, because God and I are on the same team! 

You don't have an old self that is sinful and dirty - you are the new self, the new creation! Self is not the enemy, sin and flesh are. 

8. Your heart is not right before God. 

Ever think this while praying? It may be true that our thinking isn't right before God, but don't associate your thinking with the new heart that Christ has given you. Romans 6 says we have become obedient from the heart. 

You are not an obstacle. You are instrument of God. You can offer yourself to sin, find out it was miserable, or offer yourself to God and find how it was all so fulfilling. 

6. The enemy has a strong grip on your life. 

1 John 5 says, the evil cannot touch you. Enough said. 

5. You are not keeping the your end of the bargain with obedience.

We talk about grace, but some bring in that you need to pay God back.. but Paul talks about the obedience of faith. Jesus also said the work of the Father is for us to believe.

The Gospel is not about God and you in some bargain; it's between God and God.. and we are the beneficiaries! 

4. Your sins are the exception. Your sins are willful, repeated and big!

Well, every sin is willful. A lot of sins are definitely repeated. We all stumble in so many ways. Don't make a big deal of your sins. Your sins are small, Jesus is big. Your sins are not just under the blood, but totally cleansed. 

It's not 'you're forgiven of all your sins, until you sin!' No, Christ CLEANSED ALL your sin! 

3. You don't really have a salvation story. 

I don't remember when I was born, but it certainly happened! There is no need for us to go ahead and put so much stress on our story, more than we should just reap and revel in God's story! 

2. The Bible teaches 'I can do all things through Christ,' but where's your victory and success?

Christ's finished work does not guarantee success and health and wealth according to our standards - but it does guarantee Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things, is alive in me in ALL things. The real Gospel says you need Jesus in everything, and Jesus is alive in you for everything!

1. You don't feel anything. 

God asked Adam and Eve, 'Who told you that you were naked?'
What was Jesus feeling on the cross? What was He feeling when confronted by the Pharisees and those lacking faith? We tend to relate victory to our feelings, but the New Covenant guarantees that as you are a new creation, you can be you, without having to long for a certain feeling just to know that Christ is alive in you! You can be you, and you don't need to fear because Christ is alive in you, and you are alive in Christ! 

Conclusion:
With each accusation, the TRUTH sets you free!

_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com


May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

The 33rd

The sun is about to rise on my 33rd birthday. I guess I'm only awake because of work, but I think this is a good time as any to appreciate the quiet mornings. I've just closed iTunes to see if the birds outside would be welcoming today with their song, and so far all I'm hearing are chickens. 

Apart from the crows and the desktop PC humming, mornings at home are just so peacefully quiet. It helps to have a jacket on now... but a couple of decades ago, I wouldn't have minded - in fact, I would have welcomed the cold. 

Actually, some things never change now that I see it - see, back in Brent, around 20 years ago, I would sleep while keeping the window closest to my bed open; and this window absolutely had to be open at all times, deviating only in the event of a really strong typhoon. 

Today, I woke up with not just the window, but the door to my balcony open - perhaps, an indication that I like sleeping in places where air flows free. Or something like that. 

This opens up a lot. Around a month ago I started feeling a little more down than usual - by 'down' I mean I was actually thinking that it would be fine if I went home to be with God already. All this was coming from the realization of all the mistakes I've been making resulting in what I see and feel today - My gut was getting bigger, my performance at work was becoming slipshoddy, and everything that I thought I was gonna get into as I declared during the earlier parts of this year are still plans, more or less. 

What really got to me was the fact that it was also because of my doing that I lost a precious relationship. The guilt and all these other feelings that I would normally sing off just compounded - I was thinking along these lines - 

'There's so much that has to be done, and you haven't even started. The more you hold it off, the more it'll all get even worse, and it's already bad as it is, so what the hell are you doing? You've probably done so much earlier in your life that it's dented your attitude and now it's too late to fix any of that, and consequently, any of this stuff you're facing! Your life has no meaning, and no substance!'

What hurt me even more was that I felt like I was alone, like I couldn't open up to anyone about my struggles because I thought they ran so deep, and/or I could explain what I was feeling, myself. And even THAT was bad because I would think

'Well, you botched up your relationship with Pao! You could be opening up to her and talking to her now... but haha actually if you do, you're probably going to go through the same tirade of just talking about yourself and boring her!'

--

All I could say now is that during these times that we spend in the valley, it helps just to know that even there, I can draw the will to live knowing, just knowing that all this time, I was never actually alone - that my Father, He was always with me all this time. He was as close to me in this deep valley as much as He was in days that I was in the highest peaks.. 

In all this, we will always have a song to sing, we will always have a reason to give thanks and to rejoice, simply because even if we don't see an apparent solution or even a place to start healing or moving forward, we know that we have a loving Father who is always with us, and will always be with us, loving us with an everlasting and perfect love. 

Having your heart sunken leads you to thinking and re-evaluating what your purpose is in life. I had that question. Usually we think about our passions, and while what I believed were my passions actually helped me in my struggle to keep my head above water, I was led to think that there's more to this life that living out what we think is best for ourselves. 

As I was reading the Bible, I came upon verse upon verse that mentioned, 'The LORD is my portion.'

Digging deeper I found that this could be understood as 'The LORD is my Inheritance', or the way I took it at the time, the Lord is my future. That's guaranteed. The feelings I had were overwhelming to the point that I was thinking, can't I just be with you in all ways already, Jesus? Why am I still here if the logical choice is to be with you forever, instead of just wasting time here in this life? 

I mean, I'm good with my past. Christ covered that, and my present. Those verses I read guarantee my future. I'm all set. Why am I still here? 

It was in these moments when new thoughts began to spark - thoughts of others, and not just myself. Thoughts of investing, not for personal gain (as this loses its appeal), but investing in the lives of others. Being a blessing to the world - thriving, growing, solving the problems that I have not in the name of my comfort, but for the betterment of those around me more. 

For a while I kept the windows and doors closed in my life, and all I ended up with was feeling guilty, unaccomplished, disappointed, frustrated, and bitter. When you close the doors and windows, there's more time for you to think of yourself, and it never fails - the comfort of isolation may last, but eventually the air becomes stuffy as you're left with thoughts of mistakes, regrets, and heartaches..

Today may be my birthday, but as the turn of the year, it's just another day. I will, however, take this moment to say that my happiness is found in knowing that everyone else is happy. My comfort is found in knowing that everyone else is comfortable. The doors will always be open, not just for the persistent breeze of Baguio to flow in and through, but to welcome who the Lord brings to me, or who I am brought to by the Lord. 

I do what I do, and even if what I do is for myself, it's for others. I exercise to stay strong to carry things for others. I practice my music and photography for others to enjoy. 

My Christ is found in knowing that everyone else believes in Christ. 

Sola scriptura
Sola fide
Sola gratia
Solus Christus
Soli Deo gloria


_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com


May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[042317] The Truth About the Will of God by Andrew Farley



What is God's will for your life?

Is it really about what house to build, what car to buy? We've been hearing so much about finding the will of God especially before making big decisions, and then when you find that 'will', you need to stay in it. Like it's not hard enough to find it; now you'd have to stay holy to stay in the will of God.

Then there are those who say that there's such a thing as His 'permissive' will, and His 'perfect' will; Still there are those who talk about how God could place a group of doors in front of us, just for us to choose a door, and either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences.

But you see here how all this places people in bondage, which is actually far from the liberty upon which Christ has set us free!

So, what is God's will for your life?

God's Will Is Salvation.
- God's Will is actually obvious and clear and part of His will for us is, clearly, to be saved!

'The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.' - 2 Peter 3:9

God so loved the world, and that has never changed. There are no special groups and cadres that are saved, and there are no groups and people groups that are doomed to hell. It is God's will for everyone to come to the decision of believing in Christ and His finished work.

'This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.' - 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Again, 'ALL' is emphasized here. Take a look back at what you thought God's will was before, and compare it to what we are learning so far - If God's will is for you to be saved, isn't it nice to know that Christ's finished work guarantees your everlasting life a.k.a. your salvation? In other words, isn't it nice to know that as you have believed in Christ, that you have been placed and secured in God's will?

We're seeing that God's will is certainly not something hard to grasp or achieve.

God's will is salvation for the Gentiles and the Jews.

God was in the business of saving Jews and protecting Israel.. but, as Andrew Farley says, this is a news flash! God's salvation has been extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews!

'He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.' - Ephesians 1:9-10

Is God's will a mystery? Yes, but He has made it known to us. It was a secret, but now it is revealed that His will is 'the summing up of all tings in Christ', not just in the heavens, but in the earth, where lives Jews AND Gentiles. Christ is the unifier that allows us to merge in spite of our diversity. God's will, in this context, is unity - unity with Him, and unity with each other, in spite of our color, our looks, our other affiliations.

'By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known... to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs.' - Ephesians 3:4-6

God's will is for the Gentiles to be made fellow heirs. Indeed, blessed are we in this generation where this is made obvious. We, Gentiles, are part of God's will.

--

Now, yes, there are choices we have to make, but these aren't choices such as the ideal spouse, or the best job, etc. but rather linked more to our attitudes. God's will is that we exude certain attitudes, that we take on certain mindsets... God's will relates to attitudes.

'Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.' - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Are you wondering what God's will is for you? There it is.

God's will for you is to Rejoice.
God's will for us is to come to the attitude of 'Wow! Amazing! Incredible! Awesome!' It's the attitude which comes from being absolutely overwhelmed by the Good News of Christ, the Gospel that saves and sets us free!

God's will for you is to Pray.
God's will for us is to come to the attitude which says, 'Father, I need you, and I know that we are united, and that You are alive in me, and I am alive in You.' This is the attitude of living FROM Christ, and not FOR Christ. The idea of praying without ceasing is not literally staying in prayer, but understanding that throughout your life, you would eventually comes to the attitude of talking to Dad, and letting Him know all that you see and feel, believing that He always wants to hear from you, always staying with you no matter what.

God's will for you is to Give Thanks.
God's will for us is to come to the attitude which is able to find a reasonable thing to thank God for in ALL circumstances. And because He is with us forever, in any event, this is a reason to give God thanks, and thanks in all things. It's not positive thinking, it's not faking it till we make it, but it's just that we recognize who God is and knowing He is always with us even in what the world says could be the worst that could happen.

What are we seeing here? It's not about God giving you the instructions to buy a certain camera, or to drive a certain direction at a given time, but it's about attitudes - attitudes which are, by the way, of Jesus Christ, - that are being worked in us day by day.

God's Will relates to actions.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality. - 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Paul continues by mentioning that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit , and should not be used for flippant things; it should be used in honor, knowing that you carry Christ within you.

Sanctification? You have been sanctified, set apart for a purpose. You are holy, blameless, and sanctified. You HAVE been sanctified. These are the actual daily choices - do you choose to use your body for Christ, do you set apart your temple for Him, or for sin and other purposes altogether?

Don't waste away time and energy chasing after sin, and letting your body be abused by sin, instead, waking up every day, and offering yourself to God as someone who is alive to Him, with a body that is holy and acceptable to Him, which is an act of worship! Worship isn't just music - 99% of our worship is any step taken in dependency to Christ who is alive within us.

'Now the God of peace... equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ...' - Hebrews 13:20-21

The pressure is off. Break it down: The writer of Hebrews prays that the God of peace - the God who is at peace with you, who likes you and loves you, may He equip you through the knowledge of Him - as you are equipped in your heart, may you continue to be equipped in the mind through the renewing of the mind. - in every good thing to rejoice, and to pray, and to give thanks in all things, through Jesus Christ who is alive in us.

In other words, as God is the One working through us, the pressure is off! It's no longer about the works you do, but the works that God has prepared in advance for you to walk right into them. God has designed you for good works - not just in a period of time, but in each and every day of your life! You be you, and you let Christ work in and through you! God is doing the work in you so that you can see what is pleasing in His sight!

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution... For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. - 1 Peter 2:13-15

Here, Peter talks about what it means to suffer, and how foolish it is to suffer for wrong reasons. Why suffer for a crime which goes against the rulers of the land, spending the rest of your life in bondage because you deserve it? Peter is also saying that if you are suffering for what you believe in Jesus, then so be it; it is an honor, but really, it's foolish to waste your time suffering as an evildoer.

God's will is for us to be sensible, that we walk in the wisdom of the Lord, that we do not waste time and energy doing foolish things like people who do not know Christ.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time... do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. - Ephesians 5:15-17

Before going any further, go back to what the current trend is regarding how most Christians believe regarding the Will of God; that you need to find it, and it's a tough road, and that you may need to get rid of all the sin in your life to find His will, and to get into His will, and to stay in His will.. and THEN you'll be okay with God.

Have we seen any of this funny business, this bondage? No, what we've seen so far in the Scripture is that God's will is salvation, that this salvation is for all (for Jew and Greek), that God cares about our attitudes in general (love, patience and kindness towards others), that God cares about our actions, and how we carry ourselves in a daily basis, caring for others, as temples of the Holy Spirit.

Is this hard to understand? It's not about being scared to make the next move lest you fall out of God's will, but sadly, this error has been more pervasive! No, God's will is big, it's Jesus Christ in you, and expressed through you! Don't be foolish, make the most of your time, and take time to understand what God's will really is!

God's Will Is Not Paralyzing

I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. - Romans 1:13

Paul planned to go to Rome so many times, but he wasn't able to in more than one occasion. Paul operated like a lot of us, not knowing what tomorrow would bring; he kept packing his suitcase, only to be 'prevented'.

This is saying we aren't alone in making decisions without a feeling or a knowledge of what tomorrow brings. We all walk by faith. The will of God is not about where to live, and who to marry, and if you make the right decisions, you'll be okay, and if not, you won't... Your 'okayness' does not depend on your decisions, but on the finished work of Christ.

WARNING:
Don't let a frantic search for getting in God's will and staying in God's will become a works-righteousness for you!

Let's not fall to the temptation of believing that we may mess up God's will for us totally because of our decisions! We are so tempted to make our choices connect to our rightness before God... that our choices would cause God to place us in some sort of lesser experience with Him.

[I've felt this way too many times. I've felt in the core how my actions in the past gave me what I suffer for today, and that I would have been in a better version of God's will if I did better in the past.]

This is clearly not a Truth that liberates! This is a worldly view of destiny and future prediction.

REMEMBER: You are righteous by NEW BIRTH, NOT by daily choices! You are right before your Father by your New Birth.

Don't get us wrong - if God gives you wisdom for specific choices, then consider it! Consider the views of others, and from your righteousness in Christ, make the decisions, without fear that what you decide would derail you from God's will!

God's will is salvation for anyone! - Jesus In You!
God's will relates to attitudes and actions! - Jesus Through You!

God's will is NOT paralyzing - God's will is JESUS in you and expressed through you!


_________________________
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com


May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26

[042117] Notes from Questions About Freedom (Part 4) by Andrew Farley


(Starting at ~25:35)

‘What is the best way to teach a grace message to your team while at the same time they need law/guidelines (HELP!)’

Your teams don’t need ‘The Law’, or the Old Testament Law; they need to know the Gospel. The Law was not even given to the Gentiles, but we need to know the message of the Gospel.

We DO need the guidelines. Paul tell the Romans to pay taxes, and to be at peace with all men, and to respect your authorities. What we see here is that there is no clash/contrast between grace and functioning in society! The heart of Christ is that we obey those in authority, to obey the rules that have been put in place for our protection.

It’s not for us to become legalistic about these rules; there are still earthly circumstances and consequences for our actions in this world. It’s one thing for us to suffer for believing in Christ, but if we’re suffering because of something we did, we have to understand that there is no partiality here, and the consequences that apply to unbelievers certainly apply to us as well. These things happen without partiality. The earth functions in another way.

Listening to our parents and authorities is not legalism. Don’t be afraid to have boundaries, and to have laws of the land, and rules in place. We don’t want to be unwise in the raising of our children, our peers, and/or our teams. As all people, we are all getting more and more acquainted in the Gospel with every day, but we ought to look out for each other by establishing guidelines.


My take on this: Part of our respecting of authorities is birthed out of the understanding that we are all, indeed, getting acquainted with the Gospel of Christ, and the person and identity of Christ with each and every day. There are consequences for even the smallest slip-ups we have, and we have to understand that our roles as leaders is to impose (1) guidelines and rules to keep our brethren from falling into these consequences, and (2) a gracious response in the name of training and not punishing those who have fallen.

Andrew Farley concludes: ‘Don’t be focused on Old Testament law when we do want to be proclaiming the excellencies of God’s Grace to our teams right from the get-go and showing them this dependent life on Christ.’

Is your teaching basically boiling down to, ‘Let go, let God’?

Yes, and no.

For some, when they think, ‘Let go, let God’, they’re thinking ‘Jesus, I can’t but you can, but I’m going to let you.’; and that’s the attitude. Just as we received Him (‘I can’t, but you can, and I’m going to let you’), so we walk in Him, emphasizing ‘I can’t, but you can, and I’m going to let you’…

On the other hand, we ought to watch out for when ‘Let go, let God’ becomes, ‘All of You, and none of me’; Again, we aren’t fire hoses here; we aren’t supposed to become little Jesuses here. We must remember that WE became the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ so we could be involved and we could participate, and we could be united with Christ, so we could be ourselves…

… we could understand that Christ is alive in us, but we should always remember that because of this, we could be ourselves. God is crazy in love with us, and that He really likes us. He knows everything about us that makes us who we are, and He doesn’t want to change any of that – He did all that He did because He loves us.

Do you believe that you are an OBSTACLE to God, or an INSTRUMENT of God? Do you believe that you are dirty and ugly, or that because of Christ, you have been made compatible and acceptable and beloved by God?

Is it ‘Let go, let God?’ – Yes and no. He is the Power. He is God, and we are not. But at the same time, we are made His children, holy and dearly loved; He could have done it all without us, but He chose to create us, He chose to rescue us, and He chose to include us.

Learn who you are in Christ, and then be yourself, and then repeat.


(Ends 33:01)


_________________________
jb.redeemed
email me at jibee@rocketmail.com

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance upon you and give you His Shalom. - Numbers 6:24-26