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Archive for February, 2011

Total Replacement

A close friend of mine just had double knee replacement surgery. My husband Evan and I went to go visit him today, and he was explaining something interesting about the physical therapy portion of his recovery.

His knees, before the surgery, had been in awful shape. His doctor would always tell him he was amazed he was even walking, and after operating told him his knees had to be among the top 10 worst he’s ever seen. Considering replacing knees is his job, they must’ve been pretty bad.

Since his surgery early last week, he has been learning to walk with his new knees up to a few times a day. He said the hardest part is trusting that they won’t get hurt when he uses them. The doctors tell him they will be just fine, but he has to really force himself to believe it sometimes, as it’s still so early in the healing process. He went on to say this, “I have to realize it’s not the new, but the old knees I don’t trust. I spent so many years in pain I have to remember I’m not in pain anymore. I’m so used to having restricted movement I have to remind myself I don’t have boundaries anymore, I have the freedom to move.”

I sat there for a minute pretty much astonished. I told this friend he had just preached. I felt the Presence of God SO strong because of His words.

What an amazing comparison to what happens when Jesus sets us free. We’ve been delivered from pain but sometimes we have to be reminded that we aren’t in pain anymore. We used to be so bound up and put in a box and we need reminded that we are free. We can MOVE and live like we are free. We can move and live like we’ve never been hurt, because he’s healed all our hurts, and we don’t have to be afraid of pain anymore. We don’t have these old damaged knees anymore- who we are is brand new, and we can trust the work Jesus has done.

//After posting this, I went to go to bed and decided to listen to a little music.  This song came on, which I’d heard several times before and thought, “That’s good,” but it never really connected to my spirit. Tonight, however, I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing. God is definitely speaking. I realize this might not be to some people’s musical taste, but please take a minute to sit back, relax, and listen, and let God’s Spirit wash over and minister to you. It’ll be worth it (pardon the video, it’s what I could find).//

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Good News!

I was reading in the Bible awhile back, through the life of Jesus, when I ran into this verse:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.” Matthew 9:35

This is a verse I’ve seen and read many times. It pretty much sums up what Jesus’ ministry was like while on earth. But there’s something I noticed about it this time that I hadn’t really thought about before.

This all happened before the cross.

So I thought about what it said again..”Jesus went through all the towns and villages… preaching the good news of the kingdom…”

Wait a minute.

When we talk about the “good news” now, it seems like most Christians are referring to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and rose again. Now we can be forgiven and go to heaven when we die and be with Him forever, right?

Now don’t get me wrong- this is good news. But it’s not THE good news. It’s part of the good news, but it’s not THE good news.

The good news isn’t that we get to access the Kingdom of God when we die, but that we get to access it NOW. RIGHT NOW.

Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” This essentially means, “Quit thinking the way you were thinking, quit living the way you’ve been living- because that’s a lesser way to live. Get right with God because that gives you access to Heaven RIGHT NOW (and this is waaaaaaay more fun then any other life, I’m telling ya!).”

I’ll back up a little.

In the Garden of Eden there were two trees. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. God specifically told them not to eat from The Tree of Knowledge. They could eat off any other tree, including the Tree of Life, but not the Tree of Knowledge. When they chose to listen to the deceiver instead of God, they lost something crucial.

The Tree of Life let them have constant communion with God, which made them whole. It allowed them not only do the right things, but think the right way. When you’re in the Presence of God, your mind just clears right up and you know what to do and how to be. You are loved for who you are. It’s the best feeling on the planet. And it’s easy.

The Tree of Knowledge, however, let them see what was wrong and right, and in the end, gave them a set of rules to live by. By eating off this tree, they were now able to make decisions for right and wrong based off of what they knew to be right and wrong, but not out of relationship with God. They may have even been right about what was right and wrong, but it made things hard, complicated, and sucked the life out of them.  It cut them off from the life giving communion with God they once had.

So when Jesus came, He didn’t just come to die for our sins. He came to set the record straight. He came to show us how to live from the Tree of Life again instead of the Tree of Knowledge.

We can know a lot about God, but unless we’re living out of the Tree of LIfe, we won’t operate in real love and power, and we won’t be operating out of having access to God’s Kingdom. We’ll be pharisees instead of disciples.

When Jesus died, He made it so we can all eat from the Tree of Life again. He is the Tree of Life. And when we are in constant communion with Him, we are able to bring the Kingdom of God to earth right then.

So my question is this: if we have FULL access to the Kingdom of God- His way of doing things, His love, His life…

What does that look like? For Jesus, He would preach the good news- and then heal every disease and sickness. When He spoke, people’s minds were changed. People were delivered from demons. Things were made right in the world. He also did crazy stuff like walk through walls. His actions proved His words. It’s like he’d say, “The Kingdom of God is available right now and here it is.”

When Jesus prayed, He prayed, “On earth as it is in Heaven.”

That is our goal. Our job. When we are in communion with God, eating from the Tree of Life, we have access to Heaven right now. And our job is to bring that to others.

So again, what does that look like? Everything available in Heaven is available to us when we know Jesus. If something in my life isn’t allowed in Heaven, then it shouldn’t be allowed here.

This is SO much better than, “It’ll all be fixed after we die.” Everything in Heaven is available to us now. This really does make me want to run and tell everyone.

 

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