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Sci-Fi Jesus

I was reading a book the other day, and in it was a girl who just found out her dad was a king. Not only was he a king, but he was a king of a group of people who had special abilities to move through time and space. This girl was sad, because she was only an adopted daughter, and although she was accepted by this group as the daughter of the king, she could never fully be a part, she could never have these abilities because it wasn’t in her nature to have them. I’m actually not sure what happens next, but I know things were looking up. There was a glimmer of hope in something the king, her father said that made it look like he could somehow impart this ability to her at some point.

And it hit me. This is exactly like Jesus. A lot of times I live like an adopted daughter with no rights instead of an adopted daughter with every right of a biological daughter- a daughter with the same nature as her Father. When we meet with Jesus, He imparts HIS nature to us- we can heal the sick. We can raise the dead. We can be whole. We no longer have a human nature. We are in fact,  aliens in this world( 1 Peter 2:11). We look, on the outside, like we belong here, but the truth is, we don’t. And we can use this nature to heal and to help; to make things right that were all messed up.

Another portion of this same book talked about how, once this nature was activated in someone, they could never live a normal life again. They would be committed to the cause of this group. And those who tried to live a normal life ended up deformed, bitter, and extremely unhappy. I think that’s why so many believers are unhappy- a lot of us aren’t living out of our new nature. We’re trying to live normal lives when we aren’t made to anymore. We’re ruined for the ordinary. We’re made to live out of a supernatural nature, to live as royalty, and living any other way just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Today is Earth Day. Today is also, and more importantly, Good Friday. At first it bothered me that the two corresponded, but in a moment of God reminding me of His awesomeness, He showed me something cool.

He reminded me of 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I realized something. All over the place people are pushing for Earth Day. Which can be a good thing. We want to take care of what we’ve been given. We want to learn how to be good stewards, and raising awareness of how to do this is awesome. We want a good future not only for ourselves, but for our children, grandchildren, and so on.

So often it seems that many who are “pushing a greener agenda” and Christians (who many consider to be pushing their own agenda) are fighting each other. But what no one seems to realize is we all want the same thing.

God WANTS to heal our land. If it’s not obvious enough to everyone here that our world isn’t doing so hot, it’s even more obvious to Him. We have had countless earthquakes, tsunami’s and other natural disasters all over the world. Something’s gotta give.

And as much as I do think recycling and making sure we aren’t so wasteful is a great thing to do, and necessary, the real issue here isn’t just our habits. We can work and promote hard to try to change the habits of others, but the real issue is in the heart. And only God deals with the heart. In this verse God calls us to turn from our wicked ways and seek Him. THEN He will heal our land. Our hearts are our number one concern, but clearly the land He’s given us is a concern as well.

Pushing for people to change their ways may help a little, but God will change the heart. And where it starts is with those who already claim to know Him. “If my people called by My name…”

God also reminded me of Romans 8:19, “The earth groans for the sons of God to be revealed.”  It may be even better understood when said this way, “For all creation is waiting eagerly for the day when God will reveal who His children really are.”

The earth can’t get better until the people get right with God, and the people can’t get right with God if those of us who know God don’t get right with Him first!

We are MADE to bring healing, life, and light wherever we go. The earth is literally BEGGING for us to do this! When we are walking right with God, nothing is impossible. We can tell the mountains to go into the sea if we want (Matthew 21:21) so why are we not bringing healing to our land and most importantly our people?

“How does Good Friday tie in with this?” you may ask. Well, without Christ dying on the cross and shedding His blood for our sins, their is no rightness with God. There is no healing power in us because we wouldn’t be able to have Christ dwell in us. Jesus’ blood not only brings healing to our hearts, but to our land.

I am SO EXCITED it’s within our reach to help this world, on every level, be healed. God’s heart is to not only see His people restored to Him, but the environment restored to the way it was meant to be as well. Probably even better than it was to begin with!

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…

Perspective

“We don’t need to be afraid to go anywhere in this world, because the worst that could happen is we might be killed.” -David Platt

 

Things around here have felt a little scary lately. Between health problems and, oh, I don’t know, the whole world falling apart, it’s been a little weird. Through many natural disasters and many government threats over the past few months, I’ve been reminded that life with Jesus wasn’t created to be comfortable. I started getting fearful for the future, and especially for my family.

Then, through several things, God reminded me I needed a different perspective. Things aren’t about the here and now and they most certainly are not about my family (although God loves us a ridiculous amount). It hurts God when people hurt. It pains Him to see people go through suffering.

But when we get out of a particular moment or event and allow ourselves to see the view Jesus has, it’s different. Every disaster is an opportunity. God will turn every heartache into glory and will right every temporary wrong. Every battle we have fought has only poured into a bigger picture of victory and grace.

We can’t avoid pain. Especially if you’re a believer. And when we keep our eyes fixed on the now, and our circumstances, and when we fear the future (and in turn grasp tighter to what we have), we have our eyes fixed on the things of man, not on God.

But when we realize that these moments, and especially that which we hold dear, don’t belong to us anymore, but they belong to someone who loves us more than we could ever possibly imagine, then it’s okay. We can rest in the fact that even if the worst does happen, it’ll only be for a moment. God’s love is stronger than suffering, and stronger than death. His suffering and death, and His love being stronger than those things has, in fact, already saved us. And we see that every heartache and every battle and every loss was worth it. So we walk in His footsteps no matter what the cost. We can walk in them unafraid because pain and death are only temporary.

God will take care of my family because He loves us. He will take care of your family because He loves you. This isn’t a “love” like we see in Hollywood or even in a lot of our own life. This is love that’s stronger than the grave and it’s willing to go there for you- and it has. And it killed that grave for you.

So don’t be afraid. You have nothing to lose.

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).//

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.

 

We love to give the Pharisees in the Bible a hard time. How could they not recognize who Jesus was after they were SO well studied in what their Messiah would look like?  It’s not that they just didn’t recognize Him.  It’s that everything He said and did so contradicted what they THOUGHT was God’s way, they wanted to KILL Him. They were the religious big wigs at the time- they knew their stuff. They knew the Bible, as it was, inside and out and tried to adhere to every dot and dash. And here was this guy, sure He was educated, but He was no pharisee- turning everything they believed into something it ‘wasn’t supposed to be.’ We tend to look at this and think they’re a bunch of idiots.

But I’ve noticed something this week. Both about myself, and a lot of other believers.  I’ve seen this both in my direct circle of great friends and I’ve really seen this about believers on the internet.

We’re all a bunch of Pharisees.

We have a lot of knowledge of the Word and what it says to do or not to do. We know how to pray. We know what to do about ‘sinners’ (of course this means we know who sinners even are), and we even know how God does and doesn’t move. We have a serious case of “knowledge puffs up.”

This past week I’ve caught myself and witnessed others acting like we know our stuff. I’ve also had the Lord talking to me a lot about Psalm 1,

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. His delight is in the Law of the Lord…”

I don’t consider myself much of a mocker. I don’t generally make fun of people and what they do and think it’s okay. But this week I noticed something.  I was in a conversation with some people and we were joking about a video on the internet. Mid conversation I felt convicted. We were making fun of this person. Not directly, but if they were there it surely could have been hurtful. The way we were doing it seemed lighthearted and innocent enough, but when the Lord put it into perspective for me- yikes. Not good. It would seem ‘sitting in the seat of mockers’ stems directly from a critical spirit.

Then it was like a downhill spiral. I started noticing way too much of this happening around me from those of us it should not come from.  I noticed how much it showed up in my own heart.

I started seeing an AWFUL awful trend of believers online making fun of other believers. Or calling out other believers about something, like we know their heart when we don’t even know them personally.

One particular person posted a video of a ‘famous Christian’ doing what he does. And yep, he does do things a little weird. But under that video were SO MANY comments about how this guys is a nut job, or how, in so many words, he gets his power from Satan (this sounds WAY too familiar- Matthew 12:23-25), or how they couldn’t believe how gullible people could be to think this was for real.

And how many times do we think like this? Like Beth Moore wrote, “Those who look for reasons to accuse will undoubtedly find some.”

How many times do we beg God to move, to show us miracles and then when He does, we dismiss them as something else.

Just like the pharisees we think we know our stuff. But God is wild. He doesn’t move the way we think He should or do things in a neat little package. He is creative and moves in ALL KINDS of different ways. John the Baptist was not normal by any means. Elijah and Elisha did some weird miracles and so did the disciples. They were all persecuted in some way for this. And we know, by scripture, that this is inevitable. But let’s not side with the Accuser and accuse people who are living for Jesus. We don’t know their heart and we don’t know if it’s God. The sad part is, I saw the same stuff this week being said by those who are literally trying to DESTROY Christians. Those who truly HATE Christians. How can we talk the same way? I am talking to myself here.

I want to have a childlike heart- being wise but not dismissing something because it’s not familiar. Or because it is familiar. Or dismissing something because I’m afraid it might be slightly inaccurate.

I want to see God in everything and see what He IS doing in everyone, even if I don’t fully agree- I might be the one in the wrong anyway. I want to be more afraid to miss God’s will then I am to mess up once in awhile.  I want to do what God says even if it seems crazy.

Sure, there are some true crazies out there but it’s not our place to worry about those. Discern, yes. Trash talk? Not in any form. Actually, loving them and praying for them would be our job description.

My husband pointed this quote out today and I think it about sums it up;

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

If we’re accusing, nitpicking, or mocking, we’re trying to use darkness and hate to drive out (what we think is) darkness and hate.

If we’re loving, praying for, and encouraging each other…if we’re seeing the value and truth in someone we don’t agree with, then we’re operating in God’s Spirit. We’re driving out darkness and hate with the light and love of God.

 

Totem

This post is inspired by something the Lord showed me a few months ago and brought to mind again today.  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie ‘Inception,’ this may be a bit confusing:

In the movie Inception, the goal of the main characters is to go deeper and deeper into someones dreams in an effort to plant a thought in that person and have that person consider it their own thought.

The trouble is, the person doing the ‘planting’ can get lost in this little dreamland if they don’t have something that lets them know whether they’re living in reality or a thought life that feels like reality. They use a small item (a top, for example) that does something (the top will fall if it’s reality or keep spinning if it’s not) that will let them know which reality (or non reality) they are living in for that moment. They call this item a totem.

First off- I LOVE MOVIES. Movies that most likely weren’t created with the heart of God in mind often speak the heart of God loudly, and Inception is one of them. This movie depicts the spiritual realm so well! To start- this is how Satan functions- he plants thoughts in our minds in such a way we begin to think they’re our own. He surrounds us with circumstances that reinforce these thoughts so they become our belief system. I don’t care if you’re a believer or a non believer- he does this to both. He will plant thoughts in our head that make us less effective to the world around us and less peaceful on the inside. If we think we aren’t loved or accepted, we’ll live out of that even if we believe Jesus has saved us. And if we don’t think we’re loved and accepted, we’ll be guarded and fearful- and you can’t love others well when you live this way.

Anyhow, shortly after watching this movie and having this movie melt my face off, I heard a speaker named Peter Helm. He was talking about how Jesus is making Himself more and more clear to us. He said this: “When we see Jesus clearly, that’s when the penny drops.” I about fell out of my chair! What he meant was basically, ‘When we see Jesus clearly, that’s when it all makes sense and everything changes.’  But to me, God was tying it in with Inception.

Jesus is our totem. When we see him, it’s like the top falling over- or the penny dropping.

When we see him- that’ s reality. If what we see or what we live doesn’t line up with who Jesus is- we’re living in a false reality. We’re not living fully, we’re living in a world made up of lies and deception.

Jesus is our totem, and His reality is SO GOOD.