THE EVENT THAT CHANGED IT ALL

THE EVENT THAT CHANGED IT ALL

In all of recorded history, and before, one event turned the cosmos in a new direction.

In one moment of time absolutely everything in heaven ad on earth changed forever.  All of heaven understood the impact this event would create on every living thing.  I would affect all things, both seen and unseen.

We easily recognize the symbol of this moment in history, but there is so much yet to learn about it.  Countless books have been written about it, each with valuable information, but its total influence has yet to be experienced.

A cross.  The ugliest instrument of execution known to men.  Sad to say that this particular day is not the only day that form of punishment has been used.  This day, however, was life-changing for every human being in human history; past, present and future.

What made such a claim?  An exchange that shook heaven and earth occurred by the person nailed to that cross.  Love beyond comprehension led Jesus, the Christ to this place.  But love alone did not keep Him there.

“Fix your eyes on Jesus.  He is the fountainhead and conclusion of faith.  He saw the joy (of mankind’s salvation) when He braved the cross and despised the shame of it.   Hebrews 12:2”   Mirror Bible

I would like to ask you a question….what is your emotional response when you think of the cross of Christ?  What mental images play out on the screen of your imagination, and how does it make you feel?

Our feelings surrounding this event speak volumes about our understanding of it.  Often I experience feelings of sorrow and grief over the realization of the love poured out for me.  I have also experienced shame, guilt, and regret as well.  Nearly every time these feeling arise I am focused on the suffering and tragedy of that dark day.

What if … I focused on the finished side of the cross?  What if the cross is actually my source of overwhelming joy?  What if wave after wave of the total success of the cross washed over me until I can clearly see what Jesus saw….the joy that was set before Him?

Living on the right side of the cross (the finished side) will transform how I see things, where my faith lays, what and why I believe, and the hope my life is grounded on.  It will even change my language.  Living on the right side of the cross means living in resurrection power.  It means seeing the full effect on the power over darkness.

Living on the right side of the cross means seeing what God sees, thinking the way He thinks, and speaking His language.  It means waking up every day fully empowered to be who God saw even before you were born.

It seems to me that the only way to really honor the memory of the cross and what Jesus accomplished there is not by sorrow and grief, but by living to the full extent of what was in God’s heart from the very beginning.

Blessings,   Judy

 

DUMPSTER DIVING

 

DUMPSTER DIVING

 

I recently heard one of the best illustrations that I want to share with you.

 

Our city has a wonderful crew of people who come by my home whenever I need them and give me a tremendous service.  They usually come early in the morning so they don’t disturb my routine.  Their job is simple, yet profound.  Here is how it works….  I leave my garbage out near the street.  These heroes come by and take it away.  Amazing.  Someone who literally removes my trash.  When it is gone, it is gone forever.  I am very grateful for that.  My trash is gone, and the container is left to fill up over and over again.

 

The people who remove my garbage don’t bring it back.  I never deal with it again, never have to look at it again, and never have to pick it up or handle it again.  I don’t even remember it again.  It is gone – completely and irrevocably.  It is taken to a local facility to be treated and properly disposed of.  On warm days my senses can detect the direction of the disposal site and I am reminded of the smelly past, but it no longer is my responsibility.

 

Of course you see a beautiful illustration of the words found in John 1:29 where the Baptist sees Jesus coming and exclaims,  “Look!  There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”  There are similarities in both cases, with one major difference.   Jesus took it all.  Sin is not retrievable.  The most remarkable part of this is that it is all erased from God’s memory.  He will never again bring it up.  In His mind it is as though it never existed at all.   Even the scent is gone, and in its place is the sweet aroma of Jesus’ righteousness.

 

God has new plans for the old container, as well.   He took my sin, leaving the vessel filled with God’s essence.   I become a habitation of His attributes, His nature, His character and all that He is.

 

So, the next time you are inclined to go ‘dumpster-diving’ in regards to past sin, remember this lovely illustration and let Jesus have His full work in you.

 

Blessings,

Judy

HIGHER THOUGHTS

Source: HIGHER THOUGHTS

HIGHER THOUGHTS

HIGHER THOUGHTS

I made a recent discovery deeper into God’s thoughts.  While talking to someone about His great love, I made the suggestion that God’s grace must be accepted and received in order to find its way into our lives.  I believed that there was a process we needed to engage in that takes His offer off the table and into our lives.  As usual, the Holy Spirit was right there in my mind, giving me insight into the reality of grace.

I know that my thoughts are far below what God thinks and acts.  But I always assumed some things that I now realize may be putting Him in another box of human reasoning.  I assumed that God thinks the way I do about people and situations.  I assumed that men must make certain choices to find Him.  I assumed that it is entirely up to me to determine my spiritual condition. I assumed it is my obedience that secures my salvation.

God is not confined to my level of persuasion.  His ways are infinitely higher than my imagination can go.  My assumptions that He agrees with my reasoning only brings Him down to my level.  Instead, I believe He wants to raise my level of perception to His thoughts about people, situations, issues…. about nearly everything I know.

For example, what if I take the Scripture literally when, in John 3 Jesus said that He did not come into our world to judge or condemn us, but to save us.  I must ask, who is included in this scenario?   Only those who hear the gospel message and respond correctly?   Is God’s love reduced to depend on me, or is there something I am missing in my assumptions about who He loves, and how He loves?

I am coming to the conclusion that His love is so far-reaching and so big to include every human in human history.  Does His love reach those who have no way of hearing the truth of the gospel?  For that matter, what exactly is that truth?  The gospel is considered good news.  Good news does not discriminate or categorize people.   It includes people.

I believe God’s love can reach every human heart, without exception.  I believe that on the cross Jesus carried the world’s judgment and punishment, taking away our sin.  Such a powerful act of love only needed one time to achieve redemption for all mankind.  It is universal and extremely personal at the same time.  One redemptive act gave salvation to all men; each individual needs to believe it.  His love is much more than something offered.  It is freely given.  It is in place whether I believe it or not.  I can, however, say no.

This line of thinking causes me to re-examine my assumptions about who God is and how He  feels about men.  The account of creation in Genesis 1 gives us a glimpse of what He was thinking when He created mankind.  “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”    Love so strong and secure is the only motivation that can cause such a profound statement.  This love pours itself into the one it loves, without reservation or condition.  And it loves every person in the very same way.

I intend to align my thoughts and assumptions with what God says is truth.    The truth is, it is not my obedience that secures my redemption.  It was Jesus’ obedience that accomplished it all.

 

Blessings,   Judy

THE ONE, THE ONLY

Genesis 1:26:   And God said, “Let us make man in our own image, according to Our likeness.”

Did you catch that?   What kind of divine being does that?

What God is this?

          In a world full of “gods” today,

          in societies where demons disguise themselves as gods,

everywhere we look we see religions calling people to worship someone or something; an entity or a multitude of entities.

These gods range in temperament.  They can be slightly annoyed or they can be volatile; passive or vengeful. 

They must be appeased, strictly obeyed and honored by sacrifice.  Sacrifices range from simple penance, a list of “must do’s”, money, service given, all the way to blatantly evil and hateful to non-complaints’.

These gods have hug egos.  They claim to possess “the truth”; even have a corner on the market.  Nearly all of them demand rigid belief systems and behavior modification standards.

Pleasing these gods is attainable if you are willing to pay the price, which in fact, goes up if no effort is made by the worshipper.

Fear is the underlying motivation in the lives of those under the influence and control of these hellish religions.

Love?  Unheard of- a completely foreign concept.  These gods show no love, no approval, no comfort or joy or peace.  Outsiders are viewed with pity, suspicion, and even fear.

People have sold their souls to these religions in the hope that their eternity will be secure.

There are many religions in the world today – all clamoring to be heard and obeyed.

All except ONE.

          The ONE who was not created by a religious system or dogma.

          The ONE who is characterized by creating, not destroying.

          The ONE who stands alone in His holiness, His righteousness, His goodness.

          The ONE who is relentlessly kind, always gentle, full of mercy, abounding in love.

THE ONE CALLED LOVE.

When all the others are taking, this One is GIVING.  Not ordinary giving, but a way of giving that goes far beyond anything man has ever known. 

Unlike religion that is defined by what it requires, this ONE is defined by what He GIVES.

The ONE who created man and breathed His very life into him.  The ONE who, out of fathomless love, shares His life with His creation.   Take some time to consider these things.

Those who believe this fact discover that God’s very life is not only residing in them, but spills out of them, giving that same life away to everyone they meet and every situation they encounter.

The ONE who GAVE HIMSELF.  If there are any sacrifices to be made, He makes them Himself, on our behalf.

Do you realize that this lover of your soul has your name written on the palms of His hands?   He is thinking about how to love and bless you constantly.   So many are His loving thoughts toward you that they are impossible to count.  It would be easier to count the grains of sand around the world than to count the vast amount of God’s thoughts toward you – every one very good.

What reason could anyone possibly have to reject this God of love?  Don’t settle for anything less than knowing this ONE.  Respond to His incredible heart.  Abandon yourself to His grace.  Lose yourself in His love; find yourself in His love.

Relax, take a deep breath, and breathe in His amazing gift; the ONE HIMSELF.

Blessings,  Judy

 

VOICES

Voices!!!!   Please stop the voices!  Voices bombarding your head everywhere you turn.  All of them trying to pull you into their particular persuasion.  Each one claims to hold the truth, and their viewpoint the only one to be trusted.

 

I hate politics…don’t be offended, it’s just frustrating and confusing to me, and can get a little over the top.  It seems to me that every 4 years people’s brains turn to mush, clear thinking gets muddy and is replaced with emotional frenzy starting with anger, which soon turns to rage and spirals down from there.

 

You probably assume I am referring to politicians.  It may sound like that, but rest assured, I am not talking about politics right now.  I greatly admire those who stand up for what they believe in and fearlessly declare it.  I absolutely believe that the issues we face today in our society are indeed crucial to the well-being of our country.  I believe we need to follow our personal convictions, whatever they may be.  I am deeply grateful for the freedom we have.  There are people today to whom that concept is completely foreign.  In some countries, to even voice an opinion brings great fear.  They live in silent terror.

 

Today I am not speaking to politicians or about their politics.  Today I would like to pose a question to those who, like me, are Christian believers.  From the many comments I have read and heard from Christians concerning our current political climate and the issues we have to confront, I have come to a conclusion.  At some point in this process I think our plumb line has gotten twisted.

 

I see that, in an effort to convince those people out there who may have different opinions, they use words that completely confuse me.  Words like sin/sinner, condemnation, guilt, shame and repentance are used to describe their stance on political issues.  I have a mental image of someone carrying a huge, heavy Bible, getting into someone’s face, taking aim and whacking them on the head with it.  As if that will cause them to embrace God’s love and they will become just like us.  Something about that just doesn’t make sense.

 

May I make a suggestion?  Let’s take a good look at the gospel we believe in.  What does it say about sin?  Yes, sin is a very real condition that plagues mankind, but did you know that Jesus took away the sin of the whole world?  The world.  All of it.  What does that mean?  It means that for every human that has existed or will exist in the history of humanity, sin has been judged.  Not only judged, but all sin has been (past tense) punished.  Think about that. Meditate on it.  Allow the truth of the good news sink into your mind and then into your life.  You will find it often in the New Covenant (New Testament), but for starters you will find it in John 1:29, Corinthians 5:19-21, Romans 5:18-19.  Look closely and you will be delighted to find that message everywhere you look. 

 

Because of Jesus’ great love, He took the guilt and condemnation that I deserve and carried it Himself.  Those things are no longer in my life.  You will find that in Romans 8.  It gives new meaning to the word “freedom”.   

 

Another word I see out there is the word repentance.  Usually we understand repentance to include shame, guilt, remorse, and much drama.  I was happy to discover what repentance really means.  Simply put, it means to change the way you think about something.  Remember when Jesus came on scene?   His message was, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is here.”   What was He doing?  He was showing us a new way to know God, a new way to think about Him and relate to Him. 

 

I recently read something referring to the word tolerance as being an evil thing.  Really?  Personally, I am eternally grateful for God’s tolerance.  It is a never-ending river of grace, which is another amazing subject I will discuss soon.

 

I guess what I am trying to say to fellow believers, go ahead and express your opinions.  They are valuable and important, and they need to be heard.     When you do, express them the way God expresses Himself to us when He deals with our issues.  You will find this in Ephesians 5.  The list includes, but is not limited to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faith and self-control.

 

If your god is judgmental, condemning, full of anger and vengeance, allow me to introduce my God to you.  I’ll be sending some more information about Him, but until then, His Name is Jesus Christ, and He is all about loving you like you have never been loved.

 

Many blessings,

Judy

 

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?

 

I love people, by choice.  Most people know that and respond with kind.  With some people love takes a deliberate choice.  There are those who make loving them an adventure; sort of like hugging a porcupine.  Get to close and you get stuck.  I have had the pleasure (?) of knowing a few of those, 

 I am currently dealing with a situation that includes someone like that.  From the very first time we met I was under suspicion.  It has been that way eve since; they decided not to like me.   Crazy.  I am one of the nicest people I know.  It has been a year of smoothing ruffled feathers, repairing damaging situations, and trying to relate.  I thought it was working until I discovered that I have been accused again of something I didn’t do.  The rumor mill is buzzing.

 

So…what do You want me to do, Lord?  How do I handle this?

 

I was surprised and delighted at His response.  “You are asking the wrong question.  The issue is not what to do, but who are you?”  My actions are a direct result of who I am.

 

There it is again.  The difference between “doing” and “being”.  I “doing” mode I am living life by making decisions from a behavior modification mindset.  My behavior, which is of primary concern, is my motivation.    The “doing” list is full of should’s and ought’s which deal with measuring myself to the perfect example, Jesus Christ.  It takes conscience decisions and a lot of will power.  Basically, it is up to me to control my behavior and meet the standards set out for me by others, and often by myself.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

 

“Being”, however, is based on my identity.   Who I am in Christ.  My true identity is at the core of everything else.  My thoughts and the actions that follow are not sourced in the multitudes of lists on how to behave myself.  There has been a change.  It happened in my heart.

 

I am, in essence, a new creation.  My Spirit is completely free from sin.  That, in turn, dictates to my soul (thoughts, decisions and emotions)   and, if allowed to, will follow through to my behavior.  It is Christ in me.  I cannot live the Christian life.  Only Jesus can live the Christian life through me by His Spirit.

 

It is one thing to talk about showing the love of God to those around you.  It is quite another thing when   that love is rejected and even opposed.   We live in the world, but we are not of the world.  I belong to a Kingdom that is very different than the world that surrounds me.  That Kingdom empowers me, with great joy, to actually and literally live by its standard, which is love.

Has the situation I find myself in affected my emotions?  Yes, of course it has.  A greater force, I can give away that very same love, no strings attached.   How do I do this, you may ask.  I don’t .  The Holy Spirit does it through me.  I am the conduit.  I am the vessel.  My part:  choose yes.  Say yes.  Live yes. 

The apostle Paul states it wonderfully when writing to the church in Galatia.  “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”   Galatians 2:20

 

Feel the power.

Join the adventure.

Blessings,    Judy

Previous Older Entries