NO STRINGS ATTACHED

My thoughts lately have been drifting again to how complete is the salvation offered to us by Jesus.     It seems a little one-sided to me.   Maybe it’s because that is exactly what it is.   I am offered complete freedom from sin and its consequences.   I am freely given God’s holiness, perfection, and stand utterly blameless; even to the point of that becoming my identity.   2 Cor. 5:21 states that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. That goes far beyond what we can receive and moves right into the area of who we are.

 

For me it begins with understanding who God really is.   I’m afraid I have had to unlearn some belief systems that fed me lies about God.   I used to picture Him as very severe, and always watching me in the light of that judgment. He was the plumb line that I could never live up to.   So what does one do about it?   Work harder, of course. There must be a level we can attain some day to put a smile on God’s face.

 

What I failed to see was my perception of God was totally false. I thought holiness was hard and condemning.   But I have come to realize that there is nothing dark about God at all.   As a matter of fact, I believe that the light surrounding Him is so thorough that it never casts a shadow.   Holiness is not severity.   It is love. It is goodness.   It is pure joy. It is so very kind. God is the epitome of patience, the perfect description of peace, and full of limitless grace toward us. Well, that changes things remarkably in my life. He has become Someone to be trusted, not feared.

 

I have come to trust totally in Jesus work on my behalf. It is complete. There is nothing lacking for me; there is nothing lacking in me. So complete, in fact, that for me to try to add anything to it is an insult to His grace.   So utterly complete is His offer that there are no strings attached to it whatsoever. My part in the process is simple.   Just say yes.

 

What about the commandments?   Good question.   What if….every commandment has been fulfilled in Christ, and comes with the provision to impart to me absolutely everything needed to live it out?   What if every commandment we see in the Word has, in Him, everything needed to see it through? Look at it this way…in the commandment in 1 Peter 1:15 God tells us to be holy, for He is holy. Right.   There is no way I can be holy just like God….unless, of course He gives me His holiness. Oh…I think I’m beginning to get it. It is a gift. One that doesn’t cost me anything. I only need to receive it.  

 

It is all a gift. Every aspect of who God is and what Jesus has done for us is a gift. No strings attached.   So I put away the “rule book” of my own works and decided to take God up on His offer.   Freedom!   Wow – never in my wildest dreams could I have experienced the joy, the peace, the love, the fun that God has planned for me. And to top it off my BFF (Holy Spirit) has become my constant companion, enjoying the adventure with me.

 

It is called grace; from beginning to end it is all His grace.   Some misunderstand this and for some reason cannot grasp the truth of grace.   Some have even given it a label; “cheap grace”.   Grace is not cheap. It is extreme in its cost.   It just doesn’t cost us.

That’s why it is so amazing.

Remember this – Jesus is not a crutch, He is a stretcher!

Blessings,   Judy

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TODAY

Good morning!   I think there’s a storm brewing on the coast.   Time to cozy up in a nice warm place today.   It brings to my mind those who don’t have a place to go in weather like this.   It bothers me that I don’t really know what to do except help support those who know what to do to serve these wonderful people who experienced terrible turns in their lives.   They are just a loved as I am; just as important an individual as any one else. It is an honor to help in any way I can.

 

Throughout the years I have discovered that I am purpose-driven. There is always a goal in my mind; always is something to reach for.   God has placed His love in my heart for people. I believe religion separates people, but God loves each one of us completely, without condition and without limits.

 

My goal-driven mind has seen things differently the last few years.   There was a time when I was obsessed with the desire to be in full-time ministry.   I spoke to the Lord about this.   He put me in retail. Now I know He has a sense of humor, but I kept pestering Him about it; and He kept me in retail.   But I must be ministering to people.   I am driven to show them the real Jesus.   The Jesus who is passionate for them.   The Jesus who gave Himself in their place. The One who loves completely and without condition.

 

So I showed up at work every day with my dream seemingly unfulfilled.   Every day I saw and had conversation with many people.   I helped them with their projects (it’s called customer service) and was simply with them for a few minutes or for an hour. You know where this is going. You can see the writing on the wall.   In reality, the place where God put me had more opportunities to show the love of God than I could imagine. I asked for it.   I wanted full-time ministry.

 

I learned that today is filled with opportunities to serve, to love, to care for, to honor and respect those who I come in contact with. Today I don’t want to change anyone. I just want them to know how valuable they are. Religion has rules to determine value. God doesn’t.   People need to know that fact.

 

What will I do today?   I will simply be who God has made me to be. No more striving. No ladders to climb or impossible laws to try to keep.   No hoops to jump through. No trying to prove my worth because I know my worth, and it doesn’t hang on my behavior or performance.   I am valued simply because God’s love is unconditional. Can you see the freedom in that?  

 

I don’t want to miss today’s opportunities by being focused on tomorrow.   I am learning to trust God with today.   I am learning the contentment in that. Still looking forward to tomorrow because the future is bright and alive with possibilities.

 

What does this kind of lifestyle look like?   It looks like rest.   It looks like the joy that only freedom brings. It looks crazy good.

 

And with that, have a great day!   Blessings,   Judy

SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE? THEN IT IS FROM GOD.

Try to imagine this scene with me.  The Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, long before the earth and all we know was created, devised and purposed a plan to redeem me even before the first human was formed from the elements in the earth.  I have to ask myself; what came first, the sin or the remedy for sin?

 

Did sin separate God from man, or man from God?  These subjects go right to the heart of our Creator.  He is love personified.  So much so that there is no shadow about Him, no ulterior motive or second guessing about me.  He is for me completely and totally.  He is intimately acquainted with everything about me.  Long before I was even thought of He knew me.  He created the color of my eyes, the things that make me smile, my gifts and talents were in His mind before the foundation of the world.  How do I know this?  Before the world was formed, the Lamb of God was slain and man was redeemed.

 

That tells me something magnificent about God.  So often we misunderstand Him and misrepresent Him.    Religion has shipwrecked the faith of millions.  It has put the responsibility for our relationship with God completely on our performance.  It has told us that our behavior determines God’s attention toward us.  It traps us into a works oriented carousel that goes nowhere and leaves us frustrated, full of our insufficiency and wondering what went wrong, especially since we were “doing everything right”.

 

What if….my relationship with God has nothing to do with my behavior or performance?  What if Jesus goes so far as to complete the work without any interference from us at all?  What if He would rather we simply accept His free gift with no strings attached? 

 

I believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world.  The Word tells me that in John 3:16-17.   What if the entire human existence, every person ever born and every one yet to be born was included in Jesus work on the cross?  It’s true, you know.  All sin has been dealt with one time for all men.  So is Jesus obsessed with my sin?  Not any more.  He has already done away with in it His own body.  If God sees me sin-free in Christ, why do I still consider myself a “sinner saved by grace”?  That statement implies that there was no change in me, which is contrary to what Paul states in 2 Cor. 5: 17-21  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that GOD WAS IN CHRIST, RECONCILING THE WORLD TO HIMSELF, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, s though God were pleading through us:  we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.

FOR HE MADE HIM WHO KNEW NO SIN TO BE SIN FOR US, THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST.”

 

Friends, Jesus did it all.  Can we simply believe it?   God does not deal with your sin any more.  He has already dealt with it.  He is not dealing with your sin, but with your righteousness; which, according to the Apostle Paul is our identity.  Who am I?  In Christ, I am God’ righteousness. 

 

“BUT OF HIM YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO BECAME FOR US WISDOM FROM GOD – AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND SANCTIFICATION AND REDEMPTION – THAT, AS IT IS WRITTEN, ‘HE WHO GLORIES, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD’”. I Cor. 1:30

 

I’m getting it, Lord!    Let’s have a party!   Want to join me?

Blessings,   Judy

IT’S GETTING DEEP IN HERE!

 Greetings to you this fine day. 

 

Isn’t it amazing how God orchestrates things in and around us?   He is constantly about showing us his great grace in all of its dimension and facets.  I know I’ll still be discovering the depths of His love throughout eternity. 

 

Today I’d like to share with you something my BFF (Holy Spirit) passed on to me recently.  It has to do with …. what else…. GRACE.   I had always assumed that the wonderful truths and revelations I was receiving from the Lord were accompanied by His grace.  In other words, as the revelation grew, grace grew right along with it.  But I believe He changed my thinking about that recently.   When God reveals truth to you; when His Word opens up a fresh revelation of who He is, or of who you are In Him, it is in fact a revelation coming from the depths of His grace.   It is not something separate from grace; it is a dimension or an aspect of His grace. 

 

Sort of like a limitless well, every time you dip into it you discover a new and wonderful aspect of Jesus, or a fresh revelation of His Word.   Whatever you see, it originated is His grace.   Ephesians 3: 16-21 (MSG) “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.  I ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit –not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength – that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite Him in.  And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.  Reach out and experience the breadth!  Test it’s length!  Plumb the depths!  Rise to the heights!  Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

  God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and  gently within us.

  Glory to God in the church!

  Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!

  Glory down all the generations!

  Glory through all millennia!   Oh Yes!”

 

For those of you who have embraced this amazing grace, it is so much more than we realize.  Every experience with God is because of His grace.  Every new understanding comes from His grace.  It is inexhaustible, limitless, knows no boundaries.  We need to live in the inexhaustible, limitless, forever ongoing realm of His grace. 

 

We have often heard this definition of grace; grace is God’s underserved favor.   As wonderful as that sounds, it is far from the truth.  I would say that better describes mercy.  Grace, on the other hand, is strength.  It is power.  It is actual and very real fuel for our lives.  Grace is the fullness of power, freely offered to us through the blood of Jesus, given to us personally by the Holy Spirit to be the person God sees us to be.  Grace eliminates all of our efforts, and instead hands us everything needed to live on this planet as citizens of another realm.   To live exactly as Jesus lived. 

 

We are a habitation of heaven’s reality, and when we recognize our true identity in Christ, can bring that reality into everyday situations, just like Jesus did. 

 

I am often puzzled at believers who don’t believe.  I think fear has gripped their minds, and to embrace something so heavenly seems impossible.   Well, if we operated in our own efforts, they would be absolutely correct.   We have, however an offer from our Father to receive Him in His fullness.  He desires to show us the “extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.  To experience the breadth, to test its length, to plumb its depths, to rise to its heights….to live in the fullness of God.

 

Is this possible?  Ask Him for yourself.   You will find, as I have, that grace isn’t the beginning point, it’s the entire point.

 

Happy travels.     Judy