Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The WHO of God

Do you struggle to understand the who of God?  God is love... God is faithful... God is merciful.  We hear these words and most of us process and assimilate them on a natural level.  We know people who are loving or kind.  We know people who are trustworthy or loyal, although these are attributes of that person, they are only attributes. Those qualities make up the person, but the person does not make up those qualities. These descriptions are not adequate to sum up the person of God.

 Attribute defined: An attribute is a quality or characteristic of a person, place or thing. (noun) Intelligence, charm and a sense of humor are each an example of an attribute.

A 'loving' person can choose to love or not love, but God is love and cannot not love.  Love is His person.  A mortal person, kind as they may be, can, given the right circumstances, not be kind, but God's goodness flows to the righteous as well as the unrighteous.  Terrible things may be said about someone, and they can choose to forgive or take vengeance.  God on the other hand, is slandered and blasphemed, but He doesn't send fire down on the ones who trespass because He has already poured out His wrath on His Son.  Although we know there is a day of recompense coming, not because of vengeance, but because of rejecting His sacrifice for sin, for God is Holy.

One night my husband shared with me a word God had given him.  He said he was thanking God for being faithful, but God told him, "I AM Faithful, it is not something I do, but who I AM.  When he told me this, the words went straight to my spirit as a Rhema word.

Rhema revelation began to unfold! These are not the attributes of God, but who God is.  God is Love, not just loving!  God is Grace! God is Mercy!  Recognizing this difference was life changing for me. I looked for ways to interpret this so that I could explain what I saw... I wanted others to see Him as I now saw Him. I tried to put what I see in picture form, but it is too awesome to even attempt to draw.

 The simplest way to describe the difference between the Person of God and the attributes of God is to compare a person and the clothes that a person might wear.  When some one walks into a room, we typically size them up physically by height, gender, attractive, or not so much; color, race, and so on.  This is totally different from observing the clothes they are wearing.  Clothes are what a person puts on. The clothes are the addition to the person, all of the other mentioned specifics are the person

God has said that He is I AM. He is what ever we need Him to be... but He is I AM whether we need Him to be anything at all.  He just is I AM. (Ex 3:14)

In the Old Testament He manifested Himself as El Shaddai, the breasty one (Gen 17:1); Jehovah Jireh, the Lord provides (Gen 22:14); El Elyon, the Most High God (Gen 14:20); Adonai, Lord and Master (Deu 10:17).  Each name is a facet of His I AM.   Jesus spoke of Himself to Lazarus' sisters as "I AM the resurrection..."(John 11:25)  When the soldiers came to arrest Him said I AM... (John 18:6).

What I came away with is this: when I see someone named Mike walk in the door, I might see a male, 6'2", brown hair, brown eyes... When God flows into a room, love; mercy, grace, peace, joy, faithful and much more than we can imagine enters.  Someone once said, and I can concur, that in Revelation 4:8 '...and day and night they never stop saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty (Omnipotent), Who was and Who is and Who is to come.', the living creatures saw a new facet of God's magnificence each time they bowed and rose up to behold Him


Monday, October 17, 2011

Straight Up In The Bit

Not too long ago I went to a life skills seminar, and our guest speaker was a former rancher/horse trainer.  He said that when we see the pictures of the wild horses we are not seeing the true state of the horses.  We see them running free, the dust clouds swirling around their pounding hooves, tails raised and manes blowing in the wind.  From a distance they are beautiful and majestic. 

Truth is, when you catch one, and are able to get close to him, you will see a matted coat, open sores, pest infestation, twisted and deformed hooves, and a myriad of other unsightly conditions.  From a distance, what appears to be beautiful, close up, reality tells a different story. 

This horse trainer talked about the first encounter with this once free creature in an enclosed corral.  The horse will run for as long as it takes him to get tired, with his face toward the open range and his rear toward the trainer, who has positioned himself in the center of the corral.  This trainer makes no move toward the horse.  He just allows the horse to storm around the corral in fury and frustration until he runs out of energy.  The horse will run until he finally gets the realization that he's not going anywhere.  He realizes the thing standing in the center of the corral somehow has the key to his future survival.  The horse will stop at near exhaustion, or confront the trainer with a "what?" kind of attitude.  It is saying, what do you want from me?  That is the time the trainer can begin to tame the animal.

Once the trainer can get a rope on the horse, the next step is to put a big bit in the horse's mouth.  This big bit is over sized, and very uncomfortable. This is is the main bit that will be the determining factor in the finished product.  But, if the horse will not submit to be broken, the trainer, this particular trainer, will release him. There is no compromise, if the horse can not, or will not submit to the trainer, he is no good to the trainer.

Once a horse is fully trained, there is another, much smaller bit; and this small bit is used primarily for show.  This bit is what horses wear during parades and exhibitions.  This is called 'straight up in the bit'.  When you see the horses prancing and showing off with their trotting, they are bragging about being able to wear that small bit.  They are saying, you just don't know what I went through to get to wear this bit, so they toss their heads and step high with great pride, straight up in the bit!

All of this brought back something the Lord showed me once.  This was many years before I heard this speaker.  Father is timeless, and He takes as long as we need to teach us what He wants us to learn.  He reminded me of this illustration.  I saw myself as an untamed mustang in a corral with three ropes around my neck; there were three men, each holding an end of one of the three ropes.  I was bucking, jumping and wrestling to be free. 

The Lord seemed to be saying the horse thinks his freedom is over if he allows himself to be bridled and saddled.  He resists with all of his energy because he doesn't realize that once he surrenders, his freedom will be restored, only it will be under control.

Later, several weeks later, in fact, I saw the same mustang -- bridle-less -- saddle-less.  There was a rider on his back.  The rider had his fingers entwined in the horse's mane and his knees were pressed against the horse's sides.  The horse was sensitive to the slight pressure of the knees to his sides and tugs on his mane and went with ease where ever the rider directed him.

So, what does all of this mean in our daily walk?  I think, for myself, it was very hard to give up what I thought was freedom, but actually, I wasn't free.  There needed to be someone wiser than I who could see all of the things I did not see.  Someone to bring me in line, take care of the overgrown areas of disfunction and heal my afflictions.  Though I fought, I finally realized that the one I resisted the most, was in deed, the One who held the key to my future survival.  He let me run until I was tired and gave out.  He waited until I yelled, "What?!"  Then He began to train me, with patience and love.  I see the three men as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The lone rider, I see as the Holy Spirit.   Now, I can stand straight up in the bit, but I know, if I go back to the old ways, the big bit is still there.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Unmerited, Unearned

I had been trying to wrap my head around the finished work of Jesus and the grace of God. The fact that nothing I do can increase or decrease what was already done was hard to comprehend.  Like so many Christians, I believed that if I did good things, good things would come,  and if I did bad things... well, you reap what you sow.  So, I made myself busy with doing good things and slipped into the "Believer's Rut", which is based on works and not on grace.

Don't get me wrong, we are supposed to do good things because we are God's children and imitators of our Father.  Our good deeds should be the result of the Spirit of God residing in and flowing out of us, rather than from our efforts of trying to be good.  We are good; Jesus said so in John 15: 3.  He said we are all clean because of the Word.  He said,"I am the true Vine, and My father is the Vine dresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."  It is not possible for a pine tree to produce an Oak tree, so the fruit the Spirit of God produces in us is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of the tree is the evidence of the type of tree.  As for the perfecting part...that's the Holy Spirit's job not mine

I still could not get the idea that I did not have to do anything to earn my salvation except believe and receive it.   Romans 10: 9-10 says we are believe in our heart and confess with our mouth, the Lord Jesus and we shall be saved.  Some how we got the idea that we must confess our sins, but what Paul was saying is to agree with  God; confess that Jesus is the Son of God and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.  It's as simple as that! 

I was born into a military family and then I married a career military man.  Father used my life as the 'dependent' of a military person to teach me about the finished work of Jesus.  I came to realize that all of the benefits I enjoyed as a part of the military community were directly the result of someone else's commitment.  Some one else joined the military and suffered the pain of completing the requirements necessary to be fully qualified  and authorized to represent the US Armed Forces. 

That person also paid the price for me to have access to the benefits of that commitment and accomplishment.  The housing, the medical care, the commissary grocery store, the movie theater, all of the recreational facilities, even finances...everything came to me because someone was my sponsor.  That is a term used in the military when some one wants to know if you have the right to receive the benefits you are seeking.  They want to know who your sponsor is, what is the social security number of that sponsor, and do you have a military ID card to prove your claim.  Without a sponsor, you have no access to the benefits.

In that community, nothing I accomplish means anything to the powers that be, because I am not the one who made the commitment to serve.  I am a dependent of that one.  So, I can not earn or work for or pay for the privileges, I can only receive what has been provided because of the price someone else paid when they made the commitment.  The sponsor stands between you and the authorities of the military.  What ever you do right or wrong is a direct reflection on the sponsor.  If you get into trouble, the sponsor will generally have to pay the penalty for it.  If you write a bad check, the sponsor gets called into the commanding officer's office to be reprimanded and/or disciplined.  How wonderful is the love of the Father, that He would pay so dear a price for me!

For those who think I may have made this a bit too simple I say what the word says.  There is an ongoing work of sanctification and consecration, but that is not my task to perform.  My job is to yield to the Holy Spirit, cooperate with Him and He will perfect the work. I just need to be obedient.  That is the work I must do to prove my faith.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Have Been Like A Boat On Dry Ground

From my kitchen I could hear this sound like the garage door opener engaging and disengaging repeatedly.  I looked out the door to the garage to see my husband trying to get the weed-eater to start.  The sound I heard was his frustrated efforts, intense in vainly pulling the starter cord repeatedly, and he seemed to be expending so much energy in his futile attempt.  I went to console him a bit and suggested he ask the Holy Spirit to help him with the task.
I breathe a short prayer on his behalf as I went back into the house.  I returned to my project of cleaning out one of the file cabinets in the lower level and found a note Father gave me some time ago:

 'As you have sought me, as you have desired me, as you have cried out for me, I will come to you.  I will   sweep you up into my presence.  I have come for you. I have come to take you unto myself.  I will sweep you into a new place in me.

You have been like a boat on dry ground, but now, even now, my Spirit and the fullness of my presence will overflow your dry ground and the river of my presence will cause your boat to float.  The water of my Spirit will overflow your dry ground and cause it to be a river; a river of life...  A river of Living Water.

It is now that I will manifest my Glory and give you the portion reserved for you.  To take you to a new place in the knowledge of my Glory.'

 Have you ever had a hungry, crying baby?  If the perceived delay in receiving what the child is crying for is greater than he can understand, he  will not even realize that the bottle you are trying to place in his mouth is the very thing he is crying for.  The Lord has gifts for us...  love gifts of His Spirit, gifts of His presence, or His grace.  We often work ourselves up to unnecessary levels of distress, while He is present to meet our needs.  You don't have to beg for what He has freely given.

Like my husband's flustered effort to do on his own what seemed like a simple task, I have often tried to do God's work on my own.  Sometimes it seems like a good idea, but in retrospect I realize it is often not a God idea. It seems like such an easy little thing to say something, "in love", only to start a raging fire. Or perhaps all of the doors seem open to accomplish a mission, only to discover at the end of it all that our adversary knows how to open doors also.  God is not put out by our requests, He is the one who wanted to have us as His children in the first place.  He wants to spend time with us and teach us how to be like Himself.  He wants to teach us how to do exploits in Jesus' name.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Lawn

One day as I stood at my kitchen sink, I looked out the window in front of me admiring the freshly mowed lawn.  It was a bright June day; before the heat of the summer sun had scorched the grass.  The clouds, billowing across the sky, accented the beauty I beheld.

As I admired the scene, I began to hear my Father's voice flowing into my mind.  He seemed to say," Beautiful, isn't it?'   I then realized that I could only admire the beauty of this scene but not partake or experience it.  This realization took me on a life experience analogy.

As long as I just stood there and observed the lawn I was only a spectator.  To experience it I would have to physically stand, walk, run or lie in it.  Then Father said,"Life is like the lawn... You can stand at a distance and observe it and never experience it."  He continued to teach me a principle about the 'lawn of life'.  He said the beauty you see is not the actuality of the experience.  It is an illusion.  From your window it looks perfect, but in reality there are flaws.  The ground is uneven, there are holes dug by snakes, moles and other little animals.  As you walk you must watch your step to keep from falling or injuring yourself.  There are droppings from the pets, often hidden until you happen to step in, or just miss stepping into it.  All of these things are a part of experiencing the lawn.

 He said when you come to a pile of dung, you can step over it, or step in it.  If you step over it, you can continue on and enjoy your experience; if you step in it, even if you are unaware of your misstep, others know immediately.  So, now you have to deal with the dung.  The best thing to do is wash it off as soon as possible. Rubbing it in the grass does not get it off, it amplifies the dung with the smell of grass and dung.

As I compare life to the picture of the lawn, I acknowledged that in life you can be a spectator.  You can sit on the sidelines and admire other people's lives, possessions or their accomplishments, etc.  You can imagine a perfection that does not exist.  To experience life, you have to get out and live it.  There are some things out there that can trip you up, things that can cause you pain, but some things you need to just step over and keep walking.  To be sure, there will be times when you step in it... It's smells bad, but it is not the end of the world.  Get cleaned up and go at it again.

Father has always made it clear that no matter what I find myself in, He has all of the answers to get me out if I just ask for His help.