Wisdom

As the Spirit stirred the waters inside me, I felt the mists say,

“Knowledge is learned, you can find it anywhere. You can ask me for it, but even the knowledge I give you can be dangerous. Knowledge is like a body yet to come to life. As my Spirit breathes on it, it takes on life. The wind of the Spirit that does this is called Wisdom.”

“Wisdom understands knowledge and knows what to do with it. Wisdom cannot be learned. Wisdom is dynamic and is fresh every time. In the heart of man, knowledge desires the high road, but Wisdom goes to the low places, the quiet places where the trickle of the stream can be heard.”

“Knowledge says, ‘Here it is. Take it and run with it.'” 

“Wisdom understands the Spirit and says, ‘Listen to my voice. Listen to the stream. Listen to my heart and understand.'”

“In every situation ask, ‘What is your heart on this? What should I do? What should I say?'” 
“Wisdom will speak. Wisdom will ground your soul in the way of the Lord. Wisdom will release the gentle breeze from heaven that heals and restores. Bent reeds will not break, tender shoots will not be crushed, and the dead will come to life.” Wisdom will tell you what to say and when to say it. 

“Wisdom is not what you know. Wisdom applies the heart of God to every situation.”

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The Aroma of Jesus

Smell is such a primal sense. A single smell can awaken memories of things long past, of places long-forgotten but suddenly recalled. For me, smell is a secondary sense, in importance somewhere below sight or hearing. Yet smell somehow connects to feelings inside of me. It is a sense that is felt first and then understood. With it we can sense the state of the world around us. I love that spring is now upon us and its fragrance helps lift our spirits after a long winter.

We read in the bible about the aroma of Christ and we sing about giving ourselves as a fragrant offering, pleasing and acceptable to God. Maybe this is the aroma of the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This is the fragrance of Jesus and we find it permeating the pages of the gospels:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

“a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.”

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger”

I love this fragrance!

Years ago, I learned to differentiate between the voice of the enemy and the voice of God. Whenever the voice of the Lord comes, it is full of the fruit of the Spirit. It is always loving, even though what he asks may be very hard. The voice of the enemy is like a wet blanket of condemnation. It produces guilt without hope and drives us to despair. It compels us perform rather that rest in Him.

I have the privilege of belonging to a wonderful house church, a community of people who are not afraid to share where they are, and who know that there is support for them on their journey. It is in groups like this that I sense the fragrance of Christ most strongly. As we come together, we receive words for each other, we encourage one another and we are there for each other. We receive His heart of love. The presence of Christ has a fragrance that is full of love, life, hope and peace … and He is always pursuing people. He loves us all.

Some things don’t smell so good

Unfortunately, it appears many in the church have embraced a form of christianity that is more political … and the fragrance of Jesus appears noticeably absent. Just this week, the governor of Indiana signed a bill making it legal to discriminate against people on religious grounds. This may be a political preference of people, but it is far, far from the aroma of Jesus. For many christians, the conservative political agenda has merged with a particular interpretation of scripture and the result is a whole segment of society that feels it is ok to discriminate against people.

I have been trying to find the right words to express what I feel, but this morning, I read a blog from John Pavlovitz … and his words speak eloquently on this topic.

Another writer I have discovered recently is Susan Cottrell who wrote in a similar vein on her Saturday “Jesus Blog“.

For both of these writers, God broke their hearts for the way the LGBT community is treated by the church. I especially like what Susan wrote on her About Me page … it echoes what God has spoken to my heart. Like them, I know He has called me to love this community and be the fragrance of Christ – as He enables me.

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Be Still

When we pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are praying destiny prayers. As I was waking this morning, I felt surrounded by the never ending and all consuming love of the Father. It was like I was swimming in liquid love. I was thinking of a couple I know whose hearts shine with the brilliance of refined gold. I was praying “Your kingdom come…” over them because it seemed like the best way to bless them and lift them up into higher realms of intimacy with the Father. I then heard His voice impress on me that this is one of the most powerful prayers we can pray. When we pray this prayer, we are asking for more of His love to manifest in their hearts. We are turning away from praying what we think should be done, and are turning towards the will of the Father.

I then saw what looked like a streams or ribbons of life flowing through time. These streams represented each of our lives and the brightest and strongest of these were those where the hand of God had been released to lead them into fullness of life. “Your kingdom come…” acknowledges that there is a destiny on each of us. It also causes us to take a posture of humility and recognize that the only way we will find that destiny is by choosing to follow where He leads. I saw these steams flowing through times of incredible hardship and suffering which could easily have crushed us, but because we were surrounded by Him and actually in Him, we lived and were achieving our destiny. We were living on the path created for us before the foundation of the earth and it was the safest place to be.

When we live in this way, we align with the way shown by Jesus, who “only did what He saw the Father doing”. When we pray “Your kingdom come…” over our lives, we are saying “Your will, not mine”. We give up striving to find the right path and we allow His hand to carry us on the way of life He planned for us. It’s like being in a windstorm. If we try and stand, we will experience resistance and the deafening howling of the wind. When we say “Your will be done”, we let go of our striving and release ourselves into His care and protection. As we find ourselves being carried by the wind, we find the noise ceases and we enter the quietness of rest.

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Entering into Rest

Quite often, the impressions that the Lord gives me do not begin to come together until I am with others who want to be in His presence. This is what I sensed the Lord was saying while we were worshipping at our house church:

The Lord wants us to know and recognize the path or things that He is leading us into. It’s not following a movement, or conventional christian wisdom, or what everyone else is doing. It is hearing the still small voice, the call, the nudge … the almost indefineable leading where we sense His favor and presence; when we know that this is what He’s called us to do. As we agree and go with Him into that place, we enter into a field of favor, a place where our spirit literally expands to encompass the authority and grace the Father gives us in that place. It is the manifestation of “Where You lead, I will follow”.

As we enter that field, we find favor and grace to operate there and bring the Kingdom of Heaven into that situation. There is no performance, there is no striving, there is only a sense of being at rest. He has called us and is with us … we can move in faith. As our rest increases, we find that we can expand into the heavenly places and boldly go into the courts of heaven. As we look to Him, He calls us to stand at His side and see things from His vantage point. We hear Him say, “Speak with My authority into this situation. You are sons (male and female), and this is your inheritance.”

If we are heading towards Him, it means that we have turned from other directions – repented – and our field of vision contains only Him. As we behold Him, there is suddenly freedom. There is no condemnation, there is no law, there is only Him leading and us following. Other directions, though they may seem good, are less than He has for us and can bring us into bondage to the spirit of religion. We’ll find that our rest has been replaced with an ever-increasing need to perform and prove we are doing God’s will. Instead of flowing with the passion of His heart, we’ll find ourselves on dry land, building fences to keep out the enemy.

How can we know which is the right voice to follow? It is the voice that is full of love, joy and confidence. It is the voice of the one who said, “it is finished.” He has sat down and there is no striving. There is no fear, no despair, no wringing of hands. There is hope for the broken and love for the outcast. Bruised reeds are tenderly restored. Joy unspeakable fills our souls. Our hearts expand to take in everyone around us and suddenly, the words of life flow like a rushing river which sweeps away the fragile constructs of religion and fear. Darkness retreats in fear from the ones who have discovered that life is found in walking as Jesus did – only doing what he saw the Father doing.

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Healing With Liquid Gold

For months now, God has been speaking to me about how I and the church in general reaches out to people … anyone, no matter where they are on various issues, whether we agree with them or not. I am more and more convinced that we have to be so hidden within the heart of the Lord that every thought, word, action or reaction becomes a reflection of His love. Without being consumed by that love, we are all in danger of doing things in ways that seem right in our own eyes, or which reflect the agendas of [insert your favorite group name here]. This post reblogged below, like its title, is pure gold.

Faith Living Now

10518962_685695001515849_6907330306438516711_nAnd He said,

“Let me elaborate.”  To which my heart sighed in relief because I couldn’t understand alone.

“When you realized there was a hole, so to speak, in your husband’s armor, you saw a small piece of damage which left an open door to sickness.  It was there because of a previous situation in his life; one from his childhood; one he doesn’t remember.  Ministries have risen and died over this problem and the search for its solution. Great amounts of money have been poured into these holes and the resolutions have often been minor, at best.  You have witnessed this and wondered at the millions of souls chasing healing for wounds that don’t heal simply.  And yet, the solution is rather simple.  Come let me show you.”

He paused as we strolled through flowers bearing colors so vibrant that any earthly artist would covet the pallet.

“As you SIT on your throne of Administration…

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Prepared for the Journey

Early this morning I had a dream that I really felt was from God and that I had to share.

Dream

I was at a place with a group of friends and we were preparing to go on a journey. We had to carefully choose what to take, because we could only take what we could carry. We also had only had 8 minutes before we had to be somewhere to meet a bus to take us to our destination. I suggested that I could drive if we missed the bus, but it seemed important that we take it.

I was getting a bit agitated because we literally had a only a few minutes, and there was a TV on in the room that was distracting us. Finally, we left and had to run to find the bus – the number 7 bus (not 100% sure) near the “princess school”. After running towards where we thought it might be, I asked someone where the princess school was. We looked around, and written on the top of an old innercity building were the words “Princes’ School”,

We only had a couple of minutes left, so we darted across an intersection but were stopped by a cop for jaywalking. We pleaded with him to let us go because we had only a few minutes to catch the bus, but he kept questioning us, trying to find out who had strong legs. Just then I woke up.

Interpretation

I immediately thought about: preparing to go; putting aside distractions; moving when we have to; departing on a bus from a place where Princes are taught; and being transported to our destination by someone else.

I believe God is accelerating things right now, and many of us are being led into new understandings of things. For some, destinies are being revealed. There are distractions that can keep us from moving. We are Kings and Princes, and the Lord has been preparing us. We have asked Him to lead, so He gets to drive the bus, not us.

Be encouraged! Does anyone see anything else here?

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Transforming Grace

Grace is an amazing word. Not just the word, but what it means. One definition is, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”.  Another is, “The love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it”.  Maybe one of the best ways to understand grace is to read some of what Paul said about it in Romans (there are 18 references to grace in Romans):

  • justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (3:24)
  • it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace (4:16)
  • Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand (5:2)
  • For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many (5:15)
  • For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (5:17)
  • Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (5:20-21)
  • sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace (6:14)
  • What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means (6:15)
  • But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace (11:6)

We see that faith and grace go together, as opposed to works and law. Sin brings death, but grace brings life. Grace is free. If we are under grace, we are not under law. For me, this understanding of grace has been continually unfolding throughout my life. When I first became a Christian, I knew very little of grace, and because of this, I became almost paralyzed by lies of he enemy that wanted to keep me under law and condemnation, trying to earn favour and never quite succeeding. But even then, I did understand grace as something given to me that I didn’t deserve, and so grace took hold inside of me … and changed my life.

I’ve heard that some people and churches are selling a message of “cheap grace”, which basically says, because Jesus did it all, you can live as you want because it’s all covered by grace. Actually, this is not a new concept, Paul covered this in Romans chapter 6 – “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it”. I think the reason that this idea of cheap grace is present is that it is the logical unfolding of a heart that has not been transformed by God.

Our entire walk with God is a journey of transformation … from glory to glory. If I only intellectually assent to the fact that Jesus died for my sins, then it is easy to jump to the false grace conclusion … it’s convenient, and allows me to live as I want. If, on the other hand, I understand what Jesus has done for me and my response is to embrace it, then transformation starts. Maybe grace is like a seed. I can have the seed and never plant and water it, and so nothing grows. Once I do allow it to grow, it changes me from the inside. The test for any of us is to see if there is a transformation happening, or if we’re happy just to believe God saved us so we can run our lives in our own way.

Paul said that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (10:9). The confession of the mouth and the believing in the heart is like the activation sequence for grace … and for everlasting life. Both confessing and believing are required, since with the mind we understand, but with the heart we receive. Cheap grace leaves us unconcerned with the things of God. True grace transforms us into his likeness.

The amazing thing about His grace is that once we are in it, it is He who does the transforming. Every change in my life, whether it is dealing with sin or aligning more with His will, is actually all directed by Him. I have had things in my life that I wanted to deal with, but God seemed unconcerned. It was like He was saying, “yeah, I see that. Don’t worry about it, we’ll get to it later.”

I know there is no condemnation for me, since I am in Christ Jesus (8:1). I know I have unresolved things, sins in my life, but as far as God is concerned, they are dead, and he wants me to recognize them as such. When He brings things up in me to deal with, I still have to confess (acknowledge) them and turn from them. In doing so, they get “unhooked” from me and I am no longer dragging around their dead weight.

A few years ago, God gave me a picture of a streetlight which projected a cone of light onto the ground. I saw myself standing partly in that cone, but felt God tell me to move into the centre of it. The cone of light was where He wanted me to be. Once I was positioned in the centre of it, I saw that I would be completely covered by His grace, completely protected and in the centre of His will. My whole life has been about being transformed. At times it has been slow, but there are also times when I notice a leap in the level of my understanding. Each time, I see that God’s grace is bigger than I imagined, and each time, it draws me to that centre. When I first started the journey of grace, I thought God was there to help me live my life. I know now that this is a very limited understanding. When I lead my life, I don’t like how things unfold. As I allow God to lead, transformation occurs.

Right now, my prayer is, “Lord, I’m done with agendas. The only agenda I want is what You have for me. You have a destiny for me and I want to walk in it more that anything in the world. I want to bind myself to you so that no matter what, I only live according to your desire.” It’s scary, but I love the path He has me on. I can’t do anything else. He is my all in all.

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