Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why Moses Had To Die

before entering the Promised Land.  Was God really that impatient with a man who had given everything?

Most of you are familiar with the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and then Joshua leading them into the Promised Land. (Exodus 3-12 and Joshua 1-4)

I think that most Christians would agree that they have left Egypt. They are free. But like the Israelites, I wonder how many Christians still live as slaves in what was intended to be a land of freedom?

How many Christians would you say are living in the Promised Land, enjoying the inheritance that Christ purchased for them?

Though the Israelites were led out of captivity, they quickly returned to what they knew. Exodus 32:1 (ESV) 1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

As Christians, we often fall back on what we know.  We do that whenever we combine the covenants of Law and Grace. We live under the new covenant of  Grace but are still enslaved to the old covenant ways of law.

When Moses died, God said to Joshua, 'Get going'. Josh 1:2 Msg. The King James Version says, 'Go over....' signifying a transition.

God was saying,'time to make a transition' from old covenant/law thinking to new covenant/Grace thinking, a paradigm shift of epic proportion.

Does that mean they were freed from the law?  No, the law, the whole law, not just those written upon tablets of stone, was still in effect and would be until Jesus ratified the New Covenant at which time the law would be written upon their hearts.

Through relationship there would be no need for an external system of government. Only Grace can transform you from the inside.  Law simply modifies your behavior externally.

The night before they crossed the Jordan, Joshua spoke to them and said, Joshua 3:4 (GW) ”.......you have not gone this way before.” 

God was saying, 'This is a new way.  It is time to follow Jesus apart from the law'.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." ....... Grace is a brand new way of looking at things....... righteousness apart from the law had never been done before.

Joshua is a type of Christ and the very name means Yeshua. Jesus is the Greek transliteration of Yeshua.

We have to leave the pilgrimage of law (Moses), enter the water (a baptism signifying an identification with Christ, an identity exchange), via spiritual death, to be resurrected in the promised land under Grace with Jesus as our Guide.

Jesus (Yeshua) destroyed principalities and powers at the Cross.  In Joshua 3:10, God eliminates 7 tribes (7 signifying complete) 10 And Joshua said, 'Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Hivite, and the Perizzite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Jebusite.

Jesus stripped principalities and powers of their authority at the Cross, a complete victory.  

In the process of moving into the promised land, we are given cities we did not build. It is not a place of works, but of rest. Joshua 24:13 (ASV) And I gave you a land whereon thou hadst not labored, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell therein; of vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

The original Hebrew word for cities is from a root word signifying an 'opening of the eyes, a becoming naked', referring to a return to innocence, rest and provision similar to Adam and Eve.

The Greek word for land is from a root word meaning 'Adam',  symbolic of shamelessly entering the new Eden.

Adam and Eve were not under law.  Until shame drove them from His presence, they were in right relationship with God apart from law. At the Cross, Christ bore our shame so that relationship with our God could be restored.

Moses, because he represents the law, had to die rather than cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land. Law cannot take you into your inheritance, only Grace can do that.

This crossing marked the end of the pilgrimage of law and the beginning of Grace.

The name "Moses" is from the Hebrew word Mosheh meaning "drawing out of (the water)", that is "rescued". He was drawn from the water to be the deliverer of God's people.

The Jews call Moses “Moshe Rabbeinu”, Our Teacher/Rabbi. The numeric value of “Moshe Rabbeinu” is 613, the number of laws (the mitzvot) that Moses taught the children of Israel!

But just like the law only takes us to the teacher, Moses could only take us to the edge of our inheritance. Jesus must take us in.  See the teaching, 'Arrested Development' at http://ow.ly/2K48b

The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh were given land by Moses before his death before crossing the Jordan. They chose to stay.

I wonder if they don't represent the brothers-in-law? No doubt, our brothers in law will always be around.

We, however, have chosen to pilgrimage with Joshua and now live under the pilgrimage of Grace, not law-less but law-free, and are motivated by a personal relationship with Jesus rather than an impersonal relationship to the law.

Law cannot take you into your inheritance, only Grace can do that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Body Language of Prayer by Pamela Donnan

What does prayer look like in light of the revelation of Grace?

Dear Pamela,

'I suck at spending time in prayer with God. I don't like to do it. Well, that's not necessarily true. I like it sometimes, but I'm very undisciplined when it comes to a regular habit of prayer.

I've tried to analyze this.......I'm just lazy; my attention span is too short; I must not have any real faith; I don't like intimacy with God because of father issues, etc. But, analyzing it to death doesn't help either.

I don't think I'm being performance-based with prayer, yet I do feel like a failure and that God is disappointed when I don't pray every day. The crazy thing is, when I do spend time in prayer, I usually enjoy it and feel good, so I don't know why it's so hard practice it.

I do not have this problem with studying the Word. That seems to come so much easier to me, probably because I naturally love to read and learn, but who knows?

Where does Grace fit into all this? How do I stop seeing prayer as a chore? Do you have any insight or suggestions? I'm so tired of going round and round with this. I really want some freedom in this area, but feel at a complete loss to attain it.'


What does prayer look like in light of the revelation of Grace?

I found her question interesting..... it has been one that I have contemplated many times. I once asked a respected Grace teacher the same question early on in the journey of growing in Grace. His answer was somewhat vague but it gave me permission to challenge what I had been told.

When we evaluate God according to our world, He is diminished. We need to evaluate our world according to God. It is only by a revelation of Grace and seeing Jesus as He really is that we begin to understand our world as it really is.

I believe however, that there are a lot of things we can see in this world that reflect our God and speak to us about our relationship to Him, marriage being one of them. (I understand that not every marriage is healthy, and maybe yours is not, but imagine with me for a minute what marriage should be like.....)

Romans 1:20 (ASV) 20 For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse'  
If marriage is to reflect Christ's love for the church, Eph 5:23-26, than I should be able to learn a lot about my love relationship and interaction with Christ by examining the love relationship I have (or should have) with my husband.

My husband does not talk a lot, but he talks more than me within the context of our personal relationship (he's a preacher, what can I say?) And, while I do not consider myself to be a quiet person, I speak less than him and I enjoy listening to him.

I feel fully engaged in the conversation even when I don't respond verbally.

Through marriage, I have been made one with my husband.
Mark 10:8 (ASV) 8 and the two shall become one flesh: so that they are no more two, but one flesh. 
Through salvation, I became the Bride of Christ Who indwells me and I am one with Him.
John 17:11 (ASV) 11 that they may be one, even as we are. (A Jew is considered married as soon as she agrees to the proposal, even before the marriage ceremony is performed or the marriage consummated. So we do not have to wait for the ceremony. Christ has made us one with Him now.)
Only a small percentage of communication is verbal. One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined by the following; Only 7% by the words we use, 38% by our voice quality (tone, inflection, articulation) and 55% by our nonverbal forms of communication (body language).

What does this say about us?  What does this say about many Christians? If words count as little as 7% of our conversation, what does our body language say to Him?

Below I have listed some observations I have made in my relationship with my husband that I believe should be reflected in my relationship with Jesus relating to prayer.

1. I don't force myself to speak to my husband. I like to be in his presence, hold his hand, kiss him and talk occasionally. He knows I am not withholding anything from him. He understands my personality. We often communicate without words.
I can easily convince him of my love for him in non-verbal ways. If non- verbal communication is weighted at 55 percent, than my actions MUST back up my words (7%) or I would quickly contradict myself!
Sometimes conversation seems disruptive and intrusive. 
 If he talked at me every time we were together, I would be irritated.  I do not enjoy being around someone that is constantly talking. 
Jesus knows my heart (intimately). Must I always use words? The 55% body language theory should confirm the few (7%) words used. (Believe me, my husband knows when I don't wish to be in his presence even without verbal confirmation! )

I like to be in the presence of my Savior. I enjoy the beauty of this Good News called Grace and love to contemplate how it has changed my life. My heart often spills over in praise, song and gratitude.
'Let your living spill over into thanksgiving' Col 2:7 Msg
It is poured out upon others in conversation and attitude. It blesses the girl checking me out at the grocery store with a kind word or the barrista behind the coffee bar is blessed with a bigger tip. When I sense His presence and feel His Goodness, I feel a sense of overwhelming gratitude. I take a longer minute to care about those serving me. It appears in how I treat a stranger.... or how I treat my husband when no one is looking.

God is within me. I need only acknowledge Him there and I am in His presence. I do not have to remind Him that I am there. He is always aware of it. I believe my body language conveys my love for him in ways my words cannot.

2. When I ask my husband for something, I don't keep asking. That would be nagging. I simply trust that he will provide. Wouldn't he find it irritating if I asked over and over and over again for the same thing? He would probably suggest I see a doctor! If I wouldn't nag my husband why would I nag Jesus?

Here is where many of you will disagree -

Matthew 7:7 (AMP) 7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
However, this asking, seeking, knocking is in reference to Kingdom thinking and a greater revelation of Jesus which will result in the manifestation of provision!
3. I do not ask my husband for things that already belong to us. Watchman Nee says it beautifully, 'Oh the folly of trying to enter a room we're already in.' Since Jesus already secured every spiritual blessing for me at the Cross, why would I ask for something that already belonged to me? In my impatience, I may remind him from time to time that I have yet to see it, but otherwise, I would show Him my love and appreciation for what he is doing to provide for me. My words and actions should say, 'thank you for doing that (at the Cross) so that I  could have this (provision) here and now.......'
Ephesians 1:3 (ASV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ'.

There is nothing less than complete and abundant provision of every good thing in the message of Grace.

4. I do not create an outline or rehearse for a speech before and when approaching him. Sometimes I come with an agenda, however, a majority of the time, I do not. So many people feel they must sound eloquent or articulate things perfectly. Do you hesitate that way in discussion with your husband/wife?

5. I do not speak from a list. I would not present a list of requests or praises to my husband. We should count our blessings. We should remind ourselves to pray for others. That is not to say we shouldn't have prayer request lists.  
Philippians 4:6 (ASV) 6 let your requests be made known unto God.

Here we are told to make them known, however would you ever approach someone you care about with a list of wants? Not unless it was Santa Claus. The more mature we become in Grace, the less self centered we are and the list becomes shorter as we walk in the provision (the revelation of the finished work of Jesus Christ, where everything has been provided). This isn't to say we don't have needs.  But rather than present them in list format, make them known as they appear in a conversational approach. 
Philippians 4:6 (ASV) In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. 
Rather than constantly seeking the same thing, move into an attitude of appreciation and honor (thanksgiving) for Who He is to us and what He is doing on our behalf and those we bring before Him. Ask once, then rest in His provision and thank Him for it. He is not deaf. He is not ignoring you. 
If my husband came with a list, I would begin avoiding him!

Sometimes there are several things that need attention but rather than nag, I would rather spend the rest of my life honoring him, blessing him, and caring for him. In doing that, I believe he would be motivated to get them done as he reciprocates in love. 
Remember, relationship is an ongoing dialog, NEVER a monologue.

I am convinced that prayer is much more relational than what was modeled for me. It has been turned into a 'work', rather than a natural, necessary and even enjoyable part of the relationship. I would HATE it if my husband spoke to me the way some of us have been taught to speak to the Father!

I live with a constant awareness of being married to my husband. I do not have to be reminded of it. I am secure in that relationship and do not fear punishment or abandonment when I do not speak to him verbally. I try to have a gracious attitude for all that he does and all that he is, thanking and appreciating him, telling him of my love for him, enjoying our relationship while modeling that for others.

I now look at my relationship with Jesus, in light of Grace, the same way.

I am frequently thanking Him and telling Him of my love for Him, but mostly I am simply enjoying the relationship and spreading that joy by telling others of His 'saweeet' character and what He did for me on the Cross......

There are times for corporate prayer and time should be set aside specifically for meditation and prayer, but what prayer looks like is not what we have been taught. I do not think our prayer time should be compartmentalized but rather it should be lived in a constant state of awareness of His presence within us and our marriage relationship with Him. It must be treated relationally with ongoing dialog, never monologue.

How does a branch abide in the vine?  Naturally with an ongoing flow of communication.  The life flows between the two without effort.  The Vine knows everything in the heart of the branch, after all, He created it..... Think of this in light of prayer and prayer without ceasing....
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ASV) 17 pray without ceasing;  
John 15:4 (ASV) 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.

Listen to yourself pray. Is there anyone else you would speak to the way we have been taught to speak with God?

Even the teachings on spiritual warfare I have been taught are nothing more than superstition and magic. They remind me of an Indian rain dance. I think the Indians were more correct in their theology in that they were petitioning God rather than exalting the enemy by giving him any attention.  The battle was won at the Cross......

'He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. Col 2:15 Msg

He stripped the devil and his cohorts of their power and authority, making a public spectacle of them. They were defeated and humiliated. Why would I jump around shouting at a defeated, humiliated foe? That indeed is in itself a public spectacle and it is no wonder we are often thought of as crazy! (Paul warned us of this.)

I don't see one instance where Jesus did that and if I tried to resolve conflict with my husband that way, he would have me committed..... which by the way, may be why some are calling it the 'institutional' church.

Relax and be who He created you to be. Let life flow between you and your Creator as you enjoy life together, as one, with or without words.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What About Your Old Man?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

THE NAKED GOSPEL - Andrew Farley

Please download this book for FREE by clicking here. You can also buy a copy for yourself by clicking here. It is a MUST read for every Christian! As Andrew puts it, it is "Jesus plus nothing. 100% natural. No additives.It's the truth you may never hear in church. The Naked Gospel is a chapter-by-chapter assault on the churchy jargon and double talk of our day. It puts forth a message that is simple but life-changing. With a fresh take on Scripture and unapologetic style, The Naked Gospel will challenge you to re-examine everything you thought you already knew."