Tag Archive | grace

Wicked Ways Or The Way Everlasting?

Psalm 139:23,24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

There are ways and then there are ways. Then there is The Way. Some examples of the Way of Righteousness may be considered through the careful contemplation of, for example, Proverbs 12:28, Psalm 23:3, 1 Corinthians 1:30, and John 14:6. These should be explored by readers who are inwardly compelled enough to do so, and to connect the dots between them and what is shared here.

The Way of Righteousness – brought from Christ to us by the Holy Spirit – is the everlasting way of life. It is the way where there is no death, the way of our soul’s restoration. This is how it is connected to the “abundant life” which, Jesus Christ tells us, is the reason He took on human flesh and dwelt among us. This is the Way whereby He calls us from servitude to the evil one who would rob, kill, and destroy every good that our loving Heavenly Father has in mind for us.

Thus the psalmist wisely prays that God will examine him – search him, know his heart, try him, and know his thoughts. He is asking the Great Physician for an in depth spiritual examination for the detection of wicked ways. These are the hidden ways, lurking in the bushes of our interior landscape that, when undetected can lure us off the Way of Righteousness onto paths which at best are dead ends and at worst lead to eternal separation from God and to destruction. Without careful lives of “walking circumspectly” and perpetually prayerfully asking, seeking, and knocking for the Holy Spirit to ferret out these wicked ways, any disciple of Christ runs the risk of wandering off onto these paths leading to destruction.

On this Memorial Day we wonder how things have gotten to this point in this topsy turvy sin infested world, especially in our presumed “Christian” USA. We find ourselves in a world where good – according to God’s Word – is called evil by the darkness which has gained ascendency over not only the world but all too many churches. Therefore it is imperative to take a good hard look at these two little verses at the end of Psalm 139.

Many today join in the mantra “Pray for America”. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often the go to verse for this. Certainly this is needed. However, let us remind ourselves that God’s directive includes three others in addition to prayer: to humble ourselves, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways.

Yet since the “sin within” – the wicked ways the Psalmist prays about here – is often hidden and subtle, undetectable by human sensitivity, does it not stand to reason that we will need some divine help to identify it? Only then can we confess what we could not perceive with our own senses, which the Holy Spirit reveals, so that it may be repented of, renounced, and removed by the power of the Holy Spirit? How can He show us where repentance is needed, unless we take a page out of the psalmist’s book and very honestly ask Him to show us “if there be any wicked way in me”? Psalm 19:12 – “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” There it is again!

It is puzzling, especially on these military holidays, how the majority buy into the narrative that the fallen have “died to keep us free.” Yet all the while our moral fabric is in tatters, our Constitution is largely ignored as the law of the land, and the freedoms we have taken for granted dry up and dissolve right before our very eyes! The creeping, gnawing, devouring locusts are not only at our borders, but have more than crossed them. They infest every system we supposedly rely on (such as government, education, corporations, and the like). Sadly this includes especially the churches which are supposed to be the very body of Christ on the earth, the city set on a hill! Intruder alert! Our freedoms have become an illusion, as well as the humanistic means (war and bloodshed) we have been told will “secure” them!

God has His answers, however, but are we asking for them, seeking them, knocking to be let into that place where He reveals them, as if our life depends on it? Or are we sending up the prayers of personal will worship? This goes far, far deeper than a one time “asking Jesus into your heart”, but then going your merry way, not living in fusion with the Cross nor infused with its precious work!

Where’s the outcry for the Holy Spirit to “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Might we be assuming that we have a standing with Him that we do not actually possess? Does not Scripture admonish us to “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5. (Ouch!) And this examination needs to be in the light of God’s Holy Word and the relentless searchlight of the Holy Spirit! No “blessed assumptions”, things taken for granted, about ourselves! May it never be! Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord!

God’s grace is not bestowed so we can take it for granted as a one shot deal. The process of destroying the works of the devil is ongoing, and it begins with His searchlight in the innermost being! If we are to walk the Way Everlasting, then the little “come hithers” – most often within our impure hearts and the gods of our belly – that draw us onto the ways of wickedness must be rooted out by divine intervention.

Thus Paul’s admonition in Galatians 5:1. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” It was on that cross that the Way Everlasting was opened to us, and we were set free from sin, death, and the power of the evil one.

Without this we can never be truly free, without prayerfully “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. Nothing changes until the very core of the heart of man is daily surrendered to Christ and to His cross.

Dr. Martin Luther says concerning the practical outworking of our baptism (Small Catechism, under The Sacrament of Holy Baptism), “It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

Let us pray to be so inspired, enlightened, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Dwelling in His Infinite Love

While contemplating the following passage earlier today, I came to the conclusion that “worldly security” is an oxymoron

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http://www.at-the-crossroad.com/430065897/4262271/posting/dwelling-in-his-infinite-love

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Infinite Love.png

Grace Alone!

If by our own self efforts or religious works we think we can “produce” the fruit of the Spirit, it’s essentially counterfeit fruit, a crop failure, so to speak. It may amount to, at best, no more than humanistic philanthropic effort.

This is also the “righteousness” which the Bible calls filthy rags. Works of the flesh.

Yet “… we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Cor 4:7. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us in the fulness of Christ.

Sometimes I think it takes awhile for a disciple to understand the whole idea of what Grace implies – often because Grace is not presented in its completeness in many churches, but as the way to “get saved”, that initial experience.

But then what?

Are we not the temples not made with hands in which God the Holy Spirit takes up His residence and does His work – moving on from the moment of being saved, then through sanctification, on to glorification? And it’s all by grace.

As Paul says Romans 1, “That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Seems like words at times are never enough. But it is a good idea to be able to articulate the meanings of the Faith.

“…the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish…” interesting way to put it, via Berean Study Bible.

Or, as in KJV, “from faith to faith.”

Walking With Jesus: Not A Fast Food Experience

Sometimes I think it’s important that we remind ourselves that our walk with the Lord is most often in small steps of progress, a bit of stumbling, a whole lot of getting up again with a view to walking in His Grace, and that He is always in control, full of unquenchable love, and ready to forgive and restore!

Each of our stories is therefore going to be a little bit different than the next as we relate to Jesus. We need to surrender our will to Him – what is already reckoned as so – as we were crucified, raised up, and seated with Him in heavenly places.

It’s not like a quick trip to the fast food drive through, or even necessarily instantaneous spiritual gratification – on tap and having it our way. Otherwise we run the risk of always comparing ourselves to someone else, judging ourself, or our brother or sister in Christ as either “being there” or not “being there” (as in he or she seems so complete, but I’m not).

It’s important to remember that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Yes! His workmanship. So what we need to do is “show up for work” daily, continually receiving it!

And so we affirm with Paul, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12) Now there’s a mouthful of manna to chew on, swallow, and digest!

No small order here! So with the apostle we too might want to pray, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ehesians 3:14-19)

May this be our understanding and experience through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Struggle Or Surrender?

Often we hear Christians echoing the idea that we are “struggling” with sin. Could it be that this is because we may be struggling in the flesh, rather than by faith surrendering to and proclaiming to our inner being the truth of the grace of the Holy Spirit’s intervention, as He applies the finished work of Jesus to our inner being?

However, the weapons of our spiritual warfare are, after all, not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds! (See 2 Corinthians 10:4) It is the “sin within” that God Himself deals with – the axe is laid to the root from which “sins” spring forth. This we must eventually understand. Sometimes it takes awhile to get this straightened around in our spiritual comprehension – it’s not about us. It’s about Him. And even this opening of our eyes comes by Grace!

“…Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” (Exodus 14:13) We either see our Salvation, or we continue to struggle. Pause and consider the spiritual meaning here for a moment.

It’s helpful to continue to re–affirm what already IS won in and by Christ Jesus until it becomes an in-the-present reality. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:1) Self is dead. A new creation (that’s you, that’s me!) is alive unto God. Where’s the struggle? Self cannot overcome self. Self is dead! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!! Confirm. Affirm. Abide. Live in what is.

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

I think St. John reveals it to us as a NOW matter, the victory already in place: “NOW is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:10,11)

Focus in on that second part – the accuser is overcome with the word of our testimony concerning what already is in Christ Jesus. The struggle is over once the flesh has been surrendered to divine authority and truth, to what has already been done. We overcome by faith, not by flesh. We overcome by surrender to what is, not in struggle with what is not.

Truly, it is finished!

All glory to Christ Jesus in Whom all has been accomplished, in Whom we live, move, and have our being. Amen.

Water Rights

Water rights versus privatization? Nothing new under the sun. Maybe what’s “under the sun” reflects our spiritual reality – experientially cut off from the well of our innermost being by private interests who tell us we cannot, that we must go through them for ablutions and solutions. But why? Whose doing would this be? Lets’ explore this a bit, and see if we can find a way back to our “water source” belonging to the children of God.

Jesus, speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well: “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life… But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:14, 23, 24)

Jesus, speaking to “the Jews”: “Ye shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come… In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that (*see below) believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:34,37-39)

David’s affirmation concerning his personal experience with God: “…He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul…” (Psalm 23:2b,3a)

What was Jesus “standing for” and “crying out” about here among “the Jews” – the religious identifying themselves as God’s chosen, and what was He saying, when He told them, “where I am, thither ye cannot come”? I would submit that He was pointing to a personal and direct inner experience with God, for their relationship with God was a distant one, relying on the middlemen of priesthood and priestcraft. Jesus however taught and exemplified the direct path to the Lord through an interior Way (for all – in these cases both Samaritans and Jews!) instead of approaching God through obedience to ritual formulations, traditions, and dogmatic belief systems. He was identifying that inner well – the“spiritual water rights” of every human soul without exception! Therefore, since their reliance was on outer forms, and His Way points to the interior path, “where He was going” they could not come!

These outer ways in fact were and still are more like the stones and dirt clogging up the well of Grace that springs up from within. So the question is, how do we access this river of living water within?

The simplest way of clearing the stones and dirt is that of “meditation”. This means simply sitting intentionally in the Stillness and Silence – showing up intentionally for the work of Grace, which itself clears away the rubbish since it it from the omnipotent Source. Jesus is identifying Himself with this all powerful inner well.

Meditation is the way to a clear head, not an empty head. The above simple practice is a great place to begin. Some find it helpful to write, to journal the conversation or insights between the soul and the Supernal One in whom we live, move, and have our being. It is here that one dares to think “original thoughts” and receive needed input and direction – not governed by religion, politics, emotional reactions, fear, anxiety, TV, talking heads, the news, pop culture, books (as informative as those may be), or the opinions of others.

Meditation is the place for the inner being to go skinny dipping spiritually. There are no costumes, pretenses, or props here – just you and the Deep Blue, the soul and God functionally one. David sang, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1,2) Perhaps we yearn, but have become so parched for lack of imbibing Him that we don’t even notice the yearning!

Oh, that we would come to Him continually asking, as the woman at the well! “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?’ “ (John 4:10,11)

The Living Water proceeds from the throne of God, the Fountainhead of all that is. (Revelation 22:1 – “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”) Yet in the foregoing verses, Jesus connects that with the idea that there is a tributary within our innermost being, where the River of Life bubbles up inside us! This is where we need to go to receive what is pure and clear. Here we become “new creations”.

When we practice daily contact (prayer, meditation, contemplation…) with our Heavenly Father, life imparting spiritual waters well up within us – bringing not only the flow of greater awareness, or consciousness of the Mind of Christ, but imparting the necessary Grace from God which alone can cleanse, heal, restore, and set us free. This is the Primal and Supernal Source of all creativity, illumination, inspiration, intuition, and imagination.

No one has to search far and wide for this, nor will it come from the “right” church or political affiliation or the right rituals or even beliefs. These sacred “water rights” belong to every human soul! The holy river in each and every one is accessible within the interior, the innermost being! Jesus shows us how: “ But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6). This simple approach can connect us immediately, intentionally, and consciously to the Supernal One in Whom we already live, move, and have our being!

Dogma (religion’s favorite pastime) and programs (politics’ favorite pastime) are some forms of group think used to supplant the water rights within us all, with their distractions and confused beliefs and misunderstandings based in the finite human mind. Hence the need to connect with the Infinite Mind of God (God is Love!) where the answers and the ideas we need already exist.

Few proclaim this simple message: Since you are the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is your right as a child of God to daily and continually access the needed Fountain of Grace by going within your innermost being to the interior Fountainhead! Here it is your right to commune with your Heavenly Father, to be made whole again, to imbibe the unlimited, life-transforming Waters of Grace, Wisdom, and Truth. Jesus Himself lived, exemplified, and taught this approach to the presence of Our Father, unlimited Source of all Being.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) See also Isaiah 55:1-3.

*”believeth on, or believeth in”: from the Greek εἰς (eis / ice) meaning “of one mind”.

If you’d like to explore spiritual water rights further, here are other references:

http://www.openbible.info/labs/cross-references/search?q=Revelation+22%3A1

http://www.openbible.info/labs/cross-references/search?q=Matthew+5%3A6

Originally published on my website:
http://www.yvonneblasycreativeinnovations.com/412370442/2434520/posting/water-rights

Shadow of Your Former Self

Yes, this expression has its usual meaning for sure, as when someone loses a lot of weight, or when someone is not feeling well, and it shows. Then we may remark that this person looks like a shadow of his or her former self.

However there are spiritual applications, as a play on words, which we can use relating to the “shadows” of what our past represents – the dark things, the hurts, being abandoned, negative events, the blame, the pain, and the drama. Shadows can also be represented by bodily injury and the “pain by which we gain” sympathy and support – long past the time when dependency would be better left behind, when perhaps wholeness has not been encouraged or embraced for whatever reasons – long after physical healing. The shadows of the former self can then become excuses why we “do” or we “don’t”.

Our shadows could be called “Cling-ons”, since they follow us wherever we go, and live to cause trouble and conflict. Shadows thrive on these things.They love the darkness.

Shadows can be “long” at the beginning of the day – in early life when we don’t, for whatever reason, pick up skill sets for making them disappear. Or in the final phases of life when we are aware that the sun is setting. At that time one may be too feeble, sick, lonely, or demented to make the shadows go away – if they have not learned how to do this earlier in life.

So, the question is, has the shadow of the former self been calling the shots for you? Has the old self in spirit and in truth been reckoned dead and buried in Christ Jesus through His cross and resurrection? Or has it been allowed to cling on like a ghost, long dead, haunting your life? Is it still taking its unlawful place as lord and master of the manner, as the former self which covertly forms your attitudes, beliefs, the way you see things, how you approach life, and your relationships with others? If so, it needs to go. It doesn’t belong here now – this usurper of the throne, this shadow of your former self which pretends to be your self former.

How can you give it the boot, that left foot of fellowship? It has no right to you, no business being the director and producer of the show, making a bad actor out of you!

That producer -director position belongs to Someone else, who wished to restore you to spiritual stardom, to your place in among the heavens. That Someone just happens to be “ the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning from Whom comes “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17).

The key fact to chasing away the shadows of your former self is this truth and realization: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is fact in the present!

This is the foundational truth to affirm and declare when the cold specter of the former shadow of yourself comes calling (who also likes to be the shadow former because misery loves company, but can only do so with your permission)!

Get out that word of truth, proclaim it, and live according to it. This gives that former shadow the boot! The fact is, it doesn’t even exist as a viable power in your life. It’s been crucified in Jesus’ cross and it needs to stay dead.

You have been raised up in Him as a new creation, “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6)

Shadow of the former self, begone! It just doesn’t get any better than this. We are new creations with a whole new view, created and created anew for grace and kindness. WOW!

In the Light of this precious truth there can be no shadow of your former self!

Originally posted here: http://www.yvonneblasycreativeinnovations.com/412370442/2272964/posting/shadow-of-your-former-self