Good News

The below words aren’t mine. I listened to an online prayer meeting last night and heard the message I could listen to everyday for the rest of my life. I have heard this all over the world and spoken it to others myself. I get absolutely emotionally lost in this good news. My spirit becomes so satisfied and rich with the presence of God basking in this truth. I couldn’t help but go back to the recording, transcribe it, and share it here. May it bless you.May it touch you. May you feel God’s spirit, his presence, his life in the room with you as you read this.

In last January and February I did a deep dive into Romans.

I want to meditate together on what’s been purchased for us, on what Christ has done in us. How many of us ever look at yourself, or you make a mistake, you do something stupid, and you feel bad. Right thinking produces right living. Often times in religious cultures we try to do right living first  before right thinking, right believing. But repentance is to change the way we think. It means to go up to the next place. And so let’s just meditate.  I’m not going to preach at you.

Romans Chapter 4,5,6,7 and 8. I’m convinced you can’t actually know your identity in Christ outside of these passages. When I begin to read these, Romans 4 really shows how faith works. 

Abraham is the father of faith.  He believed God before he had the sign of circumcision. Before you feel the breakthrough, before your family is saved, before your healing is manifest. Before you feel saved, before your prayer language. Before he saw all those things, he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. That’s how faith works and he’s the Father of faith.

Romans Chapter 5 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Peace of mind starts with God. Peace of mind starts with Faith in Christ.

Faith in what he’s done.  And you can’t add to the blood of Jesus.

How many of you have felt the unrest and the anxiety and the fear of America and all that’s going on in the world.  How many of you guys have felt that? I have to continually go to the heavenly places, Ephesians 2.  I’m present with Christ in the heavenly places and just dwell above the storm.

We’ve been justified by faith. Just as if we’d never sinned. Thank you Jesus for Peace.  Jesus thank you for peace. Somethings you have to cast out. Other things you crowd out. We’re going to crowd out anxiety right now. Holy Spirit come. Peace rush in like a river. If you have been battling anxiety and fear, lift up your hand. We just release the peace of God over you right now.

We have access by faith into this grace by which we now stand. We stand. We’re standing and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Thank you Lord. Peace is not the absence of chaos, its the presence of a person. Thank you for your peace Lord.  Come Holy Spirit, thank you Lord.

You know it says in Romans 5:17, If by the one man’s offense, death reigned through the one man, much more those receive the abundance of grace, ABUNDANCE of grace and GIFT of righteousness. How much grace do you need? It’s never going to run out. No, you don’t understand Tom, I’ve had a tough week, tough day. I know me too but its an abundance tho that is never going to run out. It’s a gift of righteousness that we reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.  How do we reign in life? Through receiving the abundance of grace, the gift of righteousness. Put your hand on your heart and say, “Thank you God that you have made me righteous. I am righteous in your sight. Thank you Lord.

How many of you need grace today? God is my source of everything. I have nothing without him.  How much do I need? An abundance of grace. Romans 5:20 says where sin abounded, grace abounded much more. Grace abounded much more. I feel like some of you guys we’ve been listening to accusation. We’ve allowed the enemy to make ourselves the worst enemy and we’re accusing ourselves. How many people need to let that go right now? Yes, let that go right now.

Speak to yourself, “Heather, time to receive some grace. Time to give yourself some grace. Time to give yourself some grace. God has more than enough grace for us but sometimes we’re the hardest on ourselves, right? Say this over yourself, “Say Heather, You’re not the judge. You’re not God. Jesus Christ is Lord. 

Chapter 6 So What are we going to say, that continue in sin so grace may abound? Certainly not! How should we who died to sin live in it any longer? Don’t you know that those of you who were baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? There we were buried with him through baptism into his death, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life. If we have been UNITED together in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall be in the likeness of his resurrection.  We have been made one with Christ. He is Lord. We’re made ONE with Christ. We are united, co-crucified, co-buried and co-raised in Jesus. 

Oftentimes we get a religious mindset and we say I am going to go and I’m gonna pray to God, and that’s okay, but more than that God wants us to commune with him, commune together. The blending of two pitchers of water. They no longer cease to be separate entities, they become one. Impossible to separate. This is a perfect picture of our relationship with God, because we have become one with him. One with Christ. Isn’t that a good word? You are one with the superpower. You’re one with somebody who is gracious and kind, he is constantly true, it’s who he is. 

Put your hand on your heart, we’re going to receive this. This is an encounter time, say “I’ve been united with Christ through his death, burial, and resurrection. I am crucified with Christ. The old me is dead. DEAD DEAD. Dead dead dead. Dead to offense, dead to lust, dead to lying. Dead to everything else that ’s not Jesus, so I let it go.  Thank you for the blood of Jesus. That we’ve been made one with you Lord. One with you Lord. Knowing that our old man was crucified that our body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

We died to the husband of sin as the authority over our lives. I died to my overshadowing husband of sin over my life and my perspective of my life, and now the wife has been set free to marry another. And this other that she just married wasn’t another man but the spirit of God, Christ. So she has been united with Christ. There is a marriage union that has happened. There has been a death, I have died to the law, I am no longer married to that, instead I am united in one spirit with Christ. I am one, united with him. Forever.

And the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives inside of me.  This is why God has taken away our ability to enjoy sin. Which is why sometimes stuff starts kicking up and can come to God and there is a fountain that has sprung up, it’s never going to dry out.  That’s a fountain called the blood of Jesus. There is ONE hope for a life burdened down with guilt and shame and that’s the blood of Jesus that the cross of Christ has purchased.  Can I say it’s not your enneagram number? It’s not your personality profile, its the blood of Jesus, one blood. Amen. Makes us new.

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death, for what the law was powerless to do, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh that we might be united with Christ.

This is the gospel.  There is only way to the father, one way to hope and that’s through faith in Jesus, that’s through trusting in him and what he’s done in our lives. We have been set free from the spirit of this air.

An untrained, unschooled, unqualified woman meets the son of God, goes home and becomes the first missionary evangelist the world has ever seen, possessed with conviction of the Son of God she has seen face to face.  When you see the Lord as who he is, you don’t have to have all the qualifications, you’ve seen something and you’ve come alive.

Quit managing an image for everybody else to think that your something and step into freedom! Do not let pride keep you from getting right with God. I’m going to lose my life to get right with him, washed clean in the blood of Jesus.  You’re going to get free tonight and leave here so full of HOPE.

Thank him for righteousness, peace, and joy in his holy spirit, the free gift of righteousness. I feel like there’s about to be a blast of supernatural risk. The currency of faith of heaven touching earth. Taking risk, going for it, its messy sometimes, terrifying, ABIDE IN HIS GRACE, ONE WITH CHRIST.  When I realize I’m united with Christ, that puts me on a foundation, to look at all the thoughts that come across my screen and to sift those things that are not him, and drink the things that are him. When condemnation comes across my screen, keep going, when accusation comes across my screen, nope that’s not it, keep going, and I just worship. Just stay seated with Christ in heavenly places.

Jesus thank you that we are united with Christ, one with you, we worship you God. Come holy spirit, fill us up. For the rest of this meeting I want us to come with authority.  John 1:12 says as many as who have received him he has given the right to be called sons of God, a badge to cop, its the authority to come as sons and daughters, with risk and faith, we are going to pull down heaven, peace, salvation. We have the authority of heaven as ambassadors in Christ to declare things that are not as though they were and see heaven come!”

Tom Crandall, Bethel Church Sunday Night Prayer Meeting, June 13, 2021

WATCH HERE

Judgement

I have been thinking about writing this one for a week or so but haven’t been getting around to it.  It’s not a topic I feel qualified to write about but I want to share my journey in relation to the topic.

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Judgement Day

At one time in my life when I was steeped very much within an extremely religious culture there were a lot of very good things and a lot of bad things that were unnecessary.  Judgement was one of these topics.  ‘God is your judge.’ ‘You will be judged.’ ‘He will judge the thoughts and intents of your heart well beyond your outward physical actions.’ ‘Your place in heaven for all eternity will be based off your ability to obey (successful religious performance, absence from things that appear ‘worldly’). ‘You (and most people) will experience the weeping and gnashing of your teeth because of all you have wasted in this life by not living 100% obeying holy spirit all the time.’ ‘If you relax, you are being lazy spiritually and will be pruned like a dead branch only good for burning.’ ‘Why aren’t you healing people miraculously.  Jesus died to give us that.  You should be. You’re not living up to your calling.  You will regret that in eternity. God would show how much your close to him by signs and wonders.  If you aren’t seeing that, you’re failing.’

I got a little off topic toward the end of this list, veering into believers of God walking in the ability to perform miracles but for me, it all stems back down to the point where you will stand face to face with God and what we believe this interaction and accountability will be like for our lives.  There was a point where I carried great fear of this pending day.  It was a real fear and it stifled joy.  There are some who believe this is wisdom and good for living.  That it is appropriate and should be taught.  For them, they believe that the cause for fear is real.

I still had images of passing through fire, where everything that isn’t eternal gets burned up, and there unfortunately, because I know me, very little, if anything, remains.  And of course, because I know me, I would get stuck on some distant dark shore of heaven only being able to see the light of Jesus on the horizon.  Finally taking the place I deserve, I made it in, but barely.  For eternity.

It’s so sad.  I think many religious people carry thoughts like this around in the back of their heads but wouldn’t necessarily articulate them or even recognize them as they pass through their mind.  I think this one sole issue of our imagination of God’s judgement of us sometimes is the single motivator towards religious works.  Fear keeps the hamster wheel spinning.

What Can Save Us from God?

Wheeeww.  It’s getting pretty heavy in here, even as I write this!  I really do believe the news of heaven is good news, not bad news that should be good news if we get this life right.  I really do think that the things that make our heart leap and dance and get excited are whispers of the heaven that is home inside us.  God really is nicer than the nicest person you’ve ever met, and kinder than the kindest.  He is gentler than the gentlest, and more understanding than the person that’s understood you most.  Humans across the board only stand on one ground, the ground of forgiveness, there are no religious superstars that skipped that step on the way to their ‘best-buds’ seat in heaven.  God sees us all as his children.  He dreamed of each one of us.  He created us.  He knew us before we were even born.  Maybe we knew each other then too, 😉

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Fortunately God intervened and delivered me from lies about himself that I had interpreted from either scriptures or teachers, whether the intent to cause this reaction within me was there or not.

The Truth

God brought me back to relationship.  I had a relationship with him at the time.  I interacted with him in my heart and he with me as I lived my life.  He brought up the scenario in my head.  “Am I kind to you today and you think that one day many days from now, after you pass from this world, my character is going to change in my relationship to you and I’m going to point out all your flaws, weakness, mistakes, and failures.  And not only that, but you imagine that on that future day I will finally release this anger I have been holding towards you, because I finally am completely honest with you?  What kind of friendship is that?  Don’t the humans around you love you better than that?  Do they love you better than I do?  Then I will?

Now I believe God is so good I can’t wrap my brain around it.  Do you understand that goodness is most displayed in God’s seat of judgement?!?  When God is justified in punishment–there’s the word–punishment.  God The Punisher, the devil’s favorite lie.  Yes, God the father in heaven is waiting to… punish you?  Was Jesus waiting on the cross just hoping for the day he could punish the very people who were unjustly murdering him in torment?  What was his judgement of them?  Forgiveness.  Where can we escape God’s presence?  Not even in the depths of hades.  Love will be there.  In God’s role as judge he cannot turn off being the essence of love.  And I don’t mean a perverted form of love where he delights in seeing someone being tortured.  Even on earth no one would say that type of person is full of anything but the devil.

In some ways I see Jesus bearing ALL our sin, receiving ALL our punishment, taking ALL of the curse upon himself, undoing ALL that Adam did in the garden, as God’s introduction handshake with humanity.  Hello, this is who I am, this is what I possess within me to redeem your choices, this is how I feel about you, this is my character, this is my nature.  Hello, it’s okay, I made you and I’m here.  I’m not leaving, I’m not going anywhere.  Nothing separates us, you don’t have to hide here.  I love you.

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God Saved Us From Everything But His Judgement

Some people get really touching when you threaten their beliefs about judgement.  As if in the absence of the threat of future suffering, our new hearts and minds in Christ will grow depraved and corrupt.  This is not true my friends.  Welcome to the taste of true freedom outside fences of fear that have kept some from feeling the full effects of salvation.  Fear is sad when you see people hold onto it, as if it originated within love.

I could go on and on I feel but I will start to close here because who reads blogs that are even this long anyway??  I will leave you with this.  Love expressed itself in forgiveness.  Forgiveness really means forgiveness!  In true forgiveness, your old stuff isn’t brought up anymore.  ever.  It’s not held against you.  You don’t have a tallying punch card.  It’s not shoved in your face.  It’s not used as a tool for power or shaming you.  It’s forgotten.  Like it never happened.  Like you can really let it go.  Like you can learn from your experiences without holding on to ANY of the negative effects of sin on your relationship with God or your relationship with yourself.  Have faith in your forgiven-ness.  Experience the miracle of no longer punishing yourself or fearing future punishment from God.  God’s goodness is not bound by time or space, or the confines of your poor choices.  Your troubles are not to hard for him to love you through.  Poor choices ARE NOT FUN TO LIVE THROUGH.

The preaching of threats and fear may have intended to produce sinless living, in attempt to help out God in the advancement of his kingdom, but one thing it never produced was a greater love for his character, his person, his nature.  Is obedience based on threats true relationship?  He is altogether trustworthy with all of you.  All of your emotions, your thoughts, your relationships, in all of your past, all of your present, and especially–ALL of your future, including any day called “judgement day”.  I don’t think God was joking when he said ‘nothing can separate you from My love’–as if the only exception here is his own judgement of you?!

Experiencing Our Choices

Leaving you with my concluding topic, one thing I do expect to experience in heaven is the full comprehension of how my life affected those around me.  This includes my lack of care and consideration for others.  I don’t carry this as a weight or fear but just as a reality I will understand in the future.  I will understand how my judgment of others felt, how my negative words affected them, how my choice of myself over them felt, etc.  You get the idea.

previewThis reality is judgement enough.  Other people’s experiences are real and are valuable.  I will understand how my life affected the people I love around me and even the people I love less for some reason.  This truth motivates me to live with an awareness to let God live through me; he cares, he gives, he understands, he is patient.  It reminds me what’s important about being alive.  My choices matter.  Sometimes if there is something being said about someone else in a negative way, I can feel that person’s presence when they will hear what’s been said about them in future.  Like everything we say about others will one day be heard by them.

I can trust that even this future process of understanding and knowing more, is for my good!  I actually think living in community where communication is regular and intentional helps us grow in a similar way here on earth because we are forced to confront and experience the consequences of our own words and actions on a daily basis which naturally fosters the growth of our ability to love others and ourselves when done in an open, honest, and safe environment.

I esteem the life of God in others and to the best of my ability at the time, seek to enjoy their company and share in our freedom together.  When freedom is celebrated, it displays the love that lives inside of us.  When lies of our own false judgements of others takes root within us, love remains unexpressed, hidden in darkness.  Getting to love others is a delight and an opportunity, and is neither a burden nor a scorecard.  God is not burdened by his relationship with you.  There is Grace like an unending ocean in this classroom of life as we learn to grow in love.  (Which is not growing in my ability to hold grudges and punishing people for not obeying me and tormenting them.  Which is what we imagine God does in his relationship with them or us–one day.)

We will get to see God apart from the lies about him we hold in our hearts, and we will get to see one another apart from the lies we believe about each other.  AWESOME!

One more thought.  Some people think that the God I’m painting with words here is weak. What about the God of Anger, Wrath, Power, and Full Control?  A man who talks with his child instead of just using his fists is stronger.  A man who doesn’t lose his temper with his wife is stronger.  A man who forgives over holding grudges is stronger.  The greatest strength is displayed in Mercy.

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An ancient golden crown found in Afghanistan

A God that teaches us to love our enemies, really love them, is not pushing us to do something beyond his own capacity to love as he sits there and judges and wants to punish his enemies.  It’s not just a ministry strategy.  It really is what he’s like.  Those who do the same are like his family because he really does love his enemies!  He loves them.

Now I really am stopping there!  I haven’t solicited invitations for comments before but am tempted to do so now.  Share with me what your thoughts are below!

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love

 

 

New Writing Series: Kingdom Concepts

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Hey Everyone!  I will be writing a new series of posts called:

Kingdom Concepts:   Attributes of an Unseen Kingdom

Every so often I’ll be adding another piece articulating some of God’s kingdom as it’s found all around us here on earth.

hand_drawn_arrowYou can access these new pieces via the KINDGOM CONCEPTS tab to the upper right or on the side bar at the top left.

Love         (<— Check this one out!)
Character           (<— And this one!)
Covenant            (<— And this one!)
Family                  (<— And my latest)
Freedom        (<— Just added this!)
Santa                (<— Just put this up!)

Happy reading and Merry Christmas!