Completion.

“Identity is birthed in a state of total dependency.”

The Identity that God bestows upon us is not tied to the things of this world, rather it is tethered to The One who dwells in Eternity. When we yield our life to Christ, it is an absolute privilege to be connected to The One who orchestrates events and circumstances in our lives in a manner that would require us to seek Him. Whoever seeks, finds; and there is nothing better than finding The God of the Universe tabernacling in our midst. Simply because when we do, we begin to find ourselves too.

God, in my experience, reveals Himself through Jesus in innumerable ways. When we first receive Him in our hearts, it is a response of love to Love. He reveals Himself as the Lover of our souls who died and rose again in order that we may have a life beyond our past and a hope for the future, a life more abundant here on Earth and life everlasting in Heaven. This is the heartbeat of Perfect Love, which once tasted of begins to manifest seeds on the inside of us that gives us the heart to believe again. We are encouraged by Love to believe for an exceeding, abundant life which is sure to blow all our paradigms of what life can look like. One of the most beautiful verses from The Bible is as follows,

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

I think it is imperative to note that The Word says, “according to the power that is at work within us.” I believe that The Lord says this because the degree to which we can enjoy a life abundant in the riches of Heaven depends on how much we have yielded to the work of The Holy Spirit who resides on the inside of us. The more we yield, the more it demonstrates our need for complete dependency on The Lord.

The Good News is that we can easily depend on Him for He is Faithful. As I write, I am reminded of yet another verse. Allow me to share it,

“He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38, AMP)

In His encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus revealed Himself as the living water, that whoever drinks of, will never thirst again. It follows that as we surrender ourselves to the working of The Holy Spirit, He will give us revelation upon revelation of The Father’s Character and Heart, exemplied by the Person and Presence of Jesus Christ. The more we start to know Him, the more revelation we will inevitably receive of who we are IN Him. As He is, so are we in this world.

I know that is a loaded statement because He surely is a lot of things. His Character is faithful, steadfast, unchanging, immovable, unwavering. His personality is revealed as The Savior of nations, The Father of Love, The Warrior King, The Prince of Peace, The Joy of the world, The Alpha and Omega. In and through a relationship with The Holy Spirit, we too get to become all these things. We too can remain steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of The Lord. We too can cultivate the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. We too can resolve to finish what we start. We too can learn to war and contend against circumstances until they yield to the Promises of God on our lives, as surely as we have yielded to the work of God in ours.

This, to me, represents the birthing place of our Identity in Christ. The more we are yoked to Him, the more we are able to step into who it is that God is calling us to be, here on Earth. The more that we are able to step into that God ordained Identity, the more we are able to shine as beacons of light in a world that is lost, hurting and broken. The Eternal Words of Our King come to remembrance,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

There is therefore, no need for us to hide or minimize ourselves. At the same time, it is vital to know that our place in Christ is both, royal and humble. We are seated in heavenly places in Christ in order that we may be humble enough to extend the same invitation to those that we are called to touch and transform. We are at The Right Hand of The Father in Heaven, and at His Feet here on Earth ; both at the same time. This posture, paradoxical as it is, is the heartbeat of our Identity in Christ.

It is an Identity that is birthed, cultivated, sustained and eventually brought to completion on the other side. The Word puts it like this,

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV)

On this side of Eternity, we depend on Him to reveal our Identity from glory to glory. On the other side, however, we will not need to depend on Him, for we will be found IN Him, and brought to completion. And this time, forevermore.

Amen.


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Nothing left to lose!

“On the other side of our pain is purpose, and passion paves the way.”

While googling the etymology of the word, “passion,” I learned that it points straight to the sufferings of Christ Jesus on The Cross. The image of the Invisible God wrapped Himself up in flesh, descended from Eternity and tabernacled with us. After three highly effective years in ministry, He took that Cross with a relentless passion, so that we may take ours too. There is nothing that He asks us to do which He hasn’t already modeled out for us. And that includes the crucifixion of the flesh.

So, when I use the term, “passion,” in this context, I’m referring to Jesus’s crucifixion. I’m thinking what could possibly give our Savior the zeal to do what He did for us, if not to leave an incontestable evidence of God’s Agape Love towards us. The Bible says He did it for the joy set before Him. Clearly, rewards are important but I believe passion remains the driving force.

Life is anything but a bed of roses. In sharp contrast, it actually is a battlefield between the forces that are for us and those that are not. Loss, grief, disappointment, betrayal, failure happen to all of us, leaving us a bit broken, a bit marred, a bit scarred. The passion of Christ however, assures us that even though things may happen to us, they do not get to define us. Only the Truth of God’s Word does, and His Word says that our brokenness in His Careful Hand produces a wholeness that can only point to His Highest Name. Our pain, when entrusted to The Only One who is wholly trustworthy, finds a purpose in ways that are uncanny, mysterious, glorious. It is a purpose that when discerned through Heaven’s perspective, fetches us an Eternal Glory. This is why The Bible says,

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Pain is temporary, but what we do with it can be Eternal. Pain can make us bitter or better. With God’s help, we can forgive, let go of things that are behind us and press on towards a purpose that is so saturated with love, grace, mercy, kindness and a sincere desire to help our brethren so much so that it makes the kingdom of darkness tremble. Things won’t always go our way, but when we realize that God can take our mess and make it into a message, our test into a testimony, and translate our pain into a purpose for His Glory, it truly changes the game.

Pain looks different for everyone. It can look like a teenage pregnancy, a background of abuse, a child gone astray, a marriage on the rocks, a vision that came plummeting down, a dysfunctional family and the list can go on. It can look like a struggle to make ends meet or take the form of generational curses that only the Power of God can break. It could be anything, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that with the help of God, we find the purpose behind our pain and go on an ardent quest to see it come to full manifestation, for our good and His Glory.

In my experience through life thus far, I can say that passion will bridge the gap. Passion that has been demonstrated by our King and points straight to the crucifixion of the flesh.

Why do I say this?

I say this because when we have endured all that life has hurled our way, there will be toxic waste and residue such as bitterness, anger, malice, unforgiveness, self pity, blame and shame. Such things have no place in our lives that have been bought with a price too heavy to even comprehend. Through the price that was paid, we have access to Heaven’s resources. All we have to do is simply activate that which has already been entrusted to us. We have The Holy Spirit to help us realize how God, in Christ, has forgiven us of our very many sins, that we may learn to forgive too. That perhaps is the most important thing in the life of a believer, and something we all struggle with.That is why it a part of the crucifixion of our flesh. The Word informs us that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. But I have realized that it is only when we make a decision between God and us to freely forgive that we permit God to create a healthy, life giving environment on the inside of us that can serve as an invigorating womb to birth all the dreams that God had in His mind for us, even before He laid the foundations of the Earth, even before the beginning of time. I like the way Christine Caine puts it,

“We are a product of Eternity, positioned in time, and given gifts and talents to serve our generation.”

However, in order to be in a position to serve, we simply must come to a point where we allow God to deal with the issues of our heart, to sanctify us, and to honestly confess to Him as Psalmist David did,

“create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Once we have confessed, committed to a cleansing process, allowed God to create within us something new, we will be in a position to answer our calling and manifest our purpose in the Earth. Passion, the crucifixion of our flesh, will embark us upon a journey of evolving into the highest and best version of ourselves. Hate will give way to love. Self pity will give way to self worth. Anger will give way to compassion. Shame will give way to freedom. Fear will give way to faith. Death will give way to life. As Jesus says,

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the Way to The Father’s Heart, and what He would have us become as a result of being transformed and conformed to the image of His Son, a process that can take us from the pit to the palace, creating within us a story that will point many in the same direction. That is our Purpose, friends.

Having said what I believe He revealed, it is my earnest exhortation that instead of despising our pain, we will learn to embrace it, release it and transform it into a Purpose so gigantic in its scope that there will be a day on Earth as it is in Heaven when we will look back and thank God that He allowed us to walk through what we thought would be the end only to find that it was, in fact, only a divine invitation into another new beginning, a fresh start, a grand adventure that sees our pain seamlessly morph into Purpose; while passion serves as the bridge between the two.

Simply because there is nothing left to lose, but everything to gain and everything to give.

Selah.

The Last Word

“Let Love have the last word, because love never has to have the last word.”

Agape Love is usually defined as the unconditional Love of God that comes with no strings attached. It finds us just the way we are, joyfully accepts us and gently molds us. We have all tasted of it and it has undoubtedly bought our hearts over. But to me personally, an expression of The Father’s Love is also the truth that He fights for us. He goes to war for us. He works behind the scenes all things together for our good and His Glory. He never quits. He never gives up. He is a Fighter.

As His chosen ones, we have the unique privilege of being vessels that get to carry and extend this love in our spheres of influence. Ours is a message of Love, Grace, Hope, Mercy and Eternity. We may share this message with the best of intentions, but may not always receive the desired response. In fact, in the beginning, we may just be met with sheer indifference or perhaps even rejection. However, will we let such responses that are subject to change whenever He so desires deter us from continuing to love?

The Bible says,

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I love the fact that love never fails. When we look up the fruits of The Holy Spirit, the first to be mentioned is love, and the kind of love that really reaches the hearts of our near and dear ones is the kind of love that simply loves without ANY agenda. It is the kind of love that meets people where they are and helps them at their point of need. It is the kind of love that fosters trust and creates an atmosphere of safety that inspires vulnerability from both sides. It is the kind of love that never forces its way into another’s life, rather presents itself as an open invitation to a greater encounter. It is the kind of love with which Jesus loves us.

Safe. Secure. Stable. Sound. Steadfast.

A natural expression of this love would be to share The Good News and point our people to the Truth which is able to set them free. But in our haste to get across, let us not lose ourselves. Let us simply accept we are only instruments in the Hands of God, who loves His People more than we can fathom. The Word says we were all formed and created for His Glory. He desires them and is well able to draw them close. As I write, I’m reminded of what the very well known worship leader, Steffany Gretzinger shared in one of her podcasts. Speaking of her anxiety to usher in the Presence of God in a room flooded with His flock, she heard Jesus’s gentle whisper calm her distraught soul,

“I’m so much better at being found than you are at introducing me.”

To carry out our mandate in the Earth, we will have to take to heart both, the simplicity and the profundity of this simple revelation from The Lord. Seekers will always find, and those who don’t, we will love nonetheless because, as I often say, love is not what we do. It is who we are.

In our interactions with our loved ones, let us make use of every opportunity to point to The One that has sent us in the first place. He is Immanuel – God WITH us. So, no matter what the outcome of our exchange looks like in the natural, we can trust that the supernatural is already at work. Jesus promises us,

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

It is not just us going in the strength of our human wisdom, but it is us going in the power of His Anointing that counts. As His Children, we are backed by Heaven’s resources, Heaven’s Protection and Heaven’s Favor. Our part is to love our people enough to point them to The Truth, and trust God to do what ONLY He can do. The Bible tells us that He is constantly at work. Hence, we can rest.

Rest in the assurance that as the hands and feet of The One who saved us, we can love our people enough to hear them out, give them their time and space, but continue to pray and believe for them, even when they can’t believe for themselves yet. Tracing back my own journey, Jesus never gave up on me. And He will never give up on you, nor on the ones you’re believing for. They are first, HIS and then ours. Let us always let that truth keep us sober.

I call you and me, “love” with a small L. Our love, at its best, is just that. But what gives us confidence is that Our Father honors whatever it is that we have and backs it up. He sees you and me make strides for His Glory, and He is well pleased. He sees how we reach out to point the prodigals back Home, and He goes to war. I write this because in our various interactions with the people God has brought into our lives, there will be plenty of opportunity to argue, debate or contest. But friends, our world is not a courtroom, but a giant neighborhood full of people that are delightfully different and will inevitably test our patience, needless to say, our love. If we truly trust the nature and character, the power and might, the splendor and majesty, and to put it in a word, the “invincibility” of Our King, we would not be shaken. We would be content in doing our part, and letting Him know that we trust Him enough to let go of that which is beyond us but well within The Father’s Sovereign Reign. We do not have to let our delicate love handle that which only a revelation of His Gigantic Love can do. We get to participate for sure, but that is also where we learn to let go and let God.

A thought which brings me back to what I first began with,

“Let Love have the last word, because love never has to have the last word,”

Selah.