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Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Separating Truth from Religious Behaviours and Rituals (Part One)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP)

Grace is a rest!

636Many sincere believers base their lives upon their own efforts to achieve faith and the results of faith. Rather than resting in and enjoying the freedom of Christ’s finished work on their behalf (i.e. who they have become in Christ, who He is to them, and their vast, grand, already established inheritance in Him), simply trusting in his detailed care, provision, and love (1 Peter 5:7), they spend their time striving to produce results and manufacture the promises in Scripture. However, God wants us to get to a place where our burdens are completely lifted, and where there is no pressure for our own efforts to ‘produce’ or ‘manifest’ anything. Believer, you have uncompromised freedom in Christ, and are well able to simply enjoy and embrace the unshakable, secure realities of being ‘in Christ’ – sharing in all that He is and has (Romans 8:17). Faith, grace, blessings, fruits – absolutely everything in the Christian faith – is a rest. Galatians 5:1 (KJV) states that as believers we can “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

If what you are experiencing or doing in your grace walk doesn’t actually – in essence – feel like grace, but rather something you have to maintain and sustain with your efforts – no matter how Christian those efforts feel – then that is because what you are experiencing and doing isn’t grace, but a response to a legalistic belief or teaching that has impacted your understanding and awareness. Empty religious teachings feel burdensome, wearying, and provide no deep-seated peace. However, Jesus desires that you be free from all burdens and cares, so that you may discover the ‘rest, renewal, and blessed quiet’ of soul that is given freely in Him. You see, the essence of grace is honey-sweetness, 637.jpggoodness, and delight (Psalm 119:103; Psalm 34:8; Psalm 94:19; Isaiah 58:14; Psalm 21:2; Psalm 37:4). When you are under grace, there is an effortless, uplifting, revitalizing sense of ease, rest, and well-being.

The fruits of grace are therefore rest, refreshing, ease, encouragement, comfort, uplifting, total well-being, joy, and security – the list goes on and on! Grace encourages us that we are in a total, perfect, fortifying union with the Godhead, well able to rest in their love and protection, tasting of their benefits and blessings freely (1 Corinthians 6:17). I love the way that The Message Bible translates Matthew 11:28-30:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

Believer, you were designed to live ‘freely and lightly’. The rhythms of grace are ‘unforced’, and certainly are not ‘heavy’ or ‘ill-fitting’! Religious bondage feels burdensome, heavy, ill-fitting, uncomfortable, and pressing. However, grace is a natural enjoyment of abundant life in Christ! (John 10:10). The focus of grace is Christ and His faithfulness, and not us and our works of faith. The essence of religious burdens is pressure and demand, but the essence of grace is overwhelming supply, because grace 638.jpgfocuses on Jesus and your already established reality of blessings in Him! Religion begins with self-sufficiency and lack, but grace begins with all-sufficient abundance in Christ and ushers in all the glories, beauties, and blessings of His finished work! Grace is the essence of success!

Therefore, if you feel you ‘have’ to do something to experience and enjoy manifest blessings, and that ‘something’ feels like an obligation or a demand, then it is a religious burden and not of grace. The reason it feels like hard (maybe even impossible) work is because of the resonance of Jesus’ freedom within your heart: you were created to live in the unforced rhythms of grace!

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Remaining Calm and Composed in Christ

Scripture declares that we are destined to reign in life through the abundance of grace and the freely given gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). The Greek word for ‘reign’ used in 43.jpgScripture means to ‘exercise the highest influence; exercise kingly authority’ over a situation. In other words, the revelation of our righteousness in Jesus and the grace we have been gifted with in Him will cause us to walk in royal authority and confidence, knowing that every situation and circumstance is destined to conform to God’s blessings. As you rest in the Gospel of grace and your inheritance in Christ, your situation is destined to come under your feet (Hebrews 10:12-14), you are destined to reign above it and remain on top of things (Deuteronomy 28:13), so that you will see all things working together for your own, personal good (Romans 8:28). God is so creative that he can completely transform any and every bad circumstance so that it ends up working for your favor.

Child of God, as you walk in a relational awareness of God’s grace and your righteousness in Him, not only are you destined to see complete restoration in your circumstances (Joel 2:25-26), you will also see what Romans 5:17 calls God’s ‘MUCH MORE’ restoration – restoration that is over and above what circumstance calls for, over and above what you expect or deserve, over and above what you have experienced before; even over and above what you could ask, think or imagine (Isaiah 61:7; Job 42:10; Ephesians 3:20). In fact, you are destined to experience such an overload of restorative, sweet, favor-filled blessings that Scripture declares that the shame, insecurities, and anxieties of the past will be completely forgotten (Ezekiel 39:26; Isaiah 54:4). It doesn’t matter what you’re going through, what you’ve been through, or how long you have been stuck there, God is willing and able to bless you in such magnitude (according to His grace and not according to your efforts, how much you deserve it, or whose ‘fault’ the situation was), so that those things will have NO effect on you anymore and no trauma, sorrow, regret, or pain attached to them. Instead, rejoicing will have swallowed up sorrow, and beauty will remain in place of 44.jpgashes (Isaiah 61:3). The promises of God are able to speak personally into each situation in your life. For every contradiction, concern, or trial, there is a promise of God found in Scripture and given to us freely in Christ, so that not only you, but your whole family, entire household and all of its appliances and rooms, can be furnished fully with the blessings, security and provision of Scripture (2 Corinthians 1:20; Psalm 122:7; Jeremiah 33:6; Deuteronomy 28:1-13).

Believe it or not, it gets even better than this. Scripture declares that as you continue to walk in the revelation of ‘the abundance of God’s grace’, and your ‘free gift of righteousness in Him’, you are going to grow in such an understanding of this that:

“He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee” – Job 5:19 (KJV)

In Scripture, the number seven always points towards completion and perfection. In other words, you can get to a place in your walk with Jesus where you have such a full and complete revelation of God’s grace, and your inheritance in Him, that your life will be smooth and trouble-free forever more, with not a hint of evil, trouble, or contradiction. As we are growing in our understandings and revelations, sometimes trials and contradictions come up against us. We can be confident that God is delivering us, and will deliver us every time, as Job 5:19 in Scripture says. However, God’s intent is for us is that we would always experience an evil-free, curse-free existence, abounding in blessings! You have been redeemed from EVERY curse, to EVERY blessing imaginable (Galatians 3:13-45.jpg14). This is because your righteousness in Christ is both a defensive weapon to protect you from harm, and an offensive weapon to cause curses and evil to flee.  2 Corinthians 6:7 (KJV) declares: “By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,”

Spiritually, the righteousness of God is the substance of light, and it fortifies us from darkness, the works of the enemy (see John 10:10), and all contradictions. Our righteousness in Christ is a powerful revelation: Psalm 37:8 (KJV) declares that God will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and Psalm 91:11 (KJV) says that those who know they are righteous sow light wherever they go. Let’s take a look at what Isaiah 58:8,11 says about God’s light as our protection:

“Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard…And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (KJV)

This verse declares that the revelation of our righteousness in Christ will go ahead of us into each circumstance, making the path smooth and ushering in God’s provision blessings! It will also completely cover our past, so that no matter what mistakes we have made, no darkness, punishment, guilt, condemnation, or fear can come upon us (see Romans 8:1). This is what a believer looks like when they know that they have the free gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace! They are completely free, and totally fortified in God’s unconditional, irrevocable blessings! (Galatians 5:1). This is why John 1:5 (AMP) comments that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot find or 46.jpgcomprehend it!

The glory and beauty of these grace-truths make us bold in the reality that we have the ability, power, and security to be calm in the midst of opposition, knowing that no harm shall come near us or our loved ones (Psalm 91:10), and that God’s favor surrounds us as a shield so that we can live a smooth life of uninterrupted blessings, health, peace, and security (Psalm 5:12). Luke 10:19 boldly declares: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (KJV) – Behold these truths, beloved! They are freely yours through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness!

 

 

 

 

Limitless Life Devotional

Victory, Authority, Abundance

Zechariah 9:11-12

“As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee;” (KJV)

Through Christ, God has provided the way out of a dry, dull, boring life, a life marked by the expectation of lack and suffering.  In fact, in Christ we have been given God’s very own life, including his own emotional wealth and natural prosperity! We have been plugged into the victory and authority of the resurrected Christ, who conquered every one of earth’s trials and distresses, and seated us above all natural principalities and powers (Ephesians 1:18-22). Scripture is even so bold as to declare that you have been given all authority in Christ, so that ‘nothing shall by any means hurt you’ (Luke 10:19 KJV). This means that our lives are no longer marked by pain, inferiority, or struggle – instead, we are inheritors of vast blessings in our finances and natural circumstances to such an extent that we will be able to lend to nations without borrowing from anyone! (Deuteronomy 28:12). It is the goodness of God that transforms us from an insecure need to rely on self and others, to being fully reclined in the sweet paradise of His bliss-filled goodness, seated in the victories and culture of heaven in the here and now!

Some people think that we need to strive, serve, or earn our way into the God-quality of life. Others believe that we must imagine it into existence. However, Scripture is clear that there is one way and one way only to experience the abundant, victorious life – a life so rich in quality that it eradicates any consciousness of lack – and that is simply through hearing and enjoying the grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ! As we look to Jesus, his love effortlessly begins to switch us from self-consciousness, to a consciousness convinced of the all-sufficiency of Christ. As we enjoy the revelation of Jesus Christ for us, in us, and as us, living waters flow up from within us and water our whole lives with the power-filled blessings of the Gospel! (John 7:38). Faith for the God-quality of life, which includes natural as well as spiritual blessings, is not something we have to muster up. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (KJV). In other words, faith is co-knowing with God what God knows to be true of us in our union with Christ, which is why Colossians 2:17 states clearly that ‘the substance belongs to Christ’ (NASB). Christ’s victory ushers the substance of heaven into our lives! (by the way, enjoying the Gospel is not a work either, but an effortless by-product of seeing the grace of Jesus Christ and his goodness towards us!)

Just like holiness and sanctification, we manifest the entirety of our authority, victory, and prosperity through Christ and Christ alone. This is why Ephesians 1:7 exclaims that the grace of God is given to us with wisdom ‘…according to the riches of his grace’ (KJV). In other words, it isn’t according to our good works or our striving. It is all through Christ and his grace that we have gained the victory! Through Christ we can declare along with Zechariah that we have been removed from the dry, difficult pits of life (‘the pit where there is no water’), and shown so much favor and grace that we not only have ‘double for our trouble’, we also have become ‘prisoners of hope’. Christ has made our future so positive, so filled with that confident expectation of good, that we can expect nothing less than full-fat goodness to manifest in our circumstances and finances!

Limitless Life Devotional

Jesus Made the Bitter Waters Sweet

Exodus 15:25

 ‘And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them’ (KJV)

For some the cross of Jesus Christ is an event of unequivocal punishment and misery. To some the cross simply reveals the depravity of humankind and the lengths God had to go to in order to tolerate us. To some the cross is not a place of victory, but just a reminder of self-sacrifice and obedience. Thankfully, ‘for some’ and ‘to some’ does not equal reality; indeed, the cross of Christ was a place where great suffering took place, but Jesus suffered for us and as us, not to show us an example. And furthermore, the cross reveals humanities worth and value, it doesn’t point to wrath or disappointment! The cross is a place of unequivocal victory! The cross is a happy place, a sweet place, not because of the gruesome and painful experience of the Lord, but because of the galactic redemption taking place in him! Surely, the tree of Christ is cosmic reason to celebrate because through Christ and his cross (not forgetting his resurrection and ascension) we have been fully loaded with every goodie and blessing heaven has to offer! This New Covenant really is ‘sweeeet’!

In Exodus 15 we see an account of the children of Israel that beautiful typifies the cross of Jesus. This shadow starts with the Israelites moving from the Red Sea to the desert of Shur, the travelled for days with no water only to come to a place called Marah, which had water, only it was bitter and undrinkable. The people grumbled. But, our God is the redeemer, and in true Jesus-like fashion God showed Moses a piece of wood, he threw it in and the waters became sweet. How amazing! The Lord showed Moses a piece of wood and that enabled Moses to experience this glorious miracle!

It is the same today. There are two applications of this glorious story: the first is that Jesus, through his death, resurrection, and ascension – through the tree on which he hung – has made the bitter waters sweet! Jesus has won, the curse destroyed, old Adam has died, and in him there is a wonderfully glorious and blessed new creation! The second is simply an application of the first; if in your life you see a contradiction to this glorious new world in Christ then you know the answer. Turn to God and behold the piece of wood, but don’t be fooled it’s not just any old piece of wood, no God himself will show you this wood, and as you behold you will see a manifestation of redemptive power, and any bitter water of contradiction will be made sweet! So, know today that Papa loves you, that Jesus won, and that Holy Spirit wants to partner with you in revelation about the finished work of Christ, and that as you enjoy this beautiful reality you will see powerful manifesting of the Kingdom of King Jesus!

Limitless Life Devotional

Freedom from Dead Works

Hebrews 9:14

‘How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?’ (KJV)

A conscience ruled by religion is a sad thing. So many people live on an emotional roller coaster, tossed back and forth by the tyranny of religion. A lot of people are dictated to by religion, and it is often through guilt and manipulation that religion keeps this power. Have you been affected by this epidemic? Are you constantly keeping tabs on your behaviour so that you feel like you are in good standing with God? Do you feel like you have to constantly confess your sins? What if you miss a service? Or what if you want to take your family out instead of serving at the church coffee morning? Do you feel that you ought to read your Bible more? And, last one, do you feel like you need to constantly lead people in ‘the sinner’s prayer’? Well, if you do feel like the above then it is very likely that you are in need of the eternal, limitless dose of the grace of God, which will ‘purge your conscience from dead works’! You see, ‘dead works’ are those things that we DO out of fleshly motive. There is no life in them. They are not the activities themselves, but it is the source of why we do them that makes them fleshly. The difference is: Spirit, Union, Life, Jesus, or trying, striving, flesh, and religion. God wants his Children free from ‘have tos’!

Let me tell you, God doesn’t want your service, he wants you! He loves you more than words could describe and he want you to know and believe that! The Old Covenant was a covenant of contractual works: do good, get good. Do bad, get bad. But that was never God’s heart. He wants his beloved Children living from the Spirit. He wants us truly free! And, he has provided provision (his grace) for us to live from his righteousness on the inside. In other words, because of Jesus we have been plugged into the life of the Godhead and all and every demand has been eradicated! We are New, supernatural, creations in Christ, and as we take off demand we will live by genuine, un-forced ‘want tos’!

We are free to know God, without the junk that religion pretends we need. There is nothing wrong with Bible study, or Church services, or evangelism – let me tell you, this New Covenant is so good that once you start enjoying it you won’t be able to not share it. However, there is a huge difference between organically pointing people to the Saviour and feeling as though you ought to try and save people! There is a massive different between enjoying Papa in everything (including Bible study) and compartmentalising Bible study into ‘beneficial’ and watching TV into ‘frivolous’. You can enjoy the Spirit and receive revelation in everything! So today, know that you are loved and adored by your heavenly Papa. Know that Jesus has finished the work, and that there is NOTHING that you HAVE to do. You are right with God. You are blessed. You are accepted. And your behaviour has nothing to do with it. Receive grace and allow the Spirit to show you how to be free from ‘dead works’!

 

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