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Successful Christian Living (Part One)

By Paige Hunt

The woman in Song of Solomon utters a cry that is relevant even today, as if it were an echo from our own hearts:

“They made me the caretaker of the vineyards, but I didn’t take care of my own vineyard.” – Song of Solomon 1:6b.

The language and method of mundane humanity wears us down. We can become so busy doing things for God, and passionately, zealously ‘organizing’ our lives and our faith with all the ‘right’ answers and projects (or simply insert any form of demand and self-exertion here!), that we lose sight of our authentic love-union with Jesus: a union that hinges solely and completely on His perfect love for us. Faith is all about allowing that cookie-dough comforting, and sweetly satisfying reality to fill your heart and emotions (Ephesians 3:19), and surrendering your self-efforts to the beauty, poetry and comfort of that. It is all about enjoying the love of God towards unique you, in personal, intimate, and sentimental ways that fill you with wonder, comfort, and awe. You can be aware that your Daddy is personally adoring you in any moment during any activity, because the language of union is unconditional, and the language of our resurrection  in Christ is irreversible.

Because of those truths, we can let go of the worn down, tiresome wisdom of this world. We can stop trying to take care of the vineyards of life, and trust that our Daddy’s love truly is sufficient and empowering in, for, and through all things in our life.  Jesus is always and forever the handyman within our lives. He is the gardener of our souls (John 20:15), and the responsible Daddy who declares to us the same truths communicated to Moses in Exodus 14:13a, 14; 15:17a:

“Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which he will work for you today…Yahweh will fight for you, and  you shall be still…You [LORD] shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance.” (emphasis mine)

Jesus does it all! Our posture is one of relaxing, reclining, and enjoying all of the benefits of our inheritance in Christ. Our posture should be one of letting God be the doting Daddy, and our abundantly good and kind provider. There is an old proverb which says that ‘the wisdom is in the wine’, and we not only discover true wisdom as we drink up this rich wine of our Daddy’s love for us, we also experience it in our emotions. This is the most beneficial thing we can do in life.  Song of Solomon 8:5 thus declares:

“Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.” (KJV)

“Who is this sweeping in from the desert, leaning on her lover? I aroused you under the apple tree, where your mother gave you birth, where in great pain she delivered you.” (NLT)

A deeper look into this verse reveals that our Daddy loves it when we lean upon his love for us (c.f. 1 John 4:16). It is this easy, trusting, exciting posture of resting in what Christ has accomplished on our behalf , and filling our lives with the exhilarating truth of His fondness and love of us, that  carries us out of our ‘wilderness’ areas in life, and causes us to see the promised land that we have been already been planted into in Christ.  The second half of this verse speaks of the ‘pain’ of the cross (Jesus hanging on that ‘tree’ in order to ‘raise us up’ and ‘arouse’ us back to God’s original thought and design concerning us), to show us the depth and detail of God’s tender care for us (see Song of Solomon 8:6). We once again are reclining with our Daddy in a completed, finished garden of pleasure, in which all of our desires will come to pass in the natural realm, and all of our wilderness areas  will ‘be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.’ (Isaiah 35:1). What has already occurred in your spirit will become manifest as you rest securely in the comfort of our heavenly Daddy’s arms.

Throughout this series, I want to look at three Scriptures in Hebrews to encourage you to lean passively upon your heavenly Daddy’s provision and care towards you. You can be as bold as a lion in all of the things that Christ has accomplished on your behalf (Proverbs 28:1). You do not need to complete your already perfected salvation to enjoy all of the blessings of your inheritance – blessings personalized to your deepest desires, such as a happy, healthy marriage, abundant friendships, wealth, health – the list goes on and on!

Now, onto the book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 5:8-9

“5:8 – As a son, he [Jesus] was in the habit of hearing from above; what he heard distanced him from the effect of what he had suffered. (The word often translated as obedience is the word upoakuo, under the influence of hearing, or hearing from above. “By” the things he suffered, is apo, away from, distanced).

5:9 – By his perfect hearing he forever freed mankind to hear what he had heard. (He now makes it possible for us to hear in such a way that we may participate again in the full release of our original identity; the logos finding voice in the incarnation in us.)” – MIRROR WORD

One way to ‘lean’ upon God’s love is to simplify your ‘mental hearing’ so that your thoughts are in harmony with your already-accomplished righteousness, joy, and peace (‘eirēpeace here means more than simply a nice emotion. It also translates as security, safety, prosperity, a blessed state – Romans 14:17). It really is as basic as de-cluttering your mind in the daily experiences of your life, through (when faced with situations that bring negative emotions, anxiety, a sense of shame or limitation, and the like) asking yourself if what you are thinking is in accordance with the state, atmosphere, and personality of heaven. As you transform your thinking, you actually ‘distance yourself from the effect’ of those negative emotions and thought patterns. You even allow the transformation of areas of death into Christ’s oasis of life and flowing blessings in the here and now.

Let’s take a look at 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to confirm this

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”  (emphasis mine)

Paul states that in order to ‘wage war’ and gain success in the Christian life, seeing the blessings of God manifest with our own eyes, we have to take every thought captive to ‘the obedience of Christ’. This very clearly is not about our own obedience. That would be tiresome and take us further into that struggle against our own self-efforts.  In order to focus on our own obedience we have to get up from that place where we are seated on Daddy’s lap, being kissed and adored by Him (Ephesians 2:6). We stop leaning and we start interrupting Christ when we try to be obedient, because Daddy is completely satisfied and self-sufficient. He is always the benefactor, and we are always His happy beneficiaries!

We take our thoughts captive to Christ’s obedience. This means that we align our thinking with the truth of what Jesus accomplished personally on our behalf through His own obedience in His life, death, and resurrection. We are co-resurrected with Him, hidden in Him, and seated with Him. Therefore, anything that the glorious Trinity is and has, we are and have, without an ounce of our former failings, sins, or limitations. And we didn’t even have to lift a finger to receive all of these benefits of heaven.

We can live as passive instruments, receiving Daddy’s highest care for us. Our heavenly Daddy can take better care of us than we could ourselves. He desires to bless us in ways suited to our own personal desires and needs, more than we could ever hope or dream! (2 Corinthians 10:9-12). Taking our thoughts captive to Daddy’s obedience is about leaning on His love for us and trusting that He has already eradicated completely every obstacle between us and our greatest breakthroughs and blessings. We rest and trust in this.

We can get into the habit of hearing from above. Heaven sings the same song over and over, and that song is the song that our Daddy loves us and that everything we could dream of or desire has been freely accomplished already in Jesus, so we have already been established in blessings. This distances us from the effects of anything less than heaven. As we hear correctly (that Christ has accomplished it all and there is nothing left for us to do but enjoy it!) , we ‘participate again in the full release of our original identity’.

Resting in these truths is truly ‘waging war’ and being active and alert.

Practical Application Point

In each article of this series I want to provide you with at least one practical application point. Today, to further encourage you to get comfy and familiar with hearing above (hearing the language of your first nature), I recommend speaking in tongues.

Speaking in tongues is a great way to enjoy your authentic life, because it is like a child in a playground, engaging their senses and in the fun and joy of life. You are letting go of the soul-ruled dominance which ‘feels’ a compulsion to have everything figured out, and ‘tries’ to gain words from God.

In tongues, you aren’t able to dominate the form of your faith life down to the last detail, but you are letting Daddy’s fun, inspiring, joy-filled rivers of living water within you flow (John 7:38) as you speak blessings, beauty and praises. It is like letting your heavenly Daddy lavish you with tangible kisses, or eating a great feast – you enjoy every minute of it because as you speak, you are embracing the goodness of Daddy towards you. Your mind does not have to grasp hold of everything. You are letting go to let His supply flow, rather than running on auto-pilot in the compulsions of demand.

As John Crowder has commented in his book Mystical Union*:

‘The other disciplines and sacraments of the church are entirely graces for our benefit. Not means of helping God out, purifying ourselves, or adding to the union we have in Him. Disciplines such as prayer, communion, etc. are modes of enjoying God, not methods of appeasing him…Exercising spiritual gifts is seen by many as an important discipline. But spiritual gifts should be fun. We need to return to child-like innocence with them’

He also comments:

“The great saint Brother Lawrence – known as a man of continual prayer – says he stopped praying! He started enjoying and just rolling with the Glory – whatever his “state” obliged him. He just followed the joys of God’s prompting…If I am standing in line at Burger King, ordering a happy meal while blissed out in the presence of God – then I am in prayer. And I may even be fasting! Whenever you are enjoying harmony with His Presence, this is prayer…Speaking in tongues for instance, where Paul says, “rapt in the Spirit, he is uttering mystic secrets” (1 Corinthians 14:2, WAY). The highest forms of prayer are always passive states of the heart before God. It is funny that so many people think they are helping God out with their prayers. Did you know that prayer was originally something designed to help you out?”

Be blessed!

*Footnote: John Crowder, Mystical Union: Stuff they never told you about the finished work of the cross (Sons of Thunder Ministries & Publications: Santa Cruz, 2010)

“Why the other Tree and why the temptation in the Garden?” – Francois du Toit (Guest Article)

Francois du Toit and his lovely wife Lydia daily inspire and enrich many people with the poetry of the Gospel in a variety of ways. Francois has written many books in English and Afrikaans, such as ‘Divine Embrace’, ‘God Believes in You’, and ‘The Mystery Revealed’. He is also well-known for his inspiring work in writing The Mirror Translation of the Bible, which is being translated into many different languages such as Japanese, Slovakian, Hungarian, French, and African languages.

For more information about Francois and Lydia, take a look at their website:

http://www.mirrorword.net/

An ‘excerpt’ from Francois’ book ‘God Believes in You’…

God is not watching us from a distance, as the song suggests. Emmanuel means God with us. God can never again be God without us! God cannot get any closer to mankind than what he already did in the person of Jesus! He is not nearer to some than what he is to others, nor nearer to Jerusalem than to Japan. As much as Jesus represents all of God, he represents the entire human race in one person. Imagine God finding a word, worthy to hold his ultimate thought; his final, eternal most intimate word to mankind. He frames this word not in an ancient language of men or angels, but in an earthen jar, Jesus, the incarnate image and mirror radiance of all that God is, displayed in human from! God has found a face in you that portrays him more beautifully than the best theology! Your features, your touch, the cadence of your voice, the compassion in your gaze, the lines in your smile, the warmth of your person and presence unveils him!

Why the other Tree and why the temptation in the Garden?

I think the picture that we are presented with in the garden of Sabbath abundance, and of the 2 trees and the temptation, presents us inevitably with the full scope of our design! We are not robots who are to simply respond to our Maker in remote control fashion. To give ultimate context to the setting of paradise beauty, we were presented with the opportunity to consciously and spontaneously fellowship with our invisible Maker and to explore the dynamics of our own being there; and from that place of knowing that we are known we would reflect what we discover in fellowship union and intimacy in Elohim and in one another!

We were designed to explore the limitless dimensions of our being as referenced in our Source. The temptation was to follow the suggestion of an alternative idea that maybe we are not perfect by design; maybe, we thought, even Elohim know that we are not really what they had in mind, and would therefore feel threatened by our knowledge of good and evil; maybe that is the reason they didn’t want us to eat of the fruit of the “other” tree, we reasoned!

The alternative tree gives us the opportunity to engage an alternative system, whereby we have to now prove to ourselves, and to one another, as well as to our own ideas of deity (religion) that we can manage and possibly master our own being and destiny, independent of our Source! The quest to prove my I am-ness would now become my constant drive; instead of finding and celebrating me in fellowship with my Maker and my fellow human being, and also in my harmonious co-existence with paradise nature, I have to now strive for it in the fruit of my own efforts to become something I already am by design, perfect and esteemed. And so we have exchanged God’s perfect approval of us, based on his perfect knowledge of us, for our imperfect knowledge of ourselves and of one another, proved by the inevitable evidence in our disappointment with ourselves and with one another. The “I am not-tree-system” would continually be re-enforced by feelings of shame, guilt, inferiority and competing, which sadly brings with it every shade of hostility and frustration and the corruption that our history and societies have borne such horrid witness to. The law expresses and confirms the existence of these systems and their dominance in societies and philosophies for many centuries.

The love of God, the Engineer of our being, demonstrated in the unveiling of our inclusion in the death, our joint decent into hell, and the co-quickening and our co-resurrection with Jesus Christ, reveals that we are rescued from the lies that we have believed about ourselves, about our Maker and about one another! We are presented with a brand new beginning! The old things have passed away! Behold, everything has become new! Now immediately engage your thoughts with the reality of your co-seatedness in Christ in the highest dominion of life, and discover there the bliss of your redeemed innocence and your glorious oneness!

Seeing Contradiction Clothed in Christ

By Paige Hunt

“Just as the body gives expression to the spirit, so actions give expression to faith” – James 2:26 (MIRROR WORD)

I want to address earthly contradictions that we sometimes face in our daily adventures with Jesus. Maybe you have a particular situation on your mind at this very moment, such as an unexpected illness, a fractured relationship, or any other painful emotional bruise. I want to address this with sensitivity, and the tender, doting love of Jesus towards you as an individual. My desire is to help you to hope again, and to meet with you where you are at. Everyone has times where life can ‘hurt like hell’, or, where we feel just like David in Psalm 6:3-5 (emphasis mine):

“My soul is also in great anguish. But you, Yahweh – how long? Return, Yahweh. Deliver my soul, and save me for your loving kindness’ sake. For in death, there is no memory of you. In Sheol, who shall give you thanks?”

In our times of pain, it can feel like God is very distant, and that it is impossible to ‘remember’ him in the uniquely personal way that we were created to. Of course, we believe in union with Christ, and we understand that He loves us, yet in the face of our contradictions, it can be difficult to tangibly experience that life.

Firstly, I want to encourage you not to let your worry get out of control, because all of your personal hopes and dreams of heaven on earth are secure, even when you cannot see or feel them just yet. Your healing is safe, your marriage is safe, and your prosperity is still abundant. Christ’s love for you is a detailed and personal world in which your incorruptible essence, blessings, and wholeness reside continually, even when they’re not manifesting in the natural (Colossians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17). It is this invisible world within you that is going to flow out of you like refreshing, renewing, restoring rivers of living water and inspiration (John 7:38), as you keep on letting Christ carry you through this time of contradiction. Keep on persevering in the truth that your heavenly Parent, who is both Daddy (Romans 8:15), and Mummy (Isaiah 66:12-13; Luke 13:34) is going to pour out upon you the grace wisdom that you need in this situation, so that you can experience your already-open heaven. Your body, as James 2:26 states, is going to give expression to your state of spiritual bounty. This includes divine health, wealth, and complete restoration. You shall soon declare, “The land Daddy has given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!” (Psalm 16:6), as your miracle effortlessly makes itself known in the tangible. It is destiny for your earthly life to look just like your wonderful spiritual state, as the body gives expression to the spirit, and the supernatural always births the natural.

Secondly, you are going to get through this contradiction completely unharmed. Everything is going to be redeemed. The experience of unique you being loved so entirely by Daddy God is liberating and it is revolutionary – it will cause your cells to sing and all of your paths to be made straight and serene, until you are able to experience in your emotions the creative essence of heaven and the atmosphere of heaven’s beauty and wonder with every breath that you take. Christian Scientists such as Bernie Siegel also echo this conclusion. She states:

“If I told patients to raise their blood levels of globulins or killer Tcells, no one would know how. But if I can teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same change happens automatically. The truth is: Love heals”

God’s love for you is a healing love (1 John 4:19). Dr. Caroline Leaf, a wonderful Christian psychologist, also writes on this subject with articulate wisdom: “Your perception of any given thing at any moment influences your brain chemistry, which affects the environment around your cells, influencing what happens to them”. In other words, God’s love for you is going to transform your perceptions of your entire world, and surround your cells with the comfort and effortless joy of His perfect, intoxicated love. As this occurs, the radiance of your spirit is going to conform your body into its perfect harmony and peace. This peace will have a ripple effect into your circumstances, and every path in your life will be made straight (Luke 3:5). Nothing is too difficult for God!

Consider the scriptural account of Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, an Abednego (Daniel 3, 6). Daniel had to face the lion’s den, and his friends had to go into a burning hot furnace. Yet miraculously, each one of them came out unharmed. Now, God never causes pain and suffering, but he still redeems all contradictions, because He is ultimately good!! Everything that springs from the paradise of God’s heart and imagination is a rainbow of all that is sweet, desirable, and lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16).  This is how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could go into the furnace bound, and come out loosed – they went through a contradiction and got rid of even more bondage during that time!  The heaven within you is an abundant haven of your personalized perfection, all because your Daddy loves you and he ‘crowns your year with goodness’ (Psalm 65:11), as well as ‘daily loading us with benefits’ (another translation here says he ‘daily carries us in his arms’) (Psalm 68:19). So, know that not only will you begin to experience your heavenly abundance flowing within you to nourish your whole world, you will also experience the full concentration of it, which is 100% the Trinity, 100% paradise, and 100% blessing! You’re going to see more heaven on earth than you could have even dreamt of. As Ephesians 3:20 says:

“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,”

Your life is so filled with good news, and marked by the kindness and goodness of His love (Ephesians 1:3). In fact, soon enough, you are going to see your contradiction completely redeemed, to the point that your mouth will effortlessly declare: “The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22).

Keep on connecting with Daddy’s grace in whatever ways suit your unique personality. You do not have to feel the results of it straight away, but they will come flooding into your life. There is one work in the New Covenant and it is this:

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent” – John 6:29

Christ’s cross and resurrection means that you have an all-sufficient heavenly abundance daily, in the reality of realities. Your Daddy always finds you adorable, and He always cuddles you and blesses you with good gifts. As you believe that your heavenly family loves you, and that through Christ you are in union with the Trinity (everything Christ is and has, you are and have), you will experience heaven: the pure, 100% blessing of the Father’s love, filling your life with sweetness and eradicating any and all contradictions. All you have to do is keep on believing. You don’t have to ‘feel’ your way to salvation, because Christ is your representative, and His faith has become yours. Keep on believing this truth, and your senses will align with heavenly realities! Believe that Christ’s senses have become yours, and you will experience the reality of this.

Your life is more than mere circumstance and contradiction. Your life is hidden with Christ in the meadow of your spirit – your resting place (Colossians 3:3). That is the place of your authentic essence, and nothing can ever threaten or harm that meadow. It is the realm of your Daddy’s grace and love for you, and there is nothing in the entire world as wonderful. Your life is a unique Christ-flavour and Christ-essence to the world, and your meadow is personalized to who you are, with every good and perfect gift thought up by the Father of pure, glorious, sparkling light, in whom there is no darkness, no insecurity, and no change or corruption! (James 1:17).

Therefore, daily, we can ‘put on’ Christ. Faith works in our lives through His love for us (Galatians 5:6). We don’t have to see it or feel it just yet, but as we believe in His love for us, His senses become more real to us than our own. We sink into the ease of His faith on our behalf, and the glorious truths of heaven permeate our being, transforming everything about our lives, from our emotions to our bodies! Listen to how Jim Richards describes it in ‘Moving your Invisible Boundaries’:

“I took identity Scriptures and coupled them with the names of God, and spent time every day acknowledging the truth of these Scriptures in me, because I was in Him. I did this at a time I was desperately ill with an incurable genetic disorder, and had more debt than I could ever repay. I experienced Christ in me; I experienced the reality of His promises. When His view and opinion became more real to me than what my five senses were telling me, my five senses lost control of my life”

Faith is an enjoyable adventure into the depths of Christ’s heart and emotions towards you as a unique individual whom he personally loves and enjoys in a special way. You are a beautiful, precious and rare gem to Christ, and you are His baby. He loves and adores you!

Your contradiction may seem large and looming at the moment, but in Christ, it is microscopic, and you will see this reality with your own eyes. Here is a wonderful encouragement from Joseph Prince’s Meditation email,

“The Bible tells us that ‘God…who gives life to the dead, speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed’ (Romans 4:17 AMP). Beloved, you are made in the image of God, and His Spirit abides in you. So if you want to see good in your life, then begin to speak it into your life. Jesus died on the cross to give you an abundant life. You have a blood-bought right to call forth a healthy body, a fulfilling career, and a blessed marriage and family. Speak boldly the good you want to see and start to experience it!”

Remember, you will see the manifestation of His goodness in your life! (Psalm 23:6). Colossians states that we are complete in Christ. The word for complete also means ‘to fill the heart’ and ‘to cause someone to think in a particular manner, often as a means of inducing behavior’. Christ’s fullness is going to shape the way that you think and feel, and you will see the glorious truths of faith manifesting through your life. You are co-seated in heaven with Him (Ephesians 2:6).

“Gospel = Manifest Glory” – Matt Spinks (Guest Article)

Matt and Katie Spinks share the heart of Jesus in their glory community in Indiana (Firehouse Projects). Together, with their two beautiful children, they live, love, and thoroughly enjoy the sweetness and creativity of heaven on earth. Their genuine love for all people is inspiring, and their words truly carry a sense of God’s wonder and joy.

Their church podcasts are available at: http://firehouseprojects.podomatic.com/

There are loads of people talking to me about how they want to see greater manifestations of Glory and supernatural in their lives. But, when I tell them that it’s all connected to simply trusting what Jesus has already accomplished, and drinking the simple Gospel, they usually seem a bit off put.

“I don’t want just head knowledge” they say. “I don’t want theology” they say. They seem to think that the declaration of the gospel isn’t strong enough on it’s own to bear the fruit. They are looking for some new secret way. They are looking to become more consecrated, or get something from this guy or that guy, they believe that God has hidden the secret Glory somewhere and we have to seek it out, or do something else to get it.

BUT, LISTEN MY DEAR BELOVEDS!!

Col. 1:26-27 – The mystery hidden for ages and generations is now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

The secret has been revealed!! There is NO OTHER way to manifest Glory other than realizing Christ in you!! Faith comes by hearing!! As you hear of how he has loved you and united Himself with you perfectly and inseparably, you will manifest Glory!!

Rom. 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Hearing the Gospel is not just lifeless theology! Remembering and looking deeply into the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus and what it reveals to you and about you will always be the answer!! I guarantee you that there is no other way to manifest Glory. All else is religion and a sham.

If you are looking to something other than the simple gospel, you will not find the power of God. You will not find the love of God. Until you realize that He already found you. He included you in the union of the Godhead in Christ. All things are yours in HIM! The kingdom of heaven is at hand, IN HIM! Hearing and realizing that is ALWAYS the ANSWER to EVERYTHING! It’s GOOD NEWS!!! Look no further!! He’s given it all to you TODAY as a free gift!!

What is Prayer?

By Paige Hunt

Our desire is for you to discover a Christianity that is as natural as breathing, and completely well-suited to your humanity. This authentic faith involves more unlearning than learning, more snuggling and cuddling in the arms of a generous Daddy, and less trying to impress God through fixed and formal “faith times”, unnaturally dividing the sacred and the secular. One of the ways that we so often distance ourselves from spiritual realities, making heaven somewhere ‘onwards and upwards’, rather than smack-bang in the centre of our humanity, is through prayer. Prayer quite often gets hijacked by religious groups who substitute hard-going, awkward formulas for intimate relationship with Daddy God. These groups focus on lack and difficulty, rather than on Daddy’s personalized love for us and the continual abundance of our inheritance with Christ.

Let’s dive hand-in-hand into an awareness of Daddy’s grace, and discover the truth about prayer.

1. Prayer does not consist of getting something you don’t have. It is enjoying and engaging with your inheritance until it manifests in the natural.

 Let’s start with a question: are your conversations with Daddy God anxiety-ridden and full of insecurity, or are they a delightful adventure of enjoying and engaging with the everlasting abundance of your spiritual inheritance? Philippians 4:6-8 addresses this beautifully.

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.

These lovely verses make it clear that prayer does not have to be the language of worrying and whittling. Rather, authentic prayer is talking with our Daddy and exchanging our faith for His. It  fills us with a sense of ‘thanksgiving’ because we know that He’s already provided for us, and supplied our every need, even when we can’t see it with our physical eye just yet.  As we enjoy engaging with Daddy’s love for us, we get overcome with a sense of peace, because, as Joseph Prince puts it:

 “It is only a matter of time before your revelation of what you already have through the work of Christ brings forth the prosperity He has already blessed you with…My friend, expect prosperity in your life because you are already rich in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9). So stop looking to your natural resources. Look to the cross and say, “Yes, Christ has made me rich! It is only a matter of time until I see His prosperity in my life” – Joseph Prince’ Destined to Reign devotional, Jan. 17th

Prayer is focusing our minds on Jesus’ love and grace, and experiencing the revelation of His all-sufficiency for us (Philippians 4:8). As we cuddle with Daddy and kiss His face by enjoying the truths of our inheritance, it creates a channel in our minds for this supernatural inheritance that we have in Christ to flow into the natural realm. Remember, we are already completely one with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17), so prayer does not necessarily have to mean ‘talking to God’. Prayer is actually all about exchanging your thoughts for God’s, by reclining in His love for you and receiving ‘grace upon grace’ (Romans 5:17).

The Greek word for ‘requests’ in Philippians 4:6 is the word ‘aitēma’. It is the same word used within 1 John 5:15, which clearly tells us that we already have everything we request of God. Therefore, prayer always points us back to the all-sufficiency of Christ – that everything He is and has right now, we are and have (1 John 4:17). Thus, prayer can be seen as beautiful poetry flowing from the spirit of a child loved by Daddy, protected by Daddy, and doted on by Daddy. That child is you!

 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4

Christ is actually our life, and as we set our minds on this truth, it will manifest in the natural realm, and we will look glorious. This is the excitement of prayer! Through prayer, we can rest in Daddy’s nature of goodness, gentleness and love, even when we are struggling to grasp this good news in practical ways. We can pray by over-exaggerating Daddy’s goodness, because He is always better than our hyper-optimism. Hence, we can always have peace. Peace as used in Philippians 4:7 is the Greek word ‘eirēnē’. It literally means ‘tranquility, security, safety, and prosperity’.  We have all of these things because we are sitting comfortably on Daddy’s lap, enjoying our generous Daddy’s lavish gift-giving. Prayer is opening these presents of grace and love! It is us on tip-toes, staring into the heart of the toy store and knowing it is all ours freely, and we can simply go in and enjoy all of those gifts and blessings!

“For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” – Galatians 5:5

Here in Galatians, the excitement of being Daddy’s child is expressed. We are approaching Daddy with hope (a confident, positive expectation of good) because in the spirit we have everything we need, and as we enjoy this truth (‘by faith’), the righteous fruits and prosperity of our inheritance manifest into our natural lives and circumstances. This is why Peter says that the end result of what we are believing is ‘the salvation of our souls’ – in other words, the full manifestation of all of our spiritual inheritance (1 Peter 1:9). Philemon also says that our participation in the faith becomes ‘effective through knowing every good thing that is in us for the glory of Christ.’ (Philemon 1:6).

Prayer is an eager expectation, and an effective knowing, then! It is enjoying Daddy’s love and personalizing it so that we can engage with our spiritual reality and life.

 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-19

2. Prayer is what is known throughout Scripture as ‘meditation’

 No, I am not talking about the kind of meditation that other religions engage in. I am speaking about the Scriptural definition of Meditation, which is to ‘murmur, to mutter, to ponder, to be pensive, conceive, imagine, or utter out of the heart’. Now, we know that our faith always has an object – Jesus! We are in Christ, and everything He is and has, we are and have. Therefore, prayer is meditating on your inheritance in Jesus, and on Daddy God’s love, until you ‘know’ and ‘believe’ in that love so surely that your whole life is an adventure of hope – a prayer! (1 John 4:16).

Let’s engage with Daddy in prayer through relaxing and taking time to enjoy our inheritance and our righteousness in Jesus until we see it with our physical eye (1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We want to be people who enjoy the life of God that we have in Jesus, because we have so much life! Prayer is emotionally wrapping yourself around your life in Christ and all of God’s promises (Colossians 3:3).

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Jim Richards writes it this way:

“The Word is true for me because I am in Christ. He obtained it; He is my source. He is my qualification; outside of Him, pondering the promises is just positive thinking!…Faith in Jesus is faith in what was accomplished through His death, burial, resurrection, and subsequent inheritance that I now share with Him! I want to see, perceive, experience and grasp what I would look like, how my life would be, and what I would be feeling If I was experiencing that promise in my life at this moment…

Biblical meditation is when you think about, ponder, imagine, or consider any Biblical promise until you have all the emotions of it being true at this moment. Faith experiences the Word as if it is true right now.” – Jim Richards, Moving Your Invisible Boundaries, chapter 21.

Prayer, therefore, is imagination, intimacy, poetry, and enjoyment. I bet you’re discovering a desire to pray now!

“It’s Okay to Be Weak” – Paul White (Guest Article)

This week we are happy to share with you a guest article by Pastor Paul White. Paul and his wife NaTasha are prominent ministers in Midland Church, and influence thousands of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ’s love and grace. For more information, and encouraging grace resources, check out Paul’s website and youtube channel:

http://www.paulwhiteministries.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/MidlandStream2012

Paul White also has a wonderful grace book titled “Revelation to Transformation: How Seeing Jesus Will Change Your Life”, which you can purchase from his website. Now, on with the article…

There is a wonderful revival of grace that is sweeping our churches. People are, once again, hearing of a loving God and a lovely Jesus. The finished work of Christ is taking its rightful place as the central message of the church. However, in the midst of this growing revelation, there is a decidedly disturbing trend re-emerging. With such a heightened awareness of our own standing and relevance, there is suddenly no room for weakness.

When God created Adam, He intentionally created him with a void, a weakness no less. He was certainly “very good” in God’s eyes but it was also “not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Why create him with such a glaring need? Adam found no helper in the animals or the birds of the sky, so God put him to sleep, and you know the rest. The story may not be as much about man’s need for a wife as it is about man’s need in general.

I was raised in a pastor’s home, and the church was the backdrop of most of my childhood memories. One thing that was clear from my earliest days was that ministers were supposed to be equipped with rock-solid answers to almost every problem. Whether the issue was political, economic, physical or spiritual, the pastor was expected to have a sermon, an illustration and three supporting scriptures available on demand. To answer “I don’t know,” to any spiritual query was paramount to saying, “I don’t study enough, and perhaps I am unqualified to even be in ministry.” Taking a stand with boldness, even if there was flimsy support for such a position, was a more popular option. Such a stance projected an image of confidence and strength, masking any weaknesses.

This fear of weakness is unfounded, and dare I say, foreign to the early church. The author of Hebrews encouraged us to hold firm to the faith we profess, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).  If Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses, surely He understands that we will have them! His empathy also shows that He not only understands but expects them to exist.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Since Jesus has conquered all, we can approach God’s throne with confidence, knowing that we don’t deserve and cannot earn what He has for us. Our need for mercy shows that we have glaring problems, and our presence in His presence indicates a need.

Perhaps a lot can be learned from one of the epistles most debated passages. Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church about a thorn in his flesh, which he described as “a messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). We have argued this to be everything from eye problems to lust. I’m not sure we will ever be completely confident about what Paul’s thorn was, but we can certainly agree that it was a defect in his fleshly man, and not his spiritual standing. That’s not to say it was a literal, physical malady, but it is to point out that Paul saw a difference between what was his in the natural realm, and what was his in the spiritual realm.

Regarding the things of the spirit, Paul knew he was crucified (Galatians 2:20), dead to the flesh (Colossians 3:3), and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Regarding the things present in the natural realm however, there was a problem.

Maybe Paul’s issue can be found earlier in the same letter to Corinth. He went to Troas to preach the gospel and admitted that the Lord had opened the door for him to do so. But there was a problem: “I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 2:13). It’s hard to imagine that the great Apostle Paul walked away from an open door for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ because his friend Titus wasn’t there to support him. Where is the mighty man of faith and power? Why doesn’t he ignore how he feels in his mind and listen to the call in his spirit? It is entirely possible that Paul simply cannot ignore how he feels; it’s his weakness!

This could explain why Paul circumcises Timothy in Acts 16, even though he writes to the Galatians (albeit at a later date) that if a man is circumcised he is a debtor to the whole law (Galatians 5:3). His need for approval and acceptance, to be surrounded by those whom he loves and who also love him, shows itself as a weakness when it interferes with the call to which he is devoted.

Later in the letter, Paul speaks of harassment and conflicts in his time at Macedonia, including “fears within.” His comfort didn’t come through quiet reflection or prayer time, but rather he was “comforted by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever” (2 Corinthians 7:6-7).

Isn’t it comforting to know that Paul was as human as the rest of us? His greatest joy came through the positive affirmation he received from people who loved him. I can attest to that more times than I like to admit. While I am spiritually aggressive, and firm in what I believe, I am also an easily wounded soul, who often recoils from attack in hurt offense. But I am learning that my weakness is okay, and that Jesus has compensated for such things through His finished work. My solace is found where Paul’s was found:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthian 12:9).

God shows His awesome power through all of our weaknesses, whatever they might be. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul understood that Christ looks all the better when our weaknesses are exposed. It becomes obvious that what we offer as pastors, preachers, and counselors is a gift, and not of our own strength and power.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Let us not twist that last phrase to say what it doesn’t. God is not strong when we are weak; He is always strong! It is in our time of weakness when we find true strength, and learn that it really is okay to be weak after all.

How do I experience the love of God? – Part Five

By Paige Hunt

As my glorious husband Josh has articulated, to experience Daddy God’s love, it is important we view life through the lavish unmerited favour and unconditional tenderness of our Daddy.

“See yourself from God’s perspective. Like in the making of a movie, where scenes can be shot using different cameras or lenses from various view points, see yourself from God’s viewpoint, through God’s lens. Go through the day conscious of how your heavenly Daddy sees you!”

To conclude our series, I want to share with you two more practical points to encourage you to engage with and experience Daddy’s intimate, fuzzy love towards you daily.

1. Christ is your life (Colossians 3:3-4)

I am repeating my previous two points from Part four of this series, to encourage you to define your life by Christ rather than the world’s systems, even though the world’s methods sometimes seem to offer a promising path to success.

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”  – James 5:13

Throughout the book of James, he is speaking to people who are rich in the things of the world and therefore don’t see any need to enjoy and engage with the reality of Christ as their life (see also Revelation 3:17). They are happy with the world: to them, the world is their life, their circumstances and experiences are their life, and their social status is their life. Little by little, this can happen to anyone. It has happened to me before, and I bet it happens to you, maybe even daily. We begin to add in a pinch of salty legalism and a bit of spicy performance, and before we know it, the subtle deceptiveness of that inferior way of living has ensnared us; and our emotions, following worldly performance mentalities and self-efforts, portray God as a caricature of how well we think we are doing. If we are performing well, we feel God’s love, but if we are performing poorly, we feel that God is angry and distant. We begin to live in the world’s mindset, where our performance qualifies or dis-qualifies us from the blessings of perfection and heaven to whatever degree, and we water down our theology and our Christ accordingly.

Paul speaks strongly against this in Galatians:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?… So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” – Galatians 3:1-2, 5

In the Mirror Bible, Francois du Toit translates articulates this well:

“Galatians! Galatians! Have you completely lost your common sense? Can’t you see how the law bewitched you and blurred your vision to distort the revelation of what the cross of Christ accomplished in you? This was so clearly predicted in Scripture. How could you not be persuaded by the truth?

Please would you reason with me on this one issue; on what basis did you receive the Holy Spirit? Are we talking gift or reward here? What kind of message ignites faith? What a condemned sinner and failure you are as revealed in the law, or what God believes to be true about you, as revealed in the Gospel? Let’s not confuse law with Grace…

Would you accredit what you have received from God to something you did, or to something you have heard? Did God reward you for your high moral standards when He worked extravagant miracles in you and lavished his Spirit upon you; or did it perhaps have anything to do with the content of the revelation of the message of grace that you have heard?…” – Galatians 1:1-2, 5a-b (Mirror Word)

The people described in the book of James were depending on the world and its performance mentalities, rather than on Christ’s love and grace, to live successful lives full of abundance, and they were bewitched into thinking that was God’s rhythm of life. Although it seemed to be sort-of working for them, the problem with this lifestyle is that it is shakable and insecure. The systems of this world, based on self-efforts, puny deceptions, and performance mentalities, do not point you to the greatest news – the truth of who you are and what you have in Jesus Christ: the truth of Daddy’s love for his children!

In the world, you have wages which you earn, not a vast inheritance which Daddy has freely given to you because you are loved, highly favored and unconditionally worthy to the core. The world’s way is ‘do, do, do’, but God’s way through Jesus Christ is ‘done, done, done’. As we enjoy Daddy’s love and grace, we live in a world of freedom and abundant provision.  Deuteronomy 6:10-11 pictures the kingdom of God this way:

“The Lord your God brings you….a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied”

Under God’s grace, our lives flow with abundant provision. All the people written about in the book of James had to do was give up the world’s legalistic mentality, and enjoy the authentic life of their design. That is the only way to live a sustainable life of blessing and favour. The world promises much but provides not even a trickle of what we have been freely given through Christ Jesus.

The world’s style of living is defined by Bill Gillham as ‘the flesh’.

 “Flesh refers to the old ways or patterns by which you have attempted to get all your needs supplied’ – Bill Gillham ‘Lifetime Guarantee’

The flesh is completely self-motivated, and rather than being empowered and motivated by Daddy God’s love and grace, it is all about ‘do good, get good’ and ‘do bad, get bad’. So, thus, you end up with two types of flesh. ‘Bad flesh’ is the way that you feel when you don’t measure up: doomed, condemned, rubbish and inferior. You begin to live like you are poor, though you are rich (Revelation 2:9).  ‘Good flesh’, on the other hand, is when in your own eyes you feel you are doing pretty well being self-dependent and self-conscious. This leads to pride in a distorted, unsustainable identity. It also leads to arrogance and a host of other negative thought patterns.

Both good flesh and bad flesh subtly keep you on the tiresome performance and comparison treadmill to gain favor in the world, and Christ becomes of no effect in your life. You don’t access your glorious inheritance, or the free gifts of Daddy’s love which he bestows upon you daily! (Psalm 68:19).

“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” -Galatians 5:4

Why would you want to live in a way that has you shaken up and tossed around by circumstances, experiences, and memories, when you can live in the freedom of experiencing every blessing through Christ, and know and depend on the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16)?

This is why James exhorts those types of people to:

“…purify your hearts, you double-minded” – James 4:8

The Greek word for heart here is ‘kardia’, and one definition for it is ‘mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts’, and ‘the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence’. Therefore, God is telling them to renew their minds to who they are and what they have in Christ, because they have an incorruptible richness and fullness of life because of Daddy God’s love.

Living in the free gift of grace, and engaging with Daddy’s unconditional love, is the lifestyle that suits you perfectly. It truly is the abundant life (John 10:10), in which you can access your inheritance all of the time, by God’s unmerited favour. You can live knowing Daddy loves you perfectly at all times, and not just when circumstances seem sunny.

2) Surround yourself with wonder

To encourage yourself in your co-resurrection in Christ and all of its implications and wonders daily, it can be beneficial to surround yourself with things that remind you of Daddy’s love for you. In my room, I have many little items that remind me of God’s cuteness and sweetness; they remind me that Daddy loves me and finds me adorable. Daddy God adores each and every one of us. He finds us cute and funny! Doting on us is His highest priority.

As I mentioned in my last post, it is so easy for our minds to run on auto-pilot, conforming to the pattern of this world, rather than engaging in Daddy’s unconditional unmerited favour and His lavish love (Romans 12:2). Sometimes, just placing specific faith-infusing things around our homes, or carrying with us little items to remind us of God’s love, can help us to become more aware of the wonderful pleasures and delights of His strong affects towards us daily. They can inspire us and encourage us to see ourselves through the lens of the finished work of Jesus – what happened to us in His cross and resurrection, which we were fully included in!

To conclude this point, I would love to share with you a practical exercise that I wrote for our Married to Majesty facebook page. Be blessed!

“Today, why don’t you spend five minutes just resting with Daddy God. Find a comfortable place to sit, and engage your imagination in your Trinity-family, and how much they dote on you and love you (if you are around people all day then go to the bathroom and rest with Jesus there!). During this time, see yourself as the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21),and imagine Holy Spirit hugging you and cherishing you. Learn to encourage yourself with the superior reality of Daddy’s love for you. Learn to associate yourself in Christ’s resurrection, knowing that He IS your life (Colossians 3:3).  Then, quietly share what’s on your mind with Daddy God. He loves it when people are simple and honest before him. He’s a perfect, non-judgmental Father, who always accepts and understands. If you are bothered about something, no matter how small and insignificant it may appear to be to the world, then talk about it with Him. No problem is too small for God, and everything about your life is wrapped up in His loving care. If you don’t know what to say, you could thank him for your rich inheritance which is yours to access and enjoy forevermore  – once again, this is all about encouraging yourself in Daddy’s love, and getting comfortable being his adorable child. You belong in His household!”

We have a vast and wonderful inheritance. It is beautiful that God wants to share life with us, to carry all of our burdens, and to cause all of our dreams to come true.

How do I experience the love of God? – Part four

By Paige Hunt

 I hope that this series has been, and will continue to be, an adventure in the heart of Daddy God. Like Dorothy exploring the beautiful land of Oz, we want you to know that you already have everything you need to experience God’s love in tangible, intimate and prophetic ways. The shiny shoes of His grace and favor are already on your feet. We want to encourage, mentally equip, and inspire you to journey well through the paradise of  your inheritance in this kingdom of Daddy’s love. Your tour guide in this journey is always your gloriously sweet, comforting, and creative Holy Spirit.

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. – 1 Corinthians 2:12

This gloriously happy family of the Trinity desire for you to feel so comfortable in God’s kingdom (your family home), that you are fully familiar and comfortable with what is in every room, and can help yourself to all of the goodies of the wealthy, cosy, exuberant household.

Through faith in the love of Daddy God, we enjoy our inheritance.  As we engage our imagination in spiritual truths – that everything Christ is and has is freely ours – it creates a channel in our minds for these spiritual realities to flow through, so that they can become practical actualities in our circumstances and emotions. God desires for both your internal and external life to look exactly like heaven. Because our inheritance is so beautiful and vast, The Holy Spirit as a good tour guide provides us with a map! This map is the Bible – through it, we discover all the blessings that are freely ours in Christ, and we grab hold of those blessings and say a great big ‘AMEN’ to them!

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:20

As this is nearing the conclusion of our ‘How do I experience the love of God?’ series, I want to provide you with two very practical ways to enjoy Daddy’s love and your inheritance in Christ, every single day, even when circumstances seem difficult.

  • 1. Seeing Christ in the Mirror

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was”. – James 1:24-25

A doer of the word is described in James as a person who associates themselves in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – someone who finds their identity in Jesus, and fully engages with and associates themselves with this identity; thus, throughout the day they ‘remember what they look like’ . It is someone who personalizes the love of Daddy God, and thus understands their identity as His beloved child. Being a ‘doer’ here is not about putting yourself on the treadmill of a religious lifestyle, but about embracing the good news of God’s acceptance and grace towards you – knowing that you have unconditional love and acceptance, and an incorruptible identity as Daddy’s beloved child. You are at home in the comforting, exuberant household of the Trinity. Just like in Alice in Wonderland, when Alice enters through the looking-glass, we behold the love of God and the true life of our design in the ‘mirror’ of the resurrected Jesus. As we associate ourselves in Him, knowing that our lives are hidden in Him (Colossians 3:1-3) because we are defined by all that Jesus is and has, rather than by circumstance, then we pass through the mirror of Jesus into the realities of the kingdom of God –the tangible, experiential ‘kingdom of the beloved Son’ (Colossians 1:13), which re-defines our whole lives!

Colossians 3 in the Mirror Bible speaks of our current, actual reality so eloquently and practically. Re-define your thinking according to these truths and you will experience a change in your emotions, lifestyles, and circumstances.

“You are in fact raised together with Christ! Now ponder with persuasion the consequence of your co-inclusion in Him. Relocate yourselves mentally! Engage your thoughts with throne room realities where you are co-seated with Christ in the executive authority of God’s right hand.

Becoming affectionately acquainted with throne room thoughts will keep your mind from being distracted again by the earthly (soul-ruled) realm.

Your union with his death broke the association with that world; see yourselves located in a fortress where your life is hidden with Christ in God!

The exact life on exhibit in Christ is now repeated in us. We are being co-revealed in the same bliss; we are joined in oneness with Him, just as His life reveals you, your life reveals Him!

Consider the members of your body dead and buried towards everything related to the porn industry, sensual uncleanness, longing for forbidden things, lust and greed, which are just another form of idol worship. (Idol worship is worshipping a distorted image of yourself!)

These distorted expressions are in total contradiction to God’s design and desire for your life.

– Colossians 3:1-6 Mirror Bible

The best thing that you could ever do is to define your life by Christ and not by your emotions or circumstances. Emotions follow thoughts, and sometimes, if we’re just letting our thoughts run on auto-pilot, based on the soul-ruled realm, we will discover ourselves encountering outbursts of anger, fears and insecurity, irrationality, and performance-orientated ways. There is a superior way to live and it is always found in Jesus, who is our very life (Colossians 3:3). As you define your life by Christ, you will discover that you are in Daddy’s kingdom as the child that He loves! You are enveloped in love!

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” – Colossians 1:13

2. Seeing God’s Design in your Neighbor

Once again I am speaking from the wonderful wisdom contained within Colossians 3. A big stumbling block to experiencing God’s love can be other people, because as you probably already know, it doesn’t take much for other people to fill our emotions with annoyance, or to get us focusing on and engaging with lies, rather than on our inheritance, and the truth of how loved we are.

“and [you] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”  – Colossians 3:10-11

Just as I encouraged you to see yourselves as looking just like Jesus, it can really help us to encounter God’s love in our daily lives, through the glorious artwork of everyone around us, as we define everyone else by Jesus, whether they are Christians are not. Wait, don’t rush to conclusions, let me explain! Jesus is God’s design for humanity. We are each a unique expression of God’s thought, and God’s original love-dream concerning humanity is summed up in Jesus, and Jesus alone. He is the template of our design, and we look better, more ethereal and glorious than any other definition would ever have us believe. Every other definition is an ill-fitting lesser glory, and a limitation to us (Romans 1:23). Whether your neighbor has let Jesus deal with the sin-disease in their spirit or not, does not mean that they are sin. In the parable of the lost coin, the coin’s value always remained. People may be acting in a way contrary to Jesus, but God still adores them and longs for them to discover their authentic blueprint, which always remains the same. It  is through Christ’s death and resurrection that God invites us back into the life of our original design, dreamed up by Him for us.  This reality is the superior wisdom of mankind.

In the Scriptures, people are exhorted to ‘remember the rock from which you were hewn’ (Isaiah 51:1). In the same way, God wants us to see our neighbours as made from the imagination of God’s heart, in His very image and likeness. So when someone does something that is out of line with the character of Jesus, know that their design is contrary to this, and so their actions are not intentional, but are the result of a wrong mind set. They have forgotten the rock from which they were hewn, and because of this, they are missing out on enjoying life to the full in the present moment (John 10:10).

Now that we have discussed these two new ways of thinking, I encourage you to put them into practice. In our next article, and the conclusion of this series, I will provide you with two more practical points to experience Daddy God’s love for you personally. These points are going to continue to empower you to surround yourself with wonder, cultivate an atmosphere of faith, and overcome performance mentalities (no matter how successful you may think you are according to the world’s standards!)

How do I experience the love of God? – Part three

Using your imagination

By Josh Hunt

Hopefully, after this series, you have a correct perception of God. Well, let me ask you; do you see God correctly? I hope you do because it’s a matter of life and death. Not necessarily in terms of spiritual life and Salvation, but certainly in terms of you enjoying and appropriating your inheritance. How you see God will affect every area of your life! So, I implore you, see God correctly, see him as love, as the Abba of Jesus, as YOUR Daddy. Have a foundation, let the eternal truths of heaven be the foundation on what you build your understanding of God on; foundations such as the Trinity (the family of God, three in one), the atonement, the indwelling Spirit etc. Don’t reason according to your human perception, or even through religious interpretation of scripture. Reason according to the fundamentals. All of these foundations bear witness to the true and glorious nature of God. The Trinity bears witness that God lives and has always lived in mutual affection and love, it reveals his nature as one who gives. The atonement bears witness to God’s passion, his unwillingness to live without you, his grace in giving you all that he is and has. The Spirit bears witness in our Spirit that we are children, adopted into and filled by the Trinity.

After you have your foundation of who God is and see him correctly, do you believe it? Do you believe that God is this good? Then receive it! First you must perceive it, then believe it, then receive it! Most Christians stop at perceiving it; they give up at this part because the concede in their heart that God can’t be this good or loving to them. Please be different. Dare to believe God is who he says he is, dare to believe he loves you the way he loves Jesus, accept his invitation to exaggerate his love and goodness – you can’t actually do it(!), but trying will give you a better idea of the measurements of his love;

“I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” – Ephesians 3:18

Perceive the love of God through the right foundations, believe the love of God, and then receive it! Live in it! In this post I want to give you examples of how to receive Papa’s love and live in its glorious reality!

Understanding the extent of God’s love will revolutionise every area of your life! It is in understanding how God feels about you – the way the looks at you, his intense desire to serve you and put you first, his romance and the way he dotes on you – that will enable you to; 1) live confidently, and 2) experience the spiritual realm. You see, the Kingdom of God is in the spiritual realm, it is in the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:17). Engaging with the Papa’s love is one of the best ways of engaging with the Kingdom, and when you engage with the Kingdom, stuff manifests! Enjoy him. Enjoy his love.

One of the most obvious ways to engage your imagination in the love of God is to talk to him! Relationship includes communication. Talk to him. Not as a distant deity, but as your loving Papa, talk to him about your life, about the way you appreciate his always-doting presence, about how you love what is included in your birthright! Talk to him. I keep repeating it because although obvious, because of its straightforward nature, is often overlooked. So, talk to him! Not to get something that you are lacking, because you’re not lacking. You don’t talk to God to present your lacking state, no, you have a no-lack salvation (see Colossians 2:9-10). Talk to him because he is your Daddy who loves to hear your voice. Talk to him as a little child. Believe that God sees you as cute! Talk to him in such a way. “Shouldn’t we speak to God reverently”, someone may say. To which my answer is; “yes”. However, we must understand what reverence is. Reverence is  so highly regarding the one you approach that you do what he would have you do. Well, what would God have us do? He’s already seated us with him (Eph. 2:6). He would have us call him Abba (Rom. 8:15). Do you believe it? Then receive it! Live it! Act as though it’s true, because it is!

Another way to enjoy the love of God is through prophecy. “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy” – 1 Corinthians 14:1 The Greek word for pursue is διώκω (diōkō), which in this context means ‘to run towards’, and of course the Greek word for love is ἀγάπη (agapē), which often speaks of the divine love, benevolence, in fact the previous chapter (1 Cor. 13) explains how the divine love operates, because of course God IS love (1 John 4:8). I believe this verse is saying; ‘run towards the love of God, want the gifts he has given you in the spiritual realm’. God wants us to do this because it increases the level of intimacy we experience. Prophecy is a wonderful gift our Papa has given us to help us flow from and in his outrageous love. Every one of us can prophecy, we don’t have to feel anything or climb some mystical ladder, we have the fullness of God inside of us, and we simply rest in faith and speak forth his loving words, into our own lives and into the lives of others. Ever one of us can operate in the gifts of the Spirit every single day and prophecy is the best one for personally receiving the love of God. The Greek word for prophesy is προφητεύω (prophēteuō) and simply means ‘to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation’. You can do this on your own, in your head, out load, creatively, whenever! It takes a little faith to believe the words you are speaking is prophecy, however relax and trust God. As long as it is in line with the glorious foundations listed above, you can’t go wrong. Trust the Spirit. Every day, prophesy God’s word to you in your own life, as though it were God speaking, loving speak into our life.

The final way I want to describe is an imaginative practice labeled through the ages as ‘practicing the presence of God’. This is a wonderful way to make yourself aware of all the heavenly goodies that are yours in Jesus. This way of using your imagination is simply one way to, as Colossians 3 says, ‘set your mind on things above’. Throughout the day be conscious of your heavenly Daddy. When you would like to, be aware of his presence; in you, around you. Imagine him holding you, his arms around your waist, his hand in our hand. Imagine yourself sitting on his knee receiving his kisses of love, walking through the day being kissed by your heavenly Daddy. This will cause your hope levels to rocket. Imagine living aware of this great reality!

Relax. Enjoy your heavenly Daddy’s great love. Choose to use your imagination to engage with and in Daddy’s love. This is by no means an extensive list, there are in fact many diverse ways to engage your imagination in God’s love, however, hopefully these few will help. Develop your receiving capabilities; choose to consistently frolic and bathe in God’s radical, exuberant love. As you do, you will find yourself; happier, healthier, and (as a by-product) holier.

How do I experience the love of God? – Part Two

Accepted into the family

By Paige Hunt

We were designed and created for fellowship with this wildly beautiful, spiritual family – The Trinity – who gave birth to us in the delights of their intimacy, and placed us in a wonderland of blessings known as ‘Eden’ (the pleasure garden).  We all know the story – humanity chose independence,  and as a result we thought that we had wandered far away from the loving gaze of our regal family, yet Christ came upon the scene and unveiled that the delight of the Trinity is ever focused upon us as if we were a priceless heirloom. If Jesus had to make a birthday wish as he blew out the candles on his cake, it would be for us to come home, back to our origin in the family of the Trinity. To be adopted back into this glorious family of perfect fellowship, becoming once again partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:4), and effortlessly reigning in life as kings and queens due to all of the riches of heaven becoming ours freely (Romans 5:17).  God is generous and lavish in His love. Hear the tenderness in his voice, and see the kindness in his eyes as he says to you:

“My son…you are always with me, and everything I have is yours”  (Luke 15:31)

Everything that Daddy owns belongs to you for your own enjoyment. Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17 encourages us to ‘put your hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment’. Each day, we can live our life with Daddy God, in constant communion with him – eating ice cream, reading books with him, and enjoying the warmth of those tender affections the Father has towards us. We can experience that sparkle in his eye when He looks at us, and sense how wide His eyes get when you wake up in a morning, ready to adventure with us in our little enjoyments, throughout the day. He enjoys the little pleasures with us.

This kind of love is vulnerable. It says that you are loved with the same intensity and abundance of love as every other member of the Trinity, and have just as much authority and resources as they do (John 15:9; John 3:35; John 17:23), because you belong to Daddy! It says that you really are part of the family; that God really has taken your lonely soul and put you in a fulfilling family (Psalm 68:6), and that Jesus is ‘the friend that sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24). Daddy loves you, and his highest priority is to bless you, and to enjoy you as you live your life being exactly who you are. He loves viewing life through your eyes.

Being adopted into Daddy’s family has greater implications for us than we could have ever hoped. The fellowship of this family, like Mr Wonka’s elusive chocolate factory that remained a wonder-inspiring mystery for so long, has opened wide its gates, and we are invited to enthusiastically explore and roam the fairytale of our dreams-come-true, being overwhelmed with the goodness of Daddy. Daddy has opened his arms to envelop us into the life of the Trinity.

We can cuddle up with Daddy God on the sofa. We can eat takeaway with Daddy, and in the simplicity and natural rhythm of life we can ‘taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!’ (Psalm 34:8)

Everywhere you look is a world of sweetness, goodness, and security. Christ is all in all (Colossians 3:11), and the resonance within you, echoing from your deepest depths, is that you truly belong and can live with child-like, care-free comfortableness and acceptance. It is like Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled  finally realizing her royal identity, and coming home to the love and splendour of her palace – the place she’d dreamt about and felt she belonged since, well, forever!  We belong in the family of the Trinity, and they with us.

‘And the slave does not abide in the house, but the Son abides forever’ (John 8:35).

You belong in Daddy’s house forever. It suits your unique creative styles and brings out the beauty in you. The Bible confidently assures us that:

‘The kings of the earth [that’s me and you, by the way!] bring their glory and honor into it’.

We are Daddy’s glory and his honor. Everything that makes us unique absolutely thrills the Trinity, and His house is filled with our ‘toys’ – those unique interests of ours. He has a library of pictures and memories of us, and He loves to bring out the family album and show all of the angels of heaven. Daddy’s home is a place where we feel entirely comfortable. A place where we can ‘have fellowship with the mystery’ of heaven (Ephesians 3:9) – that source of all true wonder. We can  live being adored and doted on. This is why the Bible says that:

‘He who pampers his slave from childhood will in the end find him to be a son’ (Proverbs 29:21)

Your Daddy God entirely pampers you with every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Everything in his house is freely yours, including a fulfilling relationship with this Trinity. John Sheasby illustrates what being a child of Daddy looks like. It looks like this:

‘The shelter of God the Father shuts out dangers but also shuts one into the realities of fulfillment. The fulfillment pictured by a family around a fireside – communicating and sharing ideas as well as experiences in an atmosphere of warmth and caring….I don’t know where you are at in your relationship with Jesus, but I do know this: he loves your company, wants you to feel relaxed in his presence, just as the tax collectors and sinners felt as they reclined with Jesus, eating with him, drinking with him, laughing with him….

I want you to come in and dine with me.
I want to be in your presence, Lord.
and stay in your presence,
because in your presence is the fullness of joy.’

Each day can be an adventure with Daddy – the Daddy who watches over us, protects us, and has fun with us. In the morning, Daddy makes us breakfast and announces to us that he has prepared blessings in store for us throughout the day, so that we are always on our tip toes, knowing that good things are about to happen to us. We then adventure with Him throughout the day. In the afternoon, we fellowship around the Table with the Trinity, and we share in their laughter, their joy, and immerse ourselves in conversation with them. At night, Daddy tucks us into bed and sings to us lullabies, as well as telling us tales of adventure in His love. He really is this personal and close. He really does care for you this much, and this tenderly. His love is more detailed and attentive than we first thought, and the truth of this ignites the coziest fire within our hearts.

Thank You Daddy for your hospitality.
Thank You for my place of belonging.
Amen.

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