All posts by beholdtobecome

Guard Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

The “heart” is a significant theme throughout the Scriptures. We see that God is actually interested in the “circumcision” of the heart rather than the body, He promises to give us a new heart, and invites us to love Him with our whole heart in response to His loving us with all of His heart.

Modern Western culture values the mind and body (brain) over the heart. But the Scripture is clear that who we are, most truly and deeply, is not measured by what is in our brains but our hearts.

One of the ways to see the heart is as a reservoir, or a holding tank, or a well. Whichever “container” type language fits best for you, that is what the heart is like. Jesus said that people can bring out the goodness or wickedness stored within their hearts, and by what they speak you can see what has taken root in the center of them.

If you feel out of touch with what is going on in this deepest, most core part of you, just listen to your words. Jesus taught that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

So, how do things get INTO the reservoir of the heart?

I am a work in progress with understanding this, but I will share what I have for now. I believe our 5 physical senses are the primary gateways into our being. What we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. John Bunyon, a guy who lived on earth in the 1600s and who lives on now in eternity, wrote an allegory in which he called the five senses “gates”…the ear gate, the eye gate, the mouth gate, the feel gate, the nose gate. They are simply entry points where we receive information or take in stimulus. John Bunyon’s thought was that the ear gate and the eye gate (what we hear and see) are the most significant gates.

After we take in information, I believe that the sifting place is the mind. We consider what we have experienced through our “gates” and we judge it as valuable, invaluable, true, not true, etc. This is why it is is so important to have the mind of Christ as enabled by the Holy Spirit, why it is essential for our minds to be transformed and renewed (Romans 12:2), and why God helps us by giving us not a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

When information, or some kind of stimulation, comes in through the gates and has been sifted in the mind, then the information finds its resting place in the heart. This is a very simplified model, but I still think it is helpful to give a general idea of the movement of information we encounter in life.

One way to guard your heart is to give careful consideration to the type and amount of stimulation and information coming in through your “gates”. There is no rote formula for “how to guard your heart.” We each need to yield daily to the Lordship of Jesus, His preeminence in our lives, trust His shepherding and make space to hear his voice. We do not check in with a moral checklist, but a Person.

It looks like this:

Jesus, you are the fashioner of my five senses, the designer of my mind, the One who dreamed my heart into existence. These things were made by You and they are Yours. I lay down my rights to “consume” whatever I desire. Help me know what is beneficial and not beneficial for consumption in this season of life. You are good and You withhold no good thing from me. Since I am Your child I live in the abundance of Your household and You provide for me!! You provide for every need I have, and You love to do it! I can trust You because You always have my very best interest at heart. I trust You, Abba. I want to make more room for You in my life. I want You to have free reign of all of my faculties because moving in alignment with You is where I find True Life. I want to be close to You and know You more deeply (and MORE DEEPLY AND MORE DEEPLY!) Have Your way in every way in me.

 

 

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Thoughts on Acceptance

In the previous post I shared a big picture view of how I see human sexuality. In this post I want to address the issue of acceptance that is so closely related to the way that people talk about human sexuality in our culture.

There is quite a diversity of belief from those who wear the name “Christian.” Some Christians consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ community and feel little to no conflict about their sexuality and faith fitting together harmoniously. Some Christians do not consider themselves a part of the LGBTQ community but fully support the lifestyle of those who do. The other end of the spectrum are those who are despise the LGBTQ community. I realize there are MANY other types of Christians on this spectrum, so if I did not voice your view, please offer grace, and offer your view if you’d like.

So to me, the extremes of the spectrum look like this concerning human sexual expression and acceptance. One end shouts “I do not have to change because Jesus loves and accepts me!” The other end shouts “You must change so that God will accept you!”

I believe the longing for acceptance is deeply knitted into the human heart. We all long for that safe place where we can come with no pretense, no mask, no TRYING, and be warmly welcomed and genuinely enjoyed. This is knitted into the human heart by God, who longs even more intensely that we would find this safe place in God. (Acts 17:26-27)

The tension in dialogue about human sexual expression is the insistence of the words “acceptance” and “agreement” meaning the same thing. To “accept” a person’s choice of sexual expression is to “agree” with it and vice versa. I honestly wish there was another word to use in place of “acceptance” to describe the way that God so graciously and genuinely welcomes every person into His presence. (People who know more words than me, what is it?)

In my experience with the Good Shepherd, I have been so thoroughly welcomed by Jesus. I have had encounters with Him where the expression in His eyes and the way He touches me communicate nothing less than full acceptance, that I am welcome to come to Him, to be with Him anytime, whatever the state of my mind and heart. I remember one time in particular when I had a bad attitude towards a friend. I was aware of this and was thoroughly NOT enjoying feeling grumpy with them. I came to Jesus but was really trying in my own effort to change my attitude toward this person. “I’ll read my Bible… I’ll declare the truth!…I’ll make an exchange at the cross…I’ll worship!” And none of those tools worked for this particular situation. I was still grumpy and grumpy at myself for being grumpy. I literally gave up, laid on the floor and said to Jesus out loud, “Okay then, what do YOU want to do?” In an instant I “saw” a simple picture,  Jesus and I together at the start of a forest trail. He didn’t say anything verbally but his kind eyes and outstretched hand communicated, “Come for a walk with me? I just want to be with you.” Tears started flowing and all the frustration melted away as I agreed and just let myself be enjoyed by Him on our forest walk.

I came to Him wanting Him to change my attitude. He just wanted to be with me, to draw me in to His presence, to let me feel His acceptance of me…and it transformed me. The change, the transformation, the alignment came through drawing near, being accepted and loved. Anger and frustration fell away in that moment and I saw that the reason my heart was grumpy in the first place is because a part of me was feeling unloved, unacceptable, insecure.

The higher, prevailing reality that is not anywhere on the spectrum mentioned above is this:

THE LOVE OF GOD TRANSFORMS

His “agenda” for humanity is not to change us for the sake of moral righteousness. (But let us not think that we will not or should not experience change from being in His Presence.)

His agenda for humanity is to conquer every square inch of the human heart with intention, zeal, and a depth of compassion unimaginable, incomprehensible to the mind. He does this for the sake of connection with us. To be with us, hand in hand, like those long ago days in the garden during the cool of the day.

Like the most beautiful and perfect Mother, God brings us in that we would be loved and be secure- that we would RECEIVE love. And like the most skilled and sensitive Father, God strengthens us and whispers our destiny deep in our heart that we would know how to GIVE love and GIVE the good gift of ourself to the world around us.

In order to be fully mature, fully human, fully alive, we yield to a lifetime of being mothered and fathered by God. Part of why the issue of “acceptance” is a sensitive spot in our culture is due to an intense hunger and longing to be mothered, to feel in our hearts the reality of being unconditionally welcomed and adored. We also desperately need fathering, to be called up and out of ourselves, to be confident that we have what it takes to make a positive contribution.

We find that the most repeated promise in Scripture comes from God’s mother’s heart…”Do not be afraid, I am with you, I will never leave you or forsake you.” In this promise He is saying, “There is nothing you can do to chase me away from you. I am not embarrassed or repulsed by you, ever. You are ALWAYS welcome to come to me. YOU ARE ACCEPTED!”

We find also the Father’s words over Jesus that have now become the Father’s words over us through the blood of Jesus…”You are my son, whom I love. With you I am well pleased!” He is saying, “You are royalty. You carry the authority and legitimacy of my household and Name. Go out, walk in a manner that reflects this reality. My affection for you assures your success!”

We are accepted, truly.

Receiving the acceptance of Jesus brings alignment with the realities of His Kingdom, inevitably.

Thoughts on Sexuality

There are a lot of voices, a lot of opinions these days. I’ve wondered if I have anything valuable to contribute. Is it worth it in the sea of words words words to share my thoughts? I decided it is. While my understanding is more than incomplete, my language wanting at best and offensive at worst, my opinions ever being tweaked in my own heart and my mind- with all of these things true, here I go anyway.

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

I tend to see the poles of things. Over “here” is one idea, over “there” is the opposite, and then there is a spectrum in between. The spectrum between introversion and extroversion, between black and white, etc. I believe the way of Jesus, the way I seek to follow, is generally not found at one extreme or the other, or even anywhere on the spectrum. I believe God’s way is that different, that unexpected, that disarming, that GOOD. May this idea be the framework for any discussion that develops from these words, because we are all SO TIRED of the same old circling-the-drain conversation.

So, in order to start from a different place, let’s all hop on the vulnerability train. Ready? I have wrestled deeply at different points in my life concerning my sexuality, my gender. Not surprised? You, too? Oh. That’s what I thought. 😉 Many of us (though not all) have waded through the murky waters of sorting out our male-ness, our female-ness, our person-ness, our masculinity, our femininity, etc. Although I understand human sexuality to be complex and multi-faceted, my world view, my paradigm of human sexuality is very simple.

As a follower of Jesus, I have given up my rights to define myself. And when I really pressed in and was able to see Him in the midst of the stormy seas of sexual identity confusion, you know what He said to me? He said, “You are MINE.” I belong to God. And that’s where He started with me on this issue. Isn’t that amazing?! I thought surely my heart would be settled once I had figure out my sexual orientation. Oh, if He could just SPEAK TO ME and tell me what is RIGHT!! He did speak, and He didn’t at first want to talk about my sexuality, He just wanted me to know deep down, I belong to Him. I am secure in Him. I am not alone.

As I continued to speak with God, open my heart to my truest Heavenly Papa and Mama, I feel I have been shepherded so beautifully. I feel that God has given me true revelation concerning human sexuality, and it is very simple in my mind. I’ll do my best now to explain my paradigm:

Human sexuality has it’s origin in the mind and heart of God. The dream of human sexuality came from God and our sexual relationships are meant to reflect this idea, this dream. Human sexuality is meant to reflect the desire that God has to be connected with humanity. God burns with passion to connect intimately, heart to heart, spirit to spirit, with human beings. In the spiritual sense, God is “God” and we are the “other.” God desires to unite with us, the “Other.” In the natural sense, the union of the two differing types (male and female) represent this spiritual union between God and people. The union of female and female or male and male does not represent this spiritual union because one is connecting with the “same” instead of the “other.” There is a special and holy fullness that comes when the two different ones (male and female) unite together in a covenant relationship marked by mutual submission, vulnerability, and love for one another. While there are many beautiful gifts wrapped up in human sexuality (emotional and physical pleasure, bringing forth new life, etc.) the most beautiful aspect of it is the reflection of the design that God had in mind when He dreamed of how to express to clay and breath beings just how close and united God desires to be with His people.

As a follower of Jesus, I also feel personally accountable to the historical and written witness of the God of Israel’s story with people, that is, the Bible. What compels me the most concerning the Scriptures on sexuality are two pictures and one verse. The first picture is the beginning of Genesis- creation- where I see God’s original design for human sexuality fashioned between one man and one woman in a beautiful paradise. The other picture is at the very end of Revelation- the wedding supper of the Lamb- where the Father presents His Son Jesus with one pure, spotless, prepared, and equally yoked bride. The Scripture verse I like the most is what Jesus had to say about human sexuality when He references the beginning of creation. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt.19:4-6 While some may be skilled at picking apart the ancient languages and cultural contexts to prove or disprove whatever, this is not my interest. I see the broader view of these things, and I personally am very compelled by this.

I have shared really the smallest snippet here of my story and history concerning the working out of my own sexuality and gender with Jesus. Oh friends, this is just the beginning. I have much more that I thought I would write tonight. But I am tired and these are enough words for now.

Passionate Love in the Body of Christ

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

As believers, most of us can faithfully recite what Jesus says are the most important things: 1. That we love God 2. That we love people. By saying that “the second command is like the first”, Jesus shows that these 2 distinct commands are also, in some mystical way, connected to each other. We see this concept in other teachings of Jesus, like when He says when we go to worship God we need to first get in right relationship with a grumpy brother or that when we give someone a cool glass of water it is like quenching Jesus’ thirst. This is mysterious!

We are fine with expressing a certain amount of passion towards the Lord in the lyrics of worship songs.  But sometimes even those words make us feel uncomfortable. “…Make me a lover, I want to be a lover, God.” I want to be a lover! I am made in the image of THE Lover. The Lover of my soul! I am so thoroughly known, enjoyed, explored, and pursued by God.

At the same time, I want to be sensitive about this topic and acknowledge that we have a lot of lies and wrong ideas to shake off. Like the idea of passionate love being only sexual. Like the idea of physical affection being only acceptable in the marriage bed or in the snuggling of babies and little children. The fear of physical affection crossing boundaries is, to me, less of a physical problem and more of a mental problem. It is a problem in our heads, in the way that we think. I would like to share a story…

One night at a worship gathering, “Nicole”, a married woman, felt that the Lord was instructing her to take some anointing oil and massage and anoint the feet of “Joseph”, a friend of hers who is also a single man. Nicole was quite shocked that the Lord would invite her to do this! “Won’t it be perceived as sensuous? Will people think that I am trying to seduce Joseph?” Nicole decided that the “wise” thing to do would be tell “Nick”, another male friend of hers about how the Lord wanted to minister to Joseph and have Nick anoint Joseph’s feet. Nicole watched as Nick began to anoint one of Joseph’s feet. Nicole was watching and trying to coach Nick while thinking, “He’s doing it all wrong! It’s supposed to be this other way!” Nicole finally said, “I’ll anoint his other foot.” And she did. And the Lord ministered to Joseph in his heart and he said that the foot Nicole had anointed (and ONLY the foot Nicole anointed) felt like it was on fire! After this experience, Nicole says, “Joseph was supposed to walk out of that worship time with both feet on fire.”

The point of this story isn’t to say that believers need to be ministering to one another in physically intimate ways each time we gather. The point is that we need to be following the Holy Spirit, even when He invites us outside of our comfort zones. We hear from the Holy Spirit and we check ourselves- what is my motivation in doing this? Is it for attention, or is it to minister humbly to another person? Of course, we always ask permission to minister to a person before we do.

I like the above story because it is an expression of passionate love. In the culture, “passion” often refers to exhilarating emotions and intense expression. These characteristics may be part of a passionate experience, but the heart of passion is sacrifice. That is why the cross is called “The Passion.” Jesus poured out His life, and we were reborn as the blood and water flowed from His body. When the Lord invited Nicole to minister to Joseph in that way, she, too, was invited to sacrifice… her reputation, her comfortability, her natural understanding. You see, Jesus wanted to massage Joseph’s feet, and He needed someone in the earthly realm to do it! Jesus could have given Joseph a dream or vision of having his feet anointed and massaged, but Jesus wanted to minister to Joseph’s whole person- soul, spirit, and body.

There are a couple of instances recorded in the Gospels of Jesus’ body being anointed publicly (Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:36-50, John 12:1-8)- once where expensive perfume was poured over His head and another time when a weeping woman poured perfume over His feet, could not stop kissing them, and wiped them with her hair. How intimate! What sacrifice for the women who ministered to Him in this way. They were misunderstood and spoken to harshly as they offended onlookers left and right. In one of these instances, Jesus says, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? What she has done to me is a beautiful thing.” Mark 14:6  We need to be very careful to not condemn things that Jesus calls beautiful. I need to be very careful to not condemn things that Jesus calls beautiful.

Let’s shake of the Greek stoicism that has infiltrated the church, masking itself as “wisdom” or “propriety”. It is not more holy to withhold emotional expression or affection. In fact, we rob one another of experiencing the love of God when we think this way. It doesn’t matter what culture or generation or family we were raised in. We are the Church! We are to live according to the culture of His Kingdom! When we do this, it will be undeniable that our true citizenship is from a different realm- a  holy, loving, peaceable place with a Good, True, and Faithful King.

My God is Extravagant. MY GOD IS EXTRAVAGANT! He does not withhold affection from His children. He is not shy about pouring out His life unto death, naked on a cross, unjustly condemned as a common criminal, for the sake of demonstrating how passionate He is about restoring His family.

God, have mercy on us, and teach us how to co-labor with You as You bring us forth to maturity in Your perfect love! Forgive us for trusting the voice of fear more than we trust You. Forgive us for trusting the voice of fear, ever! Spirit, lead us where our trust is without borders.

Learning to Honor Emory

Image04Emory at 27 weeks on the inside!

For those readers who know us personally, you know that it is almost time for our first child, Emory Favor, to be born. I have carried him in my body for 9 months, and in my heart for 24. I first heard Emory’s name in late 2011, but in some ways I have known him long before then. I have known him, I know him, and I will go on knowing him in new and deeper ways.

As it’s almost time for “E Love” to be on the outside, I want to share some of how Ben and I think about Emory and his life.

In November of 2011, I heard the Father speak Emory’s first and middle name as I was waking up. I heard this not audibly, but clearly as though it were, and I knew right away in my spirit who this was, our child. I wasn’t familiar with the name “Emory” so I looked it up and found that the name means “Home Strength” and that the particular spelling I knew it was happened to be the traditional male spelling of the name. This first encounter with the knowledge of Emory communicated many things to me:

Firstly, that Emory already existed in the heart and imagination of God. Emory’s first “home” was not my womb, but with his Heavenly Daddy, where he was completely safe, known, and loved. Emory’s origin is not simply 23 chromosomes from me and 23 chromosomes from his Daddy; Emory’s origin is God, just like every single human being. When the Lord called the young Jeremiah to be a prophet, He said to him,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

 Secondly, Emory’s life was intentional and designed and planned for a particular time in history. The timing of Emory’s coming into the world and his body being knit together in my body (whoa!) was intended for a particular time.

Acts 17: 24-27 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.'”

Thirdly, that even though Emory would start out his life having a very small body, he wouldn’t necessarily have a small spirit. Emory, like all humans, has a body, a soul, and a spirit. These components of us are distinct but still united to make us a whole human being, similar to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being distinct and yet one. I have a personal belief that the different components of us are not necessarily always at the same level of maturity. For example, a baby in the womb has a physical body that is in very early stages of development, yet his or her spirit can be very perceptive of what is going on in the spiritual realm. We know that in the womb, John the Baptist’s spirit perceived the presence of “in-the-womb-Jesus” and it caused John’s body to leap inside of Elizabeth! In another example, a person can have a more developed physical body and be quite immature his or her thinking and emotional intelligence, and even have a spirit that has not yet awakened to knowing the Father. With Emory, I knew that Ben and I did not just have the responsibility of caring for Emory’s physical needs, but also intentionally nurturing his spirit and soul by speaking blessing over him and talking with him about what was going on in the outside world.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole being- body, soul, and spirt- be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

The Believer’s Fight

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

It can sometimes feel like there is a lot to DO to follow Jesus. If I want to be a “good Christian”, I need to…pray, read my Bible, go to church, volunteer, be generous with my money, be friendly all the time, have my life together and not need anything, serve all the time, and (fill in the blank with your own definitions).  …Exhausting! The aforementioned things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but when they are performed out of a sense of duty or obligation, it is religion, and religion brings death.

Religion is the outward form or appearance of righteous living, but doesn’t necessarily indicate that there has been true interior transformation.

Some read the Scriptures daily because they are proud of themselves for being so disciplined. If they miss a day of Bible reading, they feel bad about themselves (condemnation) and their relationship with God. This is religion and it values form over relationship.

Some read the Scriptures daily because they love encountering God and learning about who He is through the words of the Bible. If they miss a day of Bible reading, they know that the Father is faithful even if they are not always faithful (no condemnation) and they start up again the next day. This is living connection and it values relationship over form.

Here’s the thing about these examples…it is great to read the Scriptures daily! What matters here is the place on the inside where actions are flowing from.

Everything we do flows out of a belief we have on the inside.

A person may have a value of treating others kindly. He might say, “I believe that it is right to treat people kindly.” Then, when someone is unkind to him, he responds unkindly and feels justified in his behavior. His actual internal belief has just been revealed in his actions, which is, “I believe that it is right to treat people kindly, except when they don’t treat me kindly, then I have the right to treat them unkindly.”

This type of scenario happens all the time, and we know what it is…hypocrisy! Everyone hates hypocrisy, and to some degree, we are all hypocrites. What then can we DO? How do we fight hypocrisy in our own lives?

I feel like the Father has shown me a new way of waging war against this internal battle lately. A way to battle that is much more fun than introspection and much more effective than behavior management.

Before I get to the specific battle method, I’m going to break down the Scripture at the beginning of this post…

“We live in the world, but we don’t wage war as the world does”- We know how the world wages war, with physical weapons and physical violence- this is not the methodology that will be successful in the type of invisible battle that Christians have (because we know from the Scriptures that our enemy is not flesh and blood). This is why…

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.”

“On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” The weapons of the Believer seem foolish and weak to the world, but they actually have divine power. Some of our weapons are 1. The Scriptures (called the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 5:17) 2. Declarations of Praise (Psalm 8:2) 3. The word of our testimony and the blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11 where believers overcome the devil with these 2 things). All of these things are…WORDS! (Except for the blood of Jesus, but it is “applied” through our words when we pray and speak it out.)

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Arguments, pretensions (a claim to something) and thoughts are made up of WORDS!  These are internal realities and beliefs that then express themselves externally.

The truth is, we can’t help but leak on the outside what we really believe on the inside. “From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

The primary battle of the Believer is that our internal world (beliefs, thoughts, emotions) would line up with the reality of who God is. This is why our battle is to demolish arguments that are “against” (or opposed to) the “knowledge of God” (the truth about who God is).  We use TRUE words (the weapons mentioned above) to demolish UNTRUE words.

So, here is my new strategy:

When a thought comes into my mind that causes me to feel arrogant or fearful or irritated, I stop and ask, “If this thought is true, then what does it say about my Father?” Or, “Who is the enemy trying to get me to believe that my Father is?”

For example, let’s go back to our friend earlier who has a belief that it is okay to treat people unkindly if he is treated unkindly. “If this belief is true, then what does it say about the Father?”

This belief says that the Father is not able to defend me, I have to defend myself with angry words.

This belief says that the Father is not able to justify me, I have to justify myself before people.

This belief says that the Father is not protecting me, I have to protect myself by being defensive.

All of these things are against the knowledge of God…they’re just NOT who He is! I get to tear down these false beliefs by proclaiming (even literally out loud), “My Father is a Defender, He is the One who justifies me, He is my Protector, my refuge is in HIM! I don’t find my security in other people’s opinions about me, I find my security in being His dearly loved daughter! (see Psalm 18)

When we spot hypocrisy in our own lives, the enemy likes to get us swirling around in the disappointment of our failure. We get caught up in ourselves and what WE did wrong and what WE need to do better. It becomes all about…me, me, me, me, me.

But under the surface, the enemy is trying to distort the way that we think about our Father.

If the enemy can tear down and distort the way that I think about the Father, then he takes me out at the same time.

Being made in the image of the Father, if I have a distorted view of who He is, then I automatically have a distorted view of who I am. 

Who we believe the Father to be is the most important thing about us, because only in knowing Him rightly can we know ourselves rightly. As we believe more and more that we are indeed His beloved sons and daughters, our external life reflects the peace, security, joy, freedom, and love of simply belonging to Him.

As the people of God, our song is simple and childlike, and it literally shakes the heavens when we proclaim “I am His and He is mine.”

Refocus

Children look like their parents.

Children resemble their parents.

This is a natural principle. Natural principles reflect spiritual principles. God made both the natural and spiritual and they are connected.

Believers are reborn as children of God.

As we look at, behold, know, and love our Father more and more, we reflect Him more accurately.

As we behold Jesus (the exact representation of the Father), we are transformed from glory to glory.

It is very important for believers to have a clear understanding of where we come from.

Being spiritually reborn, we come from a Perfect Father.

Being reborn, we come from a Perfect Family (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Being reborn, we no longer rely on imperfect systems or imperfect examples of relationships to be our teachers. We do not blame other people for our shortcomings or deficiencies because they are not where our security is found.

The origin of the believer is the Holy Family.

We have a perfect example of relationship. We have access at all times to Perfect Love and total security. Access at all times to The Counselor, Helper, Teacher, Shepherd, Loving Daddy…

It’s always me plus Three.

Believers are children of God.

We look like our Father.

We naturally look like our Father. This has very little to do with “trying” to look like Him and very much to do with knowing Him and being secure in our coming from Him. (What child has to try to physically resemble his or her parents?)

Let us press on to know Him rightly, that we would be His true and loving children.

Moving Forward

A couple of Sundays ago at the Vineyard in Waverly, my husband and I got to share about our recent trip to California. While we were there we got to be a part of a gathering of young leaders at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. We also attended the Vineyard National conference; the theme this year was “ALL IN.”

I shared a Bible verse that morning that I didn’t have the reference to, but I looked it up…

“Do not say, ‘why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Eccelsiastes 7:10

As the people of God, we keep moving forward. We don’t put our hand to the plow and look back, we don’t leave a season of life and look back with daydreams of how much easier or lucrative those times were. We move forward with all the inheritance, blessings, promises, and lessons learned from the past. We love and worship a God who is constantly at work- the God of forward motion.

In the Vineyard movement, we have a rich heritage of gifts that the Father has given us. He has given us gifts, and he wants to give us MORE gifts! (Just because He is that Good and that Generous). I encourage you to listen to our time of sharing about more specifics of this HERE.

The Spirit of God is at work through the people of God all over the face of this planet. Let’s partner with Him today in looking forward.

We say, “Yes, Jesus. We agree with Your heart. We agree with Your desires of the things You are releasing and highlighting in this season. Help us, Holy Spirit, to fix our eyes on our Father and set our minds on things above.”