God is a Giver, Are You a Receiver?

Above all else, God is a Giver. His nature is to give….freely and openhandedly. God so loved us that He sacrificed His beloved Son to bring us back to Him. For we were like the prodigal son, “a long way off.” Now in Christ we’ve been “brought near.”  Now, in Christ, we have a compassionate, unfailing, amazing, generous, Father’s love longing to touch us every day of our lives. He “showers us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) He gives us our daily bread.

Here are more Scriptures about God’s giving heart:

  • Every good and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. James 1:17
  • He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:6
  • Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4

God says His divine power has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)  These blessings are free and unearned, but we must receive or take possession of them before they become real in our lives. If that weren’t true, would we not be experiencing them daily and walking continually in peace, victory, holiness, faith, joy, health, glory, prosperity…..all the blessings in the heavenly realm that are already ours in Christ?

Receiving the Blessings That Are Already Ours

The rest of 2 Peter 1:3 says “….We have received all of this (all things pertaining to life and godliness) by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.”

Let’s read that again — Peter said we receive everything we need to live this life by coming to know Jesus Christ. But how do we come to know Him? If you study the Scriptures,  you will see certain characteristics in those who come to know God and move “from glory to glory” in their reflection of Him.  God reveals Himself to us directly in proportion to our:

HUNGERING AFTER GOD. “He gave plenty to drink to those who were thirsty. He filled those who were hungry with good food.” Psalm 107:9.

ASKING. “If you ask me to do something, I will do it.” John 14:14

EXPECTING. “The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor. (Psalm 145:15, 16 AMP).

In Christ all the promises of God are “yes and amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Experiencing these promises – our inheritance — is a result of hungering, asking, and expecting them to manifest in our lives.   Jesus longs to reveal more of Himself to us.

I awoke the other morning to a radio interview of a Christian woman who was telling the story of being rescued from the Pentagon on 9/11/01. The minutes were passing after the explosion, and she felt she would die. While coughing uncontrollably from smoke in her lungs, she blindly thrust her arm into thick, black smoke, hoping, believing someone would grab it and pull her to safety. Someone did. She is alive today because of the hunger and expectation that was already in her heart. I couldn’t help but notice the parallel to our receiving everything we need in our lives in Christ, whether that be rescue from trouble, victory, provision, healing, a job, peace of mind ….. all God’s promises that are yes and amen in Christ:

  • She hungered. In this case, for the very breath of life in her lungs. She needed God.
  • She asked God for help.
  • She expected God to answer, and took a step of faith, thrusting her arm into a black hole, instead of collapsing under tremendous mental and physical assault.

I don’t know about you, but I am hungry to receive all that God has provided for me. Everything. No holds barred. No limitations. I want to keep asking and seeking first the Kingdom of God. I expect God to answer my prayers because He has promised to, and He is good. I want to grow to trust Him more and more, even in the difficult areas of my life, where it sometimes seems like an answer will never come.

I want to receive and take possession of everything God has already provided for me in Christ.

How about you?

Eph 2:13, John 3:16, Eph 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3

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The Doorway of Extreme Dependence

Receiving “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3)is a simple act of faith that even a child can do. However, because of wrong thinking, wrong believing, and self-sufficiency, it is often a long and trying process in the life of a believer. God understands this. As we seek Him with all our heart, He lovingly establishes us in our true identity and leads us into the rest, freedom and blessings purchased on our behalf by His Son.

A friend of mine wrote the following lyrics many years ago. God used them, along with circumstances in my life, to move me from the path of “doing” to the road of “receiving.” The moment I read these lyrics on the piece of paper my friend casually handed me one day, I was aware of an overwhelming longing to know what he knew, as revealed on the page. I realized he understood his utter destitution apart from Christ, and I wanted to know it too. Desperation rose up in me, and I began to cry out to God about it. This continued for months. I carried the folded piece of paper around with me and took it out and read it whenever I had a free moment. Most of the time it brought me to tears.

After several months of this, one afternoon God gave me a powerful, loving vision of how He saw me in terms of my weakness and inability to live the Christian life apart from Him. I was no longer the same person. After this encounter, the lyrics had new meaning for me. God answered the deepest cry of my heart, and a peace and rest came over me that I hadn’t known before. I knew, in a new way, that I was utterly dependent upon Him. I learned that’s how He sees all of us, and that He’s just waiting for us to see it too!

My prayer is that the lyrics below touch you in some way on your journey of realizing that “apart from Him, you can do nothing,” for this is God’s doorway to receiving all the blessings in Christ that are already ours.

The Good in Me

by T.M.

All the good in me, Lord, is through You.

all the good in me is through You.

 When I came to your Son and begged to be freed,

That wasn’t me, Lord, it was You.

I know that wasn’t me — it was You.

All the joy around me, Lord, is You.

all the joy around me comes from You.

How could I ever think it was people or things,

It wasn’t them, Lord, it was You.

it wasn’t them — it was You.

But my world fell apart, Lord; where are You?

everything’s wrong and I’m tired, where are You?

I feel so helpless…to be happy seems a dream….

Oh my God, what has happened? Where are you?

Dear God, what has happened? Where are you?

Now that I’m helpless, what can I do?

I feel so helpless, what can I do?

What a wretched man am I — who will rescue me from this?

Now, Lord, what can I do.

What can I do…what can I do.

There is nothing I can do, Lord, it’s all You!

there is nothing I can do, it’s all You!

Now I’m helpless…and broken…and desperate…and lost…

Finally! – You can use me — I’m in You!

Oh my God, please forgive me — I forgot You!

Dear God – forgive me — I forgot You.

Your Spirit is alive, and working within me.

I praise your mercy, I love You.

I praise your mercy, I love You.

All the good in me, Lord, is through You.

all the good in me is through You.

Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,

All the good in me, Lord, is through You.

all this good in me came through You.

Romans 7:15-25

John 19:30

Galatians 2:20 and 5:16-26

The E-F-F-O-R-T-L-E-S-S-N-E-S-S of True Spiritual Growth

Have you ever experienced someone who knows you well saying “you’ve changed” (grown, matured, etc.), and you were surprised because not only did you not notice the growth, you didn’t “do” anything to grow?  This is one of the most encouraging statements you can hear if you’re someone who wants to grow in your faith.

I heard this for the first time years ago, when one of my sisters announced to me, “before you became a believer in Christ you were “much more negative…. you’ve really changed.”  For the record, I didn’t even know I was “negative” before (I just thought I had a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, haha), so I was equally clueless that I had changed.  The fact is, I had changed with no effort at all!  I had changed unconsciously and permanently without even trying!  Have you changed effortlessly?  Yes you have, if you are a believer.  You see, you cannot help but grow if you have Christ inside you.  His nature will eventually manifest through you.

But just how does real, permanent growth take place without effort?  Jesus said look at a grapevine and its branches.  He said a branch will bear (grow) fruit just by staying attached to the vine!  Likewise, a Christian will grow spiritually just by staying attached to the vine (Christ)!  That sounds…almost…simple.

For many years I asked “How do I stay attached to the vine?  Tell me how to abide.”  I believed I had to DO something to stay connected to God.  “Come on, just tell me how to DO it.”  Have you ever felt this way?  Well, how does a branch stay attached to the vine?   It just rests where it isHere is how we stay attached:  We rest where we already are in Him.

The critical question then becomes, “Do you know where you already are in Him?”   If you can’t answer “Yes” to that question, then your growth — the true effortless, permanent kind — will be slow.  Why?  Because you will be spending your time working on yourself and getting discouraged.  You weren’t meant to do it that way.

 The secret to growing spiritually:   Learn where you already are in Christ because of His efforts, His finished work on the Cross.  Come and learn, come and receive, come and trust in what you already have in Him.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”  1 Pet 1:3.

Jesus Christ loved you enough to give Himself to you.  The old you died with Him, and now He lives in you, the new you.  Now you live by His faith.   Galatians 2:20

Striving will diminish, and resting will flourish.  Growth will be effortless. That’s the abundant life Jesus promised to you and me.

Have you experienced some effortless growth you’d like to share?

Lisa L