Sitting Down

“We began our Christian life by depending not upon our own doing but upon what he had done.  Until a man does this he is no Christian; for to say:  “I can do nothing to save myself; but by his grace God has done everything for me in Christ,” is to take the first step in the life of faith.  The Christian life from start to finish is based upon this principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus.  There is no limit to the grace God is willing to bestow upon us.  He will give us everything, but we can receive none of it except as we rest in him.  “Sitting” is an attitude of rest.  Something has been finished, work stops, and we sit.  It is paradoxical, but true, that we only advance in the Christian life as we learn first of all to sit down.”

Watchman Nee: Sit Walk Stand; Tyndale House; p. 15
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Let Me Reveal My Grace to You

I am the God of outrageous Grace — radical, incomprehensible, extravagant Grace. There’s nothing on earth like this. You can’t wrap your head or your arms around it, so don’t even try. I must simply reveal it to you. Let Me reveal my Grace to you.

I have given you a taste of this Grace, and it has touched your heart. I want to give you more. Let me reveal it to you. I want to display My lovingkindness to you. I am the One who opens your heart to receive. This is truly My master plan — let me fulfill it in you. Let me show you my Grace.

Let Me reveal my Grace to you. I need your “yes” — I will do the rest. For I am the God of Yes. All my promises are Yes. Let me have YOUR yes. That’s what I’m waiting for. May I make known My Grace to you?

This is truly what you’ve been longing for, searching for. My outrageous, radical, amazing Grace. JESUS. I want to unfold My Grace to you. I want to reveal My Son in you. Will you say Yes?

God is Satisfied with Jesus

What are you more conscious of today — your sins, or the forgiveness of your sins?   If your answer is “my sins,” then I encourage you to read this post.  For Jesus came to finish the sin issue between you and God.  He came to satisfy everything God had against you.

Paul said, It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. You are not free if you live with condemnation, that gnawing sense that you’re always blowing it; that God is constantly disappointed, disgusted or mad at you.  I lived that way for years.  My freedom and rest level was zero.

For years I believed that when Jesus said, It is finished,  He  just meant He had completed His work on earth and now was going to heaven to be with His Father.  Then one day I saw it:  IT IS FINISHEDThe sin issue has been finished in the eyes of God!  The perfect Lamb of God had met God’s stringent requirements of righteousness, and had laid down His life for you and me.  All that was left for me to do was receive it.  When you received Christ, you received complete forgiveness, once, and for all eternity, in Him.  But are you experiencing it yet?

The Cross is everything!   Here’s what happened there:

  • Jesus stood in for you and as you.  He took the punishment for the sins of the whole world, including yours — past, present and future — upon Himself.
  • When He died, all of your sins were carried away, even the ones you haven’t committed yet.  You see, when Jesus died, all of your sins were in the future!   God exhausted His wrath on His beloved Son, so you could go free. When you believed in and on Jesus, God placed you in Christ forever.  There is no more sacrifice for sin left.   None.
  • In God’s view, it’s over.  “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”  Hebrews 8:12.  Let it sink in.
  • It gets even more astounding:  When Jesus took your sin upon Himself; the Bible says He gave you His righteousness.
  • Jesus became Sin and you became Righteousness.  How could you be made righteous in God’s eyes when you were a sinner?  The same way Jesus became sin in God’s eyes even though He was completely righteous:   God’s miraculous grace!
  • The old system of living by rules and regulations to earn God’s blessings and favor was also finished!  The new covenant of favor in Christ and being led from within by the Holy Spirit had begun.

When you really understand the weight of what happened at the Cross, you will never be the same.  The condemnation on your shoulders (you may be so used to this that you don’t even feel it) will lift off and evaporate.  Then and only then will you be free to live life as God intended:   Christ in you, through you — because you will finally be at rest from your own works.  

You will never be able to satisfy God through your efforts to live by the 10 commandments, not now, not ever.  Never.

Jesus is God’s satisfaction.   Will you finally receive it?

Gal 5:1; John 19:30; 1 John 2:2; Heb 9:14; Heb 8:12; Heb 8:10; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 8:1; Heb 9:26

Lisa L

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

Grace is Calling Your Name

Grace is not a thing; Grace is not a concept; Grace is not a doctrine.  Grace is a person and His name is Jesus Christ.

Grace is who He is and what He is. Grace is love, perfect love. You can’t buy Him, you can’t earn Him, you can’t deserve Him or what He did for you. Grace is Jesus.

He gives Himself freely, and you can’t pay Him back. You can’t make Him love you more, and He cannot love you any less. Grace is Jesus.

Jesus bought you at the Cross, and you received “every blessing given by the Holy Spirit” along with complete forgiveness. Jesus suffered and died an extreme death.  He did it to reconcile you to a Father who loves you with an everlasting love,  the width, length, depth and height of which surpasses knowledge!  

Jesus did not BUY you grace; He did not buy you a “ticket to paradise” at the Cross. He gave HIMSELF to you – FOREVER. His eternal life is already in you. You are His beloved, and He is yours. Heaven in you has started on the earth, and it will continue into eternity.

Here is the Heaven already in you, eager to fill you and flow out:

• Life, sonship, righteousness, holiness, truth, glory, wisdom; understanding; counsel; power; comfort; knowledge – the characteristics of the Holy Spirit who indwells you.

• Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control – the fruit of the Holy Spirit who indwells you.

Grace is a Person, and He’s calling your name to come and receive what He’s given freely!

 

Lisa L

Ephesians 1:3
Ephesians 3:18,19
Isaiah 11:2
Psalm 103:3
Isaiah 53:4-5
Galatians 5:22

Come and Receive What’s Already Yours

Relax, you are already reconciled to God.

“God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”   2 Cor 5:19

The Good News:

  1. God is not judging you.  You were already judged, the verdict was guilty, and you were sentenced to die.  Jesus Christ took the punishment,  so you could be set free into eternal life now, and be with Him forever.
  2. God is not mad at you.   Jesus took the anger that was intended for you.
  3. God is not surprised when you fail.   He knew you couldn’t live up to the 10 commandments, so He decided to step into your place as your Savior, and do it for you.  (What kind of incomprehensible love is this?)
  4. God is not waiting for you to become righteous.  When you receive Christ, you become “the righteousness of God.”
    (2 Cor 5:21)
  5. God is not the one who is continually reminding you of your sins; in fact, He is trying to continually remind you that He no longer remembers your sins, because of what Jesus did.   “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless acts I will remember no more.”  Hebrews 8:12

What then?

God is waiting for you to see that you cannot depend on yourself for anything  —- not for salvation, not to be “good” enough, not to earn acceptance from God, not to obey the 10 commandments, not to become righteous, not even to love Him more.   I have discovered this is a painful process, what about you?

Paul opens up the book of Ephesians with the statement that “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”   He spends the first three chapters on this.  Paul, who wrote over half of the New Testament, spends most of his time explaining to the early Church who they were in Christ and what they had in Him.

The Christian life starts by receiving Jesus, then resting —yes, resting — in what the Father has done for you, through His precious Son, out of His unfailing love for you.

The life of the Christian begins with the discovery of what God has provided in Christ, who now lives inside of you if you have believed and received Him.   Our walk, our conduct, our behavior is meant to flow out from Him…..effortlessly.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”   Ephesians 2:10.

God wants us to depend on Him for everything.  That was the plan —  believe, receive and rest ….then, and only then, can we walk.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Lisa