The Lord is my Shepherd

“Jesus was gentle and tender and true.  He was righteous but also stern and tough on phony people.” The Shepherd Trilogy by Phillip Keller

As I was speaking to God about what this statement means through the light of him being a good shepherd he showed me that the very essence of the word stern was to be uncompromising.  That he is uncompromising when it comes to the fact that he will not accept anything but the best for His creation and is unwilling to let us walk in anything but that. He is constant in His pursuit of us as the Good Shepherd.

He is tough, not easily influenced, as he stands firm on what he knows to be the truth.  He is unwilling to let us accept anything less than that truth, His best, for us His beloved.

So, we could ascertain then, Jesus was gentle and tender and true. He was righteous and uncompromising in his pursuit of the revelation of the truth, he stands firm in that truth unwilling to bend or allow any of us to walk in anything less than His ultimate best for us.

Many interpret Jesus as being tough and stern on people without viewing that through the lens of his ultimate love, care, and desire for us to fully embrace and be able to walk in all He has for us, with Him forever.  They have interpreted that toughness or sternness as permission for them to look down on those they oppose. Unfortunately, they take that view and use it to justify rudeness, belittling, and arrogance if you will, in their own behavior towards others.

Love is never arrogant or rude. Love is always patient and kind. The heart behind Jesus’ actions was always love, his desire was for us to be free and walking in the truth of who we have always been. He loved each and every person as he created us all in his image what he hated was the lies stealing away His best in their lives. The war isn’t against flesh and blood and often times it appears that is forgotten.

I sadly have seen many examples of this type of interpretation as justification of these very behaviors both online and in real life as these beloved’s misperception of Jesus’ intentions overflows into what they have come to believe their “job” and “right” is as His children. They have believed that it is their “job” or “right” to keep the rest of the flock in line, forgetting the foundation that it needs to be rooted in love. They have bypassed the Shepherd and have climbed over the sheepfold asserting this misgiven perception. (I get it, I really do, as there was a time in my own life that I also felt that it was my duty, or job to do just that. It was an exhausting job, but one that brought much self-justification and self-satisfaction but was ultimately dripping with pride and arrogance as I was unable to recognize that I had stepped out of the rest of my beloved. Oh, what little did I know.)

The truth is there is only one shepherd and anyone who enters the sheepfold any other way but the door is a thief and a robber.  Don’t get me wrong they can still be sheep, and part of the true shepherds precious flock but may simply not yet be understanding the reality that as a sheep our only job is to simply trust the shepherd and rest in his care.

Only the owner of the sheep has the rights to enter through the door of the sheepfold.  There is only one owner and it is his job and role alone to care for the sheep and that included keeping the sheep in line, and free from any danger.

The shepherd has the rights to ownership and authority and those of us who have willingly yielded ourselves to that care have joined our brothers and sisters in the fold of our precious shepherd. I use to believe that ownership and authority where bad things.

God has ownership and authority over me because he created me.  Yet he created me with free will so that I could choose to believe and submit to this truth or not.  Ultimately, submitting to his ownership and authority is resting in his care and provision for my own life. Ownership only means so much as the character of the owner.  Likewise, authority will look differently depending on the character of the owner. Our understanding of who Elohim is, and ultimately our intimate knowledge of the trinity affects our understanding and view of what that authority and ownership looks like.

If we believe that God is a tyrant demanding his rule and authority over us then we are missing what Christ came to show us in the flesh about the truth of His desire.

Ownership-The Good Shepherd offers us protection, care, health, healing, lack of worries, provision, fellowship, family, security, comfort, joy, happiness, guidance to the very best pastures and so much more. Ownership is me allowing myself to submit-to choose God, to yield my own lacking abilities to bring life forth to His, it is trusting that He, the one who dreamed me up before the beginning of the earth, who delicately knit me together in my mother’s womb and who has never left me can do it better than I can.

Authority-The Good Shepherds authority fends off the enemies and predators in our lives (at times even our own wrong mindsets and beliefs) He brings forth His life in us to the fullest extent as he has always intended.  Me yielding to the good shepherds’ authority is simply believing that He alone can care for me best.

He continually persuades us of the truth of His character so that we can understand what His desire is and what true ownership and authority look like under His loving care.

Psalms 23:1-The Lord is my Shepherd I lack nothing.

You Enemy isn’t Who You Think it is!

Hold the Attack

The other day the Lord had me paraphrase in Julie speak Psalm 31:10-20 for myself. At the time I felt it was an odd passage to translate as it wasn’t really relative to what was occuring in my life at that moment and then last night and this morning he brought it back to my mind and began speaking to me about it further.  One part of what I summarized that really stood out to me was what I had wrote for verse 15. I had summarized it as “My here and now is in your hand. Save me from the hand of those who have made me their enemy and continue to persecute me.”

Save me from those who have made me their enemy, spoke to my spirit. I heard Julie you are not their enemy, they have made you into that in their own minds.  So many times we make others into our enemies in this battle but in reality that is not true, they are at the same table God has prepared for us feasting with us.

Psalms 23 He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

The word enemy here in this verse is starer-to cramp (literally or figuratively), cause distress, is an adversary.

If you have ever had a cramp you know that it is painful. Our “enemy” therefor cramps our style, or is literally a pain in our butt so to speak, causes distress, and is our adversary.

When we look at that definition is it people that really are our enemy?  Who is the real adversary? We may think it is the person behind the words or actions that is the one we should be fighting against, but if we are looking at them and seeing enemy and not beloved son/daughter their true identiteis whose perception are we looking through? Is it not that perception itself that is our true adversary?

Eph 6:12 For our struggle (wrestling, conflict, fight) is not against flesh (“carnal” human origin or empowerment)

**That part of the verse right there woke me up, my fight isn’t again human empowerment, it’s not about the human actions its about the source behind what is birthing them.

Eph 6: 12 (cont) but against the rulers (initial starting point, origin) and against the powers (delegated empowerment, authority), and against the world focus (ruler of this world, referring to Satan) of this darkness (physical or moral) against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness (pain, laborious trouble and toil, inequity) in the heavenly places.

Beloved people are not the enemy, our fight should not be against one another, but against the origin of that mindset, that self delegated independent spirit mentality stemming from Satans lie of inequity in the spiritual rhelm.

Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil fro evil to anyone. Respect (foresee in advance) what is right in the sight of all men. If possible (strong, mighty, powerful) so far as it depends on you be at peace (bring peace, be at peace) with all men.

It is not the person who is slinging the mud at you that is your adversary, it is the one that has deceived God’s beloved to begin the mud slinging in the first place.

 

 

Titles

I am just a woman who loves her Abba.  There is nothing that makes me uniquely special in the eyes of the world, nor do I deem myself any better than anyone else.  I say this not to belittle myself but to make you see that you and I, we are equal on this journey.

I am not one for titles, I often find myself balking when titles are used to describe me because that is not how I view myself.  I am more than just a mere title. Though I have been called wife, mom, daughter, friend, prophet, pastor, and teacher those things do not adequately describe who I truly am.  Only my beloved Abba can adequately describe the truth of me, only the love of Jesus flowing out of me can accurately show you who I really am.  All glory to Him who sits on the throne of grace.

There is no difference between you and I, at the very core of who we are, we are created in the same image, the image of God.  We are both beloved sons and daughters of the one true Abba.  We both have full access to every good and wonderful gift of the Father.

I have been contemplating lately what the prophetic is as God has brought this into my life.  Asking Abba why this gift is a part of who I am and what that looks like functioning in the beautiful body of God’s beloved children in my own life.

I am not here to tell you that you need me to hear God for yourself, that is never my intention nor my heart. I fully believe that you, yourself can hear God.  In fact, there is nothing that God or myself wants more than for you to be walking in that very truth with Him.

I have a choice to function in this gift or not, it is not forced or even expected of me by Abba. I choose to because the very core of me (I believe the Jesus in me) longs to move in it, to encourage you in the truth of who he is and who you are. In return I am also encouraged.

I believe all can hear God, I believe that is what he desires for each of us, relationship, intimacy, friendship, life. On this journey, I pray that our encouragement of one another flows out of our own experience with the Grace of God Himself, that it would be from the overflow of our relationship with him.

Blessings, Julie

The Adventure of Life

always changing...

 

I was happily looking ahead to next year and all my children being happily in public schools for the first time ever.  I spent my mornings contemplating all the time I would have for my blogging, reading, painting, organization, etc., etc. And then it happened, a small little nagging feeling in the core of my being.  I started to think of how much I was going to miss my 5-year-old being with me throughout the day, about how much I actually enjoy our morning snuggles, our reading on the couch, our afternoon game time.  The desire to homeschool once again started to bubble in my spirit, but I pushed it back down right quick. No, I did not want to give up my time, oh all that glorious time. Visions of me relaxing on the couch reading a book filled my mind, but that feeling wouldn’t stop, it was relentless. Then it expanded that little desire became not just homeschooling our 5-year-old but our 8-year-old as well.

I had many conversations with Daddy about this desire, and what it exactly meant and looked like for our family.  I felt fear come in about this desire to homeschool, so much so I was overwhelmed.  You see the last time we homeschooled I had all four kiddos home and it was so very difficult on me and not very enjoyable for any of us.  That fear made me doubt my abilities, my sanity, my desire as being authentic.  I teetered between wanting that time all to myself and the desire to have my children home. Back and forth I felt tugged between them both.

I just keep going to Him, day after day, asking him to show me what it’s all supposed to look like.  Asking him what I truly desire, and if my desires are his desires. Asking Him to show me what is His best for our family.  I let him persuade me of His truth, that I am fully capable to carry this out.  That I can take and find the time for myself despite being with my kids 24/7.  That he will provide those moments that I desire of relaxing on the couch with a good book in spite of homeschooling. That I could have both in a sense.

He showed me that this journey of trusting him in my relationship was much the same as this journey to trust him with homeschooling.  That there needed to be a deconstruction of all that I knew about education, all those years of book learning needed to be torn down so that he could reteach me what school was to look like for our children. Much like my journey about of “religion” and into beautiful relationship with Him.

He showed me that my greatest asset is not my Master’s Degree in Education, nor my organizational skills or creativity, it is Him.  Yes, all those things are awesome and important but to have the source of all truth and wisdom is infinitely more valuable.  To be able to go to him when something with my kids learning isn’t working and say, now what?  To know that I don’t have to have all the answers because he does. The best news is we all have that same access to Him.

He showed me that sometimes the decision to homeschool isn’t just about what you will teach the child academically that year, that it can be more about what you will teach that child relationally.  What you will speak into that child identity wise, that it could be more about a season of protection and building up than it can be about imparting academic wisdom.  How closely this relates to our fathers very heart for us.

Maybe it’s simply about allowing the child to feel empowered by letting them select a topic they enjoy and just coming along for the ride.  Maybe it’s about letting the child go unrestrained into this new way of learning and not requiring them to stop for the day when the scheduled lesson is done.  Maybe it’s about knowing that some days will be spent on hours of grammar because that’s what she wants to do and the next day grammar won’t even come into play as the outdoors is calling and knowing that, that is OK.  Maybe it’s about building relationships and learning to simply trust yourself and your abilities. To learn to love learning all over again from the ground up.

Oh, how closely that can mimic where God has me at right now with Him.  His focus is on teaching me about real relationship with him and what that looks like, it’s about deconstructing the misperceptions I had and focusing me on my true identity and value. In this journey, he is protecting me and building me up day by day. He is less concerned about my “book” knowledge and more concerned about my relational knowledge.  He is empowering me in my abilities to hear and connect with Him and is allowing me to run this race unbridled and full of excitement and passion, no rules and regulations or to do lists hinder this race any longer. The chains are broken and I have been set free.

Some days this race is run full speed ahead and others days it resembles more of a slow trot, but either way he is showing me that both are perfect. He is showing me that this pace that I am on is my own and that I can trust it and Him. That it’s about learning to trust myself, and to trust who He is showing me that I am.  I am learning to love this glorious adventure and I am somewhat sure I will also enjoy this new season of going back into homeschooling.  One thing for sure is it’s a glorious adventure and I have the best teacher right here inside of me.

Going Through Difficulties

Where are you God?

There are many times in our lives when situations occur that are very hard for us to humanly reconcile where God is at in all of these things.  We try to equate these things somehow to His character, or it being His hand.  In doing so we are taking out of the equation the very real world that we live in.  This fallen world that is upheld by our own choices.  This world that allows us free will so that the true love of God can be received not by force but by choice.

I have struggled over things that I have seen, things that have happened to me personally in my life and to those closest to me, wondering where are you God, where were you in this? In my own understanding, I can try to equate these things to God, I can try to reconcile this with human logic and understanding, but there is another way.  A better way.

What if we went to God and simply asked him, where are you in this? When we are going through great trials and trouble what if we asked Him to show us what He was doing in it?  What if we asked where were you in that, as we look back on things from our past that were painful and left us feeling confused, hurt and alone.  Do you believe that he would show you? I do.

I have done this with some of the most painful times in my life, times that were turning points for me in how I saw myself.  Times that I blamed myself, judged myself, punished myself for. It took me a while to be in that place where I trusted Daddy enough to go there with Him, where I allowed myself to ask those tough questions even when I was sometimes afraid to hear the answers.  One thing I have come to understand is that He is so very good, we need not be afraid.

I have done this with times when I so expected to see Him move and heal and the healing didn’t manifest as I expected.  I asked those tough questions, I fought it out in a way with Him as I wrestled with my grief.  Does that mean he wasn’t there in it, that he caused it to happen? No. I can ponder in my own understanding if His inaction meant he allowed it to happen, I can wonder if it was somehow His will, however to do so is to entertain human reasoning, not His own.

We can readily go to the source of divine knowledge and understanding as we carry it within us where ever we go. We can ask Him those tough questions, wrestle out our own understanding with Him. He doesn’t mind, he embraces us and relishes the opportunity to speak life and truth into us. I have found the difference between going to my own understanding and going to His, is that His brings peace, comfort, and even joy.  That doesn’t mean there won’t necessarily be grief, or a sense of loss, or even a bit of feeling stretched which can feel uncomfortable at best, but His truth is always a healing balm to our battered souls.

I pray that today you would be ready to take those tough questions to Him, that you would have the comfort with Him to trust that He is good and would be confident in who He is enough to ask.

 

Praise vs. Thanks

How it Relates to Worship

This topic is one that I have studied about a week ago. I was planning on doing it right after the one that I did on Worship. In between that, God had me not. I was fully prepared one day to talk about praise and thanksgiving and worship and how it all fits. God stopped me that day and told me to do something on Mommy Guilt, so I did that instead. I was mowing the lawn today and all of a sudden the Lord said, “Today is the day that we are going to talk about praise where you looked at that before.”

So, today we are going to be looking at praise and thanksgiving it is kind of  the second message in this series. The first that we did in the series of worship, and I have the feeling there’s going to be three talking about worship. I talked about that a little bit in the message before this one. I will kind of  recap here in a minute what we talked about. Then I feel that probably after this one, we will be talking about thanksgiving and what that looks like and thanks because I just touch on it a little bit here, the difference between what praise and thanksgiving is and what that looks like in our lives.

Praise is really what flows out of worship and we have to understand what worship really means to be able to understand praise. I would encourage you, if you haven’t seen my video on worship or read the transcript, to go back and listen to or read that. It’s only about 15 or 20 minutes and it just goes into a little more depth and background and documentation of the true meaning of worship. What that basically stated was that worship is recognizing and believing the truth of who Daddy is. It’s our spirit acknowledging its true heritage in knowing whose we are and knowing and receiving His life and His goodness and His grace and His truth as was shown to us by Jesus. I went into that a little bit more on my previous video but that’s really what worship is. Worship is recognizing and believing the truth of who Daddy is. It’s your spirit acknowledging its true heritage and knowing whose you are and knowing and receiving His life which He came to give us – His goodness, His grace and  truth as we can see in Jesus.

When we think about praise, we also can get that confused with thanksgiving or thanks. Thanks is actually different than praise. Thanks says, “I thank You” or “Thanks”. Whether you express it or not you are actually the subject of the verb in thanks.  Whereas in praise, the object of praise is the subject of the sentence. It would be God so He would be the subject of the sentence. It would be like, “He rescued me” or “He forgave all my sins.” We are not the object of that sentence therefore it is praise and not thanksgiving. There is a difference.

If we look at Ephesians 1:3, we can see that this is actually an example of praise and thanksgiving in one verse. It says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Praise is what was first there because it acknowledged God, or the acknowledgment went to God who was the subject: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… That’s an example of praise.

Thanksgiving is what we see secondly in the sentence as the focus turns to the speaker.:  who has blessed us (Now the focus is on us) with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ.”

Praise focuses on God and who He is. Thanksgiving focuses on what God has done for us. That is the difference between praise and thanksgiving.

Hebrews 13:15 Through him therefore let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name. (Fruit here is the Greek word, karpos. It means everything that is done in true partnership with Christ. That’s what it is talking about here. So it is saying, “Through Him, through Jesus, let us continually (an account of or because of ) offer to God a sacrifice of praise that is the fruit, or the partnership with Jesus, of lips that give thanks. Thanks here means to speak the same thing or to agree. It is actually the same word as confess. When we think about “confess your sins, it means to speak the same as. So that is the fruit of the lips that give thanks or speak the same as, or  agree.)  to his name.

Through Jesus and not of our own effort or strength, but out of the overflow of worship, flows praise. It flows through Jesus of our knowing who He is and who we are and what He has done for us.  The word, fruit, here is actually the same word that is used in the verse, fruit of the Spirit. It’s also the same word that is used as, “I am the vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me  produces much fruit.” That is the same word that we are talking about here in Hebrews 13:15. Fruit as everything done in true partnership with Christ.

Sacrifice is an offering. It’s a praise offering even when the world’s view looks bad… like things look bad through the worldly view, we can worship and praise because we are agreeing with Daddy, the truth about the situation. We are seeing it through His perspective and not our perspective. So even when we are going through a difficult situation, we can see it through Daddy’s eyes and we can give praise and worship and thanks because of the fruit of the Spirit that comes forth effortlessly out of us because Jesus lives in us and we don’t have to let the worldly perspective steal that away from us. We can trust in Him in what He is doing in our lives and what He showed us He did for us through Jesus.

I thought this was interesting: In the Old Testament, the sacrifice of praise would mean that a worshiper would bring a sacrifice which would be placed on the altar to be cooked for a communal meal, a meal they would all eat together. While the animal was being cooked, the worshiper, the one who provided it, would stand beside the altar and proclaim the praise to God. This would be the reason why everyone would eat from this sacrifice because they would recognize that God had done something for the worshiper because of the offering that they offered. They would then all eat the meal together because they saw that God had done something so they ate and gave thanks because the worshiper had been changed.

In the New Testament, Jesus was our sacrifice of praise. He placed Himself on the altar and told us to eat of His flesh. Those who eat from the flesh, understand as God had done something in them, changing their hearts and minds. It just reminded me of how many disciples He lost when He made that comment that said, “If you would eat of My flesh and drink of My blood!” they looked at Him as, “What are You talking about! There is not any way…” They thought He had gone off the deep end!

That’s just what He was showing me is that those of us who understand what that truly means to eat of His body and drink of His blood, are participating in what we know as Communion but  we are also participating in this praise offering because He offered Himself for us. It just kind of blew me away because as we are partaking in that, we are realizing and we are seeing that He has changed us. We are in agreement with, “Yes, Lord! You have changed us. You have changed my thinking. You have changed my mind.” I just thought that was really interesting. He also led me to 1 Peter.

1Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that we should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

“…that we should show forth the praises of him “ I thought that was interesting because the praise, remember, the subject is Him. So how do we show forth the praises of Him? The Lord just really spoke to my heart and He said that we are the praises of God! That we are the walking examples of God’s excellency and goodness. We are that living example showing forth the praises, or the excellencies, of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His light. I thought that was awesome to think of how He views us! I mean how can you not praise and thank and worship Him when He is so in love with us! That He sees us as His praise! I can just picture how we brag on our kids when they do something awesome. The thing I am thinking of right now is my daughter went to get her own Youtube channel to do broadcasting because she is really into Minecraft and she wants to start doing videos. Originally we told her, “No.” Then she put her mind to it and decided that she was going to write a proposal and present it to us about the reasons why we should let her, and educationally the benefit from that and how it benefits the family and how it benefits her. So right now I am praising my daughter. I am praising her for her awesomeness in coming up with something like that. God is saying, “That’s what I do to you!”

I can just hear Him turning to Jesus and saying, “Did you see what she did today? Isn’t that awesome! She is so awesome! I am so in love with her!” To even think that He would say that about us… like He is that proud of us that He sees us as His praise and He sings our praises because He loves us! In turn, it just blows my mind! How could I not praise Him! How could I not see how amazingly awesome He is

and just speak forth out of that revelation of His goodness, the truth of who He is! Just for praise, like  “God, You are amazing! God, You are awesome! You can do anything!” I could just go on and on! That’s praise. Thanksgiving is, “Lord, thank You that You love me! Lord, thank You that You took care of me today. Lord, thank You that You help me show others the truth of who they are and who I am!” Do you know what I mean… it just flows naturally out of worship.

Remember, worship is recognizing and believing the truth of who God is. It’s basically your spirit acknowledging its true heritage and knowing whose you are and knowing and receiving His life, goodness, grace and truth. That’s what that is. Praise God is the object of our praise and it flows out of us, effortlessly, because of the worship… we recognize and believe the truth. And out of the praise comes thanksgiving where we thank Him for everything that He has done. Amen! That’s what I have to say about that.

Lord, I just thank You that You are the object of our praise. I thank You that through worshiping You, through understanding, knowing and joining with You that not only does praise flow out of us as a fruit but from that praise, we give thanksgiving. I just thank You Lord! You are awesome! You are amazing! I just thank You that You continue to reveal more and more to us each and every day… in Jesus’ name!

 

What is Worship

I just wanted to talk to you a little bit of what the Lord placed on my heart this morning, when I was walking the dog. He talked about what worship means and about what true worship looks like because He was taking me to John 4:23. But the hour is coming, and now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

I was just thinking about what worship means because when we were under the Law, what I believed worship was something we did on Sunday before the sermon. We listened to the music and sang to the Lord and raised our hands and just really sang out to Him. In my mind, that was what worship was. Then I started to study it a little bit more for an  event that I went on. I actually read a book on worship and it was very interesting. This was all stuff that I had done while I was still not understanding Grace and the love of our Father towards me. So this morning I really just wanted to understand what worship meant. As I was walking and listening to some music, I asked the Lord, “Lord, what does it mean to worship You? What does that word, worship, really mean?” Do you know what He said? He just  told me that worship is recognizing and believing the truth of who He is. I was like,“Wow, Lord! It’s that simple? It’s just recognizing and believing the truth of who You are?” As I was walking, I had my phone and started to google different verses because I want to know if this is really true. I wanted to see the biblical backup to it, not that I don’t believe what He told me or what I heard. He went on and said, “Your spirit is acknowledging your true heritage. It’s knowing whose we are and receiving His love and goodness and grace and truth as Jesus showed us when He came.” I thought, “Wow! That’s what worship is?”

As I’m walking and typing in a search for verses, He takes me to John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

I was thinking, “Hmmm… What is a true worshiper, Lord?” because He said that the hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. I looked up the word, true, and it emphasizes an organic connection or authentic unity. That’s what that word means. It’s authentic unity between what  is true in its source or origin. So it is really the unity between us, our original design, and God. It refers to what is essentially true, connecting visible facts to its underlining reality. This is all from Strongs and the Word Concordance. It emphasizes the integrity of what is true down to its inner makeup. It’s the reality of what is true inside and out. So, “true”, is the reality of who we are. True worshipers get their identity, they get who they are and who God is, and only then can we really worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, because in the Greek, “Truth” means reality. I thought that was super interesting.

To worship in Spirit and in Truth, is to recognize the reality of who we really are and that is what He is calling us to do. I’m thinking, “Okay, if we look back at that verse, But the hour is coming, and now here, when the true worshipers (those who truly know who they are, who see the integrity of what is true down into their inner makeup… that’s the definition of “true”) will worship the Father in spirit and in truth I am like, okay, we are going to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. How do we do that?  What then is spiritual worship if we worship Him in truth that means we worship Him with understanding that inner makeup of who we truly are. So then what is spiritual worship as it is talking about there?

Romans 12:1-2  I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

When I was under the Law, I was believing that verse meant that I needed to present my physical body to Him as a sacrifice that whatever He wanted me to do, that I would do it. I was there to serve Him. I was His servant to do whatever He asked. The Lord is really breaking down that verse for me and showing me that as a daughter and as a son, it has a different perspective when we look at it from our true identity of who we are, than what I originally believed when I thought that my main role was as a servant to the Lord and that was what He created me for, is not the truth! He created me for intimate fellowship with Him, with the Trinity!

That verse says, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice… The word, present, here means to come up close beside; to stand close beside. So we are supposed to stand close beside Him with our bodies. We don’t need to run away like Adam and Eve did! He is saying, “Present your body, come up close beside, as a living sacrifice.” The word, living, is from the word, Zoe, which is God life. It is to experience God’s gift of life. We can’t stand close beside God if we believe that we are not holy or worthy to. We just can’t do it. If we believe that we still have to earn His approval, we are not going to feel confident and comfortable standing close beside Him, next to Him, on the same level as Him. Servants would never do that! They wouldn’t stand, next to, close beside and shoulder to shoulder with their masters.

He is saying that we need to come, stand close beside Him with our bodies, to present our bodies as a living a Zoe life, a God life, sacrifice.  “…holy (holy means the likeness of nature with the Lord, set apart) and acceptable to God…  (It means to stand by God and agree with His view of us, that we can and are experiencing God’s gift of life, His very Zoe life, and that we are set apart and holy, just as Jesus. That we sacrifice our own works to try to make ourselves like God and simply believe that we are already like Him because of Jesus. That is what that verse is saying. Let me read it one more time. “That we are to stand close beside God in agreement with His view of us that we are and can experience Zoe life, God’s gift of life, and that we are set apart and holy just as Jesus. That we sacrifice our own works to try to make ourselves like God and simply believe that we are already like Him because of Jesus.”

That same verse in Romans goes on in verse 2 to say, And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind He is saying, “Listen to what the world is saying that you are because you are not going to be able to stand beside Me, shoulder to shoulder and experience My life if you are not seeing yourself the way that I see you.” So He is encouraging us for that renewal of the mind, that mind change, that metanoia, that repentance, that change of mind that only He can bring about. That is what they are talking about there. It says, the renewal of our mind, the changing of our mind by Daddy’s truth is what allows us to be true worshipers. When we can see ourselves as He does and believe that, we can confidently approach Him as sons and daughters.

He was just showing me that what I used to believe isn’t the truth. Worship isn’t begging God to do something. Worship isn’t convincing Him that we are worthy to be loved and to be blessed. It isn’t a sacrifice to prove ourselves acceptable to Him.  He doesn’t need those things from us. That is not what He is calling us to do when He’s calling us to worship. We are already all of those things to Him. So if we are worshiping to try to convince Him that we are worthy, try to show Him that we are worthy to be blessed or that we are trying to prove ourselves to be acceptable, we are not truly worshiping Him.

To truly worship Him would be to stand beside Him in agreement, shoulder to shoulder, and say, “I am who You say I am.” That’s what it means when it is talking about the true worshipers worshiping Him in Spirit and in truth. Our spirit resonates with the truth that He speaks to us and we stand and say, “Yes, that is true!” Out of that acknowledgment of our true identity, our true heritage of knowing who we are and receiving His love, comes worship, effortlessly, effortlessly flowing out of us. It’s that worship that effortlessly flows out of us because of the fact that we realize the goodness of the true Gospel. We realize the goodness of Daddy’s heart towards us.

True worship flows out of that acknowledgment of our true identity is in Him. Worship in many verses means to kiss. To kiss someone you are usually intimate with them. You don’t just go up and kiss a stranger.  I was thinking about that because if I am thinking about it as a parent/child relationship, how do you kiss your child? How does your child kiss you? Do we make our child bend down on their knee and we present our hand to them and we have them kiss our hand? No! We would never do that! I’m not going to have my kids bow down before me and bend down to kiss my hand. I don’t think you do that! I wouldn’t want anybody to do that but that’s kind of how I had viewed that type of intimacy with Him. That He would hold out His hand and I would kneel before Him and I would kiss His hand, kneeling, bowing down before Him. It was out of a servant mentality.

He is just showing me that game that we play with our kids. We call it “Mooch Land.” It’s where, when putting them to bed, we say, “We are going to take you to Mooch Land! And they squeal and we catch them and kiss them all over. He said, “Julie, that’s the intimacy that we have together. You kiss Me and I kiss you back because it’s that parent/child, bride/bridegroom relationship.” I had never thought about it that way. Like how I kiss my son’s little face all over, Daddy does that to me. He kisses my little face all over just as much as I kiss Him, He kisses me right back. I had never thought about that. It is like I just saw that when we are true worshipers, not only do we long and desire to kiss Him, because we recognize and receive His amazing love for us, but He kisses us, all the more, right back because He is so enthralled by us!  He is so excited that we are seeing the truth of who we are and we are living and walking in His Zoe life which is what He has always intended for us. He gets excited about that!

So He was just showing me some other scriptures that show how when we identify and understand who He truly is, that we can’t help but worship Him. Sometimes we may bow down in total awe of Him but not because we are putting on a show, not because we are performing, not because we feel that we have to, but it is because we are so overwhelmed by His love. We are so overtaken by His love for us that we can’t help it! It’s like we can’t do anything but that!

He showed me some verses in the Bible where people did that.

Matthew 2:11 The Magi bowed down and worshiped Him because they realized the true identity of who Jesus was. They worshiped the Babe because they knew,  they saw the truth of, who He was.

Matthew 21:9 and John 12:13, their hearts are crying out, “Hosanna, Hosanna!” That’s an expression of  adoration. That’s because they realized who Jesus was. They realized who Jesus really was and so they were shouting out that worship because they recognized who He was.

Matthew 14:33 He said that those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, “Truly, You are the Son of God!” They saw Him for who He truly was.

Matthew 28:9 When they realized that it was Him, they came to Him and clasped His feet and worshiped Him.

Worship is really a state of our spirit that we have to know God, that we have to know the truth of what a good God He is. It’s basically a response that flows out of us effortlessly to knowing the truth in our spirit. It should be something that is effortless that it flows out of us naturally. It should never have to be forced. It should never be anything that we put on our “To Do” list, our “Check Off” list or we feel obligated because everybody around us is doing it. That does not honor Him. That doesn’t look anything like what He wants us to do.  He wants us to simply stand shoulder to shoulder, next to Him, and experience His Zoe life and realize the truth of who we are.

I want to just go back to the beginning where we started from the definition He gave me this morning: Worship is recognizing and believing the truth of who He is. It’s our spirit acknowledging our true heritage.  It’s knowing who we are and knowing and  receiving His love, His goodness and grace and truth, as He showed us.  And out of that, worship will flow effortlessly.

I just pray that blessed you and you that you  have a great day. I thank you for watching and I am just going to pray over you because I feel led. “Lord, I just thank You for every single person who will hear this message. I pray that you will reveal more and more as to what true worshipers really look like, as to what  worship You truly desire from us.

Lord, I pray that You would show us our unique ways which You created for us to worship You. I thank You, Lord, that we are each different. We each have our own special, unique talents and giftings and callings, Lord.

I just feel that He just wants to encourage you to ask Him to show you what worship looks like for you. I just believe He wants to show you because He loves you that much! I also believe that He wants to go to Smooch Land with you and to kiss your face all over and for you to know that you are worthy of that love, that type of love, that Fatherly love… unconditionally.

Agape Love

God is Love

I got to attend another amazing fellowship last night at our home church, the Freedom Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan and it really got my spirit thinking.  I love it when Daddy challenges my theology in a way that I know he is growing me.  Last night we were talking about God being Love and what exactly that looks like.  We also were looking at our perception of God and what attributes we believed about him ourselves and why we believed those things.

Needless to say he revealed to me some things that I am believing about him that simply are not true, things I had been taught in the past that I had just taken as fact that were not the true representations of Him and His true nature and character.  This morning he lead me to 1 John 4, so lets start by taking a look at these amazing scriptures. Get your coffee around and get ready to dig in.

1 John 4:7-16

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Agape Love God love is so eloquently described for us in 1 Corinthians 13 which we will get to in a bit.  Love is from God, and Him alone, our ability show agape is not out of our own strength or accord but out of being given that agape love by God. We are only able to give what we have received as a free gift.  When we accept the Love of the Father are born of Him as it states in verse 7.  Those who do not truly know God can not bear Agape Love because it is not by our hands but God’s alone. God is love. He loved us so very much that the only expression of His love that would have been worthy of us, or equal to us was to come in the flesh Himself, as Jesus, so that we could live through him and not our own works and efforts. (verse 9)

It is in this Love, His love for us, not our love for Him that we can even love.  We love because He first loved us. (verse 10) He is calling us to love others, but we can only do that when we first have accepted his love,  it is from the overflow of his loved poured out on us that we can love in that way.  Love is a fruit of the spirit, it was never meant for us to bring forth in our own lives it was only meant for us to bear. John 15 talks about bearing the fruit of the spirit.  Bearing means to carry not to produce, a quick greek study reveals that truth. We can not create the real fruits of the spirit in our lives, trying to do so only brings about cheap imposters that will never fully last or satisfy.

Some read verse 12 as a to do list.  If we love one another than God will abide in us and his love is perfected in us.  What if however we read it as a showing of what happens when we abide in God? Than it would read more like, because God’s Spirit abides in us, his love is perfected in us, therefore love one another.

Why read it like this? Because just a few verses above this he says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God.” It’s not about us, it’s all about Him. Again, Love is not something we do it’s something we bear, it’s the spirit of God in us that gives us His fruit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, and Self Control). We know that we abide in Him when we have His spirit. (v13) Verse 15 shows you that whoever confesses (homologeó-to agree with, speak the same as) God abides in him and he in God. We come to know and to believe the love that God has for us as we abide.  God is LOVE, and whoever abides in Love (God), God abides in Him. (verse16) There is a lot more to say on abiding.  I’ve done a few posts on that if you would like to search for them in the search bar for more information.

1 John 4:7-8

Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God,because God is love.

Many of us know God but truly do not know Him, we don’t know who He is.  There is always more to know about God which is why relationship with him is so exciting.  Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians now and get a better look at God.  These verses are about God love, or really God. They are a great revealing of some of the characteristics of God Himself.

 

God does not merely love; He is love itself.

1 Cor. 13:4-8

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
Love never fails.
If we replace Love with God, here is what we get.
God is patient and kind
God does not envy or boast.
He is not proud.
He does not dishonor others.
He is not self seeking.
He is not easily angered.
God keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
God always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
God never fails.
Now go back through the list above and ask yourself, do you know that God? Can you agree with each of the characteristics of God as we can see above? Do you believe God is patient and kind? Do you believe God does not envy or boast? What about he is not self seeking, or keeps no records of wrongs?
As I worked through these last night I realized a few that I did not believe about God, a few that I realized I had some wrong perceptions about due to past teachings. For example, God is not self-seeking. I had some lingering belief that I was created to serve God, that he created me to worship him.  If he isn’t self seeking than those things could not be true.  I than had to look to Daddy to help me see the truth.  Why did he create me? What was the purpose of creating me?  He showed me that He created me to share life with me, to walk in the garden and talk with me, to experience intimacy with Him.  He did not create me to be His slave, He did not need me to sing His praises that was not his reason for my creation.  Do I sing His praises, absolutely but not out of obligation but out of the overflow of understanding how amazing he is.  Do I serve Him? Absolutely, but not out of trying to earn but out of my love for him.  That love that I am able to pour out because of the Spirit, His Spirit that lives in me.
What if you read that list and don’t believe that God always protected you? Or provided for you? Would you be willing to ask him to show you how he protected you, to show you how he provided from you? Sometimes we are looking for his protection and provision in certain ways and really miss what he is doing and did, if we ask he will show us.
God I just ask that you would reveal more of yourself to each of us today, that you would convince us of the truth of who you are.  God I ask that we would be open to being wrong in any of our perceptions of you so that we can get to know the real you.  God show us who you truly are, reveal yourself more and more to our hearts, thank you for the opportunity to know you. Thank you for your love for us, thank you for seeing us as valuable, show us what we look like in your own eyes. Persuade us. Amen.

The Finished Work

Freedom

My heart is heavy this morning as I ponder the truth of the gospel.  I am involved in many online prophetic groups and more and more I am seeing a true lack of understanding of Grace and Daddy’s finished work. A lack of understanding of our true identities in God, and the understanding of the loving Father we have.

My heart breaks for these sons and daughters. For those who are still on the hamster wheel of earning, of doing, of trying to earn what has already been freely given to them. It breaks my heart because I was once them.  I was striving to earn the approval, the Atta boy, the well done.  There was no rest, there was no joy, there was no peace.

Especially at this time of the year I am reminded of how far I have come in this journey. During this time when many are gearing up for fasts, make resolutions, promises. I was once there.  I once felt too, that I must complete a fast to be worthy, to get more of God, to hear him better, to earn his favor. I felt that not doing it would have meant I was somehow less than, not worthy, not as good, missing out. Praise God the bridegroom is within me. We don’t earn Daddy’s gifts, we can’t make him give us more, he has already given us everything.  We can come to a greater revelation of that truth for sure and I am each and every day because of His constant pursuit of me but nothing I do or don’t do affects that.  That is the freedom of knowing who you are.

One thing I’ve come to look for, to recognize on this journey is the real fruit of the spirit.  Where there is fruit, you know, there is a healthy understanding. I never even understood what real fruit looked like because I was so focused on producing my own, fake fruit if you will. I thought those that were exhibiting the real thing where lying, faking it. How ironic.  I couldn’t believe that they were for real because I had never experienced it for myself, so it had to be fake.  It was so hard for me to understand, comprehend, believe. Now, after seeing the real fruit manifest in my own life, Glory to God, I understand, comprehend and believe, it is real.

I see prophets who do not understand this truth. They are using their gift to call out, condemn, judge, and shame the body.  My heart breaks for them because I know where they are, I understand the gap of knowledge that has yet to be unveiled about the true nature of God and thus forth themselves.

I am not angry at the words they speak, my heart breaks for them.  I know they place they are in. The anger that bubbles up in me however is at the deception that is winning.  At the theft that is taking place in the body and with the beautiful gift of prophecy.  Prophecy is meant to build up the body, to encourage, edify, and uplift.  How can we do that if we still believe that Daddy has not perfected us, completed us, finished the work? How can we speak His heart over others if we do not understand His heart, His Love, His approval?

I know that my view on many things does not match everyone else’s. I know that some of what I write is difficult for others to read, it may even anger them.  I get that, I do.  I too have read things that challenged me in such a way that I was angry, very angry, because although it resonated perfectly with the Spirit of God within me it did not line up with what I had believed.

It was a tension inside of me and it was uncomfortable at best.  In that however, I can now look back and see how Daddy was leading me into his freedom. My heart is heavy this morning for those who have not fully realized the beauty of our Father.  Now I’m not saying I have arrived at the place of total understanding, no.  The beauty of this journey is that there is always more to uncover about our Papa.  That this love affair is a constant discovery of His goodness and love of Me. Of you.

This year my prayer is that you would see, know, and believe the goodness of your Father in Heaven.  That you would experience His fruit, the real deal, effortlessly pouring out of you.  That nothing would feel like a work to you any longer because you are so immersed in His love that it is that love alone that persuades you and gives you the desire to act. This type of life is possibly, the constant back and forth of effortless communication with the Father, a back and forth so natural, so constant, so easy. That praise and worship flows from your lips because you see the beauty, the amazingness of Daddy. That it flows out of recognition of who He is and who He says you are.

Sabbath Rest

Elohim is our Sabbath

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God

Cease in the Greek is

Raphah (raw-faw) sink back in; relax; become helpless; let go, abate, to slacken

from the root rapha-heal, cure, cause to heal, repair, make whole, to mend (stitch by stitch)

Cease in Websters is defined as to stop doing

Know in the greek is Yada-to know, discern, have knowledge, perceive, be aware

Cease and know that I am God

Sink back and allow me to mend you stitch by stick and be aware of the truth of who I am.

Hebrews 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.10 For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.

Remains=to leave behind, (passively remain)

Sabbath: the blessed rest from toils and troubles, the repose (state of rest, tranquility, staying in a particular place of Christianity (as a type of heaven)

Jesus left behind a rest so that we could rest from toils and troubles forever so that we could stay in his lap in this amazing state of rest.

John 4:38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Reap in Websters is defined as: to get (something, such as a reward) as a result of something that you have done, to cut and collect (a plant, crop, etc.) from a field

We collect our reward in which we did not toil or labor but Jesus did for us.  We can collect our fruit because of his spirit in us.   We cut down the lies of our false identities when we rest in who he says we are and who he says he is and walk in the belief of that.

Let’s go back to Hebrews 4: 9,10 and look at verse 10.

V 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

Look at the first His it is capitalized signifying that we have entered into God’s rest. When we are in His rest we can

Photo Credit to Idy Stemaly

Photo Credit to Idy Stemaly

therefore also rest from our own works.

Works here is ergon (er’-gon) which means labor, doing it is from the root word ergo which means to work, toil, labor.  Sound familiar? Look back at the definition of Sabbath.

Sabbath: the blessed rest from toils and troubles, a state of rest or tranquility, to be kept in a particular place.

Praise God that the work is done we are righteous in his sight, and we can rest in His finished work.

Genesis 2:2-3 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Elohim is our Sabbath, he declared us very good and then he rested. Jesus came to remind us of our original design, that which included Sabbath rest forever.

I pray today that we can fully receive and rest in his glorious rest of the truth of who we were always created to be.

If you would like to watch the video teaching that goes with this click here.