Monday, December 4, 2017

God Permits Delays, That He May Bless Us Thoroughly

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." (Psalam 68:19)

God wants us to receive all good things from Him.

He wants us to open our mouths wide and receive from Him:

"I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81:10)



So, if He is dedicated to our enrichment and prosperity, why do we find that some Christians are not walking in full health and wealth?

He wants us to be healed and whole on the inside, so that His material blessings do not induce us to failure, sin, and destruction:

"For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." (Proverbs 1:32)

John's prayer, and thus God's Number 1 prayer:

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

He desires that our souls prosper above all. Consider the warning which Jesus declared to His disciples during His earthly ministry:

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

Why does God allow delays?

He wants us to be ready for all the blessings He wants to load upon us.

Consider Saul, the first King anointed over Israel, who ultimately failed and died a tragic death.

His soul was not fulfilled and prosperous. He lived in fear, He did not have a heart after God. He even feared to be recognized as King of Israel. Saul endured no major trials in his life to see God as His loving protection and guarantee.

David, however, knew God's heart, and saw Himself as Beloved (his name means "Beloved", by the way). He endured privation, wilderness experiences. He lived through threats on his life, betrayal from his closest confidants, and all while having been anointed King of Israel in the midst of his own brethren.

We receive chastening from our Loving Father, that we may walk in the full sonship which our Daddy God has granted us:

"9Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (Hebrews 12: 9-10)

Remember, wealth destroys fools--and God wants us to be WISE!

He wants us to know who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ, and what He is committed to doing through us in Christ:

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)



God wants us to grow in grace, that we may enjoy every blessings, and that means that every time our flesh, our self-efforts fall away, the more that His grace flows in our lives, and we receive more of His blessings in our lives.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

He Heals Us, Even When We Don't Know It's Him

"And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee." (John 9:37)

In the Gospel of John Chapter 9, we see a Heart of Jesus and greater ways.

First, the crowds asked Jesus about the man born blind--from birth. They wanted to know who's fault it was that he was born blind.



Jesus was not interested in placing blame. He was interested in healing the man, who had not even asked for healing!

"6When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, 7And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." (John 9:6-7)

Jesus healed a man who didn't know who he was. The blind man simply received, and did not prevent this man, whom we know as our savior, from healing him.

When the Pharisees asked about what happened, here's what he had to say:

"11He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. 12Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not." (John 9:11-12)

Just because the man, who had been blamed since birth, did not know who Jesus is, it did not stop Him from healing the blind man.

Then, just like the woman at the well in John 4, the formerly blind man identifies Jesus as a prophet:

"17They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet." (John 9:17)

This revelation divided the Pharisees. They were so caught up in their little rules, more interested in ascertaining whether Jesus was a sinner, a saint, a good man, a bad man, etc. Such a waste of time.

They have before them a man who had been BORN blind, and now he can see!

How can they not rejoice?!

They kept wanting to downplay the miracle, so they brought in the man's parents:

"19And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself." (John 9: 19-21)

The parents did know that Jesus healed their son, but they feared being expelled from the synagogue, which basically ensured poverty and great loss for them.

The Pharisees would press him again to tell them about Jesus, and he could only repeat what he knew, and then inquired if they wanted to be Jesus' disciple. The religious leaders reviled the formerly blind man and cast him out.

Terrible. A man blind from birth is questioned, hectored, and then shamed, denounced, abandoned by his own parents--and then cast out of the synagogue.

Yet Jesus came to Him again--even though this formerly blind beggar did not know who He was:

"35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him." (John 9: 35-38)

Jesus' heart for us is to heal us, and to restore us when the world reject us!

What a loving Savior we have!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Heart is Changing--He is Renewing My Mind

For the last week, I realize more and more how much God loves me.

I learned the importance of taking God's Word at His Word and not running away from it.

Paul prayed earnestly that we would understand how much God our Father -- our Daddy! -- loves us.

"14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3: 14-19)

Paul wants God our Father to strengthen us on the inside, that our inner man can handle how much He loves us.

That Christ would be at home within us.

That we would be

Rooted

and

Grounded in love - His love. Not our love for others, but God's love for us!

His love for us!

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31:3)



and

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

and

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

How about this?

"1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3: 1-3)

How about that? So much love for us to learn about!

The sheer extension of it is beyond  our grasp:

"20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

God's love for us exceeds anything that we can ask or think.

There is so much to know, and so much to learn about God's lavish love for us.

For this reason, we have to have our minds renewed to the truth of how much God loves us:

"2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12: 2)

and then

"18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:18)

We are renewed, we are changed as we keep seeing more of Jesus, and we see how much our Daddy God loves us in heaven!

So much has indeed begun changing within me. There were so many lies which I used to hold onto, a sense that the burning sense of love that He has for me would come or go, and that I was constantly punished for how I felt or what I was thinking. God our Daddy has been on call since the beginning.

The one problem? I didn't know it!

NOW I now!

Monday, November 27, 2017

His Lavish Love for Me!

For the longest time, I feared losing something, missing out.

I feared that the sense of warmth and love I had felt from others would disappear or last only for a moment. The fuel for every human being is love. We live on love, and we were created in the image of Love, i.e. in the image of God:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:26)



Notice that it was God's plan for us to rest in His image, in his standing.

When man sinned, every descendant of Adam was born in Adam's image:

"3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth" (Genesis 5:3)

Now, in spite of the fall of Adam, we receive life, redemption, and a new identity through Jesus Christ, and we reign in life (Romans 5:17).

God is love:

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8)

Then

"And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)

We were created out of Love and to be loved!

What is so hard about receiving this?

Sin, and the lie which led man into sin, that somehow God man's loving Creator was holding out on him.

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4-5)

God was not holding anything back, but had granted everything to Adam and Eve, including dominion over all the animals. Freedom cannot mean anything, however, unless there is a choice made, and for that reason in part God permitted on tree in the garden which was not for them. It was a good tree, just like everything else which God had created, but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not for man.

Yet God so loved us, that He had prepared in advance to send His Only Begotten Son Jesus to save us and grant us everlasting life (John 3:16).

This is a love which ensures that we are cared for in unprecedented ways, just as God shared through His prophets the love that He had for Israel, even when they were in outright sinful rebellion:

"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Genesis 31:3)

That's a love which belongs to me!

Jesus loves ME!

God loves me just like His own SON!

"15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:15-17)

Joint-heirs with Christ, beloved! How about that?!

And there's more:

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

We live in Him, and we live because of Him!

But the clearest statement of God's love for us, that He loves us just as much as He loves Jesus:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17)

As Jesus is, so am I in this world!

What lavish love!

In fact, John writes that right to the point!

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:1-3)

That unconditional love is essential to every one of us. We absolutely need it.



Solomon the King wrote:

"Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." (Song of Songs 8:7)

We cannot give one thing for love. The more that we try to give God something, the more condemned we find ourselves. There is nothing that we can do to earn God's love.

It's a gift!

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10)

God gave His Son, God gives His love.

It's time that we started receiving this love.

Now, the revelation which has grown more widely for me. Like many, I had struggled from within and without on key concerns. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life (1 John 2:14) will well up in every one of us if we do not know the love of the Father.

There are addictions, bad habits, bad behaviors which weigh on us--and I knew that there was something about God's love that I still did not understand, or there was something that I was believing that was all wrong.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

Then it occurred to me looking back over many years ago. I feared losing the connections of certain people in my life. A sense of panic had set in, that I was going to lose something, lose my chance to make key connections with key individuals. This sense of panic that set in would linger within my mind, and I wasn't sure that I could function with it swimming and churning within me.

I thought that I was alone, and I needed to have that sense of love, that sense of warmth through my efforts. I had to be connected to the right people, the right person, and if I missed my chance, then I would lack something.

How wrong I was. I was caught up in so many storms during that time, overwhelmed with a sense of loss. I never realized how active God's love was working in my life and for me. I didn't understand this love. I didn't understand how all-encompassing it is.

That sense of fear, that sense of loss, that sense of longing was so strong. I had this desperate need to get rid of the feeling.

This sense of longing can play out as a lack of sexual fulfillment in our lives. We think that we are going to lose out on on peace and rest within ourselves.

This sense of condemnation was so strong in my life, that I was going to "miss out", that I was not going to know the kind of love and caring which I had received from certain people in my life. That sense of panic was great on so many levels, too. I had no idea how much God was loving me as His child, as His child for years, for decades! I simply did not know!

It's amazing how much those lies, and the damaging, crippling emotions which follow them, can keep us in such bondage. When we unpack the lies, when we understand that any sense of condemnation is false, since there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), we find ourselves with greater freedom and love to be loved--and in turn love others.

We never fear that we are going to miss out on intimacy, love, or fulfillment in our lives, because God is on the job loving us!

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5) His love is shed for me, even when I am not obedient, even when I am failing.

I am not responsible for thinking one way or another in order to feel at peace, or to feel loved.

Sometimes, I thought that I had to "settle" for God's love than the goodness of certain people. Isn't that crazy?! God's love is way better, of course! Far surpasses anything that man could do for me, or what I can ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20).

The one thing that had lingered in me with a sense of loss, though, was that I was missing out on something. That sense of "If I let this or that go, if I fail to connect with this or that person, I will miss out" never made sense. God was interested in my emotional and intimacy fulfillment all the time! He does not want to deprive me at all:

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."(3 John 2)

He was intimately interested in me in every way, and I never had to worry that my right feeling or wrong feeling would cause me to fail or do wrong in some way. I think that was the part which had brought me the greatest bondage. I would get so caught, so emotionally distraught about certain people, and then I feared that I was missing out on even more.

The truth is, it is not job to seek love, but to RECEIVE LOVE!

His Lavish love for me! And this love is a great gift shed abroad in my heart, which I in turn can then release to others!

It's no wonder that Paul prays:



Thank you Jesus, for your love!


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Place the Cross in the Midst of Your Bitter Moments, and Jesus Makes Them Sweet

I have learned so much about God's love for me. I am starting to realize more and more that His love for me was always strong and available.

We can take our Daddy God's Finished work and place it within the most bitter moments in our lives.

I remember before graduating from high school, how I had endured intense pain and hurt in my life. I was lonely and lost. I also struggled with intense shame because of what my mother had done to me when I was younger.

An intense of fear and shame had overwhelmed me. I could not understand why, and what was going on in my life at the time. The sense of hurt, the impending sense of fear and loss, that I was doing something wrong, and that I would miss out on a strong friendship or an opportunity had so engulfed me.

I look at who Jesus is today, and I see that He is a magnificent Savior NOW, but He had loved me since the beginning!

So, where do we find the type that speaks of Jesus' Finished work, and how we can derive peace and hope and draw peace and sweetness from the hurts in our lives?



Check out the waters of Marah:


22So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.

Notice that the LORD showed Moses a tree. Moses did not have to find the tree on his own, and he did not have to grow the tree himself. God our loving Father provided what was needed.

This tree is a picture of the Cross, our beloved Savior Jesus dying on the tree, taking away the curse of the law against us (Galatians 3:13), becoming sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We can take the Cross, the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, and place what He accomplished in the midst of our worst days, our hardest moments, the most painful times in our lives.

I realize now that God my Daddy was not abandoning me during those rough times. He had always been there, and He was ready to assist, if I would have only allowed him to. Yet even today, I know that God can reach into our past and bring forth blessings and wonders for our present and the future!

Consider the account of Tamar, who deceived her father-in-law Judah in order to have a child (Genesis 38). In spite of the great wickedness of deception, prostitution, and incest which ensued, God blessed Tamar and the two boys born to her (Genesis 38: 27-30).

The blessings are manifold which ensued:

1The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 

Judah and Tamar were ancestors of the Great Kings David and Solomon, but most importantly the King of Kings, Jesus!

What else have I learned from placing Jesus into the midst of terrifying times and bad memories?

I realized that there was nothing stopping God's blessings in my life. He was actively loving me, and His life flowing through me had nothing to do with how I was feeling or what I was thinking. I never had to fear or feel condemnation for what I was thinking or feeling.

I would fear losing friendships or losing relationships with individuals. I worried about the loss or the lack that might ensue. Then I realized that because My Daddy loves me, and His Son died for me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20-21), that I had nothing to lose, even if I lost something or someone.

I realize now that He is in the business of blessing me with everything I need and what I want, that I prosper within and without (3 John 2).

This other lie persisted in my mind, too, that I had a limited time to have or not have something. That I needed to rush and ensure time and energy with certain people, or it would be "too late." What I see now is that I did not feel loved, I did not realize how loved I was.

All of that is changing, now, and because I realize how much He loves me (that's right--ME!)

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Notice that Paul repeats "me" twice. There is nothing with appreciating, magnifying God's love for you!

That was Paul's chief prayer for fellow believers:

14For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ ... (Ephesians 3: 14, 17-19)

This was a major issue for Paul, that we would understand how much Christ Jesus loves us.

When we understand how vast, how expansive God's love is for us, we can then see His love at work, even in our darkest moments, during those times when we thought we were alone or lost, or that God did not care.

Friday, November 24, 2017

So Much to Be Thankful For (Why Do So Many Still Suffer, Though?)

Thanksgiving Day, 2017.

Not one, but two gatherings I was privileged to attend.

First, with a wonderful, conservative family out in the Moreno Valley area. Then I connected with another couple in the Culver City, West Los Angeles area.

Before this, I had reached out to my father, who now lives in Oregon. He is still holding back stage 4 cancer in his body, but he is not in any pain. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I called my Dad to see if we could arrange for me to fly up there. He was not going to celebrate with a large family gathering at the house this year.

We decided it would be OK for me not to come up to Oregon for Thanksgiving.

I am glad, though, that in spite of that setback, I could celebrate Thanksgiving with other friends of mine, men and women who love this country, who love President Trump, who are glad to live in this free, wonderful country.



One thing that I have noticed, too, is that many people I know have struggled with untold health, financial, familial, and moral issues. It is astounding to me the number of depressing, humiliating stories I have heard from men and women in their upbringings.

Sometimes, I wonder how I have gotten through life without having so much harm and abused inflicted on me. It gives me more reasons to be thankful to live in this great country and to have the life that I have.

Now, I refuse to believe that my life has been easy because of some kind of limited privilege.

Our lives can be better or worse depending on our beliefs and our choices.

I decided to take God at His Word.

"28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

God our Daddy never intended for life to be one long, miserable dirge of troubles.

Behold what His Son declared to the Israelites of His day, and to us today:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

and

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)

I refuse to accept the notion that I have had a smaller share of troubles compared to other people. No one is immune from the hardships of this fallen world.

But what has been the difference for me?

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all." (Psalm 34:19)

Indeed, I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I followed the command which Jesus has given to all of us--Believe on Him! (John 6:28-29)

This took a long time for me to rest in, however, since I had been taught to DO so much rather than BELIEVE on Him.

Such was the result of following a cult, AA.

For this reason, the hardships, the pain, and the intense hurt which many people have endured--I have not endured. 

Indeed, if people would just take God at His Word and trust him to care for them, they would find themselves enjoy the promises, pleasures, and provisions of the New Covenant!

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Hebrews 8:10-12)

There are many Christians to this day struggling to live, and seeking to thrive. They face nothing but troubles, it seems. Why is this?

They are not receiving the gift of righteousness and abundance of grace. I choose to. It also amazes me that there are so many people who have witnessed so much hurt and hate in their lives. They talk about the massive privations which they have endured, and seem excessively content to talk about all the problems in their lives.

Some people don't want to be happy, I suppose. I think that lots of people would prefer to suffer, like a form of self-righteous penance. None of us have to suffer through this life. We can reign in His Life!

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

Let's be thankful for all the things which Christ Jesus has done for us, and let us continue in gratitude even in times of hardship, when the storms of life threaten our ship of state.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Receiving His Righteousness, and the Rest is Added Unto Us

I was meditating on this verse in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew:



"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

I found this passage difficult to understand, because wasn't I supposed to take care of myself, wash myself, etc?

It's only in the last five years that I have learned what we are men are without Jesus: Dead.

He is our life (Colossians 3:4), and He has called us to receive His Life (John 10:10; 14:6)

Righteousness produces life in us!

"In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death." (Proverbs 12:28)

and




"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)

We do not just receive life, but we reign in life!

How about that?!

Furthermore, Jesus relies on key examples to show how our Loving Father takes care of the birds and the flowers:

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" (Matthew 6:25-26)

The birds of the air are fed by our Daddy God. He cares for us far more than He cares for the birds. WHY? Because He gave His Son for us!

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)

Notice that God our Father not only set His Son for us, but wanted us to live through Him!

Paul affirms this wonderful revelation, which is still so missing, so lacking in churches today:?

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

Notice how Paul compares righteousness by faith versus righteousness by the law--which cannot be, since Jesus had to die on the Cross for us to receive righteousness.

Now, at one point in my life, I noticed that I was receiving manifold blessings.

Yet when I came across this passage in Matthew 6:33, I was worried: "How do I seek His righteousness?"

The answer would come to be about three years after that, when I learned what righteousness is all about.

First, Paul explains how we become justified:

"38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:38-39)

We cannot be justified through ourselves, but rather we are justified because of Jesus.

Then there's Romans 5:17, which talks about how we receive--keep receiving the gift of righteousness. OK, then why does it say in the Gospels "seek" and in the Letter to the Romans "receive."

In fact, we are made the righteousness of God in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:21) We are not seeking righteousness, but we have been made the righteousness of God.

We are as righteous as Jesus Christ Himself!

"Herein is love perfected among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgement, because as He is, so are we in this world!" (1 John 4:17)

There has been a change, church!

Jesus died on the Cross, fulfilling the Old Covenant and enacting a New Covenant, which He accomplished through His blood:

"Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20)

and

"And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." (Hebrews 12:24)

What was the one thing that had kept me in bondage, then, in those earlier years?

I kept thinking that God's presence in my life would come and go depending on how I felt, or what I was thinking. I was not thinking the right thoughts or feeling the right way, if I did not ensure that my mind was on him at all times, then He would go away and I would have to struggle to bring Him back.

That is outrageous! I cannot be condemned for anything. His peace will never depart from me!

"9For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

"10For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee."

God will never be angry with me again!

Why? Because He has granted me His righteousness!



"14In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.


"17No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."

"Their righteousness is of me!"

So, I no longer fear for the future, because I know that He is already there, having declared the end from the beginning. I also recognize that my righteousness is not dependent on me. No matter how I feel, no matter what I am thinking, no matter how I may fail or do wrong, He has me in His hand:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)

Notice that fear is dispelled because of His righteousness!

This was so new to me.

He is my life. He lives in me and around me. I never have to worry about Him being there for me, because He has promised to never leave me or forsake me.

"10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."

I never have to worry about failing, because righteousness is a gift from HIM--and He invites me to keep receiving it!

So, now we can come back to Jesus' promise to us from the Sermon on the Mount:

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Every day, I learn more about this gift of righteousness. So much wrong thing which I used to subscribe to, and now it's all being washed away! Even when I fail, I am still righteous. Even when I sin (verb), I am still righteous (adjective), because I receive His righteousness (noun).

Thank you, Jesus!