Saturday, March 28, 2020

My Blood Pressure is Decreasing, Because (Awareness of) His Love is Increasing

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

I am learning so much more about the Love of the Father.

For years, I used to think that bad thoughts, bad feelings would hinder my ability to understand, to receive God's love for me.

I actually believed that God's presence, His loving caress, depended on how I was feeling and what I was thinking.

Can you imagine going through life thinking that how you feel, what you think, is going to affect your standing before God? The torture, the trauma that it created it was just beyond comprehension.

The tension, the trauma, the terror was so great.

I am finally understanding how real, how present, how prevalent God's love is for me. It's really exciting.

I can lose my temper, I can have wayward thoughts and feelings, and yet God's love is still there, still present, still refreshing and rolling over me.

For decades, I was stressed out internally, constantly playing catch-up with my feelings, trying to keep a lid on sexual temptations, lust, anger, fear, etc.

Fears was particularly damaging, because I feared that because I felt fear, that would make God angry and He would not answer my prayers.

This verse started to make so much more sense when I realized that my feelings don't block God's love:

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

I used to think that there was something wrong with me if I was feeling fearful. Now I understand that any sense of fear was then undercut with a sense of condemnation: "Oh, you are feeling fearful now, therefore, God is not going to bless you!"

But that's now what "perfect love" is! He loves me perfectly, completely, and it is not dependent on me at all.

In fact, God's perfect love came first. It's not about whether I was fearing first. That never comes into the equation:

"We love because He first loved us."(1 John 4:19)

God loves me and cares for me not because of anything that I have done or will do, but because of everything that Jesus has done!

"Herein 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 4:10)

The Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites with blood on their doorposts, regardless of how the family members may have felt. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, not our belief in the blood.

Now, we do need to believe in His gift of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. It's not a work that we have done, and it's not some universal salvation. A gift has to be received, after all!

At any rate, the stresses, the pressures, the upsets, uptight sentiments which were so prevalent in my body caused my blood presure to go up! It's incredible! This kind of thinking and feeling was so common in my day-to-day life, that I hardly noticed it.

After suffering a stroke, after giving up all the diet soda, and after giving up much of the fast-food, I did notice that my blood pressure was going down considerably. I got off the blood pressure medication at one time, and then my blood pressure shot up again. It was really strange how this kept happening.

Since then, I have begun to realize that there were a number of stressors that had been working within me automatically. I was constantly looking at myself, trying to catch myself so that I was not fearful, angry, or falling into bad thoughts and feelings.

Now that I recognize that His love is completely independent of my actions, i.e. I don't earn it, I can let feelings, thoughts, bad ideas come and go. They have no chokehold on me, they no longer serve as a hateful stronghold over me, because I know that the love of God has taken hold of me.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Jesus Loves Me: That's All that Matters

"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)

God's love for us is inconditional. In fact, God loved us enough to send His Son for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

God did not wait for us to get our act together, but sent Jesus so that He could reconcile us to Himself:

"To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Nothing can separate me from God's Love.

For the longest time, and even recently, I have realized still that I had placed conditions on God's love. If things were going well in my life, then I was assured that God was for me.

But if things were difficult, if I was going through trials, then I would waver. "Where is God in the midst of these hardships? Why am I going through all of this?"

God wants to break those doubts out of our lives. Also, He allows us to endure hardships to test and refine our faith (1 Peter 1:17).

God wants us to rest fully in Him, to labor, to make it a priority to enter His rest and receive from Him all things.

Consider what Joseph went through. God had given him two dreams, in which his brothers and even his parents would bow down to him. Yet he endured many trials before God finally accomplished all that He had dreamed, all that He had planned for Joseph.

So too God allows hardships to take place, so that we mature, we grow in grace, and receive more from Him:

"3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And 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 5:3-5)


"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:4)

God's love is all that matters. Whatever you have thought or be thinking, whatever you have done or may done, nothing can separate you from the love of God:

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Whatever good or bad comes your way, know that God's love for you is there, is real, and is going nowhere!

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

His love is unconditional, independent of your circumstances and certainties. Jesus loves you--that's all that matters!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Jesus, Not a Means to an End, But the Beginning and the End

"Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25)

Jesus spoke these words to Cleopas and his wife, both of whom were travelling back home to Emmaus.

Jesus came alongside them while they were talking, but His identity remained concealed from them at the time. He listened to them talk about Jesus, and how they believed that He would restore the greatness of Israel:

"21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done." (Luke 24:21)

Israel was the most important thing on Cleopas' mind. For God, He is interested in far more than the political redemption of Israel.

Jesus then poured through the Scriptures and taught them everything concerning Himself.

Jesus did not come to be a means to an end. He is the beginning, the middle, and the end:

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46: 9-10)

Everything is about Jesus. He is not a means to a different. He is everything that we want and need.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)


"15[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1:15-17)

Everything that exists was made by Jesus, and for Him. Everything that exists is held together by Him, as well.

Jesus is fully God, and fully man, and no one can dispute that. He is not a part of the story. He is the story. 

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

Jesus is not a means to an end. He is the Beginning and the End!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

God Tests Us, So that He May Surround Us With His Grace

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am." (Genesis 22:1)

First, it's important to get the proper meaning from this verse.

The word "tempt" is not accurate, at least as we understand that word today. God did not tempt Abraham, in that he was seducing him to commit a sin.

The better rendering is "test", or rather "prove", so that He could see that Abraham had attained a robust faith in God.

God later asked Abraham to offer up his son Isaac:

"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." (Genesis 22:2)

Indeed, the LORD was asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Of course, what was really playing out here was the type and shadow of God offering His Son, His only Son, the Son whom He loved, for all the sins of the world.

Moreover, here we see Abraham's faith in God fully flourishing. The writer of Hebrews confirms this:

"17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure." (Hebrews 11:17-19)

Abraham trusted God so much, that he knew that God would bring His Son back from the dead. After all, God had promised earlier:

"3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)


"And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir." (Genesis 15:4)

God promised Abraham a son, and an heir, and that through this heir all the nations of the world would be blessed.

Now, what are these tests really all about?

Peter explains in his First Epistle:

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7)

God wants us to believe in Him and thus receive all things from Him:

"31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32)

Keep in mind, that we are called to grow in grace! (2 Peter 3:18), and our grace grows in our greater revelation of Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:2). In fact, grace is something that we receive from God by faith:

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8)

God wants us to reign in life, and we reign in life as we receive--and keep receiving--the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17).

So, what is all this testing about? What does God test us, try us, and thus prove our faith?

He wants us to receive more of His grace, His favor in our lives!

The word "Test" in Genesis 22:1 is the Hebrew word נָסָה

"Nasah" in Hebrew.

Here are the three letters for that word, and the meaning of those letters:

נָ -- Nun, which speaks of the Son, Jesus
סָ -- Samech, which speaks of surrounding, or the sun (the light of the sun)
ה -- Heh, which speaks of God's grace

So, when God tests us, tests our faith, He is doing this so that His Son can surround you with his favor!

God wants us to live from faith to faith (Romans 1:17) for that is how the righteous live. He wants us to see more of Himself, and to receive more from Himself. When we face trials, hardships, and difficulties, we should never think that God does not love us or favor us. In fact, what God is doing is guiding us to see more of Himself, His love for us, so that He can extend more favor to us.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Second Chronicles 7:14 -- Is That The Prayer We Pray Today?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Is this the prayer that we should pray to heal our nation?

Many preachers, teachers, and elected officials have referenced the above verse in times of crisis.

The United States, the whole world is caught up in fears and worries about the Coronavirus.

I am not worried.

I have been reading, meditating, and receiving revelation from Psalm 91, especially this verse:

"Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence." (Psalm 91:3)

It's an assured promise. God informs us clearly: "Surely ...", not maybe, might be, could be, but "Surely" He delivers us from the traps and snares of the enemy, and he is delivering us from the catastrophic diseases which are wreaking emotional havoc on populations around the world.

Now, let's get back to the verse above from Second Chronicles.

God spoke to Solomon shortly after his public prayer and dedication of the Temple on Mount Zion. God gave this direction to the king under the Old Covenant.

Under the Old Covenant, man had to offer the blood of bulls and goats to atone for sin--but it never cleansed sin away for good. God could not hear from His people at the time unless they had offered the sacrifices, unless they had atoned for their sins.

Today, because of Jesus's Finished Work on the Cross, we do not have to ask God to forgive our sins in order for Him to hear from us.

In fact, today, we have forgiveness of sins NOW!

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7)

How can we ask for something which He has already given us?

We don't have to beg God to help us anymore, since He has freely given us His Son, and with Him we can freely receive all things (Romans 8:32).

In fact, because of all that Jesus has done for us on the Cross, we have entered into a New Covenant with God the Father:

"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)

Indeed, God has offered healing to our land, to every land, if we will just believe in Jesus.

He offered His body for us, for our healing!

"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 4-5)

The most important point to draw out, however, is that God has forgiven our sins. He imputed all our sins, and sin, to His Son!

"2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:" (Romans 8:2-3)


"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Most clearly of all, so that there is no equivocation or confusion on the matter:

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;" (Colossians 2:13)

We are not praying to God for Him to forgive our sins. We need to rejoice in that Jesus has accomplished a perfect work, and all our sins have been forgiven!

"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" (Hebrews 10:12)

Let's pray to God for healing, let's receive His Promises by faith!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Nothing Can Separate Me From God's Love, Not Even My Anger

"38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

This development, this revelation has taken more time to seep in.

For years, for decades I was convinced that I had to be free of anger. I could not have bad or fearful or unpleasant feelings in me, so that God could flow freely through me. It was unbelievable, the amount of pressure, pain, tension which I had put myself through.

I really believed that my relationship with God depended on how I was feeling! This is the deepest perversion that comes out of Alcoholics Anonymous.

That awful program teaches people that they have to be free of anger. Nonsense! You can have those feelings, and it will not prevent you from knowing, feeling, and receiving God's love.

Granted, Paul does give this clear-cut counsel to the church:

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:26-27)

It's not sin to get angry. In fact, there is something wrong with you if you do not get angry at evil, injustice, wrongdoing in the world.

"Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;" (1 Corinthians 13:6)


"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." (Romans 12:9)

You can't really love people if you are celebrating or accommodating evil. 

At any rate, this is such a new, profound reality for me.

For the longest time, I was constantly taking responsibility for my thoughts and feelings, as though I  had to stop them, suppress them, repress them, put them out of business, so to speak, so that they would not do me any wrong.

This is absolutely crazy, the mind games which I was dragged through.

But God is Love, that is who He is, and who He is not going to change, regardless of what I am thinking or feeling.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God. Not even myself, and certainly not what I am feeling, what I am thinking. Amen to this wonderful discovery. Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

No Longer Paying Attention to the Worries and What Ifs

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

For the longest time, I would pay attention to the worries, they weirdness, and the "what ifs?" of life.

There were constant premonitions in my flesh, and dreaded outcomes would flood into my imagination.

I kept thinking that I had to respond to every "what if?" and "what about?".

This was a big challenge for me when I was facing unjust persecution in courtrooms.

At first, I could not understand why God had allowed me to be found guilty, when all I had done was sit in a city council meeting.

Then it really occured to me how important it was for me to understand the gift of righteousness, that it is a gift, and that it does not matter what happens to me in this world. Evil people are going to do evil things, but they do not have the power to slow me down.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

There is going to be rough-riding and rough-housing in the world. This world is a fallen place filled with fallen people.

But I am risen with Christ Jesus (Colossians 3:1), and we are above every circumstance and setback in this life.

It's OK if I don't understand what is going on all the time. It's OK if I get worried or upset. It's OK if I start asking "what if" and "what about".

However, it's not my job, it's not my problem to answer those questions.

God is Love. That is established. And just as I receive His gift of righteousness apart from works, so too He loves me apart from works, efforts, thoughts, or feelings on my part.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Righteousness Has Nothing to Do With Us

"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)

Righteousness is a gift. We receive it as such. A gift has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the giver.

The bigger question emerges: Are you willing to receive it, or are you insisting on achieving it in some fashion?

Ever since Pastor Prince expounded on Romans 5:17, I was invested in receiving and receiving this gift.

Yet I had no idea that in my own mind, to an extent, I was still trying to earn it. If there were bad circumstances, if there were mean people who shamed or harmed me, if there were bad feelings, or environmental upsets, I would still question my righteousness.

In this was a problem for me because I was still attaching myself and my circumstances to my status of righteousness.

This is a bad habit which God wants to break us free of.

I had to get to the point where I was found guilty without cause in a courtroom, and I was forced into sentencing, then faced unjust outcomes. In the midst of all these circumstances, I learned to understand that no matter what's happening around me I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. It has absolutely nothing to do with me myself my circumstances my status my sentiments absolutely nothing.

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7).

Faith in what, though? Our righteous standing in Christ!

This faced some trials, but by the grace of God I have come out stronger, and more entrenched in the truth of who I am in Christ Jesus!

"In 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." (Isaiah 54:14)

None of the weapons of the past have prospered against me.

It's all about understanding the gift of righteousness, and to realize that whether I have done something wrong, or even if I have done something right, my righteous standing in Christ before God has nothing to do with me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

As New Creation in Christ, Let Us Speak with the Law of Kindness

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26)

This passage features a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31:10), worth more than rubies.

There is only one woman who is described as virtuous: Ruth!

"And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman." (Ruth 3:11)

What made Ruth virtuous?

She believed in the LORD, and trust Him for favor!

Consider what she pleaded with her mother-in-law Naomi:

"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" (Ruth 1:16)

She believed on Him!

She then expected to find favor because of Him!:

"2And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter." (Ruth 2:2)

When Boaz, a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, found her and was favorable to her, she said to him:

"13Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens." (Ruth 2:13)

And finally, even Naomi noticed that favor of the LORD, which visited Ruth:

"And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen." (Ruth 2:20)

Noami had returned to Bethlehem urging her friends to call her "bitter", because in her opinion, the LORD had dealt with her very bitterly (cf. Ruth 1:20)

But Ruth was not bitter. She believed that God would do better, and help both her and her mother-in-law overcome the hardships they were facing.

Now, let's look at the verse from Proverbs.

Ruth is the only woman mentioned in the Old Testament as "virtuous" (cf Ruth 3:11)

She believed in the Lord, and she received from Him favor.

Therein you have "the law of kindness" or literally:


"Torah" can also mean "guidance", "direction", or "teaching", not merely concrete, stolid "law".

God's grace, or "chesed" in Hebrew, is the greatest of teachers!

"11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us ... "(Titus 2:11-12)

Today, since we are new creations in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), let us speak the law of kindness, the "law of grace" so to speak. We have His favor. Let us declare it, and let us declare that God is faithful to fulfill His promises for us!

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

He Provides Everything as Gift

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

It has taken me a long time to rest in this powerful, wonderful truth.

The gift of righteousness is a gift, yes indeed (Romans 5:17).

Because it is a gift, I receive it based on nothing that I have done, nor does it remain with me based on something else that I do, or will do.

It has nothing, literally nothing to do with me. The gift of righteousness has everything, EVERYTHING to do with what Jesus did at the Cross. He declared "It Is Finished!" did he not?

Now, I have finally understood how complete, final, unadultered is this gift of righteousness. It does not matter what I do after receiving it. I may sin, fall, fail, but the gift of righteousness does not go away. The more that I believe and receive His righteousness, for indeed Christ Jesus is my righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), and I have been made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)

When we rest in this wonderful revelation, His life permeates in us and through us!

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

"Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner." (Proverbs 11: 30-31)


"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." (Romans 8:10)

It's His life in us which sets us free from sin and death!

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:2)

YES! When we receive and keep receiving His abundance of grace and His gift of righteousness, we reign in life, HIS LIFE, and sin and death have no dominion over us (cf. Romans 5:17)

So, from righteousness as a gift comes everything else!

I receive every gift, every blessing from my God my loving Father in the same fashion!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17)

I do not have to strive for my Daddy God to grant me life, healing, blessings, honor, and all the rest. This life is His Life, for He lives in me! Today, I am no longer in my flesh, but I rest in Christ Himself, seated at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 2:4-5; Colossians 3:1-4)

And of course, my banner verse:

"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)

This life that He has given me, it's a life of receiving from Him! I don't have to wake up every day convinced that everything in this life depends on me. I am resting in His Life, and He is flowing through me.

This is just wonderful. I hope that this revelation I am sharing with you blesses you today, too!

Monday, March 9, 2020

He Makes Your Enemies Your Footstool, Not You

"A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." (Psalm 110:1)

The more that I understand how real, how vibrant, how living Christ Jesus is in my life, the more that I understand, that I receive the promises which He has purchased for us.

This verse stands out considerably for me.

It all began with one of Pastor Joseph Prince's earlier sermons "Have a Throne Attitude". We are called to rest in Christ Jesus and His Finished Work first, then watch God take care of all the other problems which face us.

What I have learned recently, however, is that God can and wants to be in the business of taking care of our enemies, our foes, those who oppose us. However, if we insist in having a part in it, we frustrate His grace.

Paul writes to the Galatians, who wanted to go back under law, who wanted to trust in their flesh, their self-efforts, rather than rest in His Spirit:

"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. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21)

Jesus is our Life, and He is very much alive in us (Colossians 3:4, Colossians 1:27). For the longest time, though, I could not give over to Him the power, the authority, the trust to make my enemies my footstool. This release was hard for me.

Why? Because I did not see Him as active, involved in every aspect of my life. I was determined, insistent on seeing the clear and convincing outcomes of His judgment waged in my life.

And I must admit, the other side of it is that I wanted to have a hand in it. I wanted to make it happen. Like David holding the sword over Goliath, I wanted to be intimiately involved in the demise of my enemies.

In other words, I wanted to make it happen in my effort, on my time, my way. I still had confidence in my flesh, and certainly more than in God's grace and power.

Consider what Paul has to say about this:

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Philippians 3:3)

To be honest now, there is no way that anything that I accomplish to avenge myself would be appropriate, effective, or worthwhile.

God is very clear about to whom vengeance belongs, as well:

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

When it comes to our flesh, God is also quite clear:

"And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1 Corinthians 1:28-29)

No flesh shall glory in God's presence. He deserves all the credit since He is the one is doing the work. He is working within each of us who believe in Him, after all! (Philippians 2:13)

I wanted that self-gratification, I admit. For a long time, I wanted to be front-row center watching my enemies get taken down.

But there is a promise of this vindication taking place for me:

"Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked." (Psalm 91:8)

I will see it, but I won't be up front to see it. Besides, what joy really is there in seeing the wrong of my enemies brought onto their heads? I want restoration and promotion far more than mere vengeance.

In fact, that is exactly what God promises to me, and what He accomplished for me through His Son Christ Jesus!

"For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them." (Isaiah 61:7)

Here's a prophecy about what Jesus did at the Cross for all of us:

"They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away." (Psalm 69:4)

Jesus knew no sin, did no sin, had no sin in Himself. Yet He restored everything that we had done wrong, and He has provided the restoration for every wrong done to us.

I know longer live a life of trying to make other people pay for the wrongs that they have done to me. God has overpaid my sin debt, and His grace is superabundantly blessings me now!

Today, I recognize that it is not my job to make my enemies pay for the wrongs they have done to me. In fact, I don't have to do anything to them, since I have seen, and continue to receive, great recompense and reward from Christ Jesus for all that He has done, is doing, and will do for me in the future. I both know and believe in His love (1 John 4:16), and that is all that matters.

God is making my enemies my footstool. My job is simply to believe that He is handling the situation. After, it's faith that pleases Him! (Hebrews 11:6)

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Walking With God Means Letting Him Flow Through You, Letting His Spirit Carry You, Move You

"And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:" (Genesis 5:22)

I have been meditating on this passage, and the concept of "walking with God" for quite some time.

What does it mean to "walk with God"?

In the past three months, I have gained a greater awareness of how real God is, how magnificent and present His live, His love is for us. God's presence, His grace in our lives is no contingent on us. He is ever-present, regardless of how we are thinking or what we are feeling.

Now, let's look at this phrase "walking with God", and I will share with you what God has revealed to me in His Word. This is a wonderful revelation, and I hope that it blesses you immensely.

First, I want to explore the word "walk" in the Original Hebrew.


The word is "halak", and it is made up of three letters:

He -- grace
Lamed -- a picture of a shepherd's staff, a picture of Jesus, certainly, but also a picture of leading, or being lead.
Kaph -- which is an open hand, or a hand of blessing, like the hand of the priest blessing the people.

So, "to walk" indicates how God's grace leads us to blessing.


Strongs Concordance references "halak" with the nunber 1980, the same year that I was born. Another wow!

But now it gets really interesting.

The first mention of a word in the Bible often unfolds the spiritual insight which God wants us to receive about the word.

Where does "halak" first appear?

"And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates." (Genesis 2:14)

"Goes" is the word which translates "halak" in the above verse.

But a river does not merely "go" ... it flows!

Go with the flow, man!

Check out other translations of the above verse:

"The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." (New American Standard Bible)

"The third river is named the Tigris— it flows to the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates." (International Standard Version)

A river does not "walk" in the sense of the word in English. A river flows! 

So, consider this meaning in light of Genesis 5:22:

"Enoch flowed with God."

Another use of "Halak" in the Book of Genesis brings forth greater revelation!

"And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 7:18)

"The ark went", the verse above reads. "Went" is the word "halak".

OK, sure, the Ark was going along the water. But what's another word, one that is just as precise? 

The ark floated!

"The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water." (New International Version)

So, one could read Genesis 5:22 also as "Enoch floated in God".

Yes, I know these literalist readings are acquired, and the context argues against such uses, but still the first mention of "halak" is flow, not necessarily "movement by placing one foot in front of the other."

The Lord then showed me some incredible insight into this.

How do we walk with God?

The writer of Hebrews explains:

"5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

So, Enoch pleased God. That's what it means to "walk with God". But we need more information.

The writer does not stop there:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Do you see that? It's about faith! That makes sense, of course, since the entire context of Hebrews 11 is about faith. Faith is about receiving from God, believing that He is a rewarder. Just to affirm that it's about receiving from Him, I want to expand briefly on "diligently seek".

God is not far away, or somehow hiding from us. Even in the Old Testament, before Jesus' blood was shed for us, the Lord declares to His people:

"Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:" (Isaiah 59:1)

Jesus promises to those who believe on Him:

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20)

and also

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;" (John 14:16)

Above all, the writer of Hebrews affirms:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

So, what does "diligently seek" mean? In the original Greek, it is ἐκζητέω, or ekzeteo. "ek" implies intensity, and zeteo does mean "seek", but also "want"  or "desire." In other words, those who want Him, who desire to receive Him.

It's not about going on a quest or a long journey. It's about wanting to receive from Him as much as possible, much like what Paul had prayed for the Ephesian Christians in particular and the church in general:

"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 4:14-19)

The desire to know Jesus more, to receive from Him more, is as simply as asking Him--and that is what faith is all about! The reason I went into this extensive explanation is that many people have torturned or twisted "walking with God" to mean living an obedient life, following the Ten Commandments, following God's orders, rules, etc. They have turned into quite a work!

What the Lord has shown me, however, is that "walking with God" is all about letting God flow in and through you. It's about letting God

For years, ever since I heard about "walking with God", or when people would ask me "How is your walk with God? How is your walk with the Lord?", I always pictured myself literally walking with God, trying to keep up with Him, or making sure that I was going the way that He was going. Underlining this picture was the notion that I could be walking the wrong way, or going to the wrong place. A further underpinning of that initial idea of "walking with God" was this notion that He is separate, outside of me.

And yet throughout the New Testament, because of all that the New Covenant has enacted by Jesus' Finished Word, Jesus is not just outside of us holding everything together (Colossians 1:17), but He is within us, too!

Paul writes to the Colossians:

"Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27)

"Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." (Colossians 1:29)

How about these verses, too?

"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)


"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)

Christ Jesus lives in us! He is not walking outside of us, and we are somehow trying to keep up with Him or maintain our stance, our standing, our location with Him!

OK, so then what does "walk with God" mean?

It means that as God is flowing in us, His Spirit is guiding us by peace (Colossians 3:15), we let Him carry us! We float in Him!

Consider what Paul writes to the Galatians:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

Walk, or rather "flow in the Spirit", and you won't want to engage in, indulge lusts of the flesh in your body. We are regenerated in our spirits when we believe in Jesus, but our minds need to be renewed to the truth as we read God's Word (Romans 12:1-2), and we still have the flesh, although it has been condemned (Romans 8:3), and therefore holds no more condemnation over us. "Reckon yourselves dead to sin ..." (Romans 6:11)

The big revelation for me about "walking with God" is that it's not about what we do for or with Him, but rather letting Him work, do, flow in us!

The first criticism that will come up to this is "So, we just sit back and do nothing, then? We rest, and let God work through us, do all the work, right? Why don't I just sit and be lazy?"

That makes no sense at all! If you place a boat in a river, the river carries the boat where it is flowing. Consider mills along a river. The wheels that grind flour, which propel turbines are "working", right? Yet the power that propels them is in the water, not the wheels, not in the turbines. That's how God works in and through us, and how we in turn produce works.

Look back at Genesis 7:18. The Ark floated on the waters, right? An ark in the water isn't going to stay in one place, but move with the waters. The same holds true in the first mention of "halak" back in Genesis 2:14. A river does not stay anywhere, so to speak, but moves. So too, whatever is resting in the waters, will move with the waters.

Therefore, we who believe in Jesus, who rest in Him, who allow His Spirit to flow within us, will find ourselves guided by His peace, go places, say words, do works as He is guiding us.

There is a perfect example of God working in those who believe in Him in Acts 8:

"26And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. ... Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?" (Acts 8:26, 29-30).

Notice that Philip received guidance to go Gaza, and then to join with the Eunuch who served Queen Candace of Ethiopa. After Philip ministered to the eunuch, who then received the Gospel and believed in Jesus, and after Philip baptized the eunuch, look what happened afterwards:

 "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." (Acts 8:39-40)

Notice how the Spirit guided Philip to the right place and the right person to minister to, and then "caught him away" and took him to Azotus!

Now that's "walking with God"!

In the Body of Christ, we need to see that God is constantly flowing, moving, carrying us! He is providing everything for us, and all we have to do is receive from Him all things. All that our loving Father is asking us to do is to rest in Him, to let Him carry us by His Spirit, to guide us, to direct us! It's not about trying to keep up with God our Father, but rather allowing Him to keep us!

Now, we can try to go against the currents of His love and grace, we can strive in our own efforts to produce results or manage the outcomes, and we frustrate His grace. Paul counsels the Galatians about this:

"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. I 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 that Paul lives by faith, and not just any faith, but the Christ's own faith. Our loving Savior lives in us, moves within us!

The promptings of God's Spirit, the will, the desires He creates us our guiding us! We do not have to stress ourselves out by trying to keep in step with God, as though He is outside of us.

With this revelation in mind, let's look another mention of the phrase "walk with God":

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8)

"Do justly" is better rendered "do judgment" or act based on Wisdom. "Love mercy" is also "love grace" since the original "chesed" speaks of God's loving kindness and favor. Then we come to "walk humbly".

The first mention of the Hebrew word for "humbly" appears here:

"When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2)

Walking humbly speaks of dependence, not merely looking down on the ground while striving to keep pace with God.

In fact, where else do we read being humble, and the rewards that come with it?

"Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly." (Proverbs 3:34) James repeats this promise in his epistle, too:

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)

Walking humbly with God, walking with God, is all about receiving from Him, depending on Him for everything, letting His Spirit carry you and move you!

After all, did not Jesus say:

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

Jesus is our life and He is the WAY. Do we not understand that He is preparing our path, that He knows where He wants to take us, and that He is prepared to take us there? Consider that He declares Himself "The Life".

Look at the question Jesus was answering in that passage:

"And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

"Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5-6)

Just as today people often wonder "How do I walk with God? Where is He going? I want to make sure that I am in step with Him", so too Thomas was already doubting, as if to say "How can we go where you are going?"

Jesus made it very clear: "I am the Way."

We need to understand, therefore, that walking with God, with Jesus is all about resting in Him, letting Him flow through us, carry us, guide us! He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He knows where to take us, He is taking to a place filled with His grace and truth, and He is our Life, the power that moves us where He wants us to go.

This revelation was beyond profound. It was so staggering for me, that I shared it with a number of my friends. I am now compelled to share it with you in this post. Now I understand why pastors today are telling us "Get a bigger revelation of Jesus" as the answer to everything that we face. I recognize now how alive, vibrant, active He is. I no longer worry myself with questions like "How will I face this problem?" or "God, where are you?"

I recognize that He is fully carrying me, guiding me, causing me to flow with Him. I don't have to work, strive, or stress out to make sure that I am going the right way, doing the right thing. It's all about resting in Him, receiving from Him!

It's not a rhetorical nicety or a personal sentiment. It's the truth! Jesus is our Life. Let's just let Him flow through us! Let's receive from Him, and let's believe for all things from Him! That's what it means to "walk with God".

Sunday, March 1, 2020

When to Extend Grace, and When to Mete Out Justice

"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6)

Image result for James 4:6

Unlike most people in the church circles that I mingle in, I have no problem watching Pastor Joel Olsteen. Earlier this week, he shared a sermon about going the extra distance for people who have wronged us, who have harmed us.

He also talked about extending grace to those who don't deserve it.

While listening to this sermon, I admitted to God out loud: "I don't want to let people off easy. There are people who have harmed me, and I simply do not want to let bad people get away with bad things which they have done to me."

I later recognized that this is an attitude which needs to change. This state of mind is something that He will change in me, however. It's not my job to change myself:

"But 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)

At any rate, I have been learning for the last two months that God loves it when I am honest with Him about my feelings, about my reservations, about my rank unwillingness to do certain things. He loves that we come to Him with our limitations!

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

I then asked God to give me some guidance about this, because there are times when I had forgiven someone openly, only to witness those individuals engage in more shameful behavior towards me and others. I have often recognized that the most important aspect in our walk with others people is that God's peace must rule in our hearts as a judge, or as an umpire (Colossians 3:15). God does not want us leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), but walk in His Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

I was so pleased, so grateful to the Lord! He answered my prayer by drawing out to me to different scenarios from my former teaching career.

In 2010, I was a substitute teacher in the Centinela Valley Union High School District. It was one of the most difficult, most unpleasant experiences (at least when I was a long-term sub in Hawthorne and Lawndale high schools).

The Hawthorne High School students were pretty bad to me, except for 0 period and 2 period. In Fourth period, one kid was generally not that bad, Ricardo Galvez. But for the most part, the students loved tormenting me.

Then there was Lawndale High School. One student, Ivan Ordonez, was the worst. He loved torturing me, I guess. The school pretty much let students get away with anything, in large part because the deans were too cowardly to hold students accountable, and they would not allow administrators to drop the hammer on misbehaving students. The last day of my assignment at Lawndale High School, I remember how cool I was in the midst of everything in the classroom, and I sent out Ivan a third time without any regret.

Fastforward about ten months, and in came the next school year.

To Extend Grace

First, I was assigned to Lloyd High School, the continuation school for students who have received consistently failing marks. There, I saw Ivan Ordonez on my student roster for the day. I cannot tell you the panic that welled up within me. I was so distraught, I asked the secretary to cancel my assignment for the day. The secretary knew that I was often a capable substitute teacher, so he asked me what was going on. I told her about the abuse that I had endured from that one student, and she acquiesced to keep him out of the classroom for that period.

When I returned to my assigned classroom for the day, another student saw me and began provoking me: "You know that Ivan is here! Are you scared?!" He had this creepy grin on his face and everything. I didn't know what to think.

Then, then I saw Ivan come into the classroom next door. I don't know how else to explain it, but it's like the Spirit of God just caught me up, and I walked over to Ivan, asked him to step outside. He stood against the wall with his head held down. I then simply extended my right hand to shake his, and I said: "Ivan, I forgive you." He shook my hand, then returned peacefully to his seat.

What happened the next day was beyond amazing.

I was assigned to a larger class, and Ivan was going to be there. I never forgot that day. Calmly, he just walked up to me. Didn't flinch, didn't say a word. He had a calm smile on his face, and he shook my hand.

I just shivered with great joy that day. The last thing I remember asking him was "How's your Mom doing?"

This first example shows how extending graec is the right and righteous response. Ivan was deeply humbled, even pained by what he had done to me. I did not lay into him, nor did I harm him in any way. I did not seek to exact revenge of any kind.

Now, let's turn back to Hawthorne High School

To Mete Out Justice

I was a long-term substitute teacher at Hawthorne High School first. The original teacher who was selected for the assignment I covered had bailed on the school district. The school administrators interviewed seven candidates. I didn't make the cut, as I ended up somewhere in the middle. Let's face it--that high school was never going to select me. I could not control that class. Those students didn't listen to me, didn't respect me, and it was a waste of time to hope for any kind of development of respect to ensue. The students knew that I was not going to be in the classroom for the long haul, anyway.

Fast forward to September 2011, when I was covering classes on a day-to-day basis at Hawthorne High School. I was much more relaxed, much less tense. I was listening to Pastor Joseph Prince's sermons every day. My aspect had really changed, as I had learned in greater measure to Live the Let Go Life, because Jesus is My Life.

I was assigned to an art class, which was fun. I love to draw, and to get paid to watch a class and draw was a lot of fun, too. In one of those classes, Ricardo Galvez showed up. At first, I recognized him faintly, just by looking at him. Then he told me who he was, and that he was in the history class that I had covered.

Right then, he began mocking me. "Poor Mr. Schaper! We got you fired. We made you so mad."

He then briefly talked about how frustrated I was trying to get the class to get anything done.

Then all of a sudden, something just leapt up within me, and I roared at him:

"How dare you talk to me like?! I did not deserve to be treated with such direspect! You screwed yourselves! I wanted to teach, and you hurt yourselves!"

It was amazing! As soon as I shouted at him, Ricardo was taken aback, almost as though I had hit him. He was certainly blunted. Then he retreated to his seat, where he trembled while shrinking behind his desk. He then briefly smiled, trying to stifle his shame.

It was amazing! I couldn't figure out where that outrage came from, but it welled up within me and knocked the arrogance out of Galvez. From that day on, he never spoke to me again. He wouldn't even look at me when I was walking by him.

There, I meted out justice. There, the Spirit of God just moved within me and refused to let Galvez get away with dishonoring me.

When to do one, and when to do another

We extend grace to those who know that they are sorry, who are not proud, nor puffed up.

"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." (James 4:6)

Let us give grace to the humble. Ivan was humble. He did not make anything of himself. He received what I offered. Galvez. however, was arrogant, puffed up. He was making something of himself while shaming and mocking me. He got exactly what he deserved.

I neglected to mention that I (rightly) humiliated Galvez in front of all the other students in the class. He richly deserved that comeuppance. Shortly after I had reamed him out, he quietly admitted: "That felt good, didn't it?"

Yes! It did. Meting out justice to the arrogant is very gratifying.

Just as granting grace to the humble is very gratifying.