Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rest In Jesus' Righteousness, In the Midst of Every Storm

"29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:29-30)

Times are very difficult right now.

In the United States, lawlessness is become the law. Courts, executives, legislators are ignoring the spirit of the law, and they are dispensing with the Laws of Nature and Nature's God.

When the United States Supreme Court ruled that words in a statute could be reinterpreted to mean something entirely different, I was crushed, devastated. I had so hoped that the current court appointed by the current President would rule in a righteous, judicious manner.

But they did not.

This prophecy is coming to pass in our midst, in our times, in our generation:

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way." (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

I was so dejected, so unhappy. I just felt like giving up the calling that God my loving Father had given me.

Of course, in times of great hurt, trial, pain, we don't have to run and hide, and we do not have to hide our pain.

Let us call out to Him when we are in trouble:

"I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)

I had faced similar privations before, a sense that all was lost. I still remember years prior when I had no money, no vehicle, and a number of other pressing engagements against me. I cried out, and then I recalled those days when even though I had every material need taken care of, a sense of deep shame had cast a terrible pall over me. What good are the goods of the world if you feel condemned in your Spirit?

And then I remembered: God's gift of righteousness overcomes all hurts and pains! No matter what may happen in this world, I know that I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)

That has to be the most important prize to us. Christ is our Wisdom, and our Righteousness. In Him, we are justified from all things, from which we could not be justified through the Law of Moses (Acts 13:  38-39)

Righteousness produces the very peace that all of us crave:

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Hebrews 12:11)

So, what is the discipline, the child-training that is happening for me?

I must admit that I was basing my peace on political and judicial outcomes. "When the courts rule this way ... " and "When the President accomplishes this action ..." and "When this legal outcome occurs ...", those were the thoughts that I was still entertaining without realizing it.

The most important thing that we are to rest in, to rejoice about? That we have been made the rightoeusness of God in Christ! That we will never be condemned, shunned, or damned for our sins!

"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20)

God does not want us to rejoice because we are saved, that we have all things in Him ... AND something else, too.

If we are trusting or taking comfort in other things, God is going to shake those complacencies away from us:

"27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:" (Hebrews 12:27-28)

When I rested back in that Gift of Righteousness, and keep receiving the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17), an immediate and lasting peace overwhelmed me! I was not worried about the bad courts, the lawlessness in the streets, the upsetting tumults of leaders who refuse to lead.

I may have felt like Habakkuk, when he cried out to God that so much evil was happening in his generation, and yet God seemed absent (Habakkuk 1:1-4), but I realized that the tumults, my upsets would not dissuade Him from taking care of everything.

That revelation brought me to Jesus walking on the water in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 14: 22-33).

Peter asked Jesus to invite him to walk on the water, and Jesus did so. Peter began walking on the water toward Jesus, but when he was distracted by the wind, he began to sink. Peter called out to the Lord to save Him, and Jesus "immediately" reached out to him to rescue him (Matthew 14:31).

Jesus then gently rebuked Peter: "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:31)

What was the doubt? Peter thought that the waves, the winds, the whirling around him would be greater than Jesus and His power to keep Peter from drowning. Obviously, that was not the case. Yet also notice that Jesus saved Peter from drowning, and also bear in mind that Peter walked on water to get back to the boat, too!

Now, here's the deeper revelation which came to me, in the midst of these stormy trials battering the nation that I live in, and which may batter against the times and spaces where you find yourself:

For years, I had spent so much of my time mentally, spiritually trying to quite the winds of doubt, hurt, shame, fear, etc. in my mind. I actually believed that I could not "see" Jesus in my life, walk by faith if these tumults of pain, fear, bitterness, anger. etc. welled up suddenly in my mind and emotions.

What I realized earlier this week, and what I receive and share today, is that Jesus simply asks us to rest in His righteousness, to see Him, even if there are storms, winds, and tumults about us. We do not have to eliminate the storms in our lives. He is above the storms, and when we recognize that we are in Him, then we see ourselves overcoming the storms, for "As He is so are we in this world." (1 John 4;17)

There is such a rest in this revelation for me, and I hope that you receive it, as well.

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

Let us make His righteousness our most important priority, for after all, Jesus declared in His 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)

Jesus fulfilled this promise for us when He died on the Cross, and then sent to His Spirit.

His Holy Spirit today convicts us of righteousness! (John 16:8-10)

And when we are established in His righteousness, we can know and believe that no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:14,17)

Let us rest in His righteousness, in the midst of every storm. He is not going away, and He has already overcome the world and every terror and tremor that it may contain to harm us (John 16:33).

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Righteousness: A Never-Ending, Ever-Flowing Gift

"But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." (Amos 5:24)

This revelation is so powerful, that I cannot stop sharing it.

In 2008, I learned that I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

What I did not learn, however, is that this righteousness does not leave me even if I sin, fall, fail, fall short, make a fool of myself, etc.

That was a lesson that has taken me so much longer to learn. I have been learning about this since at least 2012. I still remember reading an incredible document about this gift of righteousness when I was dining at a McDonald's in Venice, CA. It's amazing, and wonderful, how God grants me these wonderful memories!

Anyway, when I was working at the charter school in my aera, I continued to believe wrongly that I had to feel, think, wonder, have a mindset of a certain kind in order for God to be at work and to stay present with me.

I really believed this, and it created such bondage, such harm for me. No wonder my blood pressure was so high. I was so stressed, so busy trying to stay a good boy on the inside, not worrying about what other people would think of me.

And I was so empty, so tired at the end of the first semester as a teacher. I had thought that I had arrived. I had gotten everything that I needed, and yet I was so empty. There was so much striving going on inside of me, it was just awful.

And the other thing that I did not understand: God was always there with and for me, even when I was thinking bad thoughts, doing bad things, etc.

Why was I so overwhelmed? Because I was so busy trying to keep my thoughts clean and nice, and then I struggled with these blasphemous, perverse thoughts. How shameful they were. I did not understand the gift of righteousness at the time. This gift is not something that comes and goes with behavior. This is a gift which I receive, and KEEP RECEIVING! (Romans 5:17)

The other thing that I did not understand about the gift of righteousness: God is living in me and through me. He is not some impersonal force who is far, far away from me. He lives with me! He is providing all things to me that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)! This is so awesome!

I was never meant to live life alone. I am not living life alone. In fact, He is my life! (Colossians 3:4)


He is a vibrant, loving, never leaving Father! Thank you, Jesus, for being so patient with me. The pain that I was going through, the deception that I was in bondage to was so strong.

I have been made the righteousness of God in Christ, regardless of my feelings, thoughts, perceptions, perversions. Before I got saved, I never struggled with some of the painful, poisonous thoughts that I had begun thinking, especially after I had received a greater revelation of my righteousness in Christ.

What was going on? I did not understand that you cannot keep receiving the gift of righteousness but also trust or work in your flesh, in your self-effort to produce results. Life comes from Jesus, not from ourselves.

This revelation took me some time to understand. What was happening to me in 2008, in those earlier days when I was learning about my righteous standing in Christ Jesus? I was under law, trying to be a good boy through my efforts:

"But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead." (Romans 7:8)

This is what was happening. I was in the Romans 7 world, because I did not understand that I had been made the righteousnesss of God in Christ--and that that was a status that would never, ever go away! AMEN!

Jesus cannot leave me now because I have been so thoroughly cleansed by the blood of Jesus. I am so glad that I can write about these things. I now understand why I was struggling the way that I was struggling. Thank you, Jesus, for the never-ending, ever-flowing gift of righteousness!

"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)


"But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." (Amos 5:24)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Everlasting Righteousness, and Rest for My Mind

This is an incredible revelation all the more.

So much so, that I have to write about it in this fashion.

I never understood how important, how worthwhile, how essential is the gift of righteousness, but now more than ever I sense its power within me.

Thank you, Jesus, for being my righteousness!

For the longest time, I believed that what I was thinking, what I was feeling, all of that would knock me off that place of rest, that place of peace, that stance of righteousness.

Despite all the times that I heard Pastor Prince explain to me "Don't fight or struggle against bad thoughts. Replace bad thoughts with good thoughts," I was still struggling with those bad thoughts. Lustful thoughts, bitter thoughts, angry thoughts, whatever thoughts that were coming to mind.

My head would get very stiff, tight, upset. I was trying to block or stop those thoughts. It's amazing how much these habits become ingrained in our bodies. It really takes time to be set free. Grace takes time, but it is so worth it!

I am now realizing that bad thoughts, bad ideas, disgusting fantasies, disturbing intimations cannot knock me off my rest in Christ Jesus, the righteousness that I have been made in Christ Jesus!

My righteousness cannot be unmade! No matter what is going on around me, no matter how I may feel, or the upsets, the concerns, the heartaches around me, I will shout as Habakkuk the prophet:

"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation." (Habakkuk 3:18)

The wicked may surround me (Habakkuk 1:4), but the righteous by faith live! (Habakkuk 1:4)

The very word "Habakkuk" speaks of God's loving embrace! He embraces me, even in the midst of these hard, tough, harsh times, and whatever hard, tough, harsh thoughts I may be thinking or wrestling with.

The most negative, embarassing, hurtful events that have happened to me cannot take away my standing, my righteousness in Christ. This is incredible!

What's more, I used to fear allowing myself to be spared from the sense of shame and guilt following wrongdoing. Yet the Bible is very clear: "The goodness of God leads to repentance" (Romans 2:4). People have this crazy idea that telling people that they are righteous, apart from works, apart from their efforts, will lead them to go crazy with sin.

It's not grace that does that. It's the desire to be free from bondage, it's the need to break away from stultifying restriction on self. Once we receive and keep receiving the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness, we reign in His life (Romans 5:17). Sin does not have dominion over us anymore!(Romans 6:14)

Righteousness is a gift. It does not matter what follows or does not follow. Two + Two = Four even if some people cannot add properly, or they mistake the sum of two parts, or if they are deliberately trying to cheat. It's a divine, accomplished fact that through Christ Jesus, we are made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I no longer have to fear what is going through my mind, or what may go through my mind from day to day. This life is no longer a life of trying to catch my bad thoughts before they happen. I do not have to wonder or hope that I do not have bad thoughts as I go through from day to day.

This is the everlasting righteousness that Daniel prophesied (Daniel 9:24)