Tag Archive: God



On Mondays, I have been blogging excerpts from one of the books I’m writing, called “Found Wanting”, exploring a God who loves us and relentlessly pursues a deep and engaging relationship with us. We have looked at the first portion of the book which discusses a position of inward bankruptcy in our souls as a result of sin and it’s consequences. Why do bad things happen in the world? Not because God doesn’t care and doesn’t want to do anything, for sure… But because sin separated us from a position of trusting in, and having intimate connection with God. Because we were sinners, separated from God by our own move away from him, refusing to trust his good intentions toward us, we decided we needed to look out for ourselves, instead of allowing him to protect, defend and care for us. With this newfound independence from God in place in our lives, ample room for self centeredness brought about lawlessness. Every one did as they saw fit. This allowing sin to enter the world. Instead of allowing God to be judge, and decide fairly on the outcome of situations in our lives, we took matters into our own hands. You see it today. From the simplest example of trusting ourselves and questioning the character and goodness of God… Simply because we ask the question, “Why does a ‘good’ God allow suffering in the world?” the very question itself questions the character of God, proving our suspicion of his goodness or concern or involvement in human affairs. Now I could answer that God delights in freedom for us, which is why He gave us free will, and that out of that free will he longs for us to connect to him, because he knows love cannot exist where there is no choice… And maybe you buy it and maybe you don’t. But the example still stands that there is something blocking our ability to believe in God. Free will presents another side to it as well, sadly. Just as we can freely choose to love God and each other, we can also choose to not love. Or to love selfishly… Loving what suits us best. Why is it that we desperately want to take justice in our own hands? An eye for an eye, that sort of thing. When someone has been wronged, and the authorities do not satisfy the hunger for justice, sometimes people take matters into their own hands. Why do people murder each other? Because they have taken matters into their own hands, not because God does not love us. Bad things happen to good people, because free will exists. On the one hand, it is a brilliant plan when it is used for good and not for evil, but free will backfires when we are serving our own interests above all else.

In the second half of the book, I discuss the incredible state of being ‘found wanting’ as in desiring after God as a result of recognizing His great love for us, and once we have felt it, experienced it, embraced the love of God, we are now enabled to love as He does -putting the needs of other’s above our own, or at least not exalting ourselves above another, as a good place to start! When we have truly been loved by God, received his live, tasted and seen that He really IS a good God, we experience the desire to give back. Not out of compulsion, but out of joy!! So how do we give back what we have freely received from God? The forgiveness of sins, and the invitation back to intimate fellowship with him… Then what?

“We were designed to respond to God’s love. We were designed to love. It is our first nature. But what does this nature look like? What does it involve? What does it entail? It is the nature of love to be ever expanding, not to horde love to itself, but to feel the warmth of the embrace of real and genuine love and to desire to give it away, knowing ‘there is more where that came from!’ When you hear of some really incredible sale at your favorite store, do you want to keep it to yourself or tell all your friends so they can find a great deal to? If you were on your death bed and suddenly were completely made whole and are perfectly well, would you not be so excited and bursting at the seams to tell everyone you know about your sudden, miraculous healing? Or would you keep it to yourself? When you are having the best day in the world, and feel like celebrating, do you not want to call as many of your friends as possible to go out and paint the town red and do something exciting to celebrate the moment, or a big victory? Love is like this too! When we are in love, we want to tell everyone of our newfound love. Why? Because love was created to express it, and to bring joy to those around you. That is the purpose of love- to expand, to spread the news! To share something wonderful!

Those who have come to know and understand and receive the love of God participate in the mission of God, by spreading the greatest news imaginable – that God is love! That God DOES indeed love us! We are not alone here, left to fend for ourselves, lurking in the dark, grasping the wind, struggling to find a purpose in life or for the meaning of why we are here. Those who have understood his love, KNOW. They know that the mission of God is to spread his love to everyone, because his heart grieves for all of us who have wavered in our confidence in his goodness, those of us who were disillusioned, or gave up hope in God because of some travesty we experienced in life that we thought was God’s fault, when in reality, was the result of free will and sin nature expressing itself in independence and rebellion against God, all because we believed the biggest lie of all: “God’s heart for us is not good!” So sad this reality of our condition, such incredible news when we believe again… God’s heart for you is good! God loves you. God is love! Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend. He has called us his friends and invites us to be friends of God, believing on his kindness, his goodness, his plans for us to give us hope and a future, and vision, and purpose in life. Do you want to join this incredible adventure? If you know and have experienced the love of God for you, do you want to participate in the mission of God? To remind people of his great love for them, to tell them of his goodness, and that he wants to be their friend too? He wants them to ecstatically experience the incredible love of God! If you have not experienced the love of God in your own life, you can! It is the easiest and hardest thing you will ever do! Believe. Believe in his goodness. Receive his love. Confess your independence from him and ask for him to help you depend on him and trust in him. He will empower you to do this. He loves you so much!

The mission of God has always been the same: to pursue mankind relentlessly and passionately with his love to draw us into a fulfilling and meaningful relationship with him, and to love each other as we love ourselves, preferring each other above our own interests, and enjoying the community of oneness that is experienced among the triune God. We are invited to be part of this family, to be sons and daughters to a good king, the King over all the world!”

I hope you enjoyed today’s excerpt from my book! There is so much to be excited about when we truly understand and come to believe and trust in the goodness of His heart toward us!

Have a great day!

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Found Wanting


Those of you you who have been following my blogs will know that on Mondays I blog about the books that I am currently writing, the first of which, is called “Found Wanting”, and on Wednesdays I blog about my life, current events, things I enjoy, or new news on my life coaching business etc, anything that gives the reader a little info about who I am and what I’m about, or current events in my life, and Fridays I blog about life coaching/personal development/relationship and psychology related topics, offering free tips and tools to overcome varying circumstances in life. I am about to start a stress management series this Friday. For those of you who are new to my blog, this will give you an idea of which blogs you prefer most to tune into. I am nearing the end of giving excerpts on this book called ‘Found Wanting’ without giving away the entire book! Lol! I will have 2-3 more excerpts on this book, before I move into blogging about another book I am currently working on!

But for today, let me re-cap what the book Found Wanting is about. The title itself is meant to be a play on words, with two separate meanings. The first half of the book is geared to understanding from a christian perspective, what the ‘fall of man’ was about. How independence and mistrust in the heart of God for us led us into a place of isolation and far from the dependency and trust in His good heart toward us and his character wanting nothing more than to lavish goodness and blessing upon us as children dearly loved by a father God figure. As in earlier blogs I mentioned the community of one-ness between the triune God, Father, son, and Holy spirit, who were involved in a community of one-ness and completeness, and full of love. God IS love. It was within the heart of God to extend that invitation for fellowship and relationship to humankind who he created with this purpose and intent in mind: To love us and allow us to experience the love within the community of the Godhead. It was his desire that we reciprocate this love as well. To receive it, to love God and to love others, created in the image of God that all may know this wonderful love of God. But part of love involved the freedom of choice -free will as we call it, to NOT love. If we are not given the choice to NOT love, or NOT receive love, any relationship is reduced to a servitude or control by force which removes the ability to love freely. The only way love can truly exist is with the freedom to not, so that loving becomes a choice and not merely a dictatorship. But because God had an enemy, an angel of God who fell I his vanity and pride, seeking to be greater than God, but lost the battle and was unable to achieve the greatness he sought after, he forever became intent in hurting the heart of God by attacking those God created in his image (us, humanity) and trying to convince us that God’s character and heart for us was not good. The sad reality is, we bought the lie. We’ve been living with that lie at the core of our being, questioning the goodness of God, looking for answer’s on our own and trusting our own ability and strength, rather than trusting him. We became convinced we must look out for ourselves because who else would? We were introduced to the harsh realities of life, and our experience taught us that what God said was a lie. Where was this goodness he spoke of? If God is a good God, why does he allow evil to triumph and pain to exist? On and on the questions go. And the belief system is rooted ever deeper in our hearts that God must not be good, which develops our alternate belief system: I must look after myself. I must protect myself. I must be in control, the very nature of the enemy of God who sought to be greater than God. Arrogance, pride, independence. I will not discuss these questions all over again, as I have discussed them in previous blogs (on Monday’s), but may open a discussion on some of those questions in July when I am finished giving an overview on this book, prior to getting into my next book I am working on.

My intent for today is to evaluate the second interpretation of the title ‘Found Wanting’, which rather than the first definition to be ‘found wanting’ or ‘lacking’ or deficient’ due to sin, rebellion and independence against the God who both created, loves and pursues us, the second interpretation is meant to explore what happens when we come back to that place of believing, and recognizing that God does, indeed have a good heart for us! When we experience that ‘aha’ moment of revelation, that ‘God moment’ as it were, where he arrests our attention, when he stops us dead in our tracks, when the unseen reality of what is unseen invades the natural and we ‘know’ to the very core of our being that we have just ‘met God.’ There are so many ways in which it happens, it can be simple and tender, it can be a vision that brings the awareness of the divine to life for you, it can be a download of so much information, wisdom and knowledge in an instant where you feel your mind has been expanded and enlightened to receive far more information than you know you could possibly take in in that instant without the divine being responsible for it. It could be your whole life flashing before you in an instant, whilst feeling the presence of angels surrounding you wanting to comfort and minister to you while God himself reveals the pain, the hurt, the wounds, the limiting beliefs you have held onto, while his peace and his presence met over you as he begins a work of healing and restoration to your soul. It is that moment when he shows you where he was when that traumatic experience took place and he reassures you of his unconditional love for you, when he reminds you that no matter what you have done or where you have been, he is with you, and he has always loved you, and reminds you that you were created for a purpose, that your life is not merely an accident, but divinely woven together by god, of immeasurable worth, not worth that is conditional in what you do or don’t, but simply because God loves you and gave you worth no matter what. It is innate, God given, because of his passionate heart for you to love and pursue you with the longing of reciprocal love for Him.

So being ‘found wanting’ in the second definition involves remembering that God loves us, and because he first loved us and we get that taste of this love, we suddenly are beside ourselves, found wanting, as in desiring God in return. Why does this happen? Because of the very nature of love. Love is generous and ever expanding, especially the love that God has for us, the unconditional kind that never changes, never ends, is kind and merciful and gracious, and as a result of believing that Jesus took all of our sin upon himself in our place, knowing that there is therefore no more punishment or consequence for sin, because the son of God, part of the triune God, became flesh, became a man, lived a sinless life, died on a cruel cross taking all the sin of the world with him upon the cross so that we might believe in him. That our doubt of God’s goodness might be replaced with the realization of his love, drawing our hearts back to a desire to love God as he has loved us. But belief is the cure for our unbelief. And believing can be hard, especially when the response is so simple:

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For whoever believes in him shall not be disappointed.” Romans 10:9-11

That’s it? That’s all I have to do? And yet, why is it so hard?

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are of the spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so… However, you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you… So then, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to it…but if by the spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body (sin), you will live. For all who are being led by the spirit of Gid, these are sons if Hod. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons!” Romans 8:1-15

In the middle of that last passage the clue to why it is so hard to believe is there in the text. “the mind set in the flesh is HOSTILE to god, it DOES NOT SUBJECT (or submit) to God FOR IT IS NOT EVEN ABLE TO. This is the crux of sin nature: hostility towards God, hardness of heart, unbelief, independence from God. It’s root? Believing a lie that the heart of God is not good for us, Believing that God is not real, or believing he doesn’t care, whatever variation of the lie that you have believed… And what happens over time is a hardening of our hearts. At first or may be felt as a tender moment of “where was God when…” fill in the blanks, perhaps tears where shed… You felt alone, abandoned. You questioned his heart, his goodness… And over time, it became a hardened belief system embedded in your deep inner heart that God doesn’t care. The purpose of God sending his son was to show us in a radical way how much he loves us. Who hasn’t heard of the concept of laying your life down for someone you love? In combat, it is done all the time, one man takes a bullet for his buddy, sparing his friend’s life. In just such a manner, this is what God did…Jesus, referred to as God’s son, fully God, fully perfect, became a man and lived a perfect sinless life, and then took the bullet for us so to speak. All that rebellion against God, all our moves away from his love, Jesus took all of our sin and wrongdoing, our pain, our unbelief and gave us a visual of real love: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” This is exactly what Jesus did to say “I love you. My heart for you has always been good. Return to ,e that I may show you my love, that you may receive my love.”

The response to being really loved… Is to love in return. This is God’s desire. That we may know his love, receive it, love him and pass it on to others that they too may know this great unfailing live of God!

This is what it means to be ‘found wanting’ as in desiring God. If you have ever been in love and ache while apart from the one you love, and long to be in their presence as soon as you possibly can, and take in, saturate, breathe in the pleasurable feeling of being loved, you can relate. This experience is possible with God… To be found desiring the nest moment where you get to enjoy the intoxicating presence of love -perfect love from God, the only kind of love that can bind up all your wounds and bring wholeness to your brokenness, comfort to your mourning, completion to your lack of direction, community to your isolation, and much much more! I want to be found wanting and desiring God forever.


Last Monday, I began to write about the concept of understanding God’s love, and mentioned I would continue the discussion today.

To recap just a little, I talked about what abiding in Christ Jesus looks like, that abiding in Him is abiding in perfect love, which casts out fear, and I talked about God’s commandments to love each other, and that this command does not come from a God who is demanding and punitive, because abiding in him removes all fear of punishment as we begin to grasp the message of the good news of the gospel, which comes down to faith in God. This same God who gives commandments to obey him, does so from a posture of humility not forcing himself on anyone, but rather he respects our free will that He himself gave us, fully understanding that love cannot truly exist without choice. God wants us to love Him, and receive His love. He is on a mission to pursue our hearts and let us know just how much he loves us by sending his son Jesus, to take the punishment of sin upon himself that we may go free. This is the good news. Very simple, yet so hard to embrace… A free gift? What’s the catch? By faith alone? Can’t be. Must be earned. He loves me unconditionally? No way. No one can love like that. Conclusion: He must have a hidden agenda and is not to be trusted, and so we continue to live our lives independent from the love of God, which he desperately longs for us to embrace by faith alone, and by the evidence he gave us by taking away the punishment for sin, by having his son take it on himself, thereby allowing God to be perfectly just and perfectly merciful at the same time. Perfectly just by demanding that justice be done for evil, and perfectly merciful by allowing us to go free from the consequences of sin by embracing the idea that Jesus took all of our sins, past, present and future on himself, and paid the price we couldn’t.

So coming back to the concept of abiding in God, aka, perfect love, which encompasses the idea of keeping his commandments, let’s take a look at these commandments and how to apply them in our lives.

“But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility, receive the word implanted, (Jesus) which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, and once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he is, but the one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer, but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. This is pure and undefined religion in the sight of our God and Father: to visit orphan’s and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:19-27

“So speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty, for judgment will be merciless to the one who has shown no mercy, for mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:12-13

“For whoever keeps the whole law (Old testament law) and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” James 2:10.

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” James 1:13-15

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in you? You lust and do not have, so you commit murder, you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask God, and when you ask, and do not receive it is because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3

“Even so, consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies that you should obey it’s lusts, and do not go on presenting your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead and present the members of your body as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are a slave to the one whom you obey, either of sin, resulting in death, or of obedience, resulting in righteousness?” Romans 6:11-16

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law (old testament) could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and as an offering for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the flesh, but those who are according to the spirit, the things of the spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not subject itself to the law of God for it is not even able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if indeed the spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Romans 8:1-10.

Again we come back to the concept of abiding in God, in Christ, and the spirit of God, and the law of liberty which sets us free from the old covenant law of sin and death. The law of liberty is the good news of faith in Christ. If the spirit of God lives in us, we have the power through the spirit of God to condemn and put to death our sinful behavior, not of our own strength, but enabled by the spirit of God living within us.

The law of the spirit of life in Christ (or the law of liberty through his sacrifice on behalf of our sin), has set us free from the law of sin and death that judges and condemns us. But there is no more condemnation if I am IN Christ, or abiding in Christ.

“So then, brothers, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to it, for if you live according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are being led by the spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry, Abba, Father!” Romans 8:12-15

Here we come back to this concept of fear again. Our sin nature, the desires of our flesh that wage war within us, enticing us to sin, are what lead us back into the fear of judgment and condemnation. Our sinful acts are what the enemy of God (the devil, or satan) uses as ammunition to judge and accuse us before our Father God. (see Revelation 12:10,11) When we receive and accept his accusation against us, we submit ourselves again under the law of sin and death, rather than the law of liberty which deals with mercy triumphing over judgment and also deals with love casting out the fear of punishment. If we are In Christ, we live by the law of liberty, trusting and knowing and believing that Christ has already paid the price for our sinful nature. We must continue to put to death those inherent sinful desires and choose to live in love which is the fulfillment of the law, rather than living a selfish lifestyle, but also understanding there is grace when we do sin.

The enemy tempts us to sin, and when we yield to sin and are carried away by the lust in our sinful nature, he accuses us before God trying to cause us to subject ourselves again as slaves to sin, so that we forget what Christ has accomplished for us on he cross by laying his life down for us, in our place. The enemy appeals to our self-centeredness, or selfishness, which is why abiding in love keeps us under the law of liberty. Because this kind of love, God’s love, is unselfish. When we abide in Christ, in love, we are putting to death our sinful nature, resisting the devil and the desire to yield to sin, and close doors on the devil to legally accuse us before God, because we come to God, abiding in Christ, the law of liberty, and when we are accused, God sees Jesus abiding in us, and simply says “paid in full.”

If we abide in the word of God, we are able to overcome.

“For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that had overcome the world – our faith. And who is he that overcomes the world? but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God.” 1 John. 5:3-5

The commandments of God are summed up in loving God and loving each other. God’s love is the fulfillment of the law. God’s love fulfills the requirement of the law -perfection’. Perfect love drives out fear of punishment. Christ lived a perfect, sinless life, and his love was perfected by laying down his life for us, in our place, fulfilling the law and allowing us to go free from condemnation and accusations.

Could it be that as we abide in love for each other, (and as we do, God also abides in us), that we are presented with the opportunity through relationship, to encounter the specks and log’s within each other’s lives, giving us the ability to see our own faults as we are otherwise blinded to see through our pride, which deceives us, and through loving each other as God loves us (preferring each other above ourselves) we are made aware of our sin nature and are then able to crucify our sin nature because of love? When we truly begin to love each other, we find this law at work: “love does no harm to its neighbor” and our consciences are grieved when we see our own sin nature (selfishness) affecting the lives of the ones we love and when love begins to take precedence in our lives, we find ourselves empowered to change, thereby taking authority over our sin, and submitting it to God. Just some food for thought.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. If God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:10-12

Propitiation means “to appease because of Christ’s sacrifice. The benefits of Christ’s death to man. Not only the benefit of reconciliation with God, but the manner by which we were made friends of God. He is both the sacrifice and the high priest from the old testament, sacrificing himself.”

What is this love that we’ve been talking about, that drives out fear?

Love -agapeo from the greek, means “to love, indicates a direction of the will and finding it’s joy in anything. Agapeo is used of God’s love toward man and vice versa. Phileo (from the Greek) means to contend with, common interests, befriending. Agapeo stands higher above phileo because of its moral import; love that expresses compassion.

Agape, also from the Greek, is another word used for love, meaning “charity, meaning benevolent love. It’s benevolence however, is not shown by doing what the person loved desires, but what the one loving deems as necessary or needed by the one loved. God gave us not what we wanted, but what we needed, as perceived by God (the one loving). God’s love for man is doing what he thinks is best for man and not necessarily as man desires. It is God’s willful direction toward man. For man to love God, he must first appropriate God’s agape, for only God has such an unselfish love.”

“For God so loved the world that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him, has eternal life.” John 3:16

Faith comes from hearing the word of God. Believe it. God loves you. No matter what. He has only been recklessly pursuing us since the beginning of time, since the fall of man into a sinful condition separating us from the ability to receive God’s love, because of the knowledge of sin and death and our mistaken beliefs about the character and goodness of God’s heart. He had to do something radical to show us how much he loves us and desired intimate fellowship with us. He sent his son in our place removing the curse of sin from us to prove that his heart toward us is good. To show us he wants relationship with us and will go to any length of humility to gain our love. He has set himself up for rejection again, by paying the ultimate sacrifice and removing the consequences of sim from us if we receive his free gift of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We can still reject this love if we so choose. But if by faith, we receive this gift, the love of God, we will be saved from the consequences of sin.

“Now for this very reason, applying all diligence, in your faith, supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self control, and in your self control, perseverance. And in your perseverance, godliness, and in godliness, kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8


So yesterday I took a hiatus from writing for the day… I had an appointment with a specialist re: my back. I’ve been on a waiting list for about eighteen months now! I will likely blog about that on Wednesday with some updates, but as a result, it took much of my day yesterday, with the long wait times, so I decided I would take an unofficial vacation day, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with my husband, who also took the day off work to come to my appointment with me.

So I’m catching up today. I am blogging today what I was supposed to write about yesterday…God’s unconditional love, and what that involves. I will be quoting myself from something I wrote over 2 years ago when I first began to have a revelation of why the ‘good news’ that is talked about in the new testament is such ‘good news!’ I have been in church my whole life and didn’t quite understand how to grasp the message of grace. I admit, I am still a work in progress at understanding this important principle. The revelations I am about to share became the ‘Aha!’ moment of discovering the content of the book I am writing, called “Found Wanting”.

Here is what I came to understand:

“no one has beheld God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12

“And we have come to know and have believed the love which aged has for us. God IS love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16

“By this, love is perfected in us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

So let’s begin to unpack the above verses a little. Let’s start by getting a fuller understanding from the original Greek that the new testament was written in, and translate more fully the words “abide”, “judgment”, and “punishment” from the passages I just quoted.

Meno- to remain, to dwell, abide, to persevere, to stand firm, to remain alive, to wait for, to remain under, be patient, patient towards things and circumstances, long suffering, or patience toward people.

Krisis- judgment, a separation, judgment, final sentence, the final judgment, to pass judgment, judgment of condemnation, the cause or ground of condemnation or punishment.

Kolasis- punishment, to punish, torment.

Now part of this good news of the gospel of grace that Jesus spoke of involves this:

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ.” Romans 8:1

What does condemnation mean?

Katakrima, condemnation – to divide, to separate, judge, to be decided against anyone, a condemnatory judgment.

When we love one another, which we will define soon), God abides in us and He perfects love in us (for Him and each other). Two verses come to mind that I will briefly reference concerning the love for God and each other.”love the lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.” and “Love if the fulfillment of the law.” When we abide in God’s love, loving each other, and Him, God not only abides in us, but this is HOW love is perfected in us. Why does it matter if this love abides in us? Because it gives us confidence in the day of judgment. God’s love casts out the fear of judgment and punishment. Why? Because Jesus Christ took our punishment on Himself, therefore we are no longer condemned. There is now NO condemnation (the result of judgment) for those who are abiding in Christ. If I am IN Christ Jesus, I am abiding IN him.

Jesus uses an analogy that says of himself that He is the vine and His father is the gardener. He goes on to say:

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it so that it may bear fruit…Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up, and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned.”

This last verse deals with the consequences of not abiding in the vine. The life that comes from abiding is not there and the branch dries up and dies.

Jesus goes on to say, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved you, I have also loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you that my joy be in you and that your joy may be made full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:7-14

Those of you reading this that do not yet understand the love of God may read the above passages by suggesting that God is a demanding, punitive God, who punishes those who don’t abide in Him, and that he commands obedience, without question. Yet, we forget, this same God created each one of us with free will to make up our own minds. He does not dictate that we MUST follow Him, for he knows that love cannot exist in an environment of force, so instead, he places himself in a vulnerable position, the God who loves us and longs for our love in return, humbly gives us free choice to reject and neglect him and to NOT love him. He is communicating here, merely that abundant, full life comes only by abiding in his love, because only his love is perfect. How well we see this modeled in our lives. When we carry resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness in our hearts, it acts as a poison that kills and destroys our ability to dwell in absolute love. When we have been hurt by other’s imperfect love, and we dwell in fear of being harmed again, we still wrestle with understanding the love that comes from abiding in God’s love, which heals, and enables us to rise above our own human nature that wants to stay wounded, angry and justified to judge and punish those we’ve been burned by, and instead, rise above that, and sit comfortably, resting in the knowledge that God’s love is perfect and does not fail, will not damage our self-esteem, and instead, heals us, enabling us to then love others as he does, because if we are loved perfectly, then love heals us to love more perfectly than we can on our own.

Abiding in perfect love (God) keeps punishment and the consequences of punishment away from us. Because God’s love casts out the fear of punishment. The hint of why perfect love casts out fear of punishment is in this verse: “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid his life down for us, taking our punishment on himself.

“We know love by this, that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our friends. For whoever has the world’s good and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in Him? Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18

“Since you have in obedience to the truth, purified your souls for a sincere love for each other, fervently, (deeply) love one another from the heart, for you have been born again, not of seed which perishes, but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God.” 1 Peter 1:22,23.
(in this reference, the ‘word of God’ here, is not referring to the new testament as it was not yet written. Jesus himself often references himself as ‘The Word of God’. So again we see that concept of abiding in Jesus for a freedom we have not yet unpacked.)

So what does this love look like? How do we lay down our lives for others?

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, let each of you regard one another as more important than himself, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of other’s. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:1-13

Stay tuned next week Monday, for part 2 of this blog. I really thought I would have enough time to get it all in today… But there is so much to say of, and learn of the love of God, to really begin to appropriate it, yet alone understand, take in and receive. His love is so massive, it truly is inconceivable. Almost too hard to believe, too good to be true… And yet it is. He loves us and pursues us like none other, and His love for us never fails, never ends, never quits. His love is big enough to even let us walk away from him if we don’t want to receive his love. It breaks his heart, but he respects our free will. And he will not break that promise!

Unconditional Love


 

 

I mentioned on Monday that I would talk a little more today about unconditional love today.

Since I am going to unpack what God’s love for us looks like on Monday, excerpts out of my book ‘Found Wanting’, I thought today, I might just pass on some good stuff I’ve read from Joyce Meyer on the subject of unselfish, or unconditional love. Some quotes I have read from her book ‘The Love Revolution’ that have really inspired me over the past couple of years.

Helpful tips from Joyce Meyer on learning what unselfish love is, and how to apply it:

 

“One way to love others is to help them not feel worse about the things they already feel bad about.”

I admit, I often find this challenging especially when I have been seriously offended! I am still working on exhibiting more grace toward others, and am personally working on empathizing with where they are coming from so that I can become better at this kind of grace filled compassionate love.

I read this from the book ‘Caring Enough To Confront’ by David Ausberger about caring and confronting which I am working on utilizing in my own life:

Caring

I care about you and about our relationship

I want to hear your view

I want to fully respect your insights

I trust you to be able to handle my honest feelings

I promise to stay with the discussion until we’ve reached an understanding

I will not pressure, manipulate, or distort the differences

I give you my loving, honest respect.

Confronting

I feel deeply about the issues and interests at stake

I want to clearly express my view

I want authentic respect for my insights

I want you to trust me with your honest feelings, knowing that i can handle them fairly

I want you to keep working with me until we’ve reached a new understanding

I want your unpressured, clear, undistorted view of our differences

I want your caring-confronting response.

I am finding these tools as well as others beneficial personally to empathize when someone has wronged me, and I need to remind myself of Joyce Meyer’s advice to not make the person feel worse than they already do! Sometimes… Keeping your mouth shut is the only option if you are not yet able to find the grace to empathize and try to see things from the other person’s perspective, until your own emotions cool!

More tips on unconditional love from Joyce Meyer:

“humility serves and always does what lifts others up.”

“Jesus never made people feel badly because they were not on his level, but instead he stooped to their level.”

“Man’s love fails, but God’s does not. Man’s love comes to an end but God’s love does not. Sometimes I find that although I cannot love a person in my own human strength, I am able to love them with God’s love.”

“Human love depends on feelings. We love people because they have been good to us, or they loved us first. They make us feel good about ourselves, or make life easier, so we say we love them. Or we love them because we want them to love us. But that type of love is based on what they are doing, and if they stop doing it, we will probably stop loving them. God’s love is totally different. When human love ends, God’s love is still available to finish what needs to be done.”

“The true love of God doesn’t depend on feelings it is based on decision. Help anyone who needs help, unless helping them would ultimately hurt them. They don’t have to deserve it. As a matter of fact, sometimes I think the less they deserve it, the more impacting it is.”

“Mercy helps those who don’t deserve help, but unconditional love is not intended to allow people to be irresponsible while we pay the bill. Mercy gives many opportunities, and unconditional love never gives up. It… moves out of the shadows and helps when doing so will really make a difference.”

Perhaps my favorite definition of unconditional love is this:

Agape, from the Greek, translated as unconditional love, or benevolent love, refers to charity. It’s benevolence however, is not shown by doing necessarily what the person loved desires, but what the one who loves deems as necessary or needed by the one being loved.

For example, God gave us not what we wanted, as perceived by God (the one loving), but rather God’s love for man is based on God doing what he knows is best for man and not what man desires. It is God’s willful direction toward mankind. For us to love God, we must first appropriate God’s ‘agape’ love, for only God has such an unselfish love.

I will divulge more into this unconditional love and how it pertains to us on Monday next week! Stay tuned!

Unconditional love has been the single greatest feat for me to accomplish! I long to love this way to the best of my human ability! I am continually humbled by my circumstances when I realize how far I yet have to go to love more and more like God loves! I know I will never be perfect at it, but I greatly admire this kind of love and desire to emulate it to the best of my ability. I am grateful both for my successes and failures in this task, as I learn from each experience how to greater facilitate the ability to love in this way. Sigh. A long ways to go I’m sure. I am thankful for the grace God shows me, as I grapple with learning to extend this same grace to other’s as I try to model my life after the life of Christ. I am a work in progress!


What is the gospel? Why is the message of Jesus good news? Why is it that his death and resurrection are so important in the christian message of God’s love and grace? And how does it help us, if we are locked away, stuck in a sinful condition, unable to help ourselves be sinless and perfect? Why is it important that Jesus rose from the dead to make the Christian religion credible? I believe the Christian message of God being perfectly loving and merciful and perfectly just to be fundamentally flawed without Jesus’ claim that he is God, and without his resurrection from the dead, and his sacrifice on the cross for sinful mankind, it is impossible for God to be both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. If he were perfectly just, he would have to punish every sin, making no one eligible on the basis of ‘works of righteousness’ to earn his favor, for everyone sins and fails and is flawed. But to compromise that justice, he would no longer be perfectly just. The same is true of his perfect mercy. If he were perfectly merciful, he would have to dismiss every single human sin and flaw, and compromise his standard of justice for the oppressed. How does he then remedy this problem? We continually make assaults against the character of God when some moral code is broken… Someone takes an innocent life and we are fuming inside at the injustice if it all, daring even to blame the God of heaven as to why he allowed this injustice to occur, standing idly by, appearing uncaring to our cause. Do we not see from this example alone that we are made in the image of God, sharing with him the same value of both mercy and justice? How then does this dilemma get resolved? What is the perfect solution to the mercy/judgment problem? I believe the answer lies in the person of Jesus Christ. If he is who he says he is -the son of God, (the second person of the triune Godhead), and if his claim, and the claims of the many witnesses who testified to the fact that he was indeed resurrected from the grave are indeed completely true, then Christ MUST be the messiah, sent to redeem mankind from something far more than the Jewish believers of his time period could see. He was after something so much more important than rescuing his people from the Roman occupation of the nation of Israel. He had a much greater mandate, a free gift offer to all who would receive his message, and was living out the grand narrative of the mission of God -to redeem the hearts of his creation back to himself!

We will circle back to that mission in a few minutes. Let’s explore a bit further. What is it in us that desires perfection so much, that we strive for it in every area of our life? What is it in us that if we fail, we lose all hope and believe we are a complete failure? What is it that causes us to want to earn favor, recognition, love, appreciation, affirmation, success? Is it not the very nature of the divine, indicating we were created in his image, his image that is perfect, and unflawed, unconditional, and unending? Why do we have trouble accepting death? As if innately, we knew death was never meant to be the natural condition of mankind? Why do we believe we have good within us and fight so hard against ‘the bad’ or ‘imperfect parts’ of our being? Because somewhere inside of us, we know. We know we were meant for more. Romans 1:19 suggests ‘that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them, for since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, having been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse”. The evidence is in. We have inherited qualities that God himself possesses, we long for (often unaware) that which was lost to us because of sin, independence and separation from God. For instance, the longing for love that completes us, that is fulfilling, and that never ends, we long for freedom, and mercy and justice and to be perfect. And I could go on and on. But we cannot earn perfection, and the human love we seek after is fundamentally flawed, it ends, it fails us, eludes us. The purpose we seek in life, we try and fill with lesser loves, like success in a career, and we are often still left unfulfilled. As if we were made for something more substantial to sustain the largeness of our hearts. We grieve and cry out against injustice, often unaware that the name for injustice comes from the root issue of sin. Someone’s sin and evil mistreatment of another. What is the solution to this madness? To the cycle we spend our lives on trying to live for ourselves and make ourselves happy, and work toward being perfect… For what? For who? Why?

And love… The pursuit that leaves us so often in so much pain…. I want to share this quote with you, before I delve into the solution that the godhead came up with that the early believers that Jesus was messiah simply called ‘the good news.’ Today, we will find out why. But first, let me share this quote with you, from C.S. Lewis:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be certainly wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it careful with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -safe, dark, motionless, airless -it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.”
(The four loves)

And yet the solution to the inhumanity of man, is love.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

God is love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever would believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“greater love has no one than this; to lay his own life down for his friends.” john 15:13

Stay tuned…. Part 2 of ‘Good news – what is the gospel’ will be coming later this afternoon.


Last week I started this two part series on God’s grief and love for us. This is the part two of last weeks’s blog. Another excerpt from the book I’m writing.

” ‘For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.” Romans 11:32

God intends to show us mercy. God has envisioned a plan for our redemption. But before we see this plan unfold, we must take a painful look at God’s side of the story. The anguish and grief, the sorrow and anger that burns within him at our wayward condition, and his desperation to renew a right standing between God and mankind once again.

Let’s take a look at a few more passages so that we have a fuller understanding of this love story unfolding, a love story with a wounded lover, who has lost his wife to her unfaithfulness towards him.

“I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, the love of your betrothals, your following after me in the wilderness, through a land not sown… what injustice did your fathers find in me, that they went far from me and walked after emptiness and became empty?…Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, o heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water… you are a swift she-camel running here and there sniffing the wind in her craving – in her heat, who can restrain her? Should I not punish them for this? Should I not avenge myself?” Jeremiah 2:2,5,11-13, 23; 5:9

And again the Lord expresses his frustration:

“You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill, there you went to offer your sacrifices. Behind your doors and doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide and made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies.” Isaiah 57:7-8

“This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me, declares the Lord, because you have forgotten me and trusted in falsehood. So I myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, that your shame may be seen. As for your adulteries, and your lustful neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations…How long will you remain unclean?” Jer. 13:25-27

Perhaps the most passionate look at how God feels at our idolatry and turning away from him is found in Ezekiel 16:4-26:

“As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing, you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’… I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold you were at the time for love; so I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that became mine, declares the Lord God. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you, and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals on your feet; and I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. And I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dres was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey, and oil, so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth from among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of my splendor which I bestowed upon you, declares the lord. But you trusted in your beauty and you played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing. And you took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors, and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen. You also took your beautiful jewels made of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that might play the harlot with them. Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered my oil and my incense before them. Also, my bread which I gave for you, fine flour, oil and honey, with which I fed you and you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened, declares the lord. Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to me, and you sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered my children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire. And besides all of your abominations, and harlotries, you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood. Then it came about after all your wickedness, that you built yourself a shrine and made yourself a high place in every square. You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer by to multiply your harlotry… to make me angry.”

In his anger, he rose up a prophet to experience what He himself experienced concerning our waywardness. The prophet Hosea. The Lord instructed Hosea to marry a prostitute and bring her into his home. Hosea experienced this same rejection as his wife left him after bearing two sons for him, and returned to her harlotry. The Lord instructed Hosea to go after his wife, and bring her back to live with him again, as the Lord has done repeatedly for us, pursuing us each time we are wayward and run off to serve lesser gods, the idols in our lives that replace him in our hearts.

Let’s listen to a little of the imagery once again, of God’s anger and his plan and intention to woo his wayward bride back to himself:

“Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. And let her put her harlotry away from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts, lest I strip her naked and expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, make her like desert land, and slay her with thirst. Also I will have no compassion on her children, because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; she who conceived them acted shamefully. For she said, “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now… therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her… and she will sing there as in the days of her youth…and it will come about in that day, declares the Lord, that she will call me Ishi (husband) and will no longer call me baali (master).”

Hosea 2:2-7, 14, 16

Despite all of this painful imagery of a lover who has lost his loved one to her adulterous behavior in walking away from a beautiful relationship with her beloved, we hear him saying things such as this:

“Return to me, and I will return to you. Yet you have said harsh things about me. You have said, ‘there’s no pay off in this relationship. It’s not worth loving God.”

We also hear him say, ‘return faithless sons, and I will heal your faithlessness.” Jer. 3:22

“for I the lord, do not change… return to me, and I will return to you.” Malachi 3:6,7

“For I will not contend forever, neither will I always be angry, for their spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of those whom I have made.” Isaiah 58:16

And again; “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

We see a God desperately in pursuit of redeeming a lost relationship, and willing to relent on his anger, seeking to find a way to close the ever widening gap between man and God. But do we see what is going on beneath the surface? Behind the scenes, there is a war going on. This same serpent, the devil, who we were introduced to in the preceding chapter, is on a mission… to woo our hearts away from the Living God. He is the one enticing us into our harlotries, by deceiving us and telling us that what he has to offer is better than what God would offer. We are still under his spell, the one that questions the goodness of the heart of God, which draws us away to lesser loves, and independence, and confidence in our own strengths and abilities. All the while, the real story happening here, is that this enemy is merely playing with us, like the pieces on a chessboard, discarding us when he no longer has need of us, all in the attempt to break the heart of God, because he lost the battle, because he could not overpower God. And we are blissfully unaware of this ongoing assault of the heart of God, nor are we aware of our part in breaking God’s heart. Until now.

At this point, in the divine timeline of a grand narrative underway, God is alone, on a mission to pursue a way to bring us back to his heart, to trust that his heart toward us is good, once again.

But there is hope coming:

“We hope for justice, but there is none, for salvation but it is far from us. For our transgressions have multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us. We know our iniquities, denying the Lord, and turning away from our God… Now the Lord saw and it was displeasing in his sight that there was no justice. And he saw that there was no man and astonished that there was no one to intercede…then his own arm brought salvation.” Isaiah 59:11-13,15,16

And there we have it, in the midst of a situation that looked hopeless, a people shut up in disobedience, unable to even turn to God on their own efforts, we hear the vague sound of a plan unfolding in the heavens… the sound of hope: ‘then his own arm brought salvation.’

As a result of this plan of salvation unfolding to restore mankind to right relationship with their god, we can foreshadow what this salvation would bring: the ability for God to say this to us and forever end the wrath of God toward his creation, because salvation would come in such an extraordinary way. When salvation would come, He would say to us once and for all:

“Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more” Hebrews 10:17″


“Here we are, in a desperate state of isolated independence from God, a loss of the relationship and perfect community designed by God. Now, we are living in the age of the fall, the era of mistrust, aloneness, pride, independence, fear, rejection, the pursuit to make a name for oneself, and the list goes on…to somehow deaden the blow of what is felt internally – bankruptcy of enormous proportions, a bankruptcy of the soul. Adam and Eve felt it immediately. Something had changed. They’d been ripped off. And they KNEW it. The eyes of their heart had been opened, and they understood that they had been deceived. They understood that the former intimacy had been robbed from them. Or so they thought. They understood that this knowledge was backfiring somehow. They thought they would be like God, but what had happened is that they had cut themselves off from the former enjoyment with God. But I doubt they fully understood why.
We are blessed that we have the story from beginning to end written out for us in the bible, but even in that, our eyes can remain blinded by deception for a lifetime, that we cannot see, nor understand this grand narrative that I am attempting to describe. (2 Cor. 14-18). Even as Christians it can take us years to finally figure out just how ‘deep the rabbit hole goes’ so to speak, in understanding the human condition, our spiritual bankruptcy, our fallen condition.

We touched on the wrath of God in the last chapter, arising out of a jealous love to protect the ones he loves, and are about to explore a little of God’s frustration, hurt, sense of betrayal and even anger, as he pours out his heart to the ones who have fallen away from him, all the while in a desperate pursuit to win back the heart of the one he loves, as he frequently refers to as his bride, in both the old and the new testament.

You see, our fallen human condition was not merely Adam and Eve alone in this fallen state, but every son and daughter since, has inherited this dreadful condition. As with all things, as a result of the fall, the condition atrophies, it worsens over time. It may have been a simple act of disobedience in the garden of Eden that day, but very soon after, we learn of a murder arising out of the condition of jealousy, among the children of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel. And the more you progress in reading the old testament, the greater the atrocities of our sinful human condition emerge. You see King David taking another man’s wife as his own, and having her husband murdered, you see him refuse to do anything for his daughter who was raped, arising an outpouring of wrath among one of his sons adamant for justice, taking justice in his own hands and murdering the one who raped his sister. You see human sacrifices as the people God loved turned away from God and sought other gods and became obedient to the practices of child sacrifices to appease the gods they chose to serve, something that was abominable to the one true God. On and on it goes, the depravity of the human condition, unleashed as man takes matters into his own hands. In our day we see it too, the corruption in our governments, the pursuit of power at the expense of others, the lack of peace in Israel. War and terrorism becoming a real part of our world, and holocausts, killing off whole races of people because one race sees themselves as more superior than another. White supremacy, bringing other races into slavery and abuses of extreme conditions. Human trafficking – the lack of respect for the dignity of human life. Nuclear threats, you name it, not to mention the murders that take place in our own time, due to jealous rage, or racism, or whatever the root cause may be… it all comes back to our sinful, inward condition of waywardness from the intentions God desired for us. It is the result of our falling away from a real and living God who loves us. In our independence, we thought our own human effort was good enough to resolve the condition of the world, ignorant and unaware that coming from a place of fallenness, could not possibly result in a perfect solution.

And so we come to see the grief of God, and his anger at the atrocities he sees in the world.
We first see this great grief expressed in Genesis 6:5: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” In his anger, he said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land… for I am very sorry that I have made them.” This is the cry of a broken heart. For those of you who know the rest of the story, God found a man who was righteous before God, Noah, whom God chose to be the man whom he would rebuild the human race with, after he chose to flood the earth in an attempt to rid the earth of the violence of mankind. When all was said and done, God was again grieved and his anger subsided and he vowed he would never again destroy the whole earth by giving us the sign of the rainbow. But then again… some time later, wickedness arose so desperately in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, that the outcry of their evil deeds arose to God’s attention. He decided to wipe out the whole city. But Abraham interceded to God to spare the city, as he bartered with God from 50 men who were found to be righteous, down to 10. In the end, not 10 were even found righteous, and God allowed the city to burn up in smoke, after allowing the few people in the city who still feared God to flee for their safety.

It is difficult for us to look at these stories and see that God is a loving God that cares for us. When we see his wrath and his anger, we once again, from our fallen condition, reject him still further and wander farther off from him, not seeing his side of the story, his broken heart. His grief at our waywardness. His desire for a community of unity, rather than one that breeds hatred, isolation, and cruelty.

Let us take a closer look at how he feels toward us, this jilted lover, who is broken up over our wandering away from the love and fellowship he desired to share with us.
Listen to his heart:
“I long to be gracious to you. You are precious and honored in my sight, because I love you.”
“From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” Psalm 103:17
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you. Therefore he will rise to show you compassion. For the lord is a god of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
“Love each other, as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“For God so loved the world…” John 3:16a
“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5
“The Lord God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love and truth, who keeps his lovingkindness for thousands, and forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. Yet he will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…”
“I have loved you, says the Lord, but you say, “how hast thou loved us?” Malachi 1:2a

Here we see a developing theme of his great unshakeable love for us. But we also see He is equally a God of justice. We complain ever so readily when we feel that God has been unjust, and yet, every time he displays his acts of justice, we assume that he is cruel and lacks mercy. Exactly like this last quote we just read out of Malachi, where the Lord is speaking to us telling us that he has loved us, but complains that we say back to him, ‘how have you loved us?’ because we cannot believe. We are all locked in this state of blindness and hostility toward God, that we cannot turn to him even if we will it, by our own might. “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God, and it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.” Romans 8:7,8.

God intends to show us mercy. God has envisioned a plan for our redemption. But before we see this plan unfold, we must take a painful look at God’s side of the story. The anguish and grief, the sorrow and anger that burns within him at our wayward condition, and his desperation to renew a right standing between God and mankind once again.”

The above is an excerpt from the book I’m writing, called Found Wanting. I think I will leave it there for now.

Next Monday, I will try and attempt to unpack how desperately God loves and longs and yearns for relationship with us.

What is sin?


“What is sin? What is “the fall of man” really about? Several months ago, God began a major journey of discovery for me… I thought the initial discussion between me and God was about faith. But He kept taking me elsewhere… as if to say, before you can understand the roadblocks you’ve struggled with your entire life about faith, you need to understand the foundation of the problem. And that problem- is sin. And He began to open my eyes to understand what sin really is.

What went wrong? Why, how… did we lose out on fellowship with God? Well… ‘the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.’ Gen. 3:1. The great enemy of God, the accuser of those who believe in him, who had a vendetta against God since before the foundation of time, had it out for us, had an evil intention to break up the relationship God had in mind for us.
Lucifer, once an angel of God, the covering cherub of the glory of God, had become proud in his heart thinking he could become as powerful as God himself. The following passage taken from Isaiah 14:12-15, is often referenced to refer to Lucifer’s fall:
“How you have fallen from heaven, o star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the most High. Nevertheless, you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”

And again in revelation it references a war that takes place in heaven between Michael and satan, also called Lucifer, as a result of his rebellion against God:
“And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
As a result of his defeat in this great war in the heavens, the fallen angel, Lucifer, (which means morning star) now referred to as Satan or the devil, went off to make war with the people that God had created. His plan: if he could not physically overpower God to become equal to, or more powerful than God, he would break God’s heart, by breaking the fellowship between God and mankind whom he had created to enjoy and experience the bond of love and community with him.
So now we fast forward again to the garden of Eden. All of this previous detail is the prequel to the events described in the first few chapters of Genesis. So essentially, we find, just like a movie might start, we aren’t necessarily starting at the beginning of the story. Yes, it is the beginning of the story of how earth came to be, and the business of God’s creating, and the beginning of mankind. But here, scattered throughout the bible, we see that there were things happening prior to creation. In Hebrews 11:3, we see that ‘by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Suggesting then, that what is unseen is more real than what is seen with the naked eye. Again in Ephesians 1:4 we find that there were things going on before the actual business of creation:
“just as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, In love, he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of his will.”
And to Job, a man who endured many trials in his lifetime, through a series of great losses, God speaks to him, when Job cries out to the Lord for a response as to why all the misfortune he has experienced, God replies: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth, tell me if you understand. Who set its measurements… who laid it’s cornerstone?” (Job 38:4-6)
So we come to know that the back drop to creation suggests there were things happening before we came to be… before we were a glimmer in God’s eye.
And when we came on the scene… we were already in the middle of an ongoing conflict between a fallen, angry angel, with hell bent fury and vengeance on his heart against the heart of God. How could a defeated foe vanquish his enemy who is more powerful than he is? Aim for his heart. Aim for the crown of his glory, the created beings made in his likeness. Made to display the glory of God. Remember, Satan once was the ‘covering cherub’ of the glory of God. Now he’s jealous, as God has a plan to extend this glory to mankind.
Innocent and unaware of this drama unfolding, mankind enters the scene. Act 2, Scene 1. The garden of Eden.
Enter the serpent: Lucifer. Satan. The deceiver.

So how did he do it? How did the serpent make his assault against God? He went after his beloved creation. He enticed us to question the very character and nature of God. “Did God really say?” he asks, planting a seed of doubt in our ability to recollect what God had spoken. Followed by a bold lie, “You will not surely die!” God is LYING to you. He is holding out on you. He is NOT to be trusted.
Let’s look at the passage before we unpack this further:
“(the serpent) said to the woman, “indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from ANY tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, ‘from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘you shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ And the serpent said to the woman, “you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves…coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of…God among the trees of the garden.” Gen. 3:1-8

Even as I type this, I feel like weeping. I have come to know the heart of God for mankind, and can only imagine the sorrow and sadness God felt at this broken fellowship. But so ingrained, and so deeply did the lie permeate the entire being of the man and his wife, that trusting God was broken. They embraced the lie, fully. And the community that God intended… was broken. Between God and man, and between the man and his wife. Let’s take a look at that for a moment. The woman made an independent decision to eat of the fruit, and though Adam was with her, theirs was a partnership of mutuality, and as a result of making that independent decision, she isolated herself from the man. When God called for them in the garden that afternoon, what did they do? They hid themselves from him. He invited them to come back to relationship, but their shame had caused them to hide, and they refused to come out of their hiding, so they cut off that fellowship of trust between them and God because a seed of doubt in his character had been planted. Thrust into isolation, God asked them, still reaching out, “what happened?” Adam, making the isolation permanent, responds, “It was the woman’s fault. She did it.” And instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, because he WAS WITH her when she ate, and he chose independently to eat as well, passed the blame, isolating himself from the woman. The woman then blamed the serpent causing the cycle of rejection to be made complete. The man and the woman were left alone, dependent neither on God nor each other, and sin was born.
Now you may say, that’s fine, but that doesn’t have anything to do with me. I wasn’t there, I didn’t make that choice, we need to take a look at what it means to inherit sin nature.
For those of you reading this, that aren’t quite sure what you believe about sin nature being inherent, or the concept of original sin, passed down from adam and eve to the rest of us, without getting too technical, let me ask you this: Do YOU trust God? Do YOU believe that his heart for you is good? Have you ever felt an inclination to disobey a command from your parent to “not” do something, and you did it anyway, feeling that independence/rebellious nature within you, rising to rear it’s ugly head? Have you ever indulged in the urge to protect yourself and defend yourself when you are ‘caught’ doing something you know you shouldn’t do? (like speeding on the highway, or making a big blunder at work, and wanting to pass the blame on someone else, or at least refuse to take responsibility for your actions?) Have you ever tried to protect yourself when someone accuses you, falsely or otherwise, because there is something inside you that needs to justify yourself?
What is that? It’s independence. It’s rebellion. It’s self-protection. Call it what you like. It’s sin nature exerting itself in you. It’s that “I can make it on my own’ attitude, the “I have no one to rely on but me, so I have to defend myself’ idea. It’s because of isolation from the foundational relationship of trust between God and man. But trust was broken. But perhaps this is just where the deception comes in. Adam and Eve believed that God has broken trust with them because he was ‘holding out on them.’ But has he? Were they not the ones who broke his trust?

What is a person to do, when trust is broken? Now keep in mind, we haven’t even established whether God has broken trust with man or not, but in this story, Adam and Eve believe God has broken trust. He lied to them, they perceive. What do you do when you think someone has broken trust? You defend. You keep your distance, you become skeptical of their every move, or their intentions. You separate yourself, emotionally, or physically to keep from being taken advantage of. You no longer trust them, so you harden your heart toward them. Intimacy is broken. The relationship is then torn apart. There is a rift between the two. It takes more than a little work to re-earn trust once it has been broken. Even then, some relationships never achieve the former intimacy they once enjoyed. What’s worse is when you find yourself in God’s shoes, as in this scenario with Adam and Eve. Where you have been accused falsely of something you haven’t done, and people who once were close to you, believe the accusations against you and their trust in you has become broken. And you didn’t even do anything wrong.

This, has been the single most enlightening concept that God has revealed to me in recent months: Independence.

Sin… is independence from God. It is choosing to go our own way. It is believing that the very heart and nature of God toward us is NOT GOOD. That He is NOT to be trusted. He is holding out on us somehow. Therefore, we must take matters into our own hands, and look out for ourselves.”

What you have just read is another excerpt from the book I am writing, called “Found Wanting”. This particular chapter takes a look at the concept of original sin, and the heart of God to have a relationship with us and how one big lie drove us far away from believing a simple concept: that God is love. God is good. His heart for us has always been good, but we have hardened our hearts to Him, and go our own way, not believing & trusting in all that He has for us, thereby living far beneath the destiny and intended purpose & inheritance He had planned for us.

But hope is coming… God did not plan for us to remain in exile from himself. He was already putting together a plan of redemption. Stay tuned for further updates and excerpts of my writing in the weeks to come!

God’s Original Design


On Monday’s I blog about the book I am currently writing called “Found Wanting”. Today, I am simply going to post from my book about God’s original design for mankind, the desire in his heart for a community of relationship between us and God, as well as with each other. Keep in mind, this is just a small excerpt about what God’s original purpose for us was, prior to what Christians deem, ‘the fall of man’ when sin affected and corrupted God’s original plan. The belief is that in order for God to create us with the ability to love, he had to create us with the freedom to not love, which opened the door for rebellion, hatred, independence and unbelief, all key ingredients of what christians call ‘sin’. For those reading who are not of the Christian faith, keep in mind that this book is geared for those who are Christian, so if you have any questions for me, by all means contact me and ask! Here is an excerpt from an early draft of my book:

Made in God’s image, a brief look at the triune God

“God is presented in the bible as a tri-unity of entities existing as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a community of ‘one-ness’ that we refer to in the Christian world as ‘the trinity’. The Evangelical Theological society describes the Godhead as the ‘original community of
one-ness in a single sentence: “God is a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.” Each member of the trinity participates in the creation of, as well as the grand design for mankind. The Father is the originator, the son is the revealer and the spirit is the one who completes the work. And what is the work? To build a community of one-ness like the one that the trinity shares. There is a unity that is shared among the trinity that we must explore to understand.

Throughout all eternity, God is Father, Son and Spirit bound together in a dynamic relationship that unites the triune God. What is that bond? The discovery of that is the key to understanding what God thinks of us.

God is love. “The unity of God is nothing less than each of the Trinitarian persons giving himself to the others. This unity is the dedication of each to the others. The Father loves the son, and the son reciprocates that love. This love is the Holy spirit, who is the spirit of the relationship of the father and son.” (–Created for Community, Stanley Grenz)

Augustine wrote, “If God is love, then there must be in Him a lover, a beloved and a spirit of love, for no love is conceivable without a lover and a beloved.” Frank Viola suggests that ‘pulsating within the centre of the godhead was the very essence of deity, a passionate love.”

God lavished his goodness upon all of the earth and the creatures on the earth in his work of creation. But immediately after creating the man Adam, he saw that the man was alone. Everything else in creation had its counterpart, but man was solitary. Everything else God created he said “it is good,” after he spoke it into being. But not with man. The first thing he does is say “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) Why? Because God had enjoyed the intimacy of a community of love in the trinity, he immediately saw that Adam’s alone-ness was not good. His design was to create a community to share in the love expressed in the trinity… because the nature of true love is to be generous, to reach out beyond ourselves and to embrace others and pull them into the circle of love so that others may experience the intimacy that comes from being loved. So too, God, who is love, desired to lavish his love upon us, and allow us to experience the love and unity that the Godhead has shared for all of eternity. Because God is community, he creates community. It is his gift of himself to humans.

Created in His Image

What does it mean when God tells us that we are ‘created in his image?’ I believe this means that we reflect who He is, the attributes that are a part of His divine nature. His creativity, His love, His passion, His ability to rule, His authority, His intelligence, His beauty. And many other details that we can take the time to observe in the things which He has created to get a glimpse of who He is, and what He is about. It also speaks of His goal or design for us, about the connection we have with him, our identity as connected to him.
God envisioned that mankind would model his creativity, and share the love he poured out on us that we would experience by knowing we were unconditionally accepted by God. We were to demonstrate his loving Father’s heart for us, to our families. He created us to be ambassadors, in a sense, taking what we have learned of his image, his character, his desire for mankind, and to represent him here on earth, in our relationships, in the varying roles we occupy throughout our lifetime. As we care for the earth and the creatures in it, we were made to model Him, and His ways, his ideas on earth.
Being in the divine image involves living in the grace of the creator, a special relationship with God, unique, above the animals, and plant life on the earth, we enjoy a special worth in his sight, receiving a special love. It involves a purpose and a future (Jer. 29:11). This being made in his image also involves a design he created, to enjoy rich fellowship and community with him, our families, our world and the body of Christ. He created us for community with each other.

Made for God

And so begins our journey of discovering God’s original design. God made us and designed us to be in intimate relationship with him. To enjoy the extension of the unity and love expressed within the members of the triune God. And so we see the first glimpse of the passion of a God who loves us completely. Let’s take a minute to look at a common definition of the word passion: “a strong and barely containable emotion, a state or outburst of such emotion, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something,’ and some common synonyms to describe the emotions of passion: rage, ardour, anger, love.”

There is much more to speak of God’s love and the purposes he created for us, but I will leave you with this passage from the new testament concerning the evidence God created for us to see and know and understand that we are not here by accident, but there is in fact a loving God who designed the world, and each human being uniquely and with purpose, and the sad effect that sin had on that original plan:

“That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being, and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the created, rather than the Creator.” Romans 1:18-25.

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