Archive | November 2014

TRANSFORMATION

Catepillar to Butterfly

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) – But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 

What a beautiful miracle, the caterpillar turning into the butterfly!  I can’t think of anything else in creation that is such an amazing depiction of our transformation in Christ.  This transformation is epic at its inception but it’s also continual.  We are transferred from darkness to light but then we begin the journey of discovering who Jesus is and through that who we are in Christ.  As we continue our journey in 2 Peter 1:5-8 we see a growth and transformation of our character.  Here’s what it says in the Amplified translation:

2 Peter 1:5-8 (AMP) –  For this very reason, [a]adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in [b]exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence),  And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety),  And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.  For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [[c]full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Peter lays out for us an ascending journey that started out with our Father bestowing upon us His peace that provided everything we need to live the life we’ve been called to.  Then Peter let’s us know that we also have access to our Father’s exceedingly precious promises that allow us to escape the moral decay of this world and become partakers of His divine nature.  Now, in these next verses we see that as we take Peter’s charge to employ our every effort in exercising our faith to develop in our character that we will grow into the full personal knowledge of Jesus.  It’s a very interesting progression and one I’ve spent time meditating on for the last several weeks, and will continue as I look to take advantage of God’s promises here.

Peter outlines for us that we first seek to develop virtue, also translated excellence.  We should each pray and study these traits but I take it to mean being excellent in living out my Christianity.  To do what I do for God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength (Matt. 22:37).  As I go forward in living out my life in excellent pursuit of my faith then knowledge grows.  It stands to reason that if I’m going to be excellent in my walk with Christ that I will have to study His word which will surely increase my knowledge and confidence in those very words.  As I excel in these areas I then pursue self-control which means that more and more I am choosing to do the good of the Word vs. the leading of my flesh.  As self-control continues to grow through my continued pursuit of the Word, and in John 1:1 it says that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us in his opening about Jesus, so as we pursue the Word we are actually growing also on the inside where we have Jesus abiding in us and that self-control is empowered by that growth which leads to the steadfastness, the not letting go of what the Word says even when it seems like everything around us is telling us what we believe isn’t true.  Out of that steadfastness grows the godliness which is what others see in us when we are going through trials.  It’s that peace you’ve seen on the mother who lost her child but her faith is not shaken and she knows that despite the circumstances that her Abba loves her and her child.  That godliness continues to grow and develops brotherly affection, that desire to commune with our brothers and sisters in Christ and brotherly affection matures into Christian love, a love that is so great that we would certainly lay down our life for that of another (John 15:13 -Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends).

Just like the process of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly is completely transformational and takes place step by important step, so is our growth as a daughter of our Father.  I keep phrasing this as a journey because this is something that happens day by day over weeks, months and years…a lifetime.  While what Peter outlines for us encompasses a few sentences, the actuality of the transformation is the course of a lifetime.  As we talked about in a previous post, when Peter wrote this he only had a short time left here on earth.  He knew his time was short and the message he gave us was from one who had seen all the cycles we humans go through including the setbacks, the mistakes and the dusting off again and forging forward.  Here’s the thing, if we don’t begin, we’ll never finish and it’s important that we understand the path that is before us and the most amazing news is that Jesus has already completed the work!  The path that is before us is us walking out what Jesus did that we could not have done on our own.  This is why Peter starts out with the fact that we have bestowed upon us God’s peace, why he makes sure we understand that we have been given His precious promises so that we are clear that the way has been paved, the markers have been set and the Holy Spirit, our teacher and comforter, is there to walk alongside us.  How we know where we are on the journey is by the accomplishment of growth and maturity in this walk and the decision to forgo unfruitfulness and instead pursue a full personal knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.  It’s exciting that it’s not some abstract pursuit, instead we can clearly see the path and the tools for the journey, all we have to do is choose to go.

That is what I have determined that I will do.  I am going and although I know I will probably get distracted along the way and wander off course here and there.  I will also probably end up camping out for an inordinately long time at some of the milestones, but regardless of those things, I also know that my Heavenly Father is pleased with me, He is excited about my quest and He’s not in a hurry to push me to the end because He knows that while the destination is an unimaginable glory, so too is the journey to that destination.  The process of transformation is as amazing as when I get to spread my wings and take my first flight as a fully formed butterfly!

A Daughter’s Prayer – My God is not sitting up in heaven wringing His hands over what is happening here on earth.  His head is not hung in disappointment.  He is celebrating Jesus’ victory, our victory!  He knows the battle is over; He knows everything that needed to be done has been done and Jesus did it all, paid it all and we are coming to Him.  We are the righteousness of God in Christ and what was lost has been found and there is rejoicing.

Turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face.  The things of earth become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!  We are the light of the world, a lamp set on a hill.  Holy One make me that beacon, that through you people will find a safe haven, a place of rest, healing and restoration because that is what You are and what You have accomplished.  You came to heal the brokenhearted, preach the good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to the captives, recover sight for the blind, set at liberty the oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord (the day salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound)!  I am in Him, I have His liberty, I have the good news and I have my Abba’s salvation, and His abundance of free favors.

I choose to live in celebration!  I choose to walk away from being cast down and live like no one else because Jesus lived like no one else so I can live a life of celebration of Him and who I am as my Abba’s daughter.  Here is the blindness that I have had, that I still had things to be afraid of.  That the forms of death, moral decay and agitating passions were a part of my life here on this earth.  I was blind to the fact that my Abba has bestowed upon me perfect well being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity and I am free from those fears.  I have been liberated, set free and I choose to live a life of celebration!  Holy Spirit, help me to see my path, my journey as my Abba’s daughter.  To fulfill my great commission each and every day.  In Jesus’ holy name, amen.

PRECIOUS

2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV) - by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Peter 1:4 (NKJV) – by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

Last week we took a look at verse 2 of 2 Peter 1 and the description within the amplified of the Peace that God gives us which includes; Perfect well being, All necessary good, All spiritual prosperity and Freedom from fears, agitating passions and moral conflicts.  When I read that and meditate on it I continue to be amazed that everything I need is found in His peace.  As we move on to verses 3 & 4, here’s what it says in the amplified:

2 Peter 1:3-4 (AMP)

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [[a]full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).

By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.

What you may not know is that when Peter wrote this letter he was very near the end of his life.  At this point Peter had had almost all of the experiences he was going to have here on this earth.  He had lived the portion where he was a fisherman and didn’t know Jesus, he lived the years where he walked with Jesus day in and day out, he had denied Jesus and saw him crucified, after his betrayal he had the privilege to be welcomed back and speak to Jesus when He had been resurrected and saw Jesus leave this earth.  Peter also had followed Jesus’ instructions and waited in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit and then spoke and saw 3,000 come to the saving knowledge of Jesus.  Peter became one of the pillars of the first Christian church and saw the Gentiles also begin to receive salvation and then he reached after many years, a point where he was going to be killed for his faith.  My point, as you may have guessed, is that at this stage of Peter’s life we are listening to a man who knew what he was talking about.  He is one of the few who can tell us from first hand experience because he had seen all facets of what it meant to follow Jesus in person and then follow Him in spirit.  This is the man who is telling us what God has bestowed, provided and given us.  Given you.

We are beginning to receive insight into our Abba’s peace but we are also being provided some other very important information.  Peter is advising us that our Abba, by His divine power, is giving us everything we need to live a life that Jesus died for us to have.  A life of His precious and exceedingly great promises, a life suited to us and a life of godliness.  I like that and who wouldn’t want that?  But why is Peter telling us this, and why do I believe that this message is so important to us at this time?  Remember that vision I shared with you in the Be God Loves Me Minded post (10/31/14)?  It’s the difference between the deterioration of what man has built compared to the beauty and goodness of what God has created.  Here Peter is telling us that while we are living in a time of moral decay which is due to lust and greed, we can escape living in and under that same bondage and instead become partakers of God’s divine nature where we can experience His grace (favor) and all of the components of His peace.

What is your state of being right now?  If you’re in a similar place to me maybe you’ve been trying to figure out how to be different, live different and make a difference in a time where it seems like it’s very difficult to accomplish any of those things.  First, you have yourself to deal with!  It’s funny, this morning I was trying to think of a person in my life that was just genuinely nice.  What I mean by that is that they were an individual that, by their nature, tended to put others needs before their own as a matter of course.  Someone thoughtful, caring, and unselfish that I was drawn to because of their sweetness and genuiness.  I could recall situations where someone was that way during a specific situation, where they greatly impacted my life because they chose to do something that fell under those traits, but day in and day out?  That is hard to find, and I know I haven’t been that person.  The difficulty in finding that is because we live in that world of moral decay that is pushing us towards taking care of ourselves, but being our Father’s Daughter is a call to a different way to live.   I really want to become that person that allows the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done in my life, to believe what Peter says and lay hold of what Peter learned through the course of his amazing life of who our Abba is and who we can be by taking hold of those exceedingly precious promises and escape the moral decay of this world and instead become a partaker of my Abba’s divine nature!

Next week we’ll take a look at the last three versus I spoke about last week because our brother Peter laid out a very clear path of the transformation we can have if we walk out this journey.  Almost seems too easy, but really what it is is simple but sometimes simple can be hard.  I hope you will take this week to continue to allow our Heavenly Father to show you that because He loves you so much He is multiplying His grace and peace to you and that you will also begin to see that His divine power is bestowing upon you a life that is suited to what He designed you to be and live and that that life allows you to escape the moral decay that surrounds us and instead become and be partakers of His divine nature.  What He is giving us He calls precious and the reason He is giving it to us is because, above all, He considers us precious!

A Daughter’s Prayer – Abba, I come with a grateful and thankful heart for who You are and who You are in me and to me.  It’s because of You and what Jesus has done that I am Your daughter and Your love and grace and mercy pour over me and I am who You say I am.  You are our source and Your reward has no sorrow with it.  My hope and my answers are in You.  Thank you Abba for allowing me to be in this place and may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing unto You.  I am who You say I am, I have what You say I have and nothing can snatch me from Your hand.  I am safe and secure in Your arms and heart.  I surrender today and expect Your goodness and mercy to overtake me.  I’m the righteousness of God in Christ and I abide in Jesus.  He is my vine, I am the branch and the life of the Spirit flows in and through me.  In Jesus’ holy name, amen.

 

PEACE

pink-lotus-flower-floating-in-water

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

When you think of the word Peace, what comes to mind?  I tend to think of peaceful things like a quiet place, or somewhere where birds are chirping and maybe the sun is shining with a light cool breeze blowing.  I also think of peace in relationships where there’s a lack of tension, there’s harmony and fun.  Here’s the definition from Webster’s original dictionary:

peace

PEACE, n. [L. pax, paco, to appease.]1. In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.

I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty much in line with my thoughts of what peace represents.  Now the questions are, how much peace do I have?  How much peace do I want?  Most importantly, what do I have to do to live a peaceful life?  The first thought that comes to mind is to hole myself up in a room and stay away from people!  While I’m not always at peace with myself, I’ve certainly found it easier to be peaceful by myself than when you throw other people into the mix.  For most of us, however, locking ourselves away isn’t really an option, so instead we get up every day and we encounter spouses, children, co-workers, people on the roads, people at the check out lines, bosses…the list goes on.

Where we tend to lose peace is really around two areas; the first is when someone is doing something or asking us to do something counter to what we want or are desiring as an expected outcome, and the second is when we feel that something we believe is important is at risk of being lost.  It almost seems too simple but if you look at the areas of your life where you don’t have peace and really examine the situation, you will most likely find that one of those two situations are at play.  Here’s a simple/silly example:  Most times after church we go out to lunch with other people.  I don’t know about you but I have food I like and food I don’t like and I have places that I like to go and places I don’t like to go because of the food I do and don’t like.  So!  As soon as we start discussing where to have lunch I usually have a pretty good idea of where I don’t want to go and if suggestions start flying that mention those places I start getting agitated, and the worst scenario is if I put out the suggestion of a place I do want to go and it gets overruled by the majority to go to a place I don’t like to go…well you guessed it, there goes my peace and it takes a little bit for my emotions and attitude to settle down and remember that there are more important things than getting my way to where we go eat!

Like I said, that’s a silly example, but you can replace that scenario with many other more serious ones and you will find a theme of what is most likely keeping you in a place where you do not have peace the way Jesus spoke of peace in John 14.  I’ve been really pursuing revelation and wisdom on peace and I came across some amazing scriptures in 2 Peter 1: 2 – 8 that I have been meditating on daily.  The scripture 2 Peter 1:2 has been my main focus for the last bit because I really want to get that into my heart.  Here’s what it says:

2 Peter 1:2 (AMP)

2 May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is [a]perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and [b]freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, [c]precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

What really jumped out at me was the amplified’s definition of God’s peace:

God’s Peace = perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts.

That’s it, that’s what I want to have in my life regardless of my circumstances, situations or any catastrophe or tragedy.  Which meant my question was, “What must I do?”  Honestly, I can’t see how I can manage my behavior to get and keep that kind of peace.  I can see why Buddhism and meditation and other religions or activities are so prevalent because they create a sense of tranquility and peace but I can only manage myself through discipline for so long because my human nature is just that, human.  I need more than myself and Jesus and Peter both say it.  Jesus tells us He’s giving us His peace and Peter says may God’s favor and peace be multiplied to us.  Here’s what it comes down to, trust.  If we can make the decision that we are going to do all that we can do to really understand our Heavenly Father’s nature and put our faith in the fact that, based upon His Word, He is good, He loves us, He’s working everything for our good and that He promises to take care of us in every situation we find ourselves in, then we can begin to look away from the emotions that our circumstances create and put our eyes on Jesus, knowing that God is in control.

Back to the two main reasons we lose our peace which boil down to our idea of how we think something should be or go.   This leads to our expectations of what the present or future should look like and how circumstances are lining up with our view of that or our intense desire for that.  We have been raised to think certain things, believe certain things and desire certain things,  but usually they are the way the world looks at life, not the way our Heavenly Father looks at life.  What I’ve found this to mean for me is that He takes me into things that make me very uncomfortable because they don’t fit with where I think I want to go or things that I think I want.  What I’m finding out, however, is those very situations are revealing thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that are contrary to how He tells me in His Word I should think, believe, desire or act, and I lay down my opinion on those things and tell Him I trust Him.  I tell Him I trust His plan for me because I know He loves me more than anyone could ever love me, and I know He’s the one who created me and knows exactly what needs to happen in my life to get me to where I need to be.  Most importantly, I realize that even when I mess up and do something contrary to His Word and plan, He will be right there to help me get out of the hole I dug and I then jumped into and get me back on the right track.

That is all really amazing stuff, but there are awesome things that come after that.  As you read the additional passages in 2 Peter 1:3-4 and then 5-8 (I recommend reading in the Amplified Bible to really get the full definition of Peter’s message) you see an amazing progression.  Here’s what I suggest.  Over the next week read the full passage of 2 Peter 1:2-8 but focus, meditate and pray over verse 2.  Really let the definition of the peace that God is giving to us take root in your spirit and then next week we’ll take a deeper look into versus 3 & 4.  Once we have a revelation and realization of what God’s peace is we’ll be in a position to let it transform us into someone that can be steadfast in all the circumstances we face!

Resource:  If you don’t have an Amplified Bible here’s a link to those versus online  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+peter+1%3A2-8&version=AMP

A Daughter’s Prayer – Holy Spirit, teacher, I pray that my spirit would receive my Abba’s peace and His exceeding great and precious promises that cause me to be fruitful in the knowledge of my Lord.  Going about doing good and seeing people set free from the enemy!  In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.