2012 …TIME FOR CHANGE! …the unforced rhythms of grace remain.
Anyone else feeling the winds of change blowing a gale?
Here are a few thoughts of reflection over the past year and some new thoughts to consider as we walk into another new year together.
Have you wondered at the turbulence, riots, revolution within the country and around the world that we have witnessed this past year?
Restoration of ALL things…
Such revolution brings much change and for people without a hope in their hearts, as an anchor for their souls, this is an increasingly frightening time, with the global economy continuing to cast a gloomy dark cloud upon our future, depression on the increase, the most eventful and painful time ahead, so newscasters predict, a hard and difficult road ahead where they fear things could get much worse in the near future. It is into this climate and atmosphere of fear that the Gospel of grace and hope shines the brightest.
The reality of the plan of God for the salvation of mankind has only just begun. God has not abandoned us. I have recently become convinced of our unity as God’s children. The great divide that existed within my own mind, inherited from traditional Christianity, has dissolved this past year, the us and them mentality, this gem has revolutionized my own faith and brought a great and deepened hope for all of humanity. God has not forgotten us; he has cast no nation aside. He is still the Good Shepherd, who leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep.
I can see the plan of God unfolding, in the midst of global crisis the church of Jesus Christ, the first fruits of mankind, are beginning to see the whole of humanity included in this gospel, the death and resurrection of the man Jesus Christ. Every last person has already been included in His death and resurrection and this mystery is being revealed like no other time in history.
Jesus came to save the whole world…
For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. John 12:47 ‘
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the whole world’. John 1:29
‘ We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.’ 1John 4:42 ‘ We testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world.’
‘The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. John 6:33 ‘The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.’ Titus 2:11
There are so many scriptures that support this global salvation… Not only that, but church history supports such a global, universal hope for mankind. At present, to simply mention this beautiful all inclusive word ‘universal’ brings about a great debate among Christians especially, and instead of rejoicing in their all inclusive hope, they feel angry and fearful that our Gospel is being tainted and perverted to include those who ‘don’t yet believe’…however, this ‘debate’ I have found is not new and has been going on since the church began.
Don’t be too quick to label what you may not yet understand ‘universalism’. While we were still sinners Christ died for us…this is the foundation of our faith, there is no room for boasting, and all was done FOR us while we were His enemies, why cannot this hope be extended to all? Obviously, ‘they’ qualify in the same way we did, which is simply a humans made in His image, belonging to Him, but having no knowledge of Him, dead in their sins.
There a few fundamental thoughts that underlie this deception that causes this civil war within, between our traditional understanding of Scripture and the reality of the truth that the Holy Ghost is shining down upon us! Humility is the key to walking in fellowship with the Spirit so that we stay in step with this great unveiling of truth in our day. Keep in mind that when the Holy Ghost began to reveal to Peter that the Gentiles were included in this great salvation, he was shocked, horrified along with the entire Israelite nation. They were the believing ones, the chosen nation, but they had not understood that they were chosen to be a blessing to ALL the families of the earth (Gen 12:3, Gal 3:8). They were the light to all nations.
Instead they guarded their standing with God and became proud and arrogant and missed the purpose and plan of God. Nevertheless, the plan of God continued to unfold, Peter then Paul both opened their hearts to the rest of mankind and Paul the great Hebrew zealot carried the light to the Gentiles.
This is a clear pattern found throughout Scripture, when Jesus Christ the Word of God dwelt among us we didn’t recognize Him. Instead we sacrificed Him for a common criminal. This deception is prevalent among religion particularly, but I am convinced that this year religion has come to an end. There has been a momentous shift …the Sovereign hand of God has been doing what He alone can do… Christianity is not a religion; in fact it’s the end of religion.
Religion can be defined in so many ways, but I love this one by Robert Capon…
‘RELIGION is always a transaction – always something that people do for God in order to get God to do something for them. But since the Gospel is the proclamation that God has once and for all done everything that need doing. CHRISTIANITY as a religion is at odds with the Gospel. when men do something for God to get God to do something for them.’
The great election revisited -
We, the elect, the first fruits, are to be a light to ALL the rest. We are the first fruits, but this in itself is evidence that there will be second fruits, and more fruit. We cannot afford on a personal level to forget this and feel defensive about our faith. Faith is God’s gift to you, and the greatest explosion of faith is when it includes mankind, the rest of the lump that you’re part of! We cannot afford to look on the present world crisis with critical hearts, or judgmental attitudes and we certainly cannot afford to partake of the fear and doom and gloom that has been cast. We are those who cast out fear…
‘Perfect love casts out fear’. Doom and gloom has no part in us, but over and above all that, the world crisis is a great sign and wonder that the world is crying out for the real Jesus to appear to them. Jesus IN you (the light of the world) opening up the truth for them, that they too are included in His death and resurrection already.
How is Jesus Christ going to be seen in all His glory except through us who are filled with great hope in a global salvation at a time of great crisis? This hope is real and supernatural; it is deeper than the fear, wider and broader than the crisis and lack, and higher than the doom and gloom. We must allow the Holy Ghost to broaden our faith, expand our hearts and deepen our hope in God for all mankind.
We will shine brightly in a time of darkness…we walk in no lack and perfect peace and we are the ones who will be a friends in a time of need. Our Gospel is about to be seen like never before, we are about to see the masses turn to God on a scale that will amaze us. But it will not be to support our traditional doctrines that we defend and fight for, but to love God with all their hearts and share this love relentlessly with all people.
Let’s just take a quick look at what we believe?
What makes up our Gospel?
What are the main pillars that uphold our beliefs, and therefore who we are and how we view the world? Are all people belonging to God? This has revolutionized my own life this past year.
Our whole understanding of election desperately needs rethinking… Jesus Christ the electing God and Jesus Christ the elected man. Double predestination restored to Glory lol. How horrific to believe that some people are elected to burn in hell forever…this has been an acceptable view for too long but this is no longer acceptable in our day. This view if followed back came from Augustine and is based upon a wrong interpretation of the word aion. Look it up for yourself!
The Truth will set you free. Jesus said…worship me in Spirit and Truth…. this harmony is essential and this harmonious walk is not only possible but a drunken, blissful state of life with God now is what we were made for…. even in midst of global crisis, actually I would go so far as to say especially in the midst of global crisis. People are crying out for peace, satisfaction, pleasure, freedom, love and all this and more is found in Jesus Christ…. all this is more than available for all in Him!
This hope that we have transcends fear and we soar above, knowing that ALL are in His hands, one man died for all, therefore all died … we cannot doubt God’s love for all of humanity! Jesus Christ died for the whole world. This is so basic, but subtle erosion here has transformed our ‘current Christianity’ to a powerless religion.
Times have changed, the winds of change are blowing strong, don’t think for one minute that all this is happening in the world around us and God is not involved, worse still, that He doesn’t care and is finally judging this God forsaken world that we live in.
This is so far from the Gospel. The Gospel embraces all of humanity and all of it’s current affairs, once and for all, He will never give up on us as He has already embraced us in Christ. We are already His possession, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…. do you believe that? What does that mean? Does that have any effect upon your faith and hope in God right now, as you listen to the news? As you visit the slums and garbage dumps in Manila, do we have hope, real hope in a Saviour, a Saviour of the whole world? One who has already accomplished the victory over all evil, taken away all sin and destroyed the works of the devil?
Evil is not immortal …poverty, sickness is not immortal …unbelief is not immortal…He has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel… …the Incarnation of the Son of God as the centre of our hope for humanity. God became flesh and dwelt among us, He became one of us…He is in involved, He is at the centre of our universe, fills the whole universe, from the highest heaven to the deepest hell. He fills all in all, and this is our hope.
Could it be that our faith in Him as Saviour of the world is bringing about the manifestation of this reality. Hope against hope Abraham believed God and thus became father of the world…we too are up to our heads when it comes to involvement in the working out of this great salvation. We are His first fruits on the earth right now…this is evidence and assurance that the rest of the lump that we came from will come to realise this great salvation brought about for them by such a perfect sacrifice and loving Father!
2012…. revelation becoming reality.
Bob Jones (a respected and loved prophet in USA) brought a word for this coming year 2012 which is identical to what Dave (our respected and loved prophet and friend in Wales) has been proclaiming for some time: a year when revelation becomes reality! Prophets bring revelation, apostles bring about the reality. We will see a recovery of apostolic authority this year with signs and wonders confirming this to you.
What does that mean?
It means YOU will be the resources of heaven to bring about change on the earth, whatever is in your heart to do, whether to bless the poor, heal the sick, love your family to life, see whole cities born in a day? Whatever, however, through whoever… But how does all this work?
We have for a good few years now been experiencing a great deliverance from all our ‘DO’ focus, all our religious efforts to ‘get the job done’ and from all the pressure to ‘make something happen’…. all our attempts at ‘pressing in’ to Him, ‘entering behind the veil’ and all that junk… Quit all the ‘dog dung’… The Gospel is making a come back from a Sunday evening Gospel meeting and we are seeing a literal explosion of revelation in the simplicity of the Gospel, and an expansion of the ALL of the Gospel in our day…we are in a move of God where Christ is being formed in us… The Gospel is a literal ‘giving up’ of our independent cursed life, and having faith in an already given intertwined life of union with God, our Father.
This is a pure gift to all because of the one act of God, in sending His son, in the form of human flesh and crucifying Him on a wooden stick and burying Him in a forgotten cave, raising Him up from Hell and death and seating Him above it ALL for ALL forever…this ‘giving up’, quitting, retiring from having to be in the driver’s seat of our lives is what it’s all about…. we are not waiting for God to take possession of us, we are not waiting for a breakthrough to a more powerful place in God to show Him off, He doesn’t need our efforts, thank you very much, He is more than capable of singlehandedly saving the whole cosmos, all things, all people…and He already did it while you slept in your sins!
Our efforts are only stopping us from seeing and resting in this beautiful all-inclusive salvation that He has already wrought…we are safe, He is caring for us, He is looking out for us, He is in us to will and to do as and when He desires…. it’s a life of bliss and union we are called to, we are part of, the sooner we relax and enjoy this reality the better the planet will be…. what if…let’s just imagine for a minute…what if our relaxation in God, our trusting in His effort, His plan could bring about the manifestation we so long to see…what if our hope in God in the midst of a hopeless world can effect change? What if our faith can really move mountains…maybe even from the comfort of our own homes?? LOL…maybe not…maybe our wandering through the garbage dumps, building orphanages, putting on meetings to preach the Gospel, loving our families…enjoying our marriages…maybe?? Maybe it’s the little things…. the little seemingly insignificant ‘things’ are what matter the most?
Nothing matters except Christ and Him crucified…we join in this salvation song as we lean and rest in His unfailing love…it’s not about ‘doing’ but we will do as He moves us…and this kind of ‘doing’ is marked by trust and signs and wonders follow! It is a literal Christ in us… The turnaround comes as we realise that God does not respond to what we do…but we respond to what He does…and has done already for everyone! This deep hope for everyone somehow casts out fear from our own lives. How otherwise can you listen to the news and remain in hope if you do not have any assurance, any faith that it’s going to be all right, none of this deters His plan, His final ruling and reigning of all things…He will be all in all…
How else can you live in an everyday world of loss and pain if you do not believe that His everlasting arms are beneath us all. I mean what comfort can we give away if we do not have any solid assurance, any personal faith that God has not abandoned the earth as we know it but has already created all things new in Him.
How can the Good News become a hope for only those who believe the right things about Christ…either He has done something for all or we do not have Good News for the world? It’s ridiculous to me now how we have lived with such a low faith in Him, the one who holds the keys of death and Hell, and it’s Good News to know that He is love, love that has already demonstrated itself in death and resurrection for the whole human race and cosmos!
It’s incredible and magnificent and must be recovered in its simplicity and all-inclusive glory so that it can be trusted and enjoyed and thus displayed. The Gospel is the power of God…
The revelation of the Gospel causes us to cry out: we finally figured it out…
“The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for You…But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe-Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.” Gal 3 (The Message translation)
What was that original promise?
The original promise here in Galatians 3 refers to Abraham becoming the father of the world, all families of the earth being blessed through him and his seed. Without a natural son, Abraham still believed God’s word to him, the Gospel was preached to Abraham and he trusted in it and became the father of the world…if you follow the lineage of Abraham, Christ Jesus was his Seed, and we are all included in that seed to this day, the Gospel to us today in a nutshell is this: in you all the families of the earth will be blessed?
Do you believe this?
Hope against hope Abraham believed God…he knew he was past bearing children and so was his infertile wife?? But God’s word itself has power in it to perform…. it really is supernatural, from beginning to end. When you hear the Gospel, when you catch a glimpse of the goodness of God, somehow your faith is ignited, the relief it brings to a stressed out, religious soul, is immeasurable and the sigh of relief, of final rest and trust in someone who is way bigger and more able than the whole human race put together and multiplied hundred times over is about His business of restoring all things!
Even though we do not see a full manifestation right now, we will see an ever-increasing manifestation of this in the days ahead, and whether we see this or not, actually our faith rests in fulfillment now. We are clothed and robed in Christ’s life now…what does that mean other than we resemble Him, we look like Him now, we are His children, His family, His brothers, sisters and even more beautifully put, His one and only BRIDE right NOW…faith is always NOW…we do not wait (with a sense of lack) as we live in total fulfillment now by faith, the bliss of this is real and intoxicating but in another sense (which I believe has something to do with sharing his sufferings, as we look around with compassion and real love at those who do not yet realise) we wait in eager anticipating hope for the restoration of all things…no matter what that belief may or may not include for you, it is a full and complete hope in Him as Saviour of the whole world …and I am convinced that this hope is a power that effects change now in our world!
Love never fails and Mr. Love is worthy of our trust…
As we relax and rest assured in His all consuming love, our ever expanding hearts will glow with love for Him and others around us and this love will be seen on us, in our eyes, through our smiles, hugs, writings, meals, chatting and sharing life with those He has put around us…He is in the driver’s seat, always was, and always will be Lord of all, the sooner we realise this, the sooner we can enjoy the reality of His love and live carefree in our care of Him.
I know we are the whole ‘lump’ together and it’s so encouraging to hear how He is revealing the same faith and trust in us all together at the same time…we really are His children, His family in spirit and in truth and He is about His business of restoring all things…Glory to God!