As I think about people lately that are struggling with their faith, or even profess to have no faith in God, I am reminded that there is no argument that can effectively convince someone who doesn’t believe to change his or her mind. That’s not to say that faith should be mindless trust. The Bible talks about a transformation that comes by the renewal of our minds, not the removal! The bottom line is that God gives us grace to believe in Jesus if we will receive that from Him. Revelation comes from God- or as the Bible says: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.”
As I think back to prior to my own conversion experience, I remember how foolish I thought people that really loved and talked about Jesus were. The religious tradition I was raised in seemed (to me at least) to regard a real relationship with God as unnecessary. Just say the right words and do the things the church said to do and get on with your “real” life. In other words, if Jesus was real (and even then I believed that He was) He wasn’t relevant to real life.
Then I met Rita, the woman who became my wife. Though I had encountered genuine believers before, there was something almost tangible about her relationship to Christ.
I could tell that God was real, and relevant, to her.
Through Rita I met some other Jesus followers and though their outward expressions of worship were foreign to me, the love they shared captured my hungry heart.
They embodied the truth of the adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Those folks loved God, each other, and me…and it “took.”
I heard the truth of the gospel (The Word of Christ’s love, life, death, resurrection) and confessed my need for a Savior. I was transformed!! If any one is in Christ he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold the new has come!
Matthew 28: 18-20 commonly referred to as “The Great Commission” was never intended to be a task dutifully performed while Jesus is way off in heaven watching with eagle-eyed scrutiny to make sure we do it “right.” Indeed, it is the great CO-MISSION. We are partners with Jesus, who is closer than our own skin through the Holy Spirit in us. Note the last phrase of Matthew 28:20: “And behold, (pay attention to, observe this) I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, to the end of the age.”
This vital mission of the God Who Loves is accomplished, flows out of, the love relationship between God and His family.
The great co-mission flows out of the relationship as outlined in the Great Commandments: Love God with all you are (because He first loved you and gives you the ability to love with His love) and love your neighbor and love yourself. And just to make sure that we don’t attempt to love in our own strength, Jesus says for good measure to love our enemies, something that is impossible without His empowerment.
The Presence of Jesus in us by His Spirit proves that heaven has come to earth. Through Jesus life, death, resurrection, ascension and sending the Holy Spirit, now WE are the dwelling place of God…the Living Temple of the Living God!! Old things are passed away, behold, the new has come. New creation has begun and will continue until all things are manifestly summed up in Christ!
This is what the Lord says!
Recently I was surprised by a song that came out of my mouth. “This is what the Lord says, this is what the Lord says, I am pleased with you, I delight in you.” God was singing TO me, THROUGH me. Now the prophetic song is nothing new to me, but the content gave me pause… hmmm
When His grace and love helps me to get past my performance filter (what friend and Bible teacher Dudley Hall calls the “do-to-be” tree) I can hear God sing that to me and believe it because of Who Jesus is in me, and who I am in Jesus!
Religion focuses on what we can do to get God’s approval (and it is never enough.) The love of God as demonstrated by Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension tells as many as believe (and He even gives us the grace to believe) that we already have God’s approval. As Leif Hetland says, “orphans live FOR the approval of God, sons live FROM it.”It is not a manifestation of humility to act and live like we don’t please God. On the contrary it could be a manifestation of unbelief, religion, or false humility (pride.) If anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation.“This is what the Lord says, this is what the Lord says, I am pleased with you, I delight in you, I abide in you, I BELIEVE IN YOU!”
A different season, the same faithful God.
Walked on the beach today-beautiful blue sky, soothing faithful waves, comforting sun on my shoulders and gentle wind on my face. It occurred to me that not that many years ago, I was in a season of pain and struggle. I HAD to walk back then. I walked to quit thinking, to distract myself from emotional turmoil, to do something physical. God was with me then (though sometimes I wondered…)
Today it wasn’t like that.
I was light, in a different place, a thankful season. Thank You Lord for the waves of Your mercy, grace, joy and faithfulness!
Your love is an ocean
Your grace like the sea
Your faithfulness wave after wave to me
Your mercy’s a fountain
Your peace like a stream
Your joy is a river flowing within me
Flowing within me
You wash over me like liquid love
Through the tears and the rain with Your cleansing Blood|
You pour out Your grace in a healing flood
And wash over me, You wash over me
Like liquid love
Sometimes I get thirsty, my spirit so dry
Surrounded by desert no clouds in the sky
The wind gently whispers and I call your Name
I’m suddenly laughing out loud in the rain
I dance in the rain!
Copyright © 2015 Kingdomsongs Inc.Our mailing address is:
4005 Corey Ct.
Spring Hill TN 37174
Real humility is knowing what Father God says and thinks about you and me. His affection and confidence in us gives us confidence and humility to be ourselves in Jesus. Don’t be afraid to be your beautiful, powerful self (and don’t listen to the voice that just told you to beware of pride.) One grandmother, attempting to encourage her 4-year-old granddaughter told her, “You are so beautiful!” The little girl matter-of-factly answered her: “I know.” A bit worried that the girl would think too highly of herself, the woman asked, “How do you know you are beautiful?” The little girl said “My Daddy told me!” The little girl didn’t come to that conclusion by staring at herself in the mirror for hours on end, she simply listened and believed the voice of her Father.
Hear the Father say to you:
“If you knew how beautiful you are, how beautiful you are to me
If you knew how beautiful you are
You would never be afraid
You would never be ashamed
You would rest here in my love and you’d never run away
If you knew how beautiful you are to me.”
(“If You Knew” David Baroni from “The Wild and The Wonder”
(Thanks to Steve Thompson for the illustration and his inspiring teaching)
Caught up in the whirling culture that always glorifies the next new thing,(and quickly discards and disdains the last next new thing) we are tempted to believe the adage that “the only thing constant is change.”
It is true that there are relentless, breathtaking and at times, eerie technological and cultural changes; however there are some things that just do not change. Chief among them: the nature and character of God. His steadfast love endures forever. That was the song of the children of Israel and we see it often repeated throughout scripture.
Change can be healthy and is often necessary of course, but I am glad that His deep deep Love never fails, never changes!
Deep Deep Love
The River of God
Carry The River That’s Carrying Us!
Everything will live where the River goes…
John saw the River of life flowing in Rev. 22, Ezekiel saw the same River flowing from the Throne of God. In John 7: 37-39a Jesus said:
”If anyone is thirsty let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.”
That River of God lives in us, and we carry the river of God’s life and love and fruitfulness and life-giving power everywhere we go. We can express that river in a lot of ways, a good way is to SING the river. By the Holy Spirit sing to the broken and empty, sing to the barren places of your life, sing to your children, finances, pastors and leaders, marriages.
Carry the River of God, let the River of God carry you, sing the River of God, let the River of God sing you! Enjoy this song “Run To The River.” Just for fun, here is a songwriting video with the “story behind the song!”
Thank you for your encouragement about our ministry!
In His Love,
Rita and I were guest ministers at a youth ministry a few years ago and when we led a time of praise and worship, the Lord settled upon the whole group of us in a restful, peaceful way. There was such a sense of His rest and acceptance. Then it was time for the group to have their prayer and intercession time. Almost immediately, they began to shout and be aggressive as they prayed. There is, of course, a time for intense intercession and prayer. This, however, was not it, in my opinion. I heard the voice of the Lord say this: “If you could see you as I see you, it would free you to be you. Then, you would know Me, for I will show you Who I AM and who you are.”
Winkie Pratney, a wonderfully gifted, passionate teacher and preacher, almost died of a serious illness a few years ago. As he hovered very near death, he relates, through tears, that he had an experience where he “saw the world through Jesus’ eyes.” He has profoundly changed from that encounter. (We thank the Lord that Winkie is alive and well.)
To love God with all our hearts, love our neighbor as ourselves; these are the two greatest commandments. My prayer is threefold:
God, help me see You as You are (and thank you that is possible through Jesus Christ!) This, of course, is not just a one-time encounter, it’s an ongoing relationship. God, thank You that you have called us into an eternal adventure of intimacy through Christ!
Lord, help me see myself as You see me. Many of us have believed things about ourselves that simply aren’t true, though, because of abuse or our own sin they feel true. Jesus sets us free to be who we really are! We show forth the life and love of Jesus by believing Him and being ourselves in Christ!
Father, help me to see others as You see them. Give us the grace to love without condition. in fact, live and love through us, Lord. We can’t do this in our own strength or goodness. The beauty of the gospel is that in Christ we are a new species. Live and love through us Lord!
“IF YOU KNEW”
If you knew how beautiful you are, how beautiful you are to me
If you knew how beautiful you are
You would never be afraid, you would never be ashamed
You would rest here in My love and you’d never run away
If you knew how beautiful you are to Me
If you knew how beautiful they are, how beautiful they are to me
If you knew how beautiful they are
You would run into my world, you would love them with my heart
You would teach them how to trust and you’d show them who they are
If you knew how beautiful they are to me
We want to know You Lord, we want to show You to the world
Help us see You and see ourselves, see others through Your Eyes
(David Baroni, Kingdomsongs Inc./ CCLI)
I AM SO PUMPED to be recording a new vocal album, my first major production in 11 years. We are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise the support to finish this album well. You can find out more at this link This project features strong, God-breathed songs with great musicians, singers and co-writers. A gifted young friend, Galen Crew, is doing the mixing. It has been amazing how the Holy Spirit has inspired the personnel, the songs and the arrangements. I am stirred more deeply than I have been in a long time with the conviction that these songs will convey the love of our Father God to people desperately in need of knowing His Heart for them. Here is a sneak preview of “If You Knew” and “Our Best Days.” Join with us in prayer and consider being a backer. As of this writing we are a bit over 60% of our goal of $3500 with 18 days to go. The campaign ends Aug.16th and we will use any funds over our project budget towards our ministry in the nations. God bless you!