God’s great mercy………

chesed love

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  ~  Genesis 1:27

That has become one of my favorite verses lately.  It’s our blueprint… our original design.  No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him.   The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern.  But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into the world.

All men born after him were born in Adam’s likeness and image instead of God’s.  Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth”.  All mankind was born into sin. Made in Adam’s likeness and image – one of sin and death. Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….”  Man isn’t a sinner because he sins, he is a sinner through birth.   Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark.  To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony.  It is to believe a lie about ourselves.  It is to miss out on sonship.  Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design.  Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

Even when the Law was introduced, mankind was still a sinner.  No matter how good he was morally, he could never fulfill the requirements of the law and be made righteous.  The Law simply revealed sin and made mankind aware of his lost state.  Man was unable to save himself — the Law revealed that he needed a Savior! God’s timing was absolutely perfect.

He always had a plan to redeem us.  He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam!  Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. He never abandoned His creation!  Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s great mercy is far reaching and ALL encompassing.  Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn all of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare all mankind innocent.  Romans 5:18  “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.”  Freely acquitted in the sight of God.  Through Adam we were ALL declared sinners and death reigned in us BUT through Jesus we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God and to our original design of sonship.  Now we are no longer made in Adam’s image and likeness – one of sin and death.  The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new nature.. a new spirit… His Spirit.  Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”   

Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL.  God did not love us more once we were reconciled.  Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness.  To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST.  Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges.  And not just to see ourselves, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16).  We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.

He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world.  Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them.  He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.

The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”.  The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.”  It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s simply a matter of them awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST.  So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”

God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go.  His Covenant love for us is because continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.

I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:

Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift;  He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified!  (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy.  In His blood conciliation God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice, but providing the sacrifice of Himself).  Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us.  (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind.  At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.

It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.

~ Robin

Shevat 5777 (2016)

blessed-1

Wow, it’s been almost two months since I’ve written on this blog.  I’ve meant to, but life sometimes just gets busy.  And time does fly when you’re having fun.

We spent seven weeks down in San Clemente at the end of the year, and it was lovely.  We rented a condo that had a panoramic ocean view, and I spent the time just relaxing, reading, and spending quality family time with my husband and kids.  Just allowing God to refresh my soul.  I slept better than I had in a long time.  I spent dinners, coffee dates and beach time with good friends who have become more family than friends.  Just simple, pleasant long chats with girlfriends who encourage me, build me up and cause me go farther with God.  I was also teaching the book of Hebrews at our church down there as well as doing my weekly online teaching of the book of Romans.  The Hebrews study is finished, and we are wrapping up our Romans study next week.  So, I’ll now have more time to devote to this blog, and I’ve been putting together notes and studies for a book I’m working on.

We are almost at the end of the month of Shevat.  Shevat is spelled shin-beit-tet in Hebrew.  Shin is a picture of a crown.  Beit is a house, household or family.  Tet is the letter for goodness.  Shevat is a reminder that God has crowned our households…..our families with goodness. Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.  Another translation says even the hard places overflow with abundance. 

Asher is the tribe associated with the month of Shevat.  Asher means blessed or prosperous and comes from the root word “ashar” meaning to go on, to advance or to make progress.  Asher was blessed with the potential for every earthly blessing – abundant resources, the most fertile land in Canaan, many children, peace with the other tribes, the favor of God and security from enemies.  He is known as the prosperous one.

His blessing from Moses indicated both prosperity and pleasure.   Asher is the blessing beyond the norm – to be given more than what is necessary for just basic survival.  2 Cor 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others (New Living Translation).”  1 Tim 6:17b “….. place your confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”  We are meant to not only be prosperous but to enjoy that prosperity, both the spiritual and earthly riches.

We are in the decade of 70 on the Hebrew calendar which means ayin.  Ayin is symbolic of the ability to see or perceive and the choice of good and evil.   This decade (2010-2019) is a season to have increased vision. To open our spiritual eyes and begin to see from God’s perspective.

From God’s perspective everything He is ever going to do for us has already been done in Jesus.  2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  Has given us… it’s past tense.  It’s already done.  All that we have to do is receive it and walk in it.  To do that we have to change our perception and see it as God does.  Sometimes our vision gets clouded by our five senses and by circumstances in life.  At times, others words can cause us to see ourselves through their perception of us instead of God’s.  God’s Word is a mirror.  When we look into it, we see who we truly are. Created in His image and His likeness.  We are joint heirs in Christ.

Exchange your vision for His.  Begin to see that He has already given you everything you will ever need for life… and for godliness.  Allow God to do the exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ask, think, hope or imagine in your life this month in and through you!

This month walk in the revelation of all that God wants to do in your life… the prosperity He wants to pour out on you… not just enough but overflow.  Prosperity AND pleasure!   Walk in His goodness, in His richness.  This is a month to go forward and continue on in the inheritance He has blessed us with.  In Shevat, let’s remember to enjoy His bounty in our lives… to be happy…. full of joy, proclaiming “I am blessed with prosperity and pleasure in Christ Jesus”.  This is a GOOD month.

♥ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 3….. from Abram to Abraham

abraham in hebrew

So in our last 2 blog posts, Abram has been on a journey with God… a journey towards his destiny… a journey of finding the Abraham that God created him to be.  This journey required that he leave behind his father, his family and his country.  God wanted to be a Father to Abram and to transform Abram into Abraham, the father of many nations.  First he had to be taught what a true father is…. his father was not teaching him about a covenant relationship with God but rather covenant relationships with idols.  Abraham made the choice to leave and set out on this journey to Canaan.

He took his wife Sarai with him and all their cattle and servants that they accumulated in Haran… and verse 4 says that Lot went with him.  In the Hebrew it says Lot walked (halak) with him…. halak means to live following a manner of life, to follow the precepts of God, to follow after.  Lot was following Abram who was following God… reminds me of 1 Cor 11:1 when Paul told the Corinthians to “follow him as I follow Christ” or “imitate me as I imitate Christ”.  

Jump ahead 5 chapters to chapter 17 and Abram is now 99. It’s here that God gives Abram a token… a sign of the covenant He made with him in chapter 15… after he rescued Lot and gave a 10th of all (tithe) to Melchizedech.  This was essentially a covenant of grace…  Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.    It’s here also that God reveals himself to Abram as El Shaddai….the God who is enough… Who is able and is everything we need.  It also comes from a root meaning “to pour out”…I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.”  Then He tells Abram to walk before him and be blameless.  At first glance this looks like God is giving Abram a command in order to reap the blessings of the covenant.  … to walk (halak), to follow after Him and to be complete, whole.   But remember back in chapter 15:17 “God caused Abraham to fall asleep, and then He came down in the image of a smoking firepot and flaming torch and walked through the separated halves of the sacrificed animals by Himself”…. God was committed to upholding the covenant.. to blessing Abraham and his descendants whether they were faithful or not.   It was a covenant established on grace not works.  God was telling Abraham to walk with him,  to follow after Him and God (El Shaddai) would make him complete and whole… would pour out The Blessing on his life abundantly and continually.  

And finally it’s here that he changes Abram’s name to Abraham.  God added the Hebrew letter “hei” to Abram’s name.  Hei is the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is a number of grace, goodness and favor.  It speaks of revelation and light.  It is also the wind, breath…the Spirit of God…blowing on us.  It is the divine breath of God breathed into Adam releasing His life into Adam.  Adding hei to the end of a noun allows it to  be fruitful and productive – it is the transforming power of the Spirit.  All of this was added to Abram when he finally became Abraham at 99.  God poured out on him… added to him… grace, goodness, favor, revelation, light and of course the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to be fruitful and productive.  Abram became Abraham – a man whose destiny is wrapped up in and made manifest through the work of God’s Spirit (the hei) working within and through him.

We also receive a new identity when we follow after God and walk in covenant with Him… we are now IN CHRIST…. we are then able to walk complete and whole, blameless before God…. in the completed, finished work of the Cross and Resurrection and we receive the Holy Spirit… Who transforms us, equips us, helps us, making us fruitful. We are new creatures IN CHRIST through grace and empowered by Holy Spirit to walk out our God given destinies….  Gal 3:14, Gal 5:22-23, Rom 8:14, 1 Cor 12:4-11, Eph 3:20 and Eph 3:1-16 just to name a few scriptures.   The letter “hei” is all about GRACE…..the infusion of the very BREATH or LIFE of God within us.

Today allow Him to introduce you to your new self… to the you IN CHRIST, a new creature that never existed before!

 

 

~ Robin

Abraham’s Journey part 2… lech lecha

genesis 12;1

Genesis 12:1 begins with God telling Abraham to  “Go for yourself, from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” and then He gives him a promise as a result of doing that….And I will make you a great nation, and bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.  And of course we know that this promise… the Blessing… is ours also according to Galatians 3:9 “So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.”

God didn’t just tell Abraham to leave his land, relatives and father’s house.  He said to him “lech lecha”.  Lech Lecha is a unique phrase that God only spoke in the Old Testament to Abraham.  To everyone else (Moses, Jacob, etc) He said “kum” which means arise and is always spoken to those who need to come up to a higher level to follow God.  Lech Lecha on the other hand is an invitation.  Literally it means “you go” but it means so much more.   Most biblical scholars say that adding lecha to lech serves to make the verb more intense.  God is telling Abram that this is not just a command to leave home, it is an invitation to journey to himself.  Literally means “come to yourself”… find the you I’ve called you to be!  Go to the Land that I will show you – where I will make  you VISIBLE – where your “potential being” will be realized in multiform and unpredictable ways.

In order to embark on this journey he had to first do 3 things… leave his birthplace, his relatives and his father’s house.

His birthplace implies boundaries and he had to cross those boundaries and leave them behind…. leave his past behind.  He had to cross the Euphrates just like Eber did… to become a Hebrew (one who crosses over) on his own not on his ancestor’s merits.

His family implies influence.  Abraham’s family worshipped idols. God wanted to be Abraham’s influence and wanted to make Abraham an influence to the world around him.  He wanted to become the God of Abraham and through Abraham bless all the families of the earth.  He couldn’t do that if Abraham’s family were his influence.

His father’s house implies control.  Our fathers are our teachers whether for good or for bad. We are under their sphere of control for many years. As a result it is difficult to separate from the need to seek our father’s approval. This is not to suggest that we should ignore, disrespect or dishonor our fathers. The simple fact is we must grow up. We must learn to seek God’s approval in place of our fathers’ approval.  Our fathers are our teachers. They protect, correct and provide for our needs. They are responsible to God to direct us and to use their influence to guide us in the Word.  However, Abram’s father was an idol maker. He was an idol worshipper…. he was not teaching Abram to worship the one true God.  Terah wasn’t guiding Abram to a relationship with God but rather a life without God.

God is also calling us… inviting us to journey to find ourselves in His Word. He is saying to each of us “Lech Lecha”.   An invitation… an adventure to find who we are IN CHRIST and to fulfill the destinies He has for… to be who He created us to be.  In order to do that we first need to leave behind any boundaries that keep us from God and from crossing over into the fullness of who He is… the abundance of His grace towards us.  And also leave behind those things or people that influence and control us away from God.  Even our own ideas and beliefs that keep us from being all that we are IN HIM.

The next blog we will talk about Abraham’s name change and the next part of his true identity transformation……..

~ Robin