Promised Land Living: Restoration through Jesus

03_baby_christianContinued from here.

This graphic shows how Jesus reconnects us to God. If you only look at Grace, she doesn’t look much different other than having a yellow heart. However, being connected to Jesus makes a profound difference because, through him, the cycle of holiness has been reestablished.

Jesus is different from every other person who has walked the face of the earth because he never digested any unholiness. He always used (and continues to use) the Helmet of Salvation to send all unholy energy to the cross, where he paid the penalty once and for all. He only digests the holy energy that we send him and then freely offers that energy back to God. He serves as a kidney of sorts, separating the evil from the good in our energy flowing to him so we can be connected back to God.

This diagram shows what an immature (or baby) Christian looks like because from the outside, you don’t see much difference between Grace and people without a connection to God. Grace is still allowing unholy energy and thoughts to be pushed in and digests them, which keeps her soul “sick.” What comes in must go out, so she continues to push out negative energy to the people around her. She can easily blend in with unbelievers because her actions and reactions are going to be pretty much the same as anyone without a relationship with God.

And yet, Grace is experiencing the reconnection of the cycle of holiness through God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice. The Holy Spirit now resides in her, which is represented by the yellow heart, and has planted a seed that has the potential to grow into spiritual fruit. God has given her all she needs to live a life of freedom in Christ, but she must do her part before that happens. I’ll address that topic in my next blog entry.

Sadly, too many Christians stay in this immature stage for the rest of their lives. They believe that receiving Jesus as their Savior is enough because now they don’t have to worry about going to hell. However, Jesus did not sacrifice himself to “get people out of hell” – His sacrifice was to restore people into relationship with God, which isn’t happening in this immature stage of Christianity. Being “saved by Jesus” is the starting point, not the ending point.

If this is as far as your walk with God has gotten you, it’s time to grow up! God has many more blessings to share with you, and having a close, deep, personal, and intimate relationship with Him at the top of the list.

Continued here.

[Graphic: “Baby Christian.” This is the same graphic as for Separation from God with two notable differences. The first is that Grace has a yellow heart, enabling some holy energy to be freely offered along with the unholy energy that continues to be pushed out. Instead of Grace being separated from God, Jesus bridges the gap. Grace’s unholy energy goes to Jesus, and his Helmet of Salvation sends all negative energy to the cross without entering his soul. Only the holy energy enters his soul and flows out of his heart back to God, who freely receives it, completing the cycle of holiness despite little holy energy flowing through Grace. Courtesy Bitmoji and Grace Daniels.]

Promised Land Living Broken: Separation from God

02_separation_from_godContinued from here.

If only the Fall in the Garden of Eden had not happened … but it did. From Eve’s perspective, all she was doing was eating a piece of fruit, but this one choice to allow Satan to push an unholy thought into her head (that God was not truthful) had HUGE consequences that separated us from God! Let’s walk through the graphic to understand how.

God still offers holy energy, such as His love, joy, and peace. This is why Jesus told us that…

[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” ~ Matt. 5:45

However, now Satan has entered the equation, and he isn’t a gentleman like God. While God freely offers holy energy that Grace can freely draw, Satan pushes his unholy energy. This is why 99 people can compliment a job well done, but we will instead fixate on the one person who criticized us. Compliments are freely given, waiting to be invited in, but criticism is pushed in, which takes no effort on our part to receive. As a result, our natural state is for all sorts of negative garbage to be pushed into our thoughts (requiring no effort on our part) while we choose to draw in very little of the good.

Whatever enters our thoughts gets digested and becomes a part of our soul. When we make no effort to control our thoughts, the negative (unholy) energy gets pushed in, causing us to digest the poison, which sickens our soul. The more unholy energy we digest, the sicker we become, such as through self-hatred, anger, bitterness, pride, and selfishness. Sadly, because our natural state is not controlling our thoughts, mostly negative energy pushes into us. The same holy energy is still available to us, but it requires effort to draw in, and most of us don’t make the effort. So, we live our lives feeling more and more miserable but don’t know why.

It gets worse.

The unholy energy we allow to be pushed into us also gets pushed out. So, the more negative energy you allow to be pushed into your thoughts, the more you will naturally push out to the people around you. As your toxic energy is pushed into them, they digest it, poisoning their souls further and then pushing even more unholy energy back onto you. This dynamic brings about disharmony and disunity in our relationships and fuels even more unhappiness in lives.

Our Holy God can have no part of this unholy cycle, so he enforces a boundary not to receive this unholy energy, which breaks the Cycle of Holiness. This is the “Old Testament God” who people frequently accuse of being “mean.” He’s not “mean” – He’s holy. So, now Grace … and all of us … are separated from God.

Who will save us from this wretched state?

Continued here.

[Graphic: “Separation from God.” A Holy God freely offers energy to Grace, but Satan also pushes in unholy energy. She receives some holy energy through free choice, but unholy energy is also pushed in. Both funnel into her head. She digests the unholy energy and pushes it out onto other people. God enforces a boundary not to receive the unholy energy, resulting in Grace’s separation from God. Courtesy Bitmoji and Grace Daniels.]

Promised Land Living: Cycle of Holiness

01_cycle_of_holinessContinued from here.

This graphic shows how God intended Promised Land living to work. Let’s walk through each element in the graphic.

The cycle of holiness as designed (as it existed in the Garden of Eden before the Fall) starts with God as the Source. He freely offers holy energy to us. This holy energy is offered, not pushed. We choose to draw it in through free choice.

We decide what energy and how much we want to receive. Do we want to feel more love? We can freely draw from an endless supply of love. Do we want to experience more joy? Boundless joy is available to us. How about more peace? Simply draw it in. God is limitless!

Note that the place we draw in God’s energy is through our heads, or our thoughts. In the Garden of Eden, Adam’s thoughts were aligned with God’s thoughts, and all he drew in was good. He digested the holy energy that he drew in, which fed his soul, and the natural outward flow (through the heart) was holy energy, which was freely offered to other people as well as back to God. Because only holy energy was flowing out of us, God freely received holy energy from us, such as our love, joy, and peace, completing the cycle of holiness.

Note that a cycle requires a flow of energy. Adam and Eve did not hoard the energy that God offered to them. They drew in God’s good (holy) energy through their thoughts. They digested this goodness, which became a part of their souls (“fed” their souls), and then they gave holy energy through their hearts out of the overflow of what had been poured into their heads. Other people were invited to freely receive that holy energy as well as God. Everyone was interconnected through holy energy, continually strengthening the unity among God, Adam, and Eve.

What pulled the energy into the head came from energy first being poured from the heart. So, if Adam wanted to experience more love, he would freely offer love to Eve. As that love poured out, more love was drawn in. As Eve wanted more peace, she freely offered peace to Adam, which drew more of God’s peace into her. And it was good.

Continued here.

[Graphic: “Cycle of Holiness as Designed.” A Holy God freely offers energy to Grace. She freely receives the energy through free choice re: what and how much is received. This funnels into her head. She digests it, and it comes out of her heart, with holy energy being freely offered to other people and back to God. God freely receives the holy energy through free choice re: what and how much to receive. Courtesy Bitmoji and Grace Daniels.]

What is Promised Land Living?

workin_itI keep mentioning Promised Land Living on my blog, so I should probably define what I mean by that. God promises all sorts of fabulous blessings for those who choose to embrace Jesus not only as Savior but as Lord. Here are some of those blessings:

God promises even more blessings for His disciples in the Bible, but that’s a nice sampling.

As Priscilla Shirer pointed out in her Bible study, Armor of God, God does not place these blessings in our hands, but He puts them within our reach. This means that God makes these blessings available to us, but we must do our part to receive them. Receiving Jesus as your Savior is not enough; to enjoy His blessings, you must also make him Lord.

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they didn’t just walk in and receive the land – they had to fight for it. They had to make an effort. While God promised they would succeed in conquering the land, they couldn’t just sit around waiting to receive it. They had to put blood, sweat, and tears into conquering the Promised Land.

The same holds true for spiritual Promised Land living. God has promised you victory, but it’s going to require effort. This means that you cannot keep doing what you have always done and expect God to rain blessings into your life. You need to DO what God says you need to do, such as the seven fundamental practices.

I used to believe all I needed to do to experience Promised Land living was to receive Jesus as my Savior and pray. That did not turn out to be the case. Despite having received Jesus as my Savior at age 8, I continued to live in emotional bondage throughout my teen years, twenties, and thirties. Throughout this time, God loved me, but He wasn’t going to do His part until I did mine.

I started doing my part in March 2013, and God rained so many blessings down on me that I stayed on a spiritual high for months … not because my life was suddenly easier (it wasn’t) but because I was doing my part, which invited God to do His.

No more lazy Christianity, folks! It’s time to learn what God requires of us, roll up our sleeves, and get to work! That’s what the Bible means by discipleship, and only Jesus’ disciples are promised the blessings in the above bulleted list and beyond.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace running on a treadmill and holding dumbells above the words, “Workin’ It.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Importance of Authenticity

real_talkContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, I mentioned the Pharisees, who Jesus rebuked because of their hypocrisy. Interestingly, Jesus told people to do what the Pharisees said, just not what they did.

If you want to grow in your relationship with God, you need to be authentic. Stop worrying about what other people think about what you say or do. Instead, be your authentic self.

As I shared in my last blog entry, I used to be a people pleaser. I said and did the right things so people would like me, but I wasn’t authentic. God didn’t start healing me from all of my emotional wounds until I “got real.”

When God led me to the place of dealing with my childhood wounds, all pretense went out the door. I didn’t have the energy to pretend like I was OK. It took all of my energy just to get through the day!

I stopped pretending to be OK and was the “authentic me” for the first time in my life. It wasn’t pretty, but you know what? My church family didn’t reject me! I wrote down “emotional healing” as my only prayer request for four years in my weekly Bible study, and the only comments I received were of support and sadness that I continued to hurt after such a long period of time.

Now that God has healed my emotional wounds, I have a church full of people who can attest that I am not putting on a show in my joy and peace. They saw me at my worst, and they also saw how powerfully God transformed me, which has brought so much glory to God! Nobody who saw the real “broken me” has any illusions about my own ability to heal myself. Only a powerful God could have transformed that hot mess into someone who is joyful and peaceful.

Psalm 139 beautifully explains how fully God knows you. There’s no point in pretending because God knows who you really are. And here’s the best part! He loves you, even if you are a hot mess like I was.

Pretense is a waste of time. If you are ready to get serious about being Jesus’ disciple and truly want to experience Promised Land living, it’s time to get real. Stop pretending to be something you’re not. Be your authentic self. It’s requires less energy and is such a relief!

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting in a chair next to a plant below the words, “Real Talk.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Becoming a Humble Person

true_storyContinued from here.

I ended my blog entry yesterday by saying…

Here’s the best part – even though you will do these things to develop humility, the point is not about what you do so much as who you become.”

Let me give you an example to serve as a parallel that is easier to explain than humility. I used to be a very passive person. I was a people-pleaser and would twist myself into a pretzel to avoid offending anyone. I had very few boundaries and no concept of what boundaries even were in many areas of my life. I would let people take advantage of me, and I had a very difficult time saying no.

My “homework” during my therapy years was learning how to set and enforce boundaries. This required me to do what assertive people do, even though I was not assertive. Let’s say that someone asked me to volunteer to do a task that I didn’t want to do. Before therapy, because I didn’t want to upset anyone and wanted everyone to like me, I would agree to do the task but stew and complain about it. Through therapy, I practiced doing what assertive people do – I would force myself to say no, but I would experience an enormous amount of anxiety leading up to the no, and then I would replay the conversation in my head and worry about whether the person still liked me.

This is the state that the Pharisees stayed in, which was why Jesus was so hard on them. They did righteous acts on the outside, but they were not righteous on the inside. They made a point of doing righteous acts, but they never transformed into being righteous people.

In 2014, I had the epiphany that I had become an assertive person. I was no longer a passive person doing assertive things. God had transformed me through my obedience to Him and practicing doing what He called me to do, and I had actually become an assertive person. The assertiveness that people see on the outside flows naturally out of the assertiveness that has developed on the inside as God has transformed me from a people pleaser into a God pleaser.

Humility develops in the same way. As you choose to do what humble people do (defer your preferences to God and others), God will transform you into a humble person on the inside. You won’t be doing humble acts to impress other people – humble acts will naturally flow out of the humble person you are becoming because you love God and have made Him the center of your life instead of yourself.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting on a chair in front of a fireplace holding a book and saying, “True story.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

How to Develop Humility

yes_or_noContinued from here.

Humility is a choice that (sadly) few people choose to make. We live in a “me” culture that focuses on our comfort, feeds our pride, and lures us with its temptations. Choosing humility is counter-cultural, but it’s the key to the Promised Land living that God wants for us – a life filled with joy, peace, contentment, and purpose. Those are promises for Jesus’ disciples, and you cannot be his disciple without humility.

The obvious question (assuming your goal is humility) is how to grow it. The critical first step is choosing discipleship. You need to decide once and for all who you are going to live your life for – yourself or God?

The Bible exhorts us not to be deceived because Christians can be deceived by the father of lies. Either you are living for God or you are living for yourself. There is no third option. Either every word out of your mouth and every action that you take is being filtered through what God has to say about that word or deed, or it is not. Don’t let yourself off the hook for this, which is my tendency when confronted with something I don’t want to face. No more excuses.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” ~ Deut. 30:19-20

Your options are life (living your life for God) or death (living life for yourself). Unless and until you choose life, you aren’t going to experience Promised Land living.

Once you make this decision, you need to do what God tells you to do in the Bible. The seven fundamental practices are a good start.

Here’s the best part – even though you will do these things to develop humility, the point is not about what you do so much as who you become. More on this tomorrow.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding up two signs: “Yes or No.” Courtesy Bitmoji. ]