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August newsletter: Who teaches a canary to sing?

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who Teaches A Canary To Sing?

What do you think? As believers, has God given such a tough burden to perform in living the Christian Life that we simply cannot accomplish it? Sometimes re-evaluating the purpose of our Faith performances will help us not to burnout, crash, give up or get discouraged. After all, Jesus taught us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Does that Scripture (Matthew 11:30) sink in? Apostle Paul teaches that if we take up Christ’s yoke we will find rest, not stress! Is that our experience? It’s true that Jesus indicated we would have much to deal with in this life. (John 16:33) Some parts of our natural lives will be heavy and cumbersome. But, just as importantly, He indicated that one of His purposes in coming was to help us through tough times that would come our way, and also the tough times that we create for ourselves.

Scripture reveals that Jesus is the true vine and without him nothing, including our best human performances, could produce the Christian Life. (John 15:1…) Our role is to bear much fruit, significantly, His Fruit. Sometimes, it gets ‘heavy’ trying to do the Christian thing with only our ability. When we began the Christian walk, Christ became the author and finisher of our new Faith. Being made alive unto God, He started a process in each of us. He alone will be able to complete it. Sometimes along the way we quietly, casually, have picked up more than we can bear or our human attempts can change.

How many trees do you know that think to themselves, “Um, I’m a tree and trees have to bear fruit.” Nothing is needed on their part other than simply being created a tree. When we are ‘created’ anew, the Life we bring forth can come from simply becoming what God intended us to be all along. Years ago in a conversation I had with a friend, he simply asked me, ‘Who teaches a canary to sing? It just sings because it’s a canary!” They just do what canaries do best. It does that because of what God made it to be; it doesn’t do anything to become a singing canary. Christians don’t perform nor do they bear much fruit to be Christians; they bear much fruit because they are Christians. Fruit bearing ability is located on the inside, they are Spirit carriers, and the Spirit bears the fruit. Jesus gave us a simple clue about that when mentioning that he only did what he saw the Father doing. (John 5:19) Being made alive unto God, being created anew at that moment, deposited the ability to become what the dream of God before the foundation of the world was about you.

Resting in Christ gives us the opportunity to relax, trust and believe that God will live through us. There’s a chorus in the song from the band Cain that says, ‘Sometimes I wonder, is He faithful? Does He see me in my trouble? Does He understand? Sometimes I question if He’s able. Can He rescue? Can He save me? Yes He did, Yes He can.’ What God has done in the past, He can do today in and through our lives. We can serve God by yielding our lives to His ‘Living’ through us. I know that sounds ‘goofy’ compared to how we usually talk about serving God. Laying down our life can simply mean, laying down our agenda and letting His Spirit come forth. It can mean making our life at Peace and Rest so that God can use it for His purpose.

I remember a teaching by the author of the Lifetime Guarantee book, Bill Gillham. Bill taught that ground is just dirt unless God is present. With the presence of God it becomes Holy ground. God’s presence in our lives is what makes anything we do Holy. Even the very best we can do is not Holy without His initiation and presence in it. Bill was illustrating scripture found in Exodus 3. It was a discussion between God and Moses. You know the story, God asked Moses to go to Pharaoh but Moses wanted just a bit more confirmation. In the exchange God tells Moses: I have seen, I have heard, I have come, and I will do something. Moses was not the people’s savior, he was simply the one to deliver the Message from God. God would perform it. Of course Moses being Moses sulks a bit but God states, ‘Moses, Who Am I?’ He gave Moses this answer: ‘I will be with you.’ God said to tell Pharaoh that I Am who I Am, tell them I Am sent you. It’s a name that implies present tense and an active form of the verb to be. God was telling Moses He was unchanging, constant, unending, always present, always God. God is that forever and is that right now in our life. **(Check out the extra post at the bottom of this newsletter.)

Years and years ago, during one of our Celebrations, Mike Middleton and I were talking about how to live the Christian Life. We were discussing the necessity of reading scripture and keeping our minds on Christ. We both agreed study is very important. However, Mike noted that study alone would not permit us to experience the Christian Life in full. He suggested that the Christian Life is similar to many of the artists that we bring in concert. Once they’ve written the song, learned the lyrics, they no longer need to read the words off a page to sing that song. They sing them effortlessly, without having to even think about the lyrics. They’ve placed those lyrics in their hearts and perform them without having to have a sheet of paper with the words on it. That’s not to say that we should not read the Word of God-obviously we should. There is no substitute for reading the Word of God. Hearing the Word of God is exactly what turned so many of our lives around. Jesus taught that a believer who hears the Word and does the Word will be blessed. Doing the Word actually became possible when the Spirit of God came and ‘alived’ us. At that moment, everything we needed to empower us to live the Christian life was placed at our disposal. According to His divine power He has given unto us all things that pertain unto Life (Gk: zoe, life as the Father would have it for us) and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2Peter1:3) Jesus revealed a mystery in John 14:20, the mystery of Christ in you! (The Word lives there, Worship lives there, the Spirit of Christ inhabits there. It’s Good News, but it’s so amazing it’s hard for us to believe.)

Just like that canary singing without ever being taught to sing, we can live a Life that’s God-guided and made possible unlike the life we experience without Him. We can sing a new song; we can live a new Life; being God’s new creation, we can experience a new way to live that’s natural and designed for us from the first imaginings of God, Son and Spirit for creation.

Most of us have read stacks of books, perhaps listened to hundreds of teachings on YouTube, or attended church for decades and still ask what is the Will of God for us. We can seem stumped about what we think God wants us to do next. However, over time, some of the teachings in the Gospel should have become natural for us to do. Just like those artists’ song lyrics, Life things should be so imprinted in our hearts that we do them instinctively; we hardly think of them at all. There should be progressing in things that let us do the Gospel as easy as that canary singing. Occasionally I’ve mentioned to friends: I sometimes watch myself do things. What I mean by that statement is that many times I do things that emotionally I’m kind of opposed to. I do them because they are simply things I know are appropriate to do because Christ said so. I do those even when I don’t necessarily want to do them. Jesus taught that there were people who were always learning but never coming to the Truth. Always memorizing and quoting but never living like the Scripture they had memorized. I believe the knowledge of God is in the reading, but the preservation and the experiencing the God kind of Life is in the doing. Christ wants us to take up His ‘burdens’ and discover they are easy because He is there. He is I Am in every moment. Those things He asks us to do are possible because He is the one who will accomplish them. Canaries don’t go to canary school– they just draw on the song God put inside them to sing. We can experience Him in the very same way.

**

God said to tell Pharaoh that I Am who I Am, tell them I Am sent you.  It’s a name that implies present tense and an active form of the verb to be.  God was telling Moses He was unchanging, constant, unending, always present, always God. God was telling Moses I Am the center of everything, I Am running the show, I Am the same every day, forever, I Am the owner of everything, I Am the Lord, I Am the Creator and Sustainer of Life, I Am the Savior, I Am more than enough, I Am inexhaustible and immeasurable, I Am God.  If God’s name is I Am, Moses’ name must be I am not.  I am not the center of everything, I am not in control, I am not the solution, I am not all-powerful, I am not calling the shots, I am not the owner of anything, I am not the Lord…I am not running anything, I am not head of anything, I am not in charge of anything, I am not the maker, I am not the savior, I am not holding it all together, I am not all-knowing, I am not God.  God: ‘This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. His name would endure to every generation that would inhabit earth-even to our generations, mine and yours.

In short, the translation I Am is simply ‘Be’.  What we do not understand, He makes up for being with us.  What we do not do, He makes up for being always present.  What we get wrong; He makes a way for never leaving us.  What we do not see; He makes up because we know He is our Light in any darkness.  When we do not have enough; He is enough.  What we do not know, we have I Am to trust in.  What does not feel good, I Amstill has His hand out to grab ours and lead the way.”

(Material taken from the book i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio)

Big Daddy Weave 2021

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July Newsletter- I Know

Posted on by Laura Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Redeem, re-birth, restore, re-new:

Did Adam and Eve need to be saved before the fall? I think- yes. Their eating from the tree of good and evil confirms that. Apples weren’t the problem; the desire to be like God was the choice offered to them. They misunderstood the heart of the Father before they picnicked. Adam/Eve lacked something from the beginning. Truly, even from the very beginning, only God could give us all we need to be complete. Then and now, it’s never been an option for us to create or accomplish Life as the Father would have it for us all by ourselves. Today the purpose of the Gospel in all our lives is for us to ‘come home.’ The words of God, ’Adam where are you?’ is a call to all Adam/Eves to come back to Me. Leave the place of hiding and come let us gather together. Come home is still, as it was then, the process for every person today! Adam and Eve doubted, we doubt, doubt seems to be built in, something common to us all. Doubt being something to overcome by each person. Yet, God says an adoption is waiting on your signature and a Father waits for His prodigal son or daughter to trust enough to come home.

God offers a challenge in Isaiah 50:1. It’s assumed there that God is referencing Israel and their apparent separation from God in that Scripture. God asked: who has given you a bill of divorcement; who has sold you away to others? The answer, from God, the God who later declares He will never leave us or forsake us: you- you have separated yourself from Me because of your transgressions. Here, God’s establishing He’s not the separator; people themselves have departed from Him (just like Adam and Eve). God challenges them to produce any such bill of divorcement or sold transaction receipt that would have Him as the One that initiated a division. In the Gospel, God comes to each of us and simply says where are you? He searches us out, invites us to come, extends the hand to stand us up after falling and steady our walk back. From the Garden on, humanity’s problem is and has always been that we are alienated from God (literally meaning, non-participating), and that in our minds. (Cor. 1:21)

Jesus was and is the one who came to tell us what The Father is like. In turn, we get to share his words, say ‘amen’ to his expression of God’s heart. God, for whom there are no sufficient words to really express His being, sent The Word in the form of Jesus to fill the gap between our weaknesses and His presence. Previously, expressing God’s character was like listening to a song and telling what the artist intended and meant by each lyric. We might get part of that right, but probably not all of what the artist is trying to say. That’s similar to what it’s like with the Gospel. Without Jesus’ interpretation, we know in part but hardly in full. (1Cor. 2:9) (John 8) (1 Cor. 13:12) Jesus said no one knows the Father but me! I will show you Him! If you perceive me you can perceive who the Father is. (John 14)

Over the centuries, we’ve done a ‘wonderful’ job of making Him in our image (monarch, ruler, emperor, president, CEO, prime minister, judge of the Gospel). That’s kind of a carbon copy of our world, how we see things, how we emotionally feel about things. However, God says My ways are not your ways, My understanding is not your understanding, My thoughts are not like your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8-9) The Power of the Spirit changes our image of God into an understanding of Who He really is by massaging that into our soul. The Holy Spirit facilitates how God speaks to us. We don’t always need an interpreter for what God says; many times we can, and actually should, hear Him directly. Isaiah 1:18 says come let us reason together; let Me umpire this life for you. I’ll call the balls and strikes; you just believe the words I say. You, confess with your mouth and believe in your heart the same things the Father says about you.

Memorizing His words is not the same as recognizing His Voice. Both, Jesus and the Holy Spirit came to reveal the Father. Their coming was to take away any thought by the children of God that this Gospel is in anyway characterized as a hide and seek Gospel. They both stepped into our world so that we could really know Him. They came to open the door for interaction with us. God simplified that idea with one word: Emmanuel.

Becoming a New Testament child of God is more than just beliefs about right and wrong; it’s very much about discovering a relationship that was lost with Adam/Eve and restored in and on Jesus Christ. As a believer, we don’t have a unique, personal covenant- instead we’re part of a Covenant between Jesus, Holy Spirit and The Father initiated by Their Love. Their covenant does not change, we simply decide to participate in it or not.

We are adopted; are we going to act like it, are we going to respond? By Christ, if we participate, we’ve been re-established into that covenant relationship with God. Before the foundation of the world it was God’s desire to build you a bridge back to Home. The Gospel’s not about what we have to do to create a relationship; it’s about accepting what He has done about the relationship that was damaged in the Garden. The Gospel is: redeemed, re-birthed, restored, renewed. Living like that’s true is our real choice. In the beginning God announced that the earth had become void. (Implying it wasn’t created void but it became that way.) God set out to rebuild it from (this is important to understand) the initial materials that existed prior to that destruction. Even from that beginning, God was always taking broken things and re-creating them. Nothing is ever lost with God, all creation is potentially re-makeable. He didn’t throw out Adam and Eve and start over, He didn’t leave Abram with the moon worshipers, He didn’t leave Israel in Egypt, He didn’t leave you the way you were, but instead of destroying, He delivered.

Occasionally, something that helps me in my prayer conversations with God is that He does not just send gifts, He shows up as the Gift. I mentioned on the radio during this year’s National Day of Prayer that Billy Graham once said that prayer is a way of life, not just for emergencies. God is not a bomb shelter only for hard times. He’s not just needed or with us when we are desperate. I’m fully confident that even in the mess we find ourselves in today that the broken will again be redeemed, re-birthed, restored and renewed, if not out of this existing material, then perhaps a New Heaven and Earth, but restored just the same. In Luke 9:56, Jesus said he did not come to destroy but to save. That’s still true today. God has one priority: make each life fruitful today, as long as it is called today.

Being human, I sometimes have to work at remembering we are not in trouble, the world is. We’re the people with a Hope. Yes, knowledge is increasing, heartache is increasing, hate is increasing, the unjust is rampant, corruption is a tsunami, self-centeredness has become the master of our purpose and destinations and cultural ambitions. All that’s true, but Jesus Christ, the Spirit and the knowledge of God is established in the earth and all the challenges to that fact will, someday, kneel and acknowledge God. We can’t just say that, comfort will only come when we believe that.

When Christ returns is He coming to destroy the terrible or to save the loved? I think knowing God’s history, what will move him out of heaven is not an angry heart. There has been trouble since Cain and Abel. His heart must have been broken for all the years humans have abused one another. The world has become a briar patch rather than a flower garden. I believe He will return when the Gospel has ceased to be preached and in order to save humanity from itself; doing that in order to save, to preserve the changed-hearted. Just as there was at the flood, at Sodom, at the Red Sea, and at the Cross, there will be destruction, but a destruction to reboot. A cutting off just like Noah’s but a restoration at the same time. The Red Sea stood up (literal word was frozen) to save ‘His people’. God doesn’t bring anything to ruin except with the motivation of restoring. No one knows when that will happen but it does seem that our environment is very similar to Noah’s. During pre-Genesis time: Satan had ravaged the earth. He had made it void after being cast there from heaven. When that occurred, God saved. God stepped into the earth and in 7 days took the destruction and brought it to Light and Life. Before the flood violence was everywhere. With the flood that kind of life ceased and a new one was created. Someday, a New Earth will crush this one and a new way will begin. This corrupt and broken one will be no more. Until then we are to be steadfast and be faithful to the Word that declares a day such as that is on the way. Not a new just world that man has created with his ability, but one that the Love of God establishes. Our Hope is in Him, not them.