Living Grace


September 2016

God is a Consuming Fire

“The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the Lord, have spoken!” – Obadiah 18

Imagine that you are a raging fire consuming a dry stubble land void of moisture. You need to burn everything. If you falter, if you cease, the monsoon rain may suddenly appear and all your brilliance will fade into the dust. If, however, your passion ignites the desert, everything will be cleansed, purged in the molten glory of your flames.

God is that consuming fire, God is full of holy passion, and God is a cleansing flame.

His raging fire destroys all the residue of the world and sin that stains your mind and emotion. His holy passion ignites your new creation life into a furnace of his power. His cleansing flame purifies you from every effect of evil and cremates the sin that reminds you of your dead nature.

You make decisions every day that influence your future. These may occur in the most mundane of circumstances, but they give you the opportunity to let the fire and passion of God burn within you or let the floods of the world stifle the fire of God.

The way to stay in the tangible presence of God is to burn with his love and to dive into the furnace of his finished work. For it is in the heat of the fire that Christ appears and his glory protects, leads, holds, sustains and saves you.

You cannot control the raging fire, you cannot contain the heat of the furnace, you let it consume everything the world would want you to value and destroy everything that would diminish the work of Christ.

For as the fire of God burns within your heart, your thoughts are renewed, your hope is complete and the glory of God shines through your life, as you let the  finished work of the cross consume you.

Grace is the Realization that Everything is a Gift from Christ

“I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” – John 16 : 23-24

When you dig down into the very foundations of God, you will discover in the depths of his eternal character that God really is a good gift giver.

He gives gifts with no strings attached. Regardless of our performance, our actions, our works, our effort, no matter how disconnected we feel,  he even doesn’t require us to do anything after we get them either, like improve or pray more or sacrifice all our plans and desires and commit ourselves to his cause or do good things to show how thankful we really are. His gifts are given free.

The most awesome gift that we have been given is eternal life.

This eternal life is ours in his son.  When we receive the son, we automatically have eternal life, and this life is made manifest inside of us, as the very life of Christ comes and dwells within us. This life is Christ’s life in all its fullness.

God who was before time, immeasurable and infinite the source of all life, the everlasting creator, the fountain of eternal life was glorified in the resurrected Christ and because God’s life is eternal, receiving the son is receiving eternal life.

The essence of God’s eternal life knows Christ. Our fragile, dust frames have become the home of the vast, glorious God. We have been made alive by the Holy Spirit and our finite frame is now immersed into the infinite God.

This gift of eternal life is the imparting of all the son is, not just living forever but joy, holiness, peace, hope, love, faith, strength, freedom, authority, kindness, wholeness, security, long-suffering, faithfulness, goodness, righteousness, purity, everything that is of Christ is now made in me.

How do I receive this free gift by simply seeing what is true and saying thank you.  Thanking God for all he has done for me makes it come alive in my experience and makes me come alive to God’s reality.

Grace is the realization that everything is a gift from Christ, given because he loves me, because he is a good giver and he takes pleasure and delight in overwhelming his children with every good gift from his heart of love.

Grace is Flourishing in Christ.

“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.” – Psalm 92:12

God created you to flourish – and ransomed you to set you free to flourish – so you could be a living, vibrant, remarkable shining light in a world of blindness and darkness.

All creation is waiting for the sons and daughters of the Father of creation to display their glorious, wonderful, beautiful, pure new creation life.

Christ’s wonderful sacrifice at the cross made it possible for the living powerful, resurrected Spirit of Christ to dwell inside us. The passion of His heart is to see everything in creation flourish in new creation life birthed within each redeemed heart.

King David expressed it well when he wrote from the overflow of his heart in Psalm 92 – “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.”

As the Psalmist sings in this verse about the abundant strength and magnificence, he paints a picture of fruitfulness, uprightness, steadfastness, health and longevity.

The significance of the Palm Tree lies in the fact that a palm has only one, above ground growing point. This is located at the top of its trunk, and if this terminal bud is injured, the palm often dies. This deep rooted tree is able to withstand the most violent storms and blossom, bud and produce fruit all the year in the most arid of deserts. We are being reminded in this beautiful, creative picture of all God has made available and provided for us, and what will inevitably take place when we are rooted and established in him.

We can flourish in him because our new creation life inside us is rooted in the finished work of Christ. Christ now is our one and only growing point, and because He won the victory over death in His resurrection, we will never stop growing and blossoming into all He dreams for us.

When God wanted to grip the hearts of the Children of Israel, He gave them a portrait of his overwhelming love and goodness. He wanted to change how they thought and felt and lived, he wanted to captivate their entire individual existence with the wonder and majesty of his passionate love for them. He wanted them to believe in Him and all he could accomplish for them. Their liberation from Egypt into the glorious freedom of the Promised Land, a land so lavishly abundant he described it as overflowing with “milk and honey”, was a journey of discovery into the grip of His grace.

Palm trees flourish by the grace of God, and from the dates of the tree, dark brown syrup is harvested that is rich and sweet. It was this preserved syrup that was also referred to the “honey” of the Promised Land. God’s promise of honey was open for all to see in the comprehensive blessing of every Palm Tree established throughout the land. When hearts started to question, just looking and focusing on a flourishing tree reminded every soul that God is faithful and is to be trusted.

The vastness of God’s love is contained in His promises and sometimes it feels like these are beyond our human understanding and experience. But they are all there, they are all ours, they have all been showered upon us in Christ and God wants us to encounter him, be immersed in him, be filled with the abundance of him and like Palm Trees in the desert, be rooted and flourish.

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