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Humans Being

We become humans by being…

human being

Not all that long ago, when things were new, there lived two people in a little garden which was exactly like heaven on earth. It was called Eden, and it was a paradise. The people there, Adam and Eve, were created to be stewards over this little piece of heaven. They were given a few tasks by their creator – take dominion, be fruitful, eat anything you want – but stay away from that one tree.

They were all in one accord – man and woman, God and creation – and it was very good! Nobody really knows how long they lived in this blissful state, and we don’t really have any way to know what it was really like. Imagine your best day ever, times infinity – probably doesn’t even scratch the surface.

They were fully alive! Fully human! Firing on all cylinders, cooking with gas – call it what you want, they were everything they were created to be. They were everything we are not.

I have spent time imagining what it must have been like. Perfect bodies – not these rags we wear that get stained and wear out. Walking with God – nothing to separate us from his presence. Unity – all of creation on the same page, headed toward the same destiny.

I imagine that as they fulfilled their calling and filled up the garden with more people, that it’s boundaries would expand until all the earth became nothing but paradise, nothing but an exact representation of everything God had in mind when he dreamed up heaven.

But that’s not what happened – that’s not what happened at all. Something else happened. People say we were tricked, we were led astray, that the tempter took our inheritance from us. But the truth is, the first man and the first woman made a choice all on their own – they chose to know over choosing to live. We all, when faced with the exact same choice, make the exact same choice.

How could God, who knows everything, not see this coming? And if he did see it coming, why didn’t he stop it from happening? The short answer is, if he prevented us from choosing between himself and ourselves, how could we truly ever be able to love him? That’s the choice before all of us, and the choice we make determines how human we will become.

So, choices were made, and now we live in a fallen world. A world full of sickness, death, evil. It’s not the heaven that God had in mind. Not even close. But even still, all is not lost.

You may hear people talk about “plan B” from time to time. “Well, I was too short and colorblind, so I couldn’t be an astronaut – so my plan B was becoming a lumberjack.” Or something. Most of us are living in plan B. Or C, D, or even Q.

God, though – he only has plan A. His goal, from the beginning, was to present to his son a worthy bride, to have a family. To have children to care for who love him as a father. Is it too late for all that? I say no!

The son emptied himself, came to earth as a man – as Adam once was – full of the father and living as if he were in heaven. He came to show us what it would be like to be fully human – to be firing on all cylinders and cooking with gas. And what did he do? Well, he changed the world. He broke history out of it’s rut. He made a way for us to be humans – the humans God created us to be.

And he did so much more! He solved the greatest problem of all – the problem of how fallen humanity could be reunited with it’s father, it’s creator. He did it by being fully human, and when presented with the choice he chose differently that the rest of us – he chose God instead of himself.

And he did even more than that – because he chose wisely, he was able to be everything a human was meant to be – the blind received sight, the lame walked, those with leprosy were cleansed, the deaf could hear, the dead were raised, and the good news was proclaimed!

And even greater things than these will we do, because Jesus has gone to the Father!

And yet – how many people have you healed? How many have you raised from the dead? How many greater things have you done? Don’t feel bad – I pray for the sick and they get worse. I pray for the blind and the deaf and they walk away not seeing and hearing. I have never prayed that a dead person would come back to life. Because…dead – that’s just not how things work in this world.

But that’s how they worked in Jesus’ world. The second Adam, the most human human being ever. Because he and his father were one, because when he said the kingdom is at hand, it wasn’t just a philosophical way of living or thinking – it was a spirit empowered way of being human. And we all have access to that. We have access to the father, and all the resources of heaven. But we’re too busy being something other than what we were created to be to know it.

I don’t know how this ends. For me I mean. I want everything God has for me, but still it seems I labor in vain. I can’t heal anyone – even when I am praying fervently and sincerely and crying and pleading. Even when I mean it with all my heart. Even when I say, “in Jesus name.”

Why? Well, I don’t know. All I know is, I am saved, and the same spirit that lives in me, that lived in Jesus, can live in you! Choose – choose life over struggling to do good so that you won’t be a bad person. You have a free will – and the only good use of it is freely choosing to lay it down, to empty yourself of yourself and be filled with his spirit – so choose now. Be what God always dreamed you would be – a human, a human who is being everything they are capable of being.
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Here And Now

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

on earth as it is in heaven

Tonight at church I heard a great message on The Lord’s Prayer. I was taking notes, getting a lot of good information – practical stuff – and it was really good, then God kinda got into my head. I started remembering something weird, something I haven’t thought of in nearly 40 years – plantar warts. I told you it was weird.

When I was 9, we lived in Tulsa, OK. It was summer, and I ran around all day without shoes on. So my feet were totally black on the bottom by the end of the day and I had to scrub to get all the dirt and asphalt off.

One day I noticed a little spot on my heel, but didn’t think much of it. But as time passed, I noticed it was getting bigger, and that it started to hurt. Not when I put pressure or weight on it, but when I wasn’t standing on it. I had no idea what it was, but it was really driving me crazy.

It just kept getting bigger and kept hurting more, so I did the most reasonable thing I could think of. I went to the kitchen sink, got a knife, and dug it out of my foot.

Now, there was pain involved, some blood, I may have had a panic attack as well. But I kept at it. Bear in mind that this was at the end of the day, and I didn’t wash my feet first.

So, now instead of the sore on my heel, there was a giant bloody crater. And within days, there was also a raging infection. When I could no longer stand the pain, I showed my mom what I did. And if I told you she completely lost it, well, that would be understating things.

I had to have a little “operation” in the doctors office. I had to take pain pills and antibiotics. I had to wear socks and shoes! Which, to this day, I still do not like.

As I was thinking about this experience, I began to see also what God had in mind for me to learn tonight. We all have little spots, little sores, in our soul. And we try so hard to cover them up, dig them out, fix them on our own. But our effort is never sufficient. The best we end up with is a crater – a hole that we dug ourselves into and have no hope of getting out of.

But that is not what God’s will is for us! I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says this – “Always be joyful! Never stop praying! Be thankful in all circumstances! This is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus!” I added the exclamation points, because dang – is that awesome or what?

I think we get to that point by remembering who God is – he is love, he is peace, he is everything that is good, and he is holy. And he wants the conditions that exist in heaven to exist on earth, too. And the way this happens is through us – we bring heaven to earth. When we can see God for who he is, and when we see ourselves as he sees us – not as damaged, but whole; not as sinful, but washed clean; not as losers and rejects, but favored sons and daughters; not as powerless, but as filled with his Spirit – then he fills the earth with life, and he does it through us.

I have never had another wart of any kind since then, and from the time it was all healed up until today, I never once thought about it. God reminded me of that experience so I could remind you all – we need God! We can’t fix ourselves – the fixing we need is beyond us and can only come from a source outside ourselves – it can only come from one who’s very breath is life.

What is the Spirit saying to you right now? Take some time to listen. Just be quiet for a minute. Shut off the TV, set your phone aside, and listen. If you listen, he will speak to you – if you hear his voice, and respond to what he is saying, your entire life will be changed! Your here and now will be completely transformed into something that you could never have imagined in your wildest dreams – you can be free!

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Healed

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

on earth as it is in heaven

(This is the part 2 of a 7 part series of posts on the vision of Gateway Church, which is to see people saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered and serving.)

What do you think of when you hear the word healed? Or when you hear people talking about healing, or people who claim to have been healed by God? I’ll be honest – I used to dismiss it. Coming from someone who has led his fair share of Wednesday night prayer meetings, where we spent a significant portion of the time going over the hospital list, that should be shocking. I didn’t believe in it.

But, I found out that God does all kinds of God-like things, regardless of whether I believe or not. And I came to realize that there are all kinds of healing, not just physical.

There is plenty of evidence in scripture that Jesus spent a great deal of time healing people from all kinds of physical ailments. Just read any or all of the gospels. And his disciples did likewise. What I want to ask is, does that type of physical healing still happen today?

Think about it like this – in Matthew 6, Jesus tells the people that they should “pray like this.” And then He says the words from above – “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Does this mean God’s will is not being done on earth? No I don’t think that’s what this means. I think Jesus is saying that in heaven – in God’s presence – things happen in a certain way, for a certain purpose. That purpose is the glory of God. So, all things that happen on earth should be to the glory of God as well.

Is that they way things really are? And if not, what can we do to make it so?

Just taking a minute to think about my day, I can tell you I did not glorify God in rush hour traffic this morning. I’m just going out on a limb, but I’ll bet not many people did, or ever do. And that’s just one part of my day. I didn’t lie, cheat, steal or kill anyone today. But my thoughts wandered away from heavenly things.

I think as a Christian, it should be normal for us to encounter heaven on a daily basis, and to take heaven and the conditions that exist there with us wherever we go.

What do we know about heaven? And not from people who claim to have died and been given a back stage pass and personal tour of the place by Jesus. What is heaven like?

I think it is a wonderful, perfect, awesome, terrifying place – since we are talking about actually being in the presence of God. It should change everything. I think that since it generally doesn’t, it means that most of the time we Christians are not seeking to be in His presence at all.

On earth as it is in heaven. Revelation 21 gives a little insight into what that will be like. These verses describe a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem coming down as a bride, and God dwelling with man. Then there will be no more sorrow or pain or death.

We are not in heaven, but we are not of this earth either – as Christians, we are straddling two realities. We walk this planet in physical bodies, but we are spiritual creatures and God actually dwells with us right now! And as such, we have access, because the veil is torn, to things we would not otherwise have had access to. We have God’s attention. And He’s big enough to give each of us His full, undivided attention at all times.

To be in His presence is an awesome, terrible thing. We are to approach him boldly and humbly, believing that what we ask, we will receive.

On earth as it is in heaven – words Jesus said we should pray. I think it’s a lifestyle worth living.

And now back to my point – if there is no sickness, no pain, no sorrow where God is, and if He dwells within us, if we take heaven and His presence with us wherever we go, why do we encounter so much sickness, pain and sorrow? Is God doing it wrong? Are the ones who are sick or hurting or mourning the ones who lack faith? No! It is the ones who carry His presence – we are the ones who lack faith, lack boldness, lack humility. Nothing changes because we don’t believe, because we don’t pray, because we hide who we are and try to blend in and be just like everyone else. You don’t want to come across as weird or anything, do you? No. So you do what everyone else does – “Yes I’ll pray for you!” and you think those words carry some kind of power but you never take it directly to the One who can change everything!

I say “you” a lot above, meaning “me” actually. I don’t see healing on earth as it will be in heaven because of me. And I have actually experienced physical healing, and I’ve seen it happen with my own two eyes, and still I have disbelief. Why? I don’t know, maybe I haven’t worked all the “Baptist” out of myself yet.

But I do know this – in my head anyway – that wherever we go, there God is. And just like always, He loves us, and He wants to know us. I think as we learn who He really is, and as we learn to become His sons and daughters, we will also begin to see more and more of His Kingdom all around us. And I think that means people will be healed physically, both because of who we are becoming, and because of who God is.

What do you think? Does God still heal people physically? Have you seen or experienced physical healing? Tell your story below –