The New Life

I was pretty shocked when I began to hear the Lord speak quietly to my heart that it was time to quit church.  “Not so, Lord,” I said, in the spirit of Peter from Acts 10 and 11.

 

But I finally relented.  . . . Although it seemed as though I was having an inner temper tantrum in my “obedience” to my Lord and Master, Jesus the Messiah.  (Good job, Lisa.)

 

The following Sunday, it was a huge surprise to me when Jesus made Himself known.  His presence was manifested to me. “Oh!!  Jesus!”  I said.  “Well, hello there!  It’s been so long!”  And His glorious joy was poured out to my spirit.

 

Of course He had never left me nor forsaken me.  But I had forsaken Him.  For 15 years.  Why?  Well, heck, I was trying to be a “good Christian.”

 

Before quitting church, the Lord had been stripping me of a belief system that was based on rules and regulations.  I was all about, “you have to do this, and you shouldn’t do that.”

 

He led me to quit church in 2004, and by 2006 the only ‘law’ I was still holding on to tenaciously was that we  “have to ask forgiveness for our sins.”  Finally, the Lord gently removed that one last requirement through learning the proper meaning of 1 John 1:8&9.  Simply put, John was speaking to unbelievers (most likely the Gnostics in his audience) in verses 8 and 9 of chapter 1.

 

So, I came to understand that I did not have to ask for forgiveness; that His death on the cross had already accomplished my forgiveness, and I simply had to believe that “it is finished.”

 

Realizing that I no longer had a Christian To-Do List, there was simply nothing left for me to do.  Except to love Him back.  To trust Him.  To rely on Him.  To depend on Him.  I began to live my life in a totally different way.  I trusted Him to lead me and guide me.

 

The way I parented our three kids became completely different; the way I viewed God began to line up with reality; I began to give my husband grace, and stopped trying to change him into a repentant and obedient ‘godly man.’  The TREE OF LIFE became my daily food; I had left behind the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  I now live every day with Jesus, worshiping Him in spirit and in truth.  It’s a glorious life.

 

And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t go to “church.”  Well, I never went back to “formalized” church.  Yet to this day, I do gather together with believers on a regular basis, and there is more true fellowship in my life now than there ever was in the days when I went to church four times a week

Turning 27 years old

The age of 27 is a turning point for some, bringing with it a certain amount of sobering awareness.  Many people turn their life around at age 27; this happened to actor/comedian Russell Brand.  (He discusses his recovery from opiod addition with Dr. Jordan Peterson in an interview found here: https://youtu.be/r2S58rH0PAw )

It seems that the age of 27 is often the period when a person chooses to live or die.  Think of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse, just to name a few, who all died by OD’ing at the age of 27.

I am 27 years old today.  Today is my spiritual birthday; I received life 27 years ago during an “altar call” at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale. Not everyone knows the day and the hour that they got saved, but I can say with 100% certainty that I choose life on 9/1/91. 😊

So now that I am at that critical age of 27, I want to continue to choose life.  I want to turn away from foolishness; I want to live a prudent life.

O naive ones, understand prudence; And, O fools, understand wisdom. Proverbs 8:5

But, some might say, “Lisa, you’re a Christian, you’re a child of God; therefore, you’re not a fool; you’re not naive.”

Wrong.

I spent 14 years being deceived by Churchianity. I spent those years being double-minded and “schizophrenic,” in a spiritual sense.  I mixed the Old Covenant with the New Covenant and lived a life of confusion and, not only that, spent 10 of those years teaching my children falsehood!  Now that is a serious matter!  I am seeing the repercussions of this now more than ever, and talking openly to my kids about it. For example, on a long hike recently, my 21-year-old daughter kindly explained how the false teaching of Christian patriarchy negatively impacted her emotional state as a young girl.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Eve lately, and have been feeling a lot of empathy for her.  She was certainly a child of God, yet she acted foolishly.  Naively.

Adam and Eve were born with the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them, and yet they became deceived by Satan; they believed falsehood.  And yet they knew the Lord personally!  They had heard the truth spoken directly from the Lord Himself.

“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”  Genesis 2:17

Of course, it is recorded that Eve was the one who was deceived, while Adam sinned deliberately, with his eyes wide open.  And though it was extremely tragic, to say the least, that Eve was deceived . . . I can understand how that could happen.  Satan’s speech was so persuasive!  Everything he said seemed so logical.  She truly thought she was doing the right thing.

Sure, let’s go ahead and grow in wisdom and have our eyes be opened!  Thumbs up, man!

Though God does sometimes rescue us from our own messes, our own personally created disasters . . . sometimes He doesn’t.  In this case, He didn’t come to the rescue.  He didn’t swoop down and stop Eve from eating that piece of fruit.  He didn’t stop Adam from doing so either.  He allowed them to totally and completely reject Him.

As a woman, I have nothing but empathy for Eve.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13

Now that I’m 27 years old in the Lord, I want to turn a corner; I want to choose life; I want to press forward into maturity.  I want to live in such a way that I don’t expect God to rescue me from the messes I make; from the personal disasters that I create.  I want to grow up and be a mature adult; someone who doesn’t get deceived.

How does this happen?  How can we grow up and become wise, discreet, prudent adults in the Lord?  We trust in Him.  We rely completely on Him.  We rest in His finished work.   We let Him be who He is:  the God who will be who He will be.  And He is so different from us.  He is a mighty and fierce warrior who does not waver when it comes to the truth.  He is the truth.

Let us turn to Him.

 

 

September 1, 2018  2:06 PM

My #1 Parenting Mistake

Self-portrait painted by my first-born for a college Figure Drawing class:

IMG_0574-1

Pictured above is my daughter, Justine, who went a bit ‘wild’ after graduating high school.  She got herself into some dangerous situations, and learned the hard way that there are many pits and snares in this world; after a year, she decided to move back home.

As I type, she and her brother and sister are bouldering at a climbing gym together.  Their friendship has solidified during this time, and Justine likes to tell them, “Be smart.  Don’t be stupid like I was.”

However, recently, my husband and I had reason to believe that she was being stupid again.  In our despair, we asked ourselves, “How could this be happening!?  What did we do wrong!?  Where did we mess up as parents?”

Turns out, it was a false alarm — phew! — and we had nothing to worry about.

But it led me to ask Justine, “In your opinion, what was it that we did wrong?  How did we fail you?  What made you do the things you did?”

She told me, “Mom, it had nothing to do with you; as an artist, I simply wanted to experience everything that’s out there.”  (She IS quite the artist, huh!?)

But THEN, she remembered something.

She said, “Well, there was one thing:  I’m always apologizing for things that are not my fault.  Remember how you always made me go to my room so I could ask God to forgive me?  I was never sure what I did wrong, but you always forced me to apologize to God.  So now, I constantly say “I’m sorry” for things that are not my fault.”

Oh. My. Gosh!  No.  I didn’t remember that.  It seems so long ago.  I do remember that used to live by 1 John 1:9 myself, and I have a distinct memory of an incident surrounding 1 John 1:9 with my son, but — ouch! —  I would send her to her room so she could ask God to forgive her!?  Gross!

My #1 mistake as a parent was to make my kids think that God still held their sins against them.  I made them apologize to God after they sinned.  THIS is where I messed up.

I completely misunderstood 1 John 1:9.  I totally took it out of context.

In that verse, John is speaking to an unbeliever!  That is proven by reading 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Jesus is the truth.  If the truth is not in you, then Jesus is not in you.  If Jesus is not in you, then you are an unbeliever.

Verses 8 and 9 directed to unbelievers.  In his epistle, John was addressing people who held to the Gnostic belief system, and who needed to be saved by the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.

We are living in the days of the New Covenant.  And in these days it is not necessary to ask God to forgive you for your sins.  God forgave the sin of the world when He died on the cross as the propitiation for our sins.  That is only half the gospel though.  He then rose again to offer His life — His very life.  The life that had been breathed into Adam and Eve.  THAT is what saves a person.

Thank Him for the forgiveness that you have.  Receive the eternal life that He is offering to you and be saved.  Salvation sets you FREE, and it is for freedom that Christ set us free!

However . . .

I wasn’t always a Mom for Freedom.  I used to be a Mom for Obedience.

When they were little, I forced my kids to perform good works for God.  When they exhibited some bad behavior or bad attitude, I would tell them, “If you confess your sin, God is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin.”

And even if it is one little ‘work,’ one tiny ‘law,’ just one small ‘requirement’ . . . well, that ruins the entire New Covenant.

A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.”  (Gal 5:9)

One “rule” acts like yeast and leavens the entire batch of dough; it spreads throughout the entire gospel of grace and turns the good news into bad news.

The one ‘work’ that Justine remembers being forced to perform was confessing her sins to God.

That evening that Justine told me about my #1 mistake, I got down on my knees, clasped my hands together, and begged her to forgive me!  Think of the contrast.  I am the one who needs HER to forgive ME.

* For more on the topic of forgiveness, check out this blog.

 

June 7, 2017