Guest Post

Did God REALLY say THAT?

Posted in Guest Post on May 16th, 2012 by James Barron – 1 Comment

Since the beginning of time the devil has been in the sales business and he has been pretty successful at it. To get a glimpse of his tactics we have to go back to where his career began. In Genesis 3:1-5 we read “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NASB) I want to draw your attention to 5 words the enemy used then and is still using today… DID GOD ACTUALLY SAY THAT? The devil as we know is not creative but he is very crafty. The deceptive tactic he uses is one of confusion. He knows he cannot steal our salvation (although many believe and are taught they can lose it) so he goes to his default setting of attempting to confuse as he did with Adam & Eve. Notice he says in verse 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He was convincing them that they must DO something (eat the fruit) in order to BECOME like God. Is it any different today? Many believers are still falling for the lie of you must perform in order to become. Unfortunately it is widely taught either by the spoken word or is implied that we are saved by grace but perfected by performance. And we wonder why so many people are confused and want nothing to do with Christianity. It is taught that salvation is a gift and cannot be earned. This part we have right. Then we turn right around and say now you must “pay God back” for what He did for you. I believed this lie for years and it brought me so much frustration and lead to eventually burning out. One day the light bulb went off and I discovered that a gift cannot be earned. How insulting if after receiving a gift for your birthday you then tell the person who gave you the gift “ thank you so much now how much will I have to pay you back”? Doesn’t that look a lot like how we approach our relationship with Christ? It’s either a gift or a wage, and God does not hand out wages!

Now to get back to the point (sorry I went off on a rabbit trail) the enemy is still saying “Did God REALLY say THAT?? For example in 1 John 4:17 we read an almost unbelievable statement that says “as He is so are we in this world”. The thought the devil would like you to think is “ Did God really say you are like Him? That can’t be true because your behavior today and this last week looks nothing like Him’. One secret I will let you in on is the devil will never say “you are dirty or unholy, or whatever. He will convince you to say to yourself “I am dirty and unholy.” See the difference? This is where the back and forth in and out of fellowship mindset comes from. Also, a lot of teaching out there will lead you to believe that “one day you will be like Him if you obey perfectly, and confess every sin you ever commit so you can stay in fellowship”. Once you get to heaven THEN you will be like Him. Here is a truth for you to meditate on…everything you will be THERE you already are HERE!! God is not going to do a last minute polish before you go to heaven. What is true there is true here NOW!! You are not waiting to be sanctified there, you are fully sanctified here (Hebrews 10:14) You are SEATED WITH CHRIST in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) Here are some more unbelievable truths that are actually in the Bible! See if you can see why the enemy would TRY and say to you ” Did God REALLY say THAT?”

John 3:17-18- For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged ; he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Colossians 2:9-10- For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

1 Peter 3:18- For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.

Let me end with this. Remember the game many of us played as kids where we sat in a circle and one of us was given a sentence or phrase? We would then say it to the next person and it would travel all the way back to the original person? What was originally said sounded nothing like the original statement! This is exactly what has ben going on for centuries, and it continues today when it comes to the gospel. Rather than saying something or teaching something that sounds like the gospel, why don’t we just go back and read the ACTUAL words of Christ and the apostles. Be encouraged today that WHO you ARE in Christ is REALLY true RIGHT NOW!!!

Jeff Fitzgerald

Let Jesus the Christ Live Through You

Posted in Guest Post on May 13th, 2012 by James Barron – 2 Comments

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him” – Matthew 9:9

To “follow” means to come or go after, move behind in the same direction: to come or go with; to accept the guidance or leadership of; to adhere to the cause or principles of; to be governed by; obey; comply with (John 10:27-29, Romans 10:9-10,13).

When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus entails. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment to Him because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus. Once we make that decision, then Christ Jesus begins to live through us and we find a strength that is not our own, and is equal to whatever test we may encounter Galatians 2:20).

It is Christ Jesus living through us that is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is not us living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us. Failure to understand this simple truth is at the root of all legalism and the performance mentality. The law focuses on the outer man and tells it what it must do. Grace focuses on the inner man and tells it what is already done through Christ Jesus. Those who are focused on what they must do are under the law. Those who are focused on what Christ Jesus has done for them are walking under grace.

Just as the life of a root is found in the soil, or a branch in the vine, or a fish in the sea; the believer’s true life is found in union with Christ Jesus. The Christian life is not just hard to live; it’s impossible in our human strength. The only way to walk in victory is to let Jesus live through you.

God loves you ! There is nothing you can do about that. Talk to Him today, He’d love to hear from you. You are an important part of God’s plan.

Brother Coop
Right Time—Right Place Ministries

The Sound of Grace

Posted in Guest Post on April 22nd, 2012 by James Barron – Be the first to comment

By: James Schulze

“Do you hear that horrible sound? What is that? The grinding, shrieking, and squeaking rumble seems to be getting louder and louder by the minute. What a terrible noise! WHAT ON EARTH IS IT?”

Well the truth is, it’s possible that not everyone reading this may hear this hideous shrill sound, because it’s only heard with spiritual ears. But if you have heard it or you are hearing it, you probably already know what it is. It’s actually something we’ve been hearing for quite a while, yet it seems to be being magnified at this moment in time. It is a very harsh noise! It penetrates your soul! When you hear it, you can tell that it is something massive and mechanical, and yet it is also very human. If you listen closely you can actually distinguish individual voices that make up the collective clatter.

When you separate the sounds, you can hear a pastor and his wife who cannot handle the thought of one more day in ministry. You quiet yourself further and hear the screams of a believer who is drowning in condemnation. He is seemingly surrounded by and even being attacked by the constant reminder of his sins. Sins, that he was once promised, were buried in the deepest parts of this sea and never to be remembered. The hum is becoming deafening now. You can hardly stand to listen for another second. Just as you’re reaching up to cover your ears, suddenly the clamor dies down and settles to an almost tolerable level. You listen yet again, desperate to understand the abrupt change that just took place, yet all you hear above the sound of the original rumble is a soft whisper saying, “Grace to you.”

What I’ve just described to you is what God showed me a few mornings ago while in prayer. That morning I was talking to the Lord about how I could not understand how the church has missed this incredible message of grace for so long, and the “fallout” that has taken place as a result of it. As so many others that have come to the knowledge of this grace, I have my own story. And I know how costly the absence of the “message of grace” is in the life of a believer. I (could personally) remember sitting behind my beautiful desk in a lush office, flooded with ministry opportunities, but I was constantly frustrated with the religious message I had been “programmed” with. Something inside of me was saying, “There’s absolutely no way that we are preaching the same message that Paul preached.” I knew intuitively and understood that the sound I was hearing was the sound of the religious machine grinding its gears and wounding the Saints.
What I didn’t know was what the Holy Spirit said to me next. He said, “James, what’s happened in religion is this. Instead of trusting in the simplicity of Jesus Christ and making grace the centerpiece and power source of life, men have used grace instead as a lubricant to oil their religious machines.” I asked Him what He meant. He said, “These religious machines always break down and wear out. So whenever that happens and whenever their systems, principles, patterns, and programs don’t do the job, THEN they apply some grace in order to keep things functioning. And in a sense it has, and does, because even a little bit of grace is incredibly powerful. Tragically and typically My grace is used to manipulate things in the direction already chosen by the system.”

This immediately made perfect sense to me and settled some things in my own spirit. Recently I have noticed a spike in interest regarding the subject of grace, everywhere. It has become an extremely popular subject in churches. Grace is the “buzz-word” post 2010. Pastors everywhere are doing Sunday Schools and series on it. I have also noticed, however, that hardly anyone is actually preaching on “the finished work of Christ” with any real revelation, boldness, or impact. The potential for the transforming power of grace in the life of the believer is not being actualized. Everyone wants to say they have grace, that they believe in grace, and that they are preaching grace; but having come to a revelation of grace myself, I know that when it comes in its pure form, it leaves no stone unturned in your faith. It changes everything!

All of this brings the question, with all of the buzz—why is there no massive change or shift in the church at large? The answer is simple. Religionists have looked at the huge storage towers of heaven, filled to the brim with God’s amazing grace, which is ready to fuel the lives of believers here on earth. Then instead of connecting the church to these unending resources, they’ve grabbed a few gallons of grace and used the “oil of joy” to lubricate their own failing operating systems. No Christian group has ever been able to survive with a total lack of grace. Therefore every movement in history has believed in and instituted this truth to some measure, for without it they would be terminal. But few have seen the sufficiency of it and sadly the church for centuries has not fully believed what the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

I had the opportunity to share what I believed the Lord had taught me with James Barron. He completely agreed and said it back to me in these words- “It seems that many preachers talk about grace but it’s really just lip service. I never thought about it that way but you heard from the Master correctly. Grace is being used merely as a lubricant to keep their legalistic machines running instead of seeing grace as the source of power! I love it! Their religious machines only produce a form of godliness while they deny the very source of power of godliness which is the grace of God in Jesus!”

Grace is enough! Grace is the whisper that overpowers the screams. Grace is the oil dripped upon the religious machines that does keep them going and doing some good in the earth. Can we just imagine if they ever got the revelation that what they had been using as a lubricant was actually the fuel and that the church is an organism fueled by God’s gracious Spirit and not a man-powered machine? Oh Lord, let that revelation come; the revelation of your grace and the revelation of your Holy Spirit of promise! Amen!