freedom

Did Paul Really Tell us Not to Grieve?

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In 1 Corinthians 15:55 Paul says “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” and in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 he writes, “so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” Please hear this beloved, it’s so very important. Paul is not saying, do not grieve. The Christian community has taken this passage and twisted it many, many times to do something ridiculously wrong, and imply that we're not supposed to grieve. 

When I was pastoring in Delaware, there was a sweet young woman who was thirty-four years old with four babies. She was in the ICU and was dying, and did die. We held a round the clock vigil for that young lady, and people were there with her praying the whole two weeks she was there. I showed up one day just in time to see one of our dear ladies come out of that ICU with tears streaming down her cheeks, and the next lady ready to go in stuck her finger in that woman’s face and said, “Stop crying! That doesn't manifest victory.” If ever I wanted to slap somebody in Jesus' name! You know what, maybe it didn't manifest victory, but it manifested compassion, which is, in my understanding of the New Testament, what Jesus Christ is all about!

We grieve. Paul said in Romans 12:15 through the spirit, “Weep with those who weep.” Jesus himself wept at the death of Lazarus. And this is so important, it doesn't say He cried a few tears, it says He wept. Weeping is full-fledged, heartfelt crying. That's an important distinction. If Jesus felt the freedom to openly grieve the loss of a loved one, even though it's temporary, we should feel the same freedom. 

What Paul is speaking to us in these verses, is that he wants us to grieve with hope, to grieve with confidence that ours is never a permanent goodbye. I challenge every one of you, because until the Lord returns there will be death in your family and friends, when you're at that graveside, don't say goodbye, say until we meet again. Until we meet again.

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How to Live Free in the Midst of Hardship

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In John 7:37, Jesus made a remarkable statement. He said, “If anyone is thirsty let [them] come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me…from [their] innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” He tells us, I will satisfy that thirst, and I will satisfy it so fully that rivers of living water will flow out of you.”

“If anyone,” let’s stop there. It doesn't matter who you are, where you’ve been, where you find yourself any person anywhere, anytime, this is for you—Do you thirst? And then what does He say? Amazingly, He leaves it blank! He doesn’t say, “If you thirst after righteousness.” That's what we would have expected to see, right? He just says, “If you thirst.” In other words, “Whatever thirst you have, you can come to Me.” 

You see, we might think we're thirsting for something, but that's really not what we're thirsting for; we're actually thirsting for Him, we just don't always recognize it. You might be thirsting for money; but you're not really thirsting for money, you’re thirsting for security. And where can you get security from? From the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, darling! 

You might think you're thirsting for fame; you long to be recognized. What are you really thirsting for? Significance—and you can't get any more significant than being the child of the King of Kings of this universe!

You might think you're thirsting for sex. What are you really thirsting for? Sex! No, I'm just kidding. You’re thirsting for intimacy and you can get that from God. He's the One who knows your thoughts, not even your spouse knows your thoughts. He knows your thoughts and says, “I love you unconditionally.”

Are you thirsting for deliverance? No. What you're really thirsting for, is His freedom and did you know that you can be free even in the middle of a conflict? Oh yes, you can be free in the middle of a desert, you can be free even in a prison.  You can be free!


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The Freeing Truth Every Christian With Anxiety Needs to Know

Friends, this is a video you don’t want want to miss! May freedom be yours today as you hear Frank share truth that every Christian needs to know!

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The Freeing Truth Every Christian With Anxiety Needs to Know

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Friends, I want you to hear this, it’s very important for humanity!

I want to take you to the book of Psalms, where David says some very important words. He starts by saying to God, “When I remember you on my bed…” What do those words reveal to us? They tell us that he's not sleeping. He's not sleeping, gang! He's laying on his bed and he can't sleep. How do we know this? Look at the next phrase, “I meditate on you in the night watches.”

By the way, Israel had three late night watches, dusk to ten o’clock, ten o’clock to two, and two until dawn. So what does this tell us? It tells us that he's not sleeping ALL night long. Have you ever been in a wilderness, in a time of trauma, where you’re exhausted from what you're going through, and your head hits the pillow, but you still can't sleep?

Don’t you just love that this is in the Bible? Because this is exactly where we find ourselves in life. Let me tell you friend, when you’re in turmoil, when you’re in the pressure cooker of life, one of the most difficult problems you will face is the lack of being able to sleep. And sometimes if we share this with others, we will have Christian’s who tell us that it means that we must not be trusting God. Don’t you want to just slap them in Jesus' name?!

You see, they have failed to come to understand that our spirits can be at perfect rest, while our souls are all over the map. The proof of this is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said “Not my will, but thine be done. I'm going to the cross.” A spirit of perfect rest. But what’s he doing? He's sweating blood! That's a soul that's all over the map friends. If Jesus can have the freedom to be human and have anxiety in his soul while he's trusting God, why can't we have the same freedom?

I want to share something with you, and it’s very important; David’s spirit was at rest while his soul was going crazy, he was unable to sleep, but David did not allow his mind to take him where it wanted to go and beat him mercilessly. Look at the language he uses as he tells God, “I am remembering you, I am meditating on you, I'm not letting my mind fixate on the horizontal, which is beating the daylights out of me. I've taken my mind where I want it to go, which is vertical.” And it tells us in verse 7 that he specifically set his mind on remembering that God had been his help. He remembered, past tense. David sets his mind on how God has delivered him in previous times and connected the dots of God's faithfulness.


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God Commends the Weak

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Did you know that in the book of Revelation, the church in Philadelphia was commended because it had “little strength"?

In our modern world that is a very strange basis for being commended. Modern society values strength. Our media driven culture beckons us to be men of steel and women of iron. The city in which I live heralds, for example, that we are “Baton Rouge Strong” and “Baton Rouge Proud.” God, however, says that it is the weak, those that have recognized their minimal strength who are to be commended. Why is that?

Let’s ponder Moses for example; he was a man of great strength. Raised in the court of Pharaoh to be a leader in the nation, he was trained to be a warrior. When he thought the time had come for him to deliver his people, he mustered all the strength he could and killed an Egyptian, but failed to rally the people around him and ran like a scared rabbit into the desert.

There, he spent the next 40 years tending sheep and growing weak. How do we know that? Because when God appeared to Him, to call Him to lead Israel into freedom, he bemoaned that he was not the kind of man God was looking for. Early in his life, Moses thought he was that man because he was strong, but now that he was weak he could not dream of being a leader. He thought himself a nothing and informed God that he could not speak very well. Ironically, the book of Acts tells us that Moses was the most eloquent man in all the earth!

So how are we to explain that? Some say that after spending 40 years with a bunch of sheep, any of us would speak b-a-a-a-a-d too! I don’t buy that. I believe that after his failure, Moses no longer trusted in his natural resources, he recognized that he was not up to the demand, which forced him to depend on God in a way he would never have without his failure. His failure opened his eyes to his true state of weakness so that he could then see the greatness of God that would be exercised by God on his behalf; transforming him into a man who received the strength of God!

Though this is a hard lesson for most of us to learn, it is one that we desperately need to understand. The Holy Spirit told Paul that when he was weak, then he would truly be strong because he would no longer be trusting in himself, but in God. This is why God would offer that “not so strange” commendation for those who have little strength. I want to hear that commendation, and I hope you do too, for it is the true path to the strength we desperately need to secure to live victoriously in this fallen world.

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Never Read the Bible Casually

We’ve heard that God is love, but what does that really mean? May you experience freedom as you hear Frank’s words in this short video; “You are loved, not because of who you are or what you do but because of who He is!” Wow!

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The Labor of Rest

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One of the charges frequently brought against me and others who teach the message of grace is that we teach "easy believe-ism” or “cheap grace.” I would like to address those thoughts.

First, let's talk about the thought of "easy believe-ism." When we teach the grace of God, we are heralding to humanity that there is a new economy of living made available through the finished work of Jesus. Yes, it is an "easy" economy to enter. I do not shy away from proclaiming that. If God wants people saved, and He does, why would He make it difficult?

I love that in the third chapter of John when Jesus heralds that eternal life is available through Him, He refers to the little brass serpent that was recorded in the book of Numbers. Remember the story? God sent serpents to deal with the rebellious children of Israel, but He also instructed Moses to make a little brass serpent and put it up on a pole as a remedy for anyone who got bit by the serpents. All they had to do if they got bit, was take a glance of faith to the serpent and they would be healed. Isn’t that glorious?! All it took was a glance of faith, and that is indeed all that God requires for someone to enter life. Glorious!

Living that life, however, is a different story; it requires saying a loud and resounding “No!” to our resources, so that we can instead trust the resources of God and that is no EASY thing to do! It requires hard work, as the writer of Hebrews says, to enter into rest. It is hard work to trust God’s resources instead of our own, especially since all of us were birthed into the lie that we shall be as God and therefore inherently think that we can do just fine apart from Him. So yes, it is easy to believe and find life with God, but it is hard work to experience life with God. We must labor to enter into the rest that Jesus has secured for us.

Oh, and by the way, how did He secure that rest for us? He laid down His life on our behalf. He died so that we could be set free from the law and restored to God instead, and there is nothing cheap about the grace that He secured for us. In fact, if you really understand the economy of grace, how dare anyone call it cheap! It cost Jesus His life, and it requires on our part the laying down of our lives in order for us to find His life.

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Being Right vs Being Loving

Freedom is promised when we know and walk in God’s truth. But how will others share in this same freedom if we neglect to tell them what we know to be right and correct them when they’re wrong? Find out in this short video what we need to be right about as Frank shares how we can love one another even when we disagree and what evidence should be seen in our lives as we walk in the truth of the Grace of God.

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Recovering God Wannabe

The desire to control is deeply rooted in the lie that each of us were birthed into: "we shall be as God".

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I'm a Former Legalist. And so Are You.

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We are all former legalists... Rom 5 says "the whole world is shut up under the law."

I've been seeing something happening lately that I'd like to talk about.

Mainly, I'm noticing that as some people find freedom and life in the grace of God, they become very cynical and mean to the 'legalists' or 'religionists'. I'm noticing such people almost boasting how they cannot stand such people or their teaching. That they cannot even bear to listen to such teaching, that they would rather not go to church at all rather than sit under such teaching.

Isn't that amazing, when religious and legalistic is exactly what we used to be before finding the New Covenant? Why are we not going back into the legalistic cesspool we came out of to rescue those who are still stuck in there?

Though I understand the zeal, I do not understand the lack of compassion. Jesus, though rejected by the legalistic world never stopped presenting Himself to them, and no Pharisee was ever afraid to go into His presence. How are we going to win the legalistic world if we do not spend time with them?

 We should be so secure in our position, that we can sit under any teaching without it "making us sick." We must remember that many of these dear people who are legalists, do in fact name Jesus as their Lord and Savior, making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. They may be misguided. They may be no small source of discomfort for those of us who are free.

We should be so free that we can sit under their teaching and not have it ruin our day. Paul said, "I become all things to all men that I may win some." The grace of God was never intended to make us isolate and insulate ourselves from the world of religious men and women. That is what the Jews did and in doing so they failed to reach the world with the light that they had been given.

We who secure in our true identity and grounded in our freedom should be able to live in the camp of the religious without their dogma and behavior causing us unrest.

Now that, my friend, is true freedom.

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What Is Grace?

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GRACE! GRACE! GRACE! 

That is all I hear and I am so glad I hear it from Father's Word. "Grace upon grace" - it says in Jn 1. "The abundance of grace" - it says in Rom 5. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

May I suggest though that it is only truly wonderful when it is properly understood and applied? When perverted, it no longer remains grace --- even though people continue to call it grace.

First: What grace is not!  Grace is not the freedom to do whatever you want. Paul spoke about this in Galatians 5. He tells us we are not to use our freedom to serve our flesh. This is exactly what happens when a person doesn’t understand that the LIFE they received in Christ is ‘others-centered’.

It’s a LIFE that seeks to serve, instead of being served.
It’s a Life that looks to the interests of others, not its own interest. 

When we fail to realize and live out the others-centered life of Jesus, the inevitable end result is ugly: grace used for selfish gain.

So what is grace? May I venture a definition?

Grace is being delivered from an economy of being IN ADAM, which is an economy of achieving for self; and being placed instead into an economy of receiving IN CHRIST, all that He is, to all that we need, at the moment of faith.

Grace is NOT a doctrine, nor a teaching. Grace is the Person of Jesus offering to express His life in and through a person as they trust Him by faith to do so. That Christ-life is then both experienced by the individual and expressed to others in a spirit of love, acceptance, awe, and wonder as we live out our having become partakers of the divine nature.

And may I add that this Grace, Jesus, living in and through us, fulfills the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW in our lives.  We live righteously because it is the only kind of life the Spirit knows how to live (Rom 8:1-4).

Thank you, Jesus, for your grace. (wonderfully redundant, huh?)
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me your LIFE which saves me from me (Rom 5:8-10).

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The Ultimate Laying Down

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I'm free!"... "I'm free!"...

Such is the declaration on the lips of so many as they come to understand the grace of God in the New Covenant.

But you will never experience the fulness of your freedom dear saint, until you die to that freedom and lay it down in the service of love to others!

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Grace is Jesus

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Grace is not a word we define.
Grace is not a doctrine we agree with.
Grace is a Person we are to experience.
Grace is Jesus (Tit 2:11-12). 

Therefore, Grace is NOT the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to be who we are --- containers of God who have the privilege of God expressing Himself through our humanity as we trust Him by faith.

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But God...

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Perhaps my "favorite phrase" in the Bible is --- "But God"

It is found all over the New Testament.

For example:
"we formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh... and were by nature children of wrath... BUT GOD Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love... made us alive together with Christ"

You will find this pattern all over the New Testament. The writer will state a sad or negative reality, then declare "But God" and demonstrate the ability of God to overrule that sad or negative reality with the truth of Who He is and What He has done. 

BUT GOD!

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The Lies

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We live in a world filled with LIES! All of us have been influenced by these lies, there is no one who stands immune. That is because we have an adversary who is a liar from the beginning and the author of lies. Please understand, he wants to destroy us with His lies.

Our heavenly Father wrote us a book, but its so much more than a book! It is a love letter - to counteract those lies and teach us the truth. The truth will set us free from those lies and the subsequent bondage that those lies produce. That is why we need to understand how to read this love letter.

We must be very careful when reading the Bible and especially when teaching it, to let the scriptures "speak out" (exegesis) instead of us "speaking in" to them (eisegesis).  It is very important to let God say what He says instead of us speaking for Him. He tells it like it is, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

The reality is that for most of us what we need to hear is going to make us uncomfortable because we have become so accustomed to the lies that have been sown into our lives.

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We All Have Control Issues

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere, He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere, He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

I once had a "not so happy" woman come up to me and declare with no small amount of intensity, "Frank Friedmann! You are a controller!"

To which I replied, "Yes maam, but you know what the difference is between us? I am willing to admit it!"

We ALL struggle with control issues.

We want to control our circumstances, control our kids, control our spouse, control our congregation, and control the pastor. Control! Control! Control!... but dig deeper!

Why? Why do we want to control?

Because the desire (need) to control is deeply rooted in the lie that ALL of us were birthed into with the help of our brother Adam, that "we shall be as God". By the way, that is why we struggle with wanting to know it all, cannot admit that we do not know all, find it difficult to admit we are wrong, feel the need to be strong, and have this crazy thought that we are supposed to be the source of life for others.

God is all those things. He knows all things, He is everywhere,
He is all things to people, He is strong, and HE IS IN CONTROL!

We are not because we are not God.

Herein lies the glory... we were never designed to be strong, or have it all together, or know all things, or be in control.  We were created to be dependent on the One Who is all those things and offers to be all that He is to us in the moment of faith!

I do not believe there is a man alive who really comprehends how "BLITZED" we were by the lie of the garden and how it continues to effect all of us as we "labor to rest" in the finished work of Christ.

So, let's move further on in the journey and begin admitting the truth...
... that all of us are "recovering god's"
... that all of us struggle with control issues
... that all of us think we know more than we know
... that all of us find it hard to embrace and live in our weakness
... that ours is really a "vision problem"
... that we see ourselves as bigger than we really are
... that we see God as a lot smaller than He really is

Let's start running the church like an A.A. meeting!!!

"Hello, I am Frank and I am a recovering god wannabe"

And all the other "recovering god's" say: "Hello Frank"

AWESOME!!! Now we can take off the fig leaves, that were never designed for us in the first place, put on the righteousness of Christ, and start being who we really are... weak and frail people who have an opportunity to live FROM a REALLY BIG GOD WHO is crazy in love with them. WOW!!!

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Love Keeps No Lists

But what happens when we keep lists?  Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers

But what happens when we keep lists? Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers

I Cor. 13:5 - "Love thinks no evil" KJV

The word is "logizomai" = an accounting term

It would be used in the keeping of a perfect record for financial purposes (very necessary for us in terms of the IRS, but very damaging for a walk with God).

Let's be honest, it hurts when someone hurts us. And we don't want to get hurt again because after all, it hurts!

But what happens when we keep lists? Those lists minister tremendous emotional power to our lives and they are not healthy emotional powers! Hurt! Anger! Fear! Which in turn lead to anxiety and bitterness.

These "emotions" trigger us to build walls around ourselves in order to protect us from others. We say things like, "I will never let anyone get close to me again. I will never give my heart away again!"

Case in point:

Proverbs 18
"It is easier to win a fortified city than it is to win a wounded brother."

Put simply, the walls we build work. They keep people out!

Let's put this verse into history. Alexander the Great decided to conquer a greatly walled city named Tyre and it took 10 years to build it. And what did the Proverb say? It is easier to win the city of Tyre, than it is to win a wounded brother.

THE WALLS WE BUILD TO PROTECT OURSELVES WORK! They keep people out.

The verse has a final phrase though:
"and his contentions are like bars"

Did you see it?

When we build our walls to protect ourselves, our walls, our fortresses that we build to keep people out, morphs into a prison. This prison locks us in, and this beautiful creation that God made, CANNOT GET OUT OF THIS PRISON OF HIS OWN MAKING! Why would we want to do that to ourselves? Why would we want to put ourselves in prison?

Love keeps no lists.

If we keep a list and refuse to forgive, not only are we most likely going to fail in loving the one who hurt us, but we will also fail to be loving ourselves.

Forgiveness

...responsibility to forgive comes with an  entirely different motivation in the New Covenant.

...responsibility to forgive comes with an entirely different motivation in the New Covenant.

I was listening to the Christian radio station, and the announcer said that he was going to share the memory verse for the week. It was Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” After reading the passage, the announcer said, “Isn’t that a wonderful verse to live by?” I about came out of my skin as I screamed at the radio, “NO! THAT IS A HORRIBLE VERSE TO LIVE BY! WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD WANT TO LIVE UNDER THAT VERSE?”

Fortunately, we do not have to live under that verse, isn’t that great news? Now, someone might say, “But Jesus taught that verse, so isn’t it binding on us today?” Yes, Jesus did teach it but he taught it pre-cross, before He died and was resurrected. In other words, He taught that verse under the Old Covenant economy! That means of course, that we are no longer under that economy because Jesus has instituted a new and better covenant!

I am so thankful that because of the New Covenant, I do not have to rack my brain every night trying to see if there is someone I have failed to forgive. That I can get some semblance of sleep without being terrified by the fear that there might be someone I have failed to forgive.

Now again, someone might ask, “But aren’t we supposed to forgive?” Yes, we are, but our responsibility to forgive comes with an entirely different motivation in the New Covenant.

In Ephesians 4:32, Paul states that we are to “Forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us.” Did you see it? In the New Covenant economy, we are not forgiving others so that we will be forgiven, we are forgiving others BECAUSE we have already been forgiven. Now, that is a verse to live by!

Lies and Truth

Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies!

Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies!

LIES! LIES! LIES!
They are everywhere! In the workplace, in our families, IN OUR GOVERNMENT, and especially and sadly in our churches!

That is why Truth, when it is revealed, is so very precious to us. Truth sets us free from the bondage of those lies! There is however, a sneaky and grave danger in our reception of the truth or revelation that we receive.

We can become enamored with the truth, instead of the TRUTH GIVER! We can glory in "the revelation" instead of the Revealer!

When we do that we become "men with a message" or "women with a word" instead of sons/daughters of God boasting in their Father (Son and Spirit). And instantly following on our heels is the PRIDE of being RIGHT over and against all those others who are WRONG! Oh how sneaky!

Remember the words of Jesus in John 5:39... "you search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, but it is these that bear witness of ME!...

(and then the sad conclusion)

"... but you are unwilling to come to ME that you might have LIFE!"

Doctrine was NEVER intended to be an end in itself, but a means to lead us to the Person of Jesus!

He came to have a relationship with you...

He came to have a relationship with you...

Perhaps I should say it this way:
Jesus did not come to this planet for the express purpose of dying for your sins... He came to have a relationship with you and dying for your sins was the only way He could get that relationship.

This is the great glory that we have through faith in the Person and work of Christ --- THAT WE KNOW HIM, THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERINGS (don't forget that one)...

Glory in the awe and wonder that through receiving HIM, we have the authority to be called a child of God!

Simply Being Right Isn't God's Sole Intention For Us.

It seems to me that the church, as I have observed it, has made the issue of "Being Right" it's main agenda. Don't get me "wrong"... being "right" is very important. We better be "right" about Who God is and what He has done and longs to do in and through us as we trust Him by faith... I myself study Father's Word intently because I want what is right, I want the truth because I want the freedom that truth brings. But being right in and of itself was never the intended goal. That would be like getting a paycheck and never cashing it. By the way, I have especially seen this agenda among those who "claim" to know the grace of God, after all, we are "right...right?" But if we truly are "right" about the grace of God, then should we not be known by "LOVE"? Dare we say it, yes, by our love for the legalist and the religionist and even for those who disagree with our grace?

Father's Word does not say we will be known as His disciple if we have "right" doctrine... but rather that we will known as His disciples by our "love"... You see, LOVE is the evidence that we are right. Love is cashing and spending the check of being right... Love is the proof that we have come to know God and the He, the lover, lives in and through us by faith.