Lifegate Blog

"…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10


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unconditional love

Being a mother has taught me the deepest and truest understanding of the unconditional love of God. I have an infinite amount of love for my children. From the moment I held each of my babies, a fierce love was immovable in me.

Yet, parenting has its challenges. There is magnificent love and joy and there are unexpected depths of pain. Motherhood brought me to the core of who I am, causing me to see my weaknesses and brokenness, but also revealed in me an incredible capacity to love and choose love again and again. My love for my children never wavered regardless of their behavior. (I think their love for me has remained regardless of MY behavior as well!) Though my kids are adults now and have their own families, they still challenge me to a truer, more honest reality of my self: what and why I believe—how I live and act in the scattered portions of humanity and in our own family.

Unconditional love is not without discipline and correction. Its greatest power is that it doesn’t run away. It’s there in the pain and in the joy. Love stays. Love transforms—not by the warm, gooey feeling alone, but by the continual pursuit of a truer me, a truer you.

That’s God in His beautiful Fatherhood. He pursues us with great passion, with all that He is. Life is so good with Him. Yet it is not without the pain of the process of becoming the true you. He loves and disciplines until the process is welcomed with an open heart.

Only in His unwavering, unconditional love that never runs away do we truly discover who we are and who He really is. 

Don’t run away. His love stays.
-candy

P.S. By the way, thanks kids! Hugs and love!–mom


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Fighting for our rights

True Freedom

Veteran’s Day was last week.
I know a veteran—or two, or three.
They fought in wars we don’t often understand.
This I do know, they gave up their own personal freedom for others. I think we’ve lost the awe of the magnitude of self-sacrifice these men and women have given.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Freedom.
Freedom to you may look different than freedom to me.
Freedom in the US may look different than freedom in, well, any other place.
Freedom in Christ? Ah…this is the more important question.

We are all free in Christ. (Rom. 8:1; Gal. 5:10) Yet with freedom comes responsibility.

We are not individuals on a quest for personal holiness alone. We are part of a larger tapestry. If we step back and look with a wider lens, we see all that we are and do touches someone, somewhere. Therein lays responsibility to a deeper and higher understanding of freedom.

Jesus was free.
Free to be King. Free to be servant.

Free to move and act out of His true Divine nature. Free to yield to only His Father’s will and work.
Free to die. Free to reign in a higher, truer realm of wisdom, glory, and power.

As much as we abhor death, it is the only pathway to true life and freedom.  Death to self actually makes our lives much more magnetic and beautiful. Death makes room for the light of God to shine through us. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Christ in us. Christ in us. Christ in us.  Isn’t He the one we want others to see in us?

I could write about boundaries, loving yourself, and knowing your true identity. I’ve learned to embrace those truths and they bring a beautiful balance to my life. BUT LET’S GET REAL. We naturally look at life from our own personal lens of needs, desires, wants, interests, and even…our rights.

I have been lawfully given freedom according to the Word of God. Yet Paul says that even though we have the right to personal freedom, we have a greater responsibility. Not every right of freedom is beneficial or constructive. In fact, some of our “rights” [needs, desires, wants, interests] actually may harm others.

I Corinthians 10:23-24 “ ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”

Let’s take another step deeper. Why is this “right” so important to me? What benefit does it give me? Does it build me up in the Lord?

And deeper still–does it benefit others, build up others? Does it bring glory to God in me, through me, around me?

Oh, this is not about the LAW. The law focuses on rights and the violation of such.
This IS about Jesus living through us.
It IS about His very nature becoming our own.

Galatians 2:20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  Yeah, my rights, well, they are crucified because Jesus, King of Glory, gave up His rights for me.

Moses said (Ex 33:15), “If your presence [your very essence, your glory] does not go with us, how will they know we have found favor in your eyes, O Lord?” In other words, how will anyone know we are different from all others walking on this planet?

What. Makes. Us. Different? It is the breath of God, His glory within us, being released through us as we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

Rather than fighting for my rights, I want to fight for my life to look more like Jesus. I want to fight for my death so that others will see Jesus in me. And, yes, it IS definitely a fight–my own nature is tested again and again.

What to do?
I choose to bear His fruit more than my own. (Gal. 5:23)
I choose to live by His Spirit. (Rom. 8:9)
I choose to align my thoughts with His. (2 Cor. 10:5)
I choose to love from the depth of Christ in me (Matt. 22:37-39)

Your personal freedom is yours. You are free. Yes, you are. So am I.

BUT, when our own desires rise up, let’s consider:
Is this beneficial?
Does it strengthen Christ in me?
Does it build up others?
Does it bear the Spirit’s fruit?
Is it masking a personal need that God wants to fill and address?

Freedom.
1 Cor. 6:12 “ ‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial.
‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.”
John 15:13 “No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down [give up] his own life for his friends.”

Love your God. Love your neighbor.
They will know us by our love. A love that lays down personal rights for others. 

Looks a lot like our veterans. Looks a lot like Jesus.

Growing with you,
candy


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God’s Love, A Two-edged Sword

GOD’S LOVE, A TWO EDGED SWORD
Post by Dwight Haymon

God’s love can be described much like the Bible describes His Word: “…piercing our hearts with a two-edged sword.” Like most things in the Kingdom, there is a two-fold twist to God’s love. What the enemy means for harm, God means for good. The enemy’s plan is to hurt and destroy us, but God can and will turn that evil to our good. God’s love is like that.

False love wants to rob and trap, manipulate and control. God’s love—true love—desires to let go. He releases us to feel His love and be healed. Only a love that releases is powerful enough for healing. His grace and love is so powerful that it sets us free instead of controlling us as the law does. His love is so great, He will actually allow us to sin and come to the end of ourselves in order to lead us back to the cross. There, and only there, are we finally ready to give up and be rid of ourselves. His love is double-edged!

Papa’s love may enable us to do great feats for Him, yet His love also may appear in a negative twist—keeping us on the sideline, watching the years go by. Much like an enabler in a dysfunctional family, His love can keep us on the sidelines. Yet His love is not dysfunctional at all. In fact, it’s on the sidelines that His grace and love are poured out, wooing us to come higher with Him. However, in the process, we often get stuck in our carnality and think that soaking in His presence is the endgame. All we want to do is feel His presence, worship, and go home and do the same old things, the same old ways.

I’ve seen this sword of love lay bare people’s hearts. Many have laid on the floor, not able to move for minutes, days, weeks. Some get up (like Heidi Baker) and do great Kingdom acts. But some go home and are brought down by the cares of this world, never moving into their destiny. It’s almost as if they become worse off than before. Jesus describes this condition in Luke 11. The house is swept clean, but becomes seven times worse than before because nothing filled the house. Wounds fester, pity inebriates, and judgments abound.

The disciplines of faith, study, prayer, commitment to a body of believers, and such, were never implemented. Discipline ushers you into your destiny. Everything you received in His presence can be implemented in everyday life.

God is stepping up the game NOW. The River’s current is about to get so strong, there will be no place for sons and daughters to splash around in gentle whirlpools on the side. Sitting on porches for years and experiencing the gentle breeze of the Savior is about to become a bit turbulent.

Complacency commences
Mediocrity is moved
The mundane is mitigated
Sideline Christianity is sidelined

I pray for those who need healing. GET HEALED.  When our actions, words, prophecies, and consequences of life come through a filter of wounding, we usually find a root of unforgiveness (i.e., a dad, mother, pastor, or church). Papa’s love is not only there to reveal, but to restore. We have the key. Jesus and His righteousness is the door and we have the key of a willing spirit, freely opening His waters of life.

I’ve shared the love of Jesus Christ with at least two people this week facing impossible situations. I said with earnestness, “Only the love of Jesus Christ can heal abusive relationships”. One was a counselee and the other is someone I met on the streets.

Papa’s love: He wants His Sons and Daughters to BE lovers of God; He wants His people to SEE what He sees, and He wants His people to DO something.

His love wakes us up!


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Shower Power

hands-rain-blog

Babies love baths.
Then babies grow up to be kids.
Kids don’t always like baths.
Fact is, sometimes parents have to send “said kids” back to the tub with instructions to USE SOAP! Gasp!
Experience is talking here.  (My apologies to my now adult kids; I hear their moans.)

With just a little more thought—not much at all, actually—I see myself like a kid.
Fact is, all I want is a little splash of water, too.

In and out. Quick and easy.

Then Papa God reminds me:
“Who may ascend to the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.”  Psalm 24:3-4

Papa knows that soap and water are good for us. While water can be refreshing and even fun, without soap and scrubbing my grime stays put.

The cleansing power of Jesus through His Holy Spirit washes away our alignments with falsehoods and deceit (unbelief, doubt, fear, rebellion, pride, etc., ad nauseam); it purifies our heart from all sin (anything that doesn’t look like the wondrous fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control); and we can stand before Papa and offer Him our clean hands. Isn’t that an amazing picture? Big kids, little kids, old kids, young kids…reaching out with clean hands to our Father!

Holiness is Papa’s call to us. Well, it’s more than a call. He DESIGNED us to be holy; to be LIKE Him. It’s the ultimate expression of His creation in us—His very image being reflected back to Him.

“Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.”
Leviticus 20:26 

“Because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”  1 Peter 1:16

“…so that He [Jesus] might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:26-27

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

We are set apart for Him. We belong to no other.
Set apart to obey.
Set apart to bear the Spirit’s fruit.

I look at my life, my heart, my hands.
Hmmmmm…..I think it’s time for my daily shower. How about you?

–candy

Scripture: NASV and NIV
Photo:  homegrownharts.com


What are YOU eating?

Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.” (John 4:34) Jesus lived—and died and lived again—to reveal the heart of God to men and to restore relationships that have been destroyed by lies and darkness.

What am I eating? In other words, if that was Jesus’ food, then what is my food? I think it must be the same.

Kingdom is the Christian buzzword of the last decade. There’s a good reason for it–it’s the rule and reign of God. The Scriptures are filled with Kingdom talk!

  • Matt. 4:23 “ Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
  • Col. 1:13  “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness [a ruling power] and brought us into the Kingdom of the son He loves [a ruling power].*
  • Matt. 10:7-8 “As you go, preach this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy [disease], drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”*

There are many ways to live a life that reveals God to men, but not all of these actually bring a reality of restored relationships between men and God.

Ouch. It’s true.

We flock together (birds of a feather, you know?). That’s not bad. We are living witnesses to one another of God’s goodness and love. We bring strength to one another and spur one another to love and good works.

Yet, the reality is—Jesus brought the Kingdom to us for more than our nest. The Kingdom restores the Garden relationship (intimacy and friendship between man and God) and brings His holy dominion to the earth. 

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is here. So, how can we live in a reality that brings the truth (revelation) of who God is to men? The truth of His nature, His character, and His love is revealed through the power of His words and His works!

You’ve heard of a one-two punch in boxing. A one-two punch is:  An especially forceful or effective combination or sequence of two things.**  We have a one-two punch! He’s given us just what we need to impact the world! His words and His works change people!

With our one-two punch of words (words of knowledge, prophecy) and works (healings, miracles, signs and wonders), we reveal the nature of God. He lets people know that He sees them, He knows them, and He cares for them. 

His presence releases His light, life, and love.
His presence releases His power
.
The revelation opens the door to relationship.  

John Wimber said it like this, “The full expression of the Kingdom on earth requires both the word to illuminate and the works to illustrate.”

Words and Works have a purpose. That is, to bring the truth of God’s nature to all men so that we may know Him.  Our next words are then easy to say, “Would you like to know my friend Jesus?”

Revelation. Restoration. Relationship.

Will you pray with me for boldness for the church (that’s us!)?
Will you ask for words and works for your neighbors, friends, and those you meet as you live your daily life?
Will you introduce them to your friend, the one you love most?
Will you bring the Kingdom of Heaven to a weary world?

As sons and daughters of I AM, it is, after all, our food to join Jesus in doing the will of God and finishing His work.

That’s what I’m eating right now. What are you eating?

-candy

*NIV; author’s brackets and emphases
**thefreedictionary.com


THE YES! REALITY

When you come to the rudimentary essence of matter, you find a positively charged proton with negatively charged electrons swirling about. Such is life and the essence of God. God is for us, not against us, we know from Scripture.

He is the Father who sings over us, or dances over us.
He is the Yes and Amen.
All things are Yes in Christ Jesus.

To love Him with all our heart is the Yes or the positive spirit in us.
To love our neighbor is the Yes or the positive love transferred to others.
When we say Yes to the law of lovethen we say no to the negative things always swirling around us.

There are many “no’s” in our lives. Elijah prayed for rain and six times, his servant reported back with a “no.” No rain in sight. The seventh time, he got a YES in the form of a coming cloud the size of a man’s hand. (1 Kings 18:44).  In 2 Kings 4, we read of the woman whose son died–the very son God declared and brought to being. The woman traveled to meet Elisha, believing that all would be well. Elisha sent his servant to heal the boy with Elisha’s staff. There was a no, for the boy was not healed. Elisha then came to the house. Another no.  He lay upon the boy and the boy became warm, but still, no healing. Elisha walked back and forth–still a no.  Once again, Elisha lay upon the boy and finally, the YES came!

How many no’s do we have to hear before we give up on Papa’s love? His love always leads us to victory, restoration, or even a deeper revelation of His ways. When we receive and understand His revelation, being continually filled with His Presence, then we will see the God of YES manifest over and over.

HOW DO WE GET THERE?  By saying YES! The YES in our spirit becomes one with the YES in Papa!  HE IS YES!

HIS LOVE IS:
so powerful
so positive
so personal
so practical.

His YES in us becomes the reality of life. His YES is the testimony of Jesus living inside us!

Become a “yes man” with Papa and you will see Him manifest everyday! Life becomes a positive walk!

When you get a no, turn to Papa God and listen to His voice. PURSUE HIS YES!

James 5:16b, 17, 18  “The prayer of a righteous  man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

Mark 9:23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

–Adapted from Dwight’s book, When Lambs Become Lions.


Relationships that Matter

Moving in and out of relationships is a natural part of life. There’s a rhythm to life as we encounter and intersect with others. Most encounters are momentary and seem to have no lasting effects. Yet, for those of us who long to always be about our Father’s business, even momentary encounters can have eternal purpose. Thus, this rhythm and movement of life becomes the call on our lives.

How do I hear, feel and know this eternal rhythm?
It comes from the heartbeat of the Father.

How do I hear His heartbeat?  Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

I remember hearing my firstborn’s heartbeat for the first time. Dwight and I were very quiet, positioned to listen as the doctor searched for the sound. We soon heard the steady thumping, magnified for our ears!  The sound grabbed my heartstrings with an unexpected force and never left. My love for my son was securely sealed. That same incredulous wonder occurred with each of my children; their heartbeats were the sounds of life, love, and belonging.

It’s the same with the Father’s heartbeat—the sound of life, love, and belonging. If we stop our frantic traffic and listen, His rhythmic heartbeat melds with our own. Then we can move through our days with the ease of eternal purpose.

Relationships with family and friends are given to us to care for and nurture. We continually come before the Lord, seeking His ways in loving and caring for others, especially those we deem close to us. We want our relationships to matter.

Our family—a son and two daughters, one son-in-law, one daughter-in-law, a grandson and granddaughter—is our treasure. I love the story of our family because I see the Father’s heart woven through each of our lives, restoring the broken places and filling us with Him. We have learned to love one another deeply and unconditionally through the years. Our family relationships matter.

Our covenant family (those with whom we walk with the Lord in this season) has fast become deeply entwined in our hearts. What a privilege to live life with a community who is continually seeking truth, choosing the ways of the Father, extending love, grace and hope to many. Our covenant relationships matter.

Yet, we should know this—all relationships matter to the Father!

Throughout this Christmas season, we will have numerous momentary encounters with people—people who are important to our Father. How do we share the Father’s heart with others?

  • Be alert:  Look for opportunities to share hope and life with others as we go.
  • Be obedient:  Listen to the Father and obey what He says.
  • Be like Him:  With our words and with our actions.

“…those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires…the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”   (Romans 8:5b,6b)

Will you join me and choose to stop, listen, and bring the sound of the Father’s heartbeat to a waiting world? After all, isn’t that why Christ, The Messiah, came?

–candy