Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free

Forgiven | Redeemed | Restored | Reborn | & Set Free
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I’m actually really, really happy with how this turned out. I wanted something simple, yet intense. I think the lighting turned out really well. I only wish my eyes (especially my left eye- photo right) wasn’t quite so dark…but I can live with that.

I can’t even begin to describe how amazing today has been. God is changing me…absolutely changing my heart. Why, why, WHY did I stop trusting Him? Not so much stop trusting, but just…stop…walking with Him. I stopped following Him. Belief is not the same as following…and that’s being made quite clear to me right now!

While I was reading Mark Batterson’s "Wild Goose Chase" the idea of genuine repentance was really impressed upon me. I realized that if I feel guilty for anything, there’s a reason. He mentioned that there are two types of guilt- convicting & condemning. Convicting comes from the Holy Spirit- it’s good…it kind of alerts you to problem areas. Condemning guilt, however, comes directly from Satan trying to drag you down over FORGIVEN sins.

So I decided to make a list of everything I feel guilty about. EVERYTHING. And address them. Figure out which guilts were convicting & which ones were condemning. Needless to say, it’s a big list. I haven’t addressed them all- but I’ve hit a few. And let me say…I see exactly why genuine repentance is so incredibly important.

I often glorify my depression to myself. It sounds silly- but I long for it at times. It’s incredibly enticing. I mean, once I’m in it I absolutely hate it and I’m miserable…but I’ve thrown away God’s plans quite a few times to go chase a bad mood- I always gave over to it at the slightest hint of a bad mood. I think it was a power trip sometimes. It gave me a high I can’t explain.

So I asked for forgiveness. And like a ton of bricks God put the answer on me. I’ve been too afraid to try to "deal with it", because in the past, whenever I would try to ‘deal with it’, I would always get dragged through the mud. I would start out with good intentions, but man…about halfway through, the temptation was overwhelming, and I gave over to the bad mood. But God pulled the curtain back and revealed it for what it truly is.

It’s a lie. An absolute attack by Satan. It’s the very essence of sin. It was isolating. It was overwhelming & all engulfing…it was controlling. It was deceptive. I gave away all the promises of God, all the plans, all the love to follow some ridiculous self-serving feeling…and when I "got it"…it wasn’t anything like it advertised itself to be. It was empty. It was lonely. It was painful. It was disorienting. Satan cheated me. He promised me this great feeling…and when I got it, I hated it. So I really feel like God showed me that I haven’t been manufacturing my depression, so much as I’ve been believing a lie, and trusting those feelings more than Him. Now that I know, now that I see…so much can change.

It really makes sense. Everyone thought I was bipolar, but when I would do testing, it always came back negative. I’m not bipolar. I’m not sick. I just believed a lie. That’s not the case for everyone…but for me…I’m not sure any of it was real. Looking back, I’m wondering if my depression was a result of sin- the isolation, the guilt, the distance from God, as opposed to a genuine chemical depression.

Having God shine a light on sin…there’s nothing like that feeling. I don’t think sin is always that "you did something wrong" thing that we make it out to be. I think sin can take the form of many things, and in this case, it was a false belief- and an eventual willingness to trade the promises of God for that false belief. I recently learned that Sin is an archery term for missing the mark…I missed the mark time and time again despite my best efforts…because I couldn’t see the true issue at hand. It’s hard to hit a target when you’ve got a massive wall blocking your view.

I haven’t felt this free in 4 years. It’s no longer my burden to carry. It’s no longer my fight to win. It’s simply my lie to call. If I call it out for what it is, and put my trust in He who deserves my trust, I’ll be fine. For far too long I’ve said things like "I hope I can stay in a good mood long enough to go back to church" or "I don’t want to go back to church until I think I can hold down a good mood"…but you know…that’s not even relevant anymore. That sin- the sin of chasing a crippling depression, has been completely forgiven & God showed me what it is at it’s core.

It’s no longer about hurrying up and "playing Christian" as much as I can on the good days, cutting my losses on the bad ones, and starting the cycle all over again…this is my life. This is my NEW life. No more pendulum swing…just…stability. That’s a word I’ve scoffed at for years…but it’s a word that’s becoming reality.

I’ve been walking hand in hand with God for 12 days straight now. In the past, I’d give up after less than a week. 12 days isn’t a huge victory…but it’s a victory nonetheless. Yesterday was a really bad day- but I didn’t give over to it. Yesterday/last night/this morning…that was my crossroads. That was exactly when I normally give up…but I pushed on, and ended up having the most amazing time with God I’ve had this entire time. That’s no accident.

You turned my way
You heard my cry
You turned my mourning into shouting
Sorrow may last for a night
But with the light I am seeing
I am singing

You lifted me out
You lifted me out
And set me dancing, dancing
Free, now I am free
Your love rescued me
Now it’s the anthem I’m singing

Many will see
Many will hear
And find You strong enough to save
Many the wonders You have done
Your light has come, I am singing
I am singing

Lost is where You found me
Shattered and frail
But You love me still
Trouble may surround me
My heart may fail
But You never will

You never will

-Chris Tomlin: You Lifted Me Out

On of my favorite quotes from Wild Goose Chase:
"There’s no greater moment and no greater feeling than all of our guilt meeting all of God’s grace."p109

Forgiven. Redeemed. Restored. (Reborn.) & Set Free.

What is there left to say
the words, they seem to fail now
overwhelmed by the name
who paid the price for me

What if you never moved
what if you never came down
leaving Your throne in Heaven
to bring us back to You

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away

Searching for us You came
Binding up the broken hearted
looking for the men enslaved
to the secrets of his shame
climbing inside the pain
it was You who truly bore the heartache
rearranged the story’s ending
to bring us back to life again

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away
You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
you made me your own
when you rolled the stone away

hallelujah, hallelujah
hallelujah, hallelujah
Forgiven. Redeemed. Restored. and set free
Forgiven. Redeemed, Restored. Reborn. and set free.

You carried me home
You carried me home
You carried me home
when You rolled the stone away
you rolled my stone away
-Phil Joel: Carried Me Home

Reborn in Christ

Reborn in Christ

Learn to be Born Again

Don’t be too sure you know! Many professing Christians sincerely believe they have been “born again” – but do not understand what Jesus meant by those words. The true answer is not only surprising – it is startling! – THE MOST IMPORTANT truth you can know, here made SO PLAIN you will UNDERSTAND!

WHY did not the Pharisee, Nicodemus, understand when Jesus said to him: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”?

WHY do people not understand those words today?

HOW MANY know, today, that Jesus’ Gospel was a sensational, never-before proclaimed NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT?

Jesus Was a Newscaster

Those in Judea knew – or should have known – Malachi’s prophecy concerning this. It was the Gospel of God – and the word “gospel” means GOOD NEWS!

Jesus was a NEWSCASTER. His news was something absolutely NEW – never before proclaimed to mankind. It was the most wonderful NEWS ever reported. Actually almost too wonderful for humans to believe. It was news of the utterly transcendent potential of man.

A humorous columnist wrote a bit on the news printed in daily newspapers. It is actually NOT news, he insisted, since it is a reporting of events that already have happened. Therefore it is no longer NEW, but OLD when printed. He insisted it really ought to be called OLDS!

The tremendous Message that Jesus brought was NEWS! It was not a report of past events. It was ADVANCE news! – news of an almost UTOPIAN WORLD TOMORROW!

And it is SURE!

And it was news that we may be BORN AGAIN! Yet almost nobody understands it!

HOW MANY, even today, know that Jesus’ Gospel was NOT in any sense a new or different religion – yet it was actually so BREATHTAKING – so seemingly incredible, so startling, it should have left its hearers in a daze of awe! It didn’t. WHY?

WHY has it never been recognized by the world as the stupendous NEWS that it actually was?

Simply because the leaders in Judea rejected it – hated it – hated Jesus for announcing the wonderful great news – turned most of the people against it. And it has been so MISrepresented, so distorted and maligned, that the whole world has been deceived – and has totally MISUNDERSTOOD IT! Your Bible says the WHOLE WORLD – all nations – have been deceived about that Gospel!

The time was at hand, then, for this Message to be announced! The time is at hand, today, for its true MEANING to be made so PLAIN that the people may UNDERSTAND IT!

It WILL BE, in this booklet! And it is a crucial CHALLENGE to you who now read it!

And you have to UNDERSTAND what was that news announcement, or you can never UNDERSTAND what Jesus meant about being “born again.”

WHY the News Was NEW.

HOW was the time fulfilled?

WHY was the Kingdom of God then at hand – and not before?

Simply because the wonderful news of the Kingdom of God could not be announced UNTIL a successor had QUALIFIED to replace Satan as Earth’s ruler!

At last the Kingdom of God – GOD’S GOVERNMENT over the earth was at hand! At last, it was assured, and the time was fulfilled! The One who had qualified to rule was now free to announce His coming Government!

WHY Kingdom Not Yet Set Up.

Yet Jesus was not going to take over the reign immediately. There were a number of reasons:

1) God had set a definite PLAN, with a definite time-program, for working out HIS PURPOSE here below! It is a 7,000-year plan of seven millennial “days”, of which the first seven literal days of re-creation were a type. The first six of these millenniums were allotted for man, of his own free volition (though swayed by Satan) to go his own way. Also, in effect, they were allotted as the six millennial “days” for Satan’s “labor” of of deception over humanity, to be followed by the millennial “Sabbath”, in which satan will observe enforced rest from his work of deceiving the nations, and God will teach humanity His TRUTH!

2) Jesus, in God’s PLAN, was first to choose and teach disciples to become apostles, to carry on the proclamation of the GOOD NEWS – and to become the foundation of His Church.

3) Christ is going to set up a world government over all earth’s nations only with the administration of a thoroughly trained and experienced organization. The first six thousand years of human experimentation has proved abundantly that man, under Satan’s sway, is utterly incapable of ruling himself. Human-devised governments always have failed to bring world PEACE. Yet man, even now, seems unwilling to admit that fact. Men are still trying, in vain, to work and fight for PEACE. And that is where being “born again” comes in. And that, also, is where “born again” has been tragically misunderstood and misrepresented! God’s Government will be DIVINE GOVERNMENT, by the saints converted into divine SPIRIT PERSONS, born of GOD! As those born of humans are human beings, so those born of the divine God will be DIVINE BEINGS, having been given IMMORTALITY! They shall be born into – enter into – inherit the KINGDOM OF GOD. Kingdom Is a Family

A KINGDOM is a nation composed of people, as well as the GOVERNMENT of that nation. The Kingdom of GOD is composed of the divine FAMILY of God. The One Being we habitually think of as GOD is the FATHER of that Family.

Christ is a Son of God – a member of that divine FAMILY, even as we may be!! That divine FAMILY is the Kingdom of God.

There are five KINGDOMS – the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human kingdom (we are not of the animal kingdom, erroneous education to the contrary notwithstanding!!), the angel kingdom – and the GOD Kingdom!

God (Heb. Elohim – the uni-plural name, meaning more than one Person, forming the ONE GOD) said, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” We were made of material flesh, but in the form and shape of God, and with MINDS on a totally different plane than animal brain. The human family was made so that we might be able to receive God’s Spirit, and become His children. Animals were NOT so made.

In God’s wonderful Plan for working out His PURPOSE here below, God has allotted the time-period between Jesus’ first coming in human flesh, and His second coming in power and GLORY, for the calling of some to receive His Spirit, and be spiritually educated and trained, through His Word, to become rulers with Christ when He sets up His KINGDOM.


4) In order that man might be reconciled to God, Jesus also came for the express purpose of DEATH, by His shed blood paying for us, in our stead, the death penalty we have incurred as the penalty of sin. In order that we might be given God’s gift of ETERNAL LIFE, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was necessary before we could receive eternal life.

5) The PLAN called for Jesus’ ascension to God’s throne in heaven – the throne of the government of God over the UNIVERSE – to become our High Priest, during these years of training and spiritual development of the heirs of God to be used in the executive administration of the Government of God when Christ does set up that Government over earth’s nations.

6) Jesus could not induct Himself into the office while here on earth in human form. It was necessary for Him, as explained in the parable of the pounds (Luke 19), to go to heaven to there receive the authority of the Kingdom from God (the Father) – and to be CROWNED! The coronation ceremony will take place in heaven at God’s throne, before Christ’s return in POWER and GLORY!

7) Then He must return in all that POWER AND GLORY and supreme authority to RULE!

Those are the reasons why Jesus did not then, immediately, set up or establish the Kingdom of God!

But even Jesus’ own disciples could never seem to understand that He was not going to set up the Kingdom of God immediately. It is human to want things NOW!

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