Release From Shame

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This article is written or anyone dealing with that one secret that keeps your head bowed. That one memory that keeps you feeling like you are not worthy.

“Jesus sees you.”

For some, that is a terrifying phrase. Why? Because they have been taught a Jesus whose character is more akin to the devil.  A Jesus who accuses and is keen to call out sin. Not a Jesus who sees the beauty in a person and seeks to call it out.

People run away from a God who looks down upon them. No one wants to feel condemned. No one wants to feel ashamed. For some people, it’s even just easier on their consciences to claim that they believe that God doesn’t even exist or that God’s existence is highly doubtful.

Oh, but you are so beautiful! You were not meant to be kept in the dark. You were created to dance in the light and know love!

I remember reading a story about a man who lived in a graveyard and had a legion of demons inside of him. Did Jesus look at him and say, “Too far gone?” No. Jesus loved that man who was tormented. He cast those spirits out. The very presence of love cast torment out. Jesus saw past the blasphemous muttering to the man. He knew of the man’s pain and had compassion on him.

May you know love and no longer hide.

Hugs,

The Joy Detective

Joy Experiment #1-Words

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So, I’m just going to listen to what I am sensing that God is saying and declare it over this blog. This should be fun! Am looking forward to some miracles. Please let me know if any of these things I am seeing and releasing right now apply to you. I’d love to hear any testimonies y’all have out of all this! Be sure to reference the number so that I can tell which word(s) applies to you.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the love.

1) I keep seeing a picture of a lady giving birth. I sense that the baby needs to turn around inside the womb to come out headfirst, so I just speak that into existence right now. Turn around and come out the right way! I see a picture of a baby being held up; this baby is wearing a yellow outfit with white stripes. 

2) I see a lady standing over a record player. She is switching tracks on the record. I also see a pink bunny with this same lady. And a pair of brown, slipper-looking shoes than look like they’re covered with suede on the outside and have some sort of soft fluffy, off-white/ivory interior. I am sensing she needs money for a car. I see a picture of an envelope with money inside left on the front porch. If that is you, please check your front porch. I see a white envelope with money in it. I release that right now in Jesus’ name!

3) I see a little girl. She’s wearing a pink dress. It looks like she is having a tea party with some of her stuffed animals and dolls and such. One creature in particular is a bunny rabbit with a bow tied around the neck. I keep seeing sparkles show up in her room and something like a diamond in one of her tea cups. I release that, too , in Jesus’ name!

4) I see a broken leg. Lower part of the leg. Bone’s sticking out a bit. I also see a jar of cookies nearby. I release healing and wholeness right now into that leg.

5) I see a wooden salad bowl. Someone’s serving up salad. And garlic bread. I see garlic bread. I get the sense it’s some kind of family dinner. It looks like you just ran out of salad dressing. Check the fridge again, and I declare you’re going to have more than enough.

Who Do You Expect?

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So, I was talking with God about “The Challenge” and all the joy experiments that we’ll be running together on this blog, and I felt Him impress something quite strongly on my spirit: people need to know who they’ll be meeting.

It’s maybe a little easy for me to take for granted that everybody else on the worldwide web is on the same page as I am when it comes to the goodness and the nature of God because God’s goodness  and nature seems so obvious to me. But He started to remind me that not everybody sees Him that way. Not everybody lives with that as their reality. In fact, some people are downright scared of Him and don’t want Him to come near them.

I used to be.

I remember going to church growing up. There was this sign that someone on the church staff put up—probably halfway as joke. It stood near the entrance and said something to the effect of “Turn off your cellphones. Lightning may strike.” I remember hearing a heavy emphasis placed on God’s displeasure with any kind of sin or unrighteousness. It was understood—at least from my perspective—that if you sinned, God was disappointed in you. Angry with you, even. And He did punish. Look at the Israelites. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. I was terrified to make mistakes. I was terrified lest some unknown sin go unconfessed. I lose track of how many times I prayed “the prayer of salvation” just to make sure I did it correctly and didn’t wind up in the hot place.

It wasn’t as if I never heard “God loves you.” That I heard a lot. But the meaning of “love” got a bit watered down under the weight of how disappointed I felt God was whenever I screwed up. And of course, it was inevitable that I would screw up. (After all, what do you expect from a sinner? Sinners sin. It’s their nature.) I felt more put up with. Tolerated. And actually . . . used. Kind of like:

“Here, I love you enough to get you out of hell and into heaven—after you die—if you believe in Jesus. Okay, now that you do, I’m going to put you to work. Go convert people. The more people you convert, the happier I’ll be with you. But if you miss just one opportunity, I’m going to sic my frowny face on you. Because they’re going to hell, and it’s your fault. Oh, and by the way, you’re still a sinner. Just ‘saved by grace’ now. I kinda expect you to fail.” 

Yeah. Way to inspire me . . .

Then one day God told me He liked me.

I remember He had this kinda lady come up to me and say, “Hey, I felt like the Lord was saying He doesn’t just love you; He likes you.” It resonated with me. I knew—I just knew—that what she was saying was true. My ears came open, and I began to hear God speaking true love to me on a regular basis, telling me how much He delighted in me and was pleased with me. And He didn’t stop saying it when I messed up. It became clear to me that His love for me was on 24/7. And it also became clear to me that His love and delighting in me were not dependent on what I did and did not do. 

So, WHO exactly am I inviting to show up on this blog? 

Jesus Christ.

Mr. Love.

Mr. I-Healed-Your-Cold.

Mr. I-Put-Sparkles-on-You-Because-I-Love-You-and-I-Can.

Mr. I-Defend-the-Cause-of-the-Orphan-and-the-Widow.

Mr. I AM.

Mr. Get-Up-Out-Of-That-Wheelchair-And-Walk!

Mr. Fun. 

Mr. I-Turn-Water-Into-Wine.

Mr. It-is-Finished.

Mr. I’m-Already-in-the-Room-in-Case-You-Didn’t-Notice.

 I am inviting the God who totally OWNS the title and the name SAVIOR. When He saves, it’s not based on human efforts—because it’s really “saving” someone if they have do it—it’s based on His being Him and actually manifesting the very meaning of the word. When He saves, He does it thoroughly and doesn’t go about calling saints “sinners” after the fact.

And He’s not saving us from some multiple personality manifestation of His who wants go all “HULK SMASH!” on everybody just because He likes to power-trip and appear the benevolent dictator when His kind, anemic, nice-guy version of Himself shows up. Typical “bad-cop, good-cop” routine.

 No, that is NOT the guy I am inviting. 

I am inviting the God who is already here because nothing can exist without Him. The God who’s everywhere. The God who’s madly in love with you. With me. With all of us. Crazy, head-over-heels madly in love. The God Who permanently interwove Himself with humanity in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. (He just overdoes Himself on our behalf. I love it!)

Yeah, I am inviting the Living God.  

The One Who embodies true goodness.

The One Who technically doesn’t even need an invitation. 

That’s Who you can expect.

 

 

Out of the Box Inside the Box

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I love Doctor Who. Fun show. Am especially fond of the David Tennant and Matt Smith characters.

Now, one of the things that cracks me up is how much I have learned about God’s nature through the character of the Doctor. My general impression of his character is that he either has more agnostic or atheistic leanings, as far as theology and whatnot goes. (Of course, I have only seen the seasons with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith. Fellow Whovians, I welcome your thoughts and insights.) Now, there might be some out there who think that a person cannot learn much about the nature of God from either an atheist or agnostic.

I tend to disagree.

See, my perspective is this: every person is a glorious work of God-art—with God as his/her ultimate source and origin. One can learn so much in regards to the artist by looking at his/her art. And . . . when one disrespects or disregards the art, one is disrespecting or disregarding the artist. The cool thing about God-art is that God-art makes more art, including epic shows such as Doctor Who and delightful characters such as the Doctor. So, you can look at the art made by the God-art and get to know the God-art. And in getting to know the God-art, you often get to know God.

So, a quick look at the Doctor:

The Doctor’s compassion for all creatures really touches my heart. It reminds me of God’s compassion for people. The Doctor’s ability to time-travel with his TARDIS reminds me of how God can be inside and outside time all at once. The Doctor’s desire for companionship reminds me that God loves having friends. The Doctor’s ability to get along with so many different species of creatures reminds me that God is an includer who treasures diversity. And whether the Doctor actually believes in Jesus—the God-man—or not, I can’t help but think he resembles Him in a lot of ways . . .