Judgment Begins With the House of God

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Have you been feeling judged lately? Maybe it seems like everywhere you turn, someone is waiting to judge you. Perhaps you have discovered that even those perceptions and lifestyle choices that were once acceptable to you and those in your sphere of influence, are suddenly, inexplicably NOT O.K.. Have you suddenly been convicted (felt guilty) and begun to wrestle with an unidentifiable pressure to STOP doing the things you’ve always FELT were probably wrong; but now find yourself becoming increasingly convinced that these habits and mindsets are SIN? It’s possible that you are one of a multitude of humans on the planet, that are hopelessly bound by one or many addictions and habits that seem to actually define you as a person. You may even be suffering from increasing anxiety as the days pass. 

If this applies to you, whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, I have some fantastically good news for you. How ridiculously good this news ends up being for YOU is….well, up to YOU. By virtue of the fact that you are still reading this;) you have been qualified by the Spirit of the Living God to play a vital part in the greatest Love Story ever told. I’ll go so far as to say you have been called, created even, for one of the lead roles. Now, before we take this any further, I feel compelled to tell you, there is one small “catch.” It is a very small and completely impossible requirement that you must fulfill before embarking on this marvelous journey…

All of your strength, experience, ideas, resources, education, desires, understanding, ambitions, beliefs, plans, hopes, dreams, aspirations, fears, concerns…well, you get the point; your very thoughts must be left right here. Leave them all right here. On that ‘period’ just behind us, please. You won’t need them where we’re going and and in fact you won’t be allowed in if you try to bring them. The One we’re going to talk to, sees everything, so don’t bother trying to sneak ’em in, either. One last thing, and then we will really get down to it. If you don’t believe in God and you would really rather just skip right to whatever the point of all this is…sorry. Your beliefs are supposed to be back there on that ‘period’, so technically we can’t even have this conversation.

Ready? Here we go!

There was nothing. Then there was something. Before there was nothing, there was Someone. These words are pathetically unable to describe this Someone to you but Love insists I make an attempt. He wraps Himself in light. Before there was light He wrapped Himself in light. The nothing was full of Him in a measure of full that our finite minds cannot understand. The something that came from nothing is you. You were there, with Him, and He called you, which was first the something…Everything. You are everything to Him. You exist in Him, by Him and for Him. You belong to Him. You were made for Him before there was nothing, long before there was the something called you, He Knew you by name and loved you. And He still does.

Keeping rhythm with His heart beat, all things breathe and pulse and beat with the life He released from Himself. He breathed all of creation, not just what humans have discovered thus far, but ALL of creation, into existence with a song. Wisdom was there with Him; leaping, whirling and dancing with shouts of laughter, galaxies and mysteries beyond comprehension sparking from His fingertips, streaking into infinity and…guess what? You were there, too. Have you ever gazed in wonder, wistful ache rising from some long forgotten place so deep within you call it *Romance*, at the vast array of stars spread twinkling overhead and being buried from horizon to horizon in the stuff we’re made of? This form that runs and loves and mourns, sleeps and shouts, births and passes back into the very earth He spoke into reality; this form is passing, less real by far than our true body He’s hidden in Himself. Just as this quickly fading world now tripped and twisted in lies, is less real, by universes, than the weightier Truth of His glory.

He makes all things new. Our Brother, who is also paradoxically, our God, is not bound by time, space or any other irrelevant measure that we grip so desperately. He is the Beginning and the End. I can’t write another word without saying it. His name is Jesus. The Christ from a little town on earth called Nazareth. Yeshua Ha’ Mashiach. The One who spans the universe between thumb and pinkie finger, set aside His glory and was born into the humblest circumstance He could find here on earth. He was born not to a king ruling over many but to a carpenter who was not even his father. His mother was not the the radiant queen of a vast empire, soaked in wealth and fame, but a young girl suddenly pregnant without a husband, right under the noses of a very watchful culture of accusation. This One who called everything, remember that’s you, out of nothing, the same One who flung the stars into space with a grin, was now nursing at His mama’s breast. He crawled, then toddled, then walked and eventually ran. He learned how to strap on his sandals, get dressed and how to feed Himself. As a small child, He passed warm spring days laughing, playing with friends, having raucous mud fights, dangling toes in cool water, biting into pomegranates, red juices dribbling down His young face. 

In Joseph’s workshop, He learned how to select the right piece of lumber for the project at hand. How to prepare the wood for its specific purpose and how to bring it to life and make it a fit vessel or piece of furniture for the homes of the people both in His village and in surrounding towns. He cut Himself on occasion, scrapes, bruises, blisters…the usual stuff that happens when one is working with their hands. Did he ever stop, with a nicked thumb or bloody nose, and look at the color of His blood? Taste it, as all boys do and wonder at the power that was hidden in its coppery substance? Did He know, with an intrinsic divine knowledge, that it would be this very same blood that would one day…make all things new? Or was this crushing weight of responsibility and destiny downloaded into His twelve year old mind on that famous day He set about doing His Father’s business? Maybe it wasn’t until Gethsemane that He finally understood the full measure of all that was entrusted to Him. I don’t have those answers, and while I’m sure there will be those who will vehemently argue one position or another, let me say this; His Blood Makes All Things New.

In three spectacularly short years, Jesus managed to accomplish more than any man before Him or after Him could ever hope to accomplish in a billion lifetimes. He was wholeheartedly submitted to every glance and whisper of His Father. There was no such concept of His timing vs. God’s timing. Not even one thought about Jesus’ plans vs. His Father’s plans. He only did what He saw His Father do. When it was time to be tortured on Golgotha, He asked three times, each more convincing than the last. “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” His unflinching obedience to the will of His Father was born from the same place you were born. Nothing. Something. Everything. He was there (with you) in the beginning, remember…and He’s already been to the end. He is both the Beginning and the End. He invites us with a smile to see the end from the beginning. He is the Faithful and True Witness and He will finish, with a flourish, that which He Himself has begun. If you are still reading this, rest assured, He has begun a work in you and God ALWAYS finishes what He starts. We’re almost to the Good News part of this message.

King David was a man who loved BIG and blew it BIG. No doubt most of you reading this are familiar with the sordid tale of adultery and murder that mars an otherwise stellar record of someone who REALLY loves God! I’m guessing that relatively few of us have read and understood the horrific account of what happened when King David took an unauthorized census. Yup, that’s right, David counted how many fighting men were in his kingdom and God wiped out seventy thousand of the total population. Here’s how it looks in the Bible:

(I Chronicles 21:1-13)
“Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”

But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”

Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’”

So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.”

“I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”

I know I promised good news and we’re almost there! We see in the above story that the enemy came in and led David into sin. His military commander, Joab, tried to deter David but he was so intent on flexing the arm of his strength that he ignored the man he himself had chosen to advise him. When King David was presented with three choices, we see that he chose to be punished by God’s hands rather than be given over to the wrath of his enemies…”for His mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.” This speaks volumes of the understanding David had of God’s emotions. It also shows us that God HATES the arm of the flesh. David placed his trust in his own resources and God promptly judged it. In II Samuel 24 we read that God Himself caused King David to take the census: “Once again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census.” Both versions of the events indicate one very solid truth. God will expose every place in our hearts where we lean upon the arm of the flesh and our own timing…and He’ll do it by any means necessary. 

The western church and we as individuals, especially in this great country called the USA, have relied upon our resources, strengths and abilities as a way of life for many generations. The name ‘America’ actually means industrious. And let me be very clear, there is nothing wrong with hard work. The problem manifests when one’s work ethic takes the place of God. I can almost hear the protests and the various Proverbs being quoted right now! Let me explain…man’s ability to gain wealth comes from God. His resources, experience and knowledge all come from God. Our government was established on biblical principles, by men who for the most part, knew God. As long as God is at the center of a thing, whether it be a nation’s government or a family, we can be assured of its success. By contrast, when people begin to think, act, speak and rule from a place of self sufficiency, we can be equally confident of abysmal failure. 

The fairytale of families that succeed without God at their center is being exposed as a wicked lie. There is simply no measure of privilege, affluence or education that will protect the organization of self reliant humans in any form, from the judgment of God.This is because of His great love. You see, self reliance, is at it’s root, rebellion. And rebellion is the quickest way in all of eternity to separate oneself from the loving embrace of a Holy God. Ask lucifer. On second thought, let’s talk to God a little more about this. He made us for Himself. To walk with Him in the cool of the Garden, according to the book of Genesis. Walking and talking with God, just spending time with Him, is the highest calling and purpose given to every person reading these words. The careers, mortgages, car payments and credit card debts are all just a by product of the fact that you are able to breathe and get out the door in the morning. He makes it possible for you to do that. His first priority is not that the house payment be made, the retirement portfolio get fatter or that you stay on the fast track to breaking every sales record in the company you work for.

His first and I’ll say BURNING priority is that you know Him and He know you. I get the fact that you may be in ministry, up at dawn and never in bed ’till after midnight. I can relate. It may be possible that every cent that passes through your hands goes right into the Kingdom. That’s fantastic. If you are still laboring under the impression that the bondage, mindsets and destructive habits present in your life are just part of being a human on the planet, you are about to finally hear some really, really, REALLY GOOD NEWS. He makes ALL things new. He knew your name before there was nothing, remember? YOU are His EVERYTHING. You have a destiny to fulfill that believe it or not, nobody else can fulfill. YOU were created for such a time as this. Right NOW. To know HIM. The King of Glory. The Beginning and the End. Listen, though. I didn’t say to know about Him, I said to Know HIM. Intimately. As a Friend speaks to His friend, so does the Unfathomable God of All Creation want to speak to YOU. He shares His secrets with His friends. Mysteries of the universe are just some of the treasures laying about in the Presence of His Glory. I’ve learned something about Him that I have to share with you, though. 

HIS FAVORITE THING TO TALK ABOUT IS YOU. God loves to tell you all about you. How much He loves YOU. What He has in mind for YOU. What He saw when He created you and called your name way back in the beginning, before there was even the something that became His EVERYTHING, which is YOU. Open your heart to Jesus and let Him come in and begin to tell you about you and who you really are. As you hear God tell you how much He loves you and what kind of amazing things He’s designed you to do while you’re here on earth, the old stuff that has held you trapped in a false identity…just falls off. 

EVERY Habit, Shame, Addiction, Heartache, Failure etc., burns off in the presence of the King. 

The self reliance, compromises and human reasoning that have become a part of your daily life, are the very source of the anxiety and fear that have gripped your heart for so many years. Today is the day of salvation. Salvation not only from eternity without God, but salvation from the sins that have tormented you here on earth. Repent. That means turn away from everything that has been coming up in your heart as a problem while you’ve been reading this. The Lord Jesus must be just that before He can be your friend. He must be Lord of your whole life. Every part of your heart must belong to Him, with no excuses, no justifications and no defensiveness. He is able to complete that work which He has begun in you. Let Him do it.

Remember when I said in the beginning of this note that the measure of the goodness of God you experienced as a result of this good news was up to you? Well, here we are. It’s up to you. The judgment you have sensed in the recent weeks and months is the divine judgment of your Father in Heaven. His mercy compels Him to warn his Bride and chasten her when needed…before He returns in all His glory. Respond today and throw yourself into His hands. He is merciful and will purify you according to His righteous judgment. If you have sensed the call of God as you read through this message, a call to surrender, to come higher and lay down your understanding, I encourage you to take just one more small step towards the full measure of freedom and grace of the Father for your life…please speak this prayer out loud:

Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I have run hard and fast after other things. Forgive me, God, and wash my mind, heart and body clean by Your Blood that was shed on Calvary’s Cross. I renounce my ways, my ambitions and everything that does not clearly say,”I love You, God.” 

I thank You for showing me the most hidden chambers of my heart and illuminating the darkest corners by the mighty power of Your Word. Abba Father, I lay down my weapons of self defense, my opinions and rights and false identities. You did not create me to be addicted to anything but You. I acknowledge that You are sovereign…You are the Beginning and the End and I give You thanks for opening my eyes to see the Big picture. 

You called my name out of nothing and declare me to be Your everything. Cause the reality of this great truth…THAT I AM EVERYTHING TO YOU…to press all other identities aside. Live in me with the full expression of Your love evident for all to see. I will love with Your love because You have first loved me. I forgive all who have sinned against me. I embrace your refining and correction as a child does the loving discipline of the most Perfect Father. Thank You for Joy, now, God, as I continue on this journey, hand in hand with You…Amen.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I bless you in the name of the Lord Jesus!

(1Peter 4:16-19)
“But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.”

Be Blessed!