REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
ONCE IS NOT ENOUGH
Do you know the two most important
days of your life? The first was when you were born on planet earth.
The second is when you are born spiritually.
Jesus said that you must be born
again. Once is not enough. He said that flesh gives birth to flesh,
and Spirit gives birth to spirit. The first time you were born, you
were born in the flesh. The second time you are born, you are born in
God is a Spirit, and He is the one
who makes your spirit come alive. Thatís why you call him Father.
Spiritual birth happens the moment you open your heart to Godís love
and dare to call him Father.
I am not an expert in theology, but I
am an expert in spiritual birth. I have traveled around the world for
more than fifty years, and I know that there are millions of people
who have opened their heart to Godís love. When they talk to God,
they call him Father.
NINETY-NINE NAMES FOR GOD
I once read a book that claimed there
are ninety-nine names for God. Each special name describes a
different attribute of Godís character to help people understand what
He is like.
Although I donít know whether this
assertion is true, I do know that Jesus didnít use ninety-nine names
for God. Most of the time, he used only one. In fact, if you study
the recorded words of Jesus, you discover that he refers to God as
Father more than one hundred and fifty times.
Jesus didnít reject or toss out the
different names for God. Instead, he selected the name Father and
used it the majority of the time. This wasnít an accident. Jesus
wanted people to understand that when they open their heart to Godís
love, God actually becomes their spiritual Father.
Some people would have you believe
that calling God your Father might be an affront to God. It shows a
lack of respect. When Jesus called God his Father, the religious
leaders in Jerusalem went crazy. They accused him of blasphemy.
Claiming that type of relationship with God was unthinkable.
Itís easy to feel the same way.
Isnít it a bit presumptuous to use the word Father when you talk about
God? Isnít that a little too familiar? Donít you think you might
lose your respect for God if you call him Father? Wouldnít it be
better if you called him something like ďAlmighty God, King of Kings
and Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, or Lord of Hosts?Ē These titles
sound much more magnificent and powerful. They are titles of extreme
respect. They may even scare you a bit. After all, you are talking
about God. More than a little groveling and fear would seem to be in
order. Plenty of bowing and scraping wouldnít hurt either. For some
people, using the title Father just doesnít seem right.
Jesus came to tell us that God
doesnít want bowing, scraping, groveling, or fear. He doesnít have an
ego problem that requires powerful lofty titles or pomp and
circumstance. He doesnít have a protocol officer standing around
ready to inform you as to which of his ninety-nine names would be most
appropriate at any particular moment.
Jesus told us to open our hearts to
Godís love so that He could become our Father. He wants to have a
relationship with us based on love rather than fear, groveling,
bowing, and scraping, and He wants it to be personal. We donít have
to go to other people who make it happen for us. We donít need any
protocol officers to advise us. We are to get up close and personal
with God. We are to love the Father. Itís to be a one on one
relationship that lasts for eternity.
RULES, NO REGULATIONS, NO RITUALS
True spirituality is about
relationships rather than rules, regulations, and rituals.
When you love God, you donít need
rules, regulations, and rituals. You get along fine without them.
When you have a personal relationship with God based on love, you have
a whole new way of living. How you look at yourself and your world is
radically different. You donít need to study theology to have a
personal relationship with him. You just need to open your heart to
his love and send your love back to him through loving other people.
IT HARD TO BE BORN SPIRITUALLY?
Most people get nervous when you talk
about spiritual birth. Itís a confusing subject, and they have lots
of questions. How much theology do you need to know? How many
scriptures do you need to read? Do you need to pray extra hard for a
long time to make it happen? Are there any formulas you have to
follow? Are there any special words you need to say? Do you need to
say them in any particular order? Is there a special place you need
to go to make it happen? Can you do it with your eyes open, or do
they have to be closed?
All of these questions focus on you,
seducing you into believing that spiritual birth is something you do,
instead of something that God does to you.
The truth is that God is the one who
does it all. He is the one who makes it happen. As soon as you open
your heart to his love and call him Father, He does the rest.
He isnít going to ask you to write an
essay to find out if you really understand what you are doing. He
isnít going to give you a multiple choice test asking you one-hundred
questions on theology, and if you donít score at least seventy
percent, you donít get to call him Father. He wonít ask for a
personal interview or references from religious people. He wonít
demand that you are perfect before you can have a relationship. He
wonít require that you donít sin for three days in a row before it can
happen. God loves you unconditionally, and that means there are no
preconditions to having a relationship with him.
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