Guest Blog by Caroline Courtney – Ministers of Reconciliation
This week we have a guest blog from my friend Caroline Courtney. Caroline was an apprentice for me during my second year at Charis Bible College. At this time, I still hadn’t been introduced to what is in my opinion the real Gospel and real grace. There was still a lot of mixture in my belief system. Caroline however had been in the grace message for a while then. She was in a difficult position because she wanted to be respectful to the founder of the Bible College and she did respect him, but there were many things I knew she had a different opinion about…and these were not just minor things.
One of the things I noticed about her was that she was free. At first I figured it was probably just because she was a really good person and didn’t have some of the sin issues I had to deal with. But Caroline was also very open with us and shared some her struggles with the class as well. Then I would think to myself, how can she still be so care free? Doesn’t she feel the same guilt and condemnation that I do? Doesn’t she feel like she’s not doing enough and should be doing more? How come she doesn’t appear to feel the heavy burdens I do?
As you read her post below you will see that Caroline has an awesome revelation of God’s love for her and others. She has a real relationship with the Father and knows her identity is not wrapped up in anything she has done or will do. It’s only in the good opinion the Father has of her. I think her post topic is particularly timely as well with all the Presidential debates and separation between us that is currently going on. Hope you enjoy it.
Hello All, I am happy to be sharing with you through Dave’s blog today and I am honored that I was asked to do so. I do love to share the things God has shown me and sown in my heart. I hope you find it a pleasurable experience!
It has been my desire for quite some time now to see the burden of separation from God lifted off of humankind. For this was my Father’s intention all along, and when I began to see who He really is, not just through the bible, or excellent teaching but through my own intimate relationship with Him, I began to tell people about the God I know. The relationship seeking, life restoring, loving Father that sees the dark places and will enter them fearlessly to rescue His beloved. My journey has brought me down many roads of revelation and understanding and I would like to share a couple of these before we hit the main topic, being Ministers of Reconciliation.
Several years ago I was sitting in my car listening to Jason Upton’s song Psalm 23 and as I was meditating and speaking with God, He asked me “Would you go into the darkest places of people’s hearts for me? “Yes” I immediately replied because I knew this is exactly what God had done for me and I knew that if He was asking me, then I was equipped! Right then I had a vision of a dark alley. The kind of alley that sits between tall buildings in the middle of a big city. I turned off the street into this alley and it was filthy, filled with misery and forgotten people and I knew God was giving me a picture of the darkness I would encounter and I kept walking just knowing that His light was in me and it would bring light exposing the despair for the lie that it was.
A year later I had the privilege to hear a class taught by Arthur Meinjtes, the name of the class escapes me, but he spoke of something which entered my heart like a lightning bolt and gave me a revelation which forever has changed the way I looked at people. He spoke of the creature in the throne room that continuously turns around crying “ Holy, Holy, Holy!” and how the creature was seeing a different aspect of God every time he cried out. It was then that I realized that if this was always happening in the throne room for all time then there must be trillions of aspects of God. And God spoke to my heart and said yes! His aspects are never ending and an aspect of God abides in every person. There is a part of God in every person because mankind is created in His image. I determined that I would never look at people the same way again. I would learn to see the treasure in everyone.
Ministers of Reconciliation
Has it ever been pointed out to you that you are now a Minister of Reconciliation? Maybe you read the verses that speak of this on your own and thought, what exactly does this mean? What does it look like? Must one be licensed to be a minister of reconciliation? Or perhaps you’ve received this gift and run with it, like a Boss. Carry on brethren, carry on! Paul writes of this ministry in his second letter to the Corinthians and rather than go through the entire chapter I would like to highlight some specifics. I encourage you, the reader, to read and meditate on 2 Cor. 5 for yourself to gain a better insight into Paul’s message and to gain a better understanding of what it means to you to be a Minister of Reconciliation. So here are some highlights:
– We walk by faith and not by sight
– Jesus died for all so that those who live for themselves might live for Him
– We regard no one according to the flesh
– That God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight
As people who know and daily experience the love and closeness of the Father we have the tools to live as we ought. We live in confidence that we are created in God’s image and that He has created us for prosperity. I’m not talking about finances although that is part of it, but for peace, contentment, and well-being. We are created in His image, with the ability to create. God has never looked at a negative circumstance and said it cannot be altered for good. (a)For we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.
Rather than look at a situation or at an individual and speak hopelessness we can be the hope and the comfort in the situation, showing Christ in us, the image we are created in. We can love others without judging them by what we see. An example of Jesus living this out would be his reaction to the woman caught in adultery. He calmly, peacefully, took charge of the madness of the situation by directing the angry crowd to their own hearts. (b) “Which of you is without sin?” Then He spoke to the woman, peacefully, and asked “Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” What was the woman’s sin, the act of adultery or the mindset that she was an adulteress? Go and change your belief about yourself.
Jesus Died for All
Day after day we hear stories. Stories of murder, beatings, intrigue, people living for themselves without a care for life, theirs or anyone else’s, they live through a misconception of who they are, operating out of a darkness of understanding. I don’t know about you but I was there. It can be easy to look through a lens of disgust or fear and wish these people right off the planet so that we don’t have to deal with them.
But Jesus died for all. The person cutting you off in traffic, the rude cashier, the significant other who disregarded your feelings, the parent that mistreats, the wounded soul. He died for them all so they could stop doubting that God loves them. No one was left out in God’s plan; no one was chosen last to be on the team. There is no one out there who is deemed unworthy by God. There are hundreds of people in our path who deem themselves unworthy, through their own beliefs. Whether it is a belief system they were taught, or unkind words spoken to them that they perceived as truth, or a perception of God that left them afraid or angry. But Jesus died for all, including the ones who revile Him, or refuse to acknowledge Him altogether.
It is so easy to feel an emotional love for some people, maybe someone you know personally who is down on themselves and you would do anything to convince them they are lovable, beautiful, worthy. Extending yourself, going out of your way to show them how important they are, how precious. This is the Father’s love for all and we have the capacity to love like that because we are created in His image and everything He has is ours. And perhaps it is this great love coming from The Father through us, allowing us to see others as He does, that causes people to be healed underneath our hands and our words. Healed physically, and emotionally, so they too can know their creator and Father and live out of His love. (c)As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “ but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”
We Regard No One According to the Flesh
How difficult it is sometimes to not look at someone in the middle of their circumstance and deal with them as we see fit. The law of this world brings about survival techniques that are born of fear and cause us to exclude people from our love and care based on their looks, belief system, status in life, or how we believe they are treating us. We deal with them according to their flesh. But what if we dealt with them according to their spirit, according to a shared oneness with a God who sent Jesus to save the whole world? Not us and them, but as I mentioned before, ALL. A lens through which the homeless, or lonely, or ugly are considered included, beautiful, and worthy.
We shouldn’t allow the prejudices we grew up with, or the opinions of others, or the media, or any outside influence to cloud our understanding of who we are in our spirits. We say things like, he or she has a wicked spirit, meaning more the physical manifestation of their belief system, the condition of their souls, because in all truth all mankind is created in God’s image. Jesus saw beyond the flesh, beyond what society told Him He should see. (d) When it came to the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil He chose to see her heart and not what society told Him He should see. I urge you to read the verses and observe Jesus’ response.
God Was In Christ Reconciling The World To Himself
It’s been given to us, the word of reconciliation, into our safekeeping. That we might speak truth and life into the darkness of people’s understanding. (e) In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Not holding the outcome of their sin against them but assuring them and loving them in spite of it. Showing them that they are worthy, being vulnerable in front of them, and encouraging them to step out of the darkness, reaching into those dark places with our love and compassion. (f) In us is the Life of Christ and that Life is the Light of men. We understand who He is. Secure in the knowledge of His love. (g)“ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with The Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with Him.” Is God not with us? Has He not given us this powerful gift of reconciliation? Jesus said (h)“If you see me you’ve seen The Father”. People should be able to say that about those of us who know we are touched by the love of The Father. Secure in the knowledge of His love.
God was in Christ reconciling Himself to the World. Not because He was holding something against the world and needed to change His mind about it, but because we thought our sin was keeping Him from us. He showed Himself a compassionate, reachable, attainable God. We are created in His image, a compassionate, reachable, attainable people, and he has given us the gift of reconciliation. His life and love abide in us and we can give as much of it away as we want because it is a never ending well of eternal life.
Whether you began a fruitful relationship with God six hours ago or sixty years ago, you are a Minister of Reconciliation. If you at all understand the purity of God’s love, His message in sending Jesus to the world, you are a Minister of Reconciliation. It’s not a job, it’s a gift. We are not moral police, or judgmental accusers, we are citizens of The Kingdom of Heaven, created in the image of our God. The God who came to the World and showed Himself mighty in forgiveness and love that the world might reconcile themselves to the fact that He was never angry with them and always wanted them, because they are His. And we minister this love and acceptance to the World as fellow creation, fellow humans, Ministers of Reconciliation.
(a) Romans 8:28
(b) John 8:1-11
(d) Luke 7:36-50
(e) John 1:1-5
(f) John 1:4
(g) Acts 10:38