Theresa Harvard Johnson

Copyright 2013 Theresa Harvard Johnson

INTRODUCTION

Over the past couple of years, I’ve experienced a strong Holy Spirit led transformation in my heart. I’ve learned to walk in a level of forgiveness and love for others that quite honestly I never thought possible. I’ve learned to recognize the dust-shaking-moments that used to cause me such frustration and with Holy Spirit’s discernment; I even learned to put the enemy under my feet quickly and seek God alone for the healing of my soul.

I’ve grown to understand the importance of godly boundaries and the fall-out from boundary breaking.  I didn’t know until this last season in my life, that I could look at those I once regarded as enemies to my soul; and experience nothing but true forgiveness, love and compassion toward them. Have I arrived completely in this area? Absolutely not. But I can tell you this, I am nowhere near where I used to be; I am at peace with where I am, and I am excited about what God is doing in my heart right now.

I am walking the intricate paths of not only receiving Father’s apostolic grace, but learning to extend it. I want to share a part of my journey with you.

I cannot pinpoint exactly when this circumcision took place in my heart. All I know is that when Jezebel, Judas or Haman appears, all I feel is the hope that the soul entertaining them will experience the power of God.

 

Ezekiel 36:26-28 CJBsays, I will give YOU THERESA a new heart and put a new spirit inside you;I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. YOU will be my people, and I WILL BE YOUR God.”

 

Pause.

 

Linger here for a moment.

 

Now consider this truth: “From the time of Adam until now God has extended you and I a type of FORGIVENESS that seems RIDICULOUS, LUDICROUS, andINSANE! Just look at what we, mankind, have done to him in the face of his goodness and mercy! We have caused him to stand before the seat of jealousy and enact judgment, justice. YET, in the midst of all of this he has CONTINUED TO move HEAVEN AND EARTH to make us His own.” (Check out, Word of the Lord: I will move heaven and earth for you.)

 

Even now as I type this, I am in awe at Father as I consider these truths concerning my own life:

·         In and of myself, I don’t deserve his love, mercy and grace based on my own merit. (Isaiah 64:6 ; Ephesians 2:1-8 )

·         He has invested so much in me. I have been a liar, a hypocrite and a wayward and unengaged Son. I am one who cannot point a finger at David, look down at Peter or cast a stone at Jonah. (Romans 3:20-24 )

·         I am daily being perfected in His image by His power alone. (Philippians 1:6 )

 

Despite what religion says, I didn’t arrive into all wisdom and truth on the day I said yes to God. I had FULL access to it; but had to grow and mature in my faith, belief and trust in the promises of Christ. ONLY A LOVING, MERCIFUL and GRACE-FILLED GOD could continuously walk with me through my death-to-sin/death-to-self process. God has forgiven my wrath, waywardness, idolatry, manipulation and countless roots of sin. He willingly stands by, ready and waiting to bring me into truth without hesitation. He has walked with me UNWAVERINGLY every step of the way – even now.

 

Beloved, can you see yourself in the midst of this?


Prophetic Insight & Instruction

 

My question to you today is this: If Father has extended THIS KIND of grace to mankind, how much more is required of us in relationship to one another?

 

Pause again.

 

Linger HERE for a moment more.

 

You see, many of the teachings we hear concerning grace today is extended in the context of HOW WE BENEFIT FROM IT beneath the weight of Father’s holiness and majesty. We see it from the perspective of our testimonies like the one I shared above. We are reminded of what it is; and then taught how to posture ourselves to receive it.

 

In other words, we are constantly hearing about how “self” benefits from HIS grace.This is good! Please don’t misunderstand. God wants us to get this. However, in this very hour, the Spirit of the Lord is pressing the people of God to fully understand what it means to EXTEND the GRACE that we have been given to others. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where flesh fully encounters the crushing weight of God’s definition of brotherly love.

 

This is a dimension of APOSTOLIC GRACE (the highest form of GRACE extended from God) that has been extended to us THAT WE MIGHT extend it to others.

 

2 Corinthians 1:2-5 CJBsays, GRACE TO YOUand SHALOM  from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort; who encourages us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others in whatever trials they may be undergoingwith the encouragement we ourselves have received from God. For just as the Messiah's sufferings OVERFLOW INTO US,so through the Messiah our encouragement also overflows.

 

In the context of Hebrew culture, the definition of grace extends further and farther than unmerited favor. It is a type of MERCY extended in kindness that grants, pardons and forgiveness when in truth – one might very well be sentenced to punishment or death. It is the type of kindness in which the righteous king becomes the slave to all – and BENDS AND STOOPS to extend kindness. Do you recall such a King, a chief apostle or emissary who extended this type of GRACE to you, to me?

 

(Stay in this place of reflection as we continue. Walk with me. I promise, we are going somewhere powerful with this today. I assure you that WHILE WE CAN’T EXTEND GRACE TO THE DEPTHS that Christ extended it to us, we do have an OBLIGATION OF GRACE to one another!)

                                                                       

1 Corinthians 9:19-33 CJBdefines this type of BENDING AND STOOPING GRACE this way scripturally, For although I am a free man, not bound to do anyone's bidding,I have made myself a slave to all in order to win as many people as possible.That is, with Jews, what I did was put myself in the position of a Jew, in order to win Jews. With people in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah, I put myself in the position of someone under such legalism, in order to win those under this legalism,even though I myself am not in subjection to a legalistic perversion of the Torah. With those who live outside the framework of Torah, I put myself in the position of someone outside the Torah in order to win those outside the Torah - although I myself am not outside the framework of God's Torah but within the framework of Torah as upheld by the Messiah. With the "weak" I became "weak," in order to win the "weak." With all kinds of people I have become all kinds of things, so that in all kinds of circumstances I might save at least some of them. But I do it all because of the rewardspromised by the Good News, so that I may share in them along with the others who come to trust.”

 

In other words, the emissary Paul is saying to them I took the time to “understand where these people were in their behavior, mindset, thought processes” and I met them there with the love of God and EXTENDED HIS APOSTOLIC GRACE TO THEM. The interpretation of the word slave in the scripture here simply refers to being a servant to Christ -- who fully embraces Christ’s famous quote: “Not my will, but your will be done.”

 

2 Peter 2:1-7

From: Shim'on Kefa, a slave and emissary (sent one, but infers that you are sent for a very specific purpose) of Yeshua the Messiah To: Those who, through the righteousness of our God and of our Deliverer Yeshua the Messiah, have been given the same kind of trust as ours:

 

May GRACE and shalombe yours in FULL MEASURE, as you come to a full knowledge of God and Yeshua our Lord. God's powerhas given us everything we need for life and godliness, through our knowing the One who called us to his own glory and goodness.By these he has given us valuable and superlatively great promises, so that through them you might come to share in God's nature and escape the corruption which evil desires have brought into the world. For this very reason, try your hardest to furnish your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with perseverance, perseverance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

 

When GRACE is extended to us, it is a declaration of 2 Peter 3:9 which says in part that it is not God’s desire that ANY MAN should perish. Therefore, when we extend grace it is literally the same declaration through our CHANGED HEARTS in Father. Holy Spirit revealed to me that one of the reasons why GOD COMMANDS US TO WALK IN FORGIVENESS and live free of unrighteous judgment and offense is so that we can learn to exist in a “perfected love.”

 

Perfected and perfecting love says, “EVEN WHEN YOU HURT ME! EVEN WHEN YOU MISTREAT ME! EVEN WHEN YOU MISUNDERSTAND ME! MY SPIRIT LONGS TO SEE YOU RECONCILED FULLY TO FATHER!” It says before Father, “HOW can I posture myself in this moment of humiliation and mistreatment to your glory in the midst of this situation? I am yielded to you. SHOW ME FATHER!”

 

You see, I thought I knew what loving others was about. I thought that my life was one in which love was exemplified in my relationships – until Father showed me I WAS STILL holding grudges, and building secret retention walls of offense. It was only in seeing THESE THINGS DYING INSIDE ME in this past season that I began to realize that there was a greater experience, expanse and realm of love that I was REQUIRED to walk in. Had someone described grace to me like this six years ago, I would have thought it an impossible place for me to seek after.

 

But now, it is an intricate part of who I am BECOMING, and what God is perfecting in YOU. (I am not talking about standing in abusive relationships, holding on to old seasons, or creating environments that are unhealthy for your heart or spiritual growth. Wisdom and understanding are still key in all that we do. Proverbs 4:23 )

 

 

It means that we must adopt a “bending and stooping lifestyle” toward one another. God’s grace is an extension of His love! Therefore the grace we extend is also expected to be an extension of His love. The two, people of God, are NEVER separate.

 

Ephesians 2:8 NIVsays, “For it is by GRACEyou have been saved…”

 

This understanding people of God, adds a new dimension to the prevalent teachings on grace we hear today. It digs us deeper into understanding how to really, really extend the love of God.

 

Matthew 22:36:40 CJB,“Rabbi, which of the mitzvoth (a none negotiable commandment) in the Torah is the most important?" He told him, "`You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. 39And a second is similar to it, `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot."

 

Pause once again here with me.Wa

 

Stand before the reflecting pool of your soul and let God reveal YOU to YOU.

 

Now, earnestly consider these questions with Holy Spirit as your truth giver: Is APOSTOLIC GRACE an intricate part of your love walk? If not, why? Are you willing to trust Father with teaching you how to walk this way? He is asking us to do the same with one another. Can WE do it? Are YOU willing to try?

 

2 Corinthians 3:9 CJB         

For you know how generous our Lord Yeshua the Messiah was - for your sakes he impoverished himself, even though he was rich, so that he might make you rich by means of his poverty.

 

Psalm 84:11 CJB

For ADONAI, God, is a sun and a shield; ADONAI bestows favor (grace) and honor; he will not withhold anything good from those whose lives are pure.

 

James 4:6 CJB

But the GRACE HE GIVES IS GREATER, which is why it says, "God opposes the arrogant, but to the humble he gives grace."

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