At the time of the initial writing of this piece, almost one year exactly has passed since a website was set up to house these lessons. Suggested separately by both my husband and a clergy friend more than a year prior, the site finally came into existence in early January 2013, when I suddenly knew that its time had come.
Having received in my spirit a first topic about which to write, I sat at my computer wondering what to title the piece that was about to be written. Within seconds, the word “lessons” popped into my mind, giving me awareness that God’s plan involved, not one, but a series of lessons that would become a book.
Without fail, God has delivered a completed lesson every other Friday since then. Always faithful, God appears to be bringing the lessons to culmination on the Friday before Christmas 2013, a special time of celebration of God and His work through Jesus.
“Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
“All things” includes these lessons. As a part of God’s work in and through me, they belong to Him. They are His teachings, both to me and through me to others. Overseeing every detail, God has birthed the lessons, one at a time in a progressive order, tying them together in a neat bundle that only became apparent as such in the finished whole.
Note the order in which God systematically delivered the lessons that are built upon the foundational Truth of Jesus:
The series began with a lesson on communication problems (The Lesson of the Email), the very issue that Adam and Eve encountered when Satan put a spin on God’s Words, creating confusion in the world. Then came a lesson on man’s entrapment by sin and the Fall that occurred (The Lesson of the Fawn). Following that was a lesson on God’s continual concern and provision for each and every individual, affirming that no one (despite the appearance of any circumstance that may seem contradictory) is ever forgotten by God (The Lesson of the Comforter).
Then came a lesson stressing the paramount importance of our personal relationships with God and with one another (The Lesson of the Cleaners). That lesson was then followed by others that, in order, reminded us that God is ever-present, saving us (The Lesson of the Shattering), delivering us (The Lesson of the Parting) and providing in abundance for our every need (The Lesson of the Thanksgiving).
But since relationships are two-sided, the lessons that came next were reminders that we have a part to play in our relationships with God. We are to stand upon His Word (The Lesson of the Wind), remain in purposeful dialogue with Him (The Lesson of the Transfer) and depend upon Holy Spirit empowerment to guide and direct us (The Lesson of the Assumption). We must put all of our faith in One Man only—Jesus Christ (The Lesson of the Sauce), trusting always in the perfect work of the Cross (The Lesson of the Point).
Then, in awareness of God the Father’s completed work through His Son, came a lesson on the importance of family (The Lesson of the Pain). As perfect Father, God then followed that lesson with a lesson of assurance that He is indeed the Source of all of the understanding and guidance that we will ever need and seek in life (The Lesson of the Illumination). As members of His family, the lessons that followed affirmed our personal witness of the Truth of God that Jesus reveals (The Lesson of the Declaration), as we come to better know God in growing intimacy with Him (The Lesson of the Knowing). Those lessons were then capped off by others about how God’s healing power is at work in the world through His forgiveness that we receive and pass on in compassionate outreach (The Lesson of the Uprooting), witnessing in action as well as words to the Truth of God that we have received (The Lesson of the Touch).
The next lessons assured us that when we call out for God, He not only comes to us (The Lesson of the Radiance), but He remains with us (The Lesson of the Sealing), increasing our faith in Him as He restores us to wholeness in Christ Jesus (The Lesson of the Walk). The final lessons then wrapped up the others, affirming God’s all-encompassing love for each and every person (The Lesson of the Love) and avowing His unbreakable commitment to each individual (The Lesson of the Perspective) who chooses to be permanently reconciled to Him through His Son (The Lesson of the Honor).
Movement through the lessons is transitional. The revelation-based process itself is transformational.
The Story revealed in The Lessons of the Cross is an ongoing story, one that is authored fully by God and penned in part by many. In bringing these particular lessons into being, my “job” was simply to devote specific time to God in reference to the lessons that God wanted to use in this way. In so doing, with each additional lesson that I received, I was also given additional opportunity to share what I had received with others. God, working in me, simultaneously worked through me. Through the words that He provided, God multiplied the benefit of my growing understanding to encompass increasing wellbeing in and through others. God provided both the words and the understanding, connecting thoughts and filling in missing pieces. As I sat purposefully waiting on God before a keyboard, prepared to type, as I was led to do, words came forth to mind and print that God provided, bringing me closer to Him as I listened and typed in a continual refining process that was fueled by one word of Truth at a time.
God’s words are literally that which God says that they are: Spirit and life (See John 6:63). Imparting Truth, they instill—give—life wherever they are accepted. Once God’s words are in us, they transform us by correcting errant thinking, thereby changing our actions to create positive outcomes in not only our lives, but the lives of others as well. Through our willingness to be identified with the words of God that we accept, God’s words then have opportunity to come forth from us to instill yet more life wherever they are then once again received. Though all of our words, in general, are important in their conveyance of ideas and information one to another, God’s Words are vital. They alone always contain the Truth of God that builds up life in the best way possible, rightly fine tuning understanding in one person after another.
The Bible’s prophecy and testimony, wrapped up together cohesively in Christ Jesus as one, is the all-inclusive story that is the foundation for every other story ever written. The Bible’s words cover the completed past, the occurring present and the coming future, all in relation to God’s eternal “now.” Every other true testimony of God, apart from those in the Bible, bears witness to the Truth of God that the Bible reveals. God-produced, every word of the Bible is related to every other word along various pathways that lead always to the Story’s focal point: Jesus. Jesus, in alone having the Words of eternal life (See John 6:68), is the sole route to salvation: everlasting life. (See Ephesians 1:13)
Our personal acceptances or rejections of Jesus as Lord and Savior singularly sentence each one of us to either everlasting life or everlasting death. No one’s words but our own determine our future existence following the judgment that is coming. Having been given an appointed time by God, Judgment Day cannot be avoided. (See Hebrews 9:27) The clock is ticking, and as it was set in motion by God’s words, so time will expire in the same way. The end of time as we know it is yet coming, for both the Bible’s words and the Word of God (Jesus) have declared it so. God is unchangeable (See 1 Samuel 15:29), and His words are self-fulfilling (See Isaiah 55:11). Understanding of a God-ordained finality will be experienced by all.
But our acceptance and rejection of God’s words also affect our here and now. God employs His words, in us and through us, to best prepare everyone for all that rightly lies ahead today as well as in eternity. Countering every individual misunderstanding of Him with Truth, God leaves nothing to “chance,” nor anything incomplete or undone. He even interprets His Holy Word for us in ways that we can best understand through the Holy Spirit, who unravels our confusion one thought at a time. By remaining in God’s Word (See John 14:26), seeking greater Truth, Truth comes to us in the manifestation of more of the abundance of the life of Christ Jesus that is growing within us.
In the light of Truth that Jesus provides, we more clearly “see” the manifested Spiritual Truth of God revealed in Jesus. Each additional revelation better enables greater realization of the unification of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as One accord, existing forever in unparalleled harmonic perfection. As One Living God (See Deuteronomy 6:4), they are One in Truth, One in Word and One in Spirit. As One, They have invited all mankind to join Them in knowing the perfecting in Christ that They have made available to all people for all time everywhere.
When we have moved beyond time’s completion, God will remain as He has always been; Eternal God. “In the beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1), and in the end God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (See also John 1:1) Being of One Voice, God spoke all Creation into being by the power of His Word, timing perfectly the Story that He unfolded from beginning to end, bringing it to right completion in its eternal conception. Then at the precise moment in time that all-knowing God so designated as perfect timing, God revealed to His Creation, through the giving of the Son, the fruition of the Story that will have no end.
When God the Father delivered His Son into a sin-filled world in a Body of sin-free flesh, God revealed Himself to be the All-in-All of the Story that mankind, for the most part, thought was being written by them. They (we) couldn’t have been any more wrong, and God proved so by giving visibility of the Authorship of God to the people whom He had penned into the Story. God the Son carried God the Father’s Name in His very Being, exactly as God had foretold throughout all of recorded history (His Story):
Immanuel – God with us
Jesus – YAHWEH is salvation
Savior – the One who saves
Christ/Messiah – the Anointed One
King – the Sovereign One having dominion
“I Am” —the Self-proclaimed Name of God Eternal
(See Isaiah 7:12-16, 9:6, 7; Matthew 1:16; Luke 1:31, 2:11; John 18:5, 8, 37).
God the Father has always been both honored by and proud of His Son who bears His Name. But even more so, according to God, He has always been both honored by and proud of His Son who bears His Word, for the Son speaks only as He hears the Father speaking. (See John 12:49) By fully respecting His Father’s words, the Son gives respect to the Name of the One who spoke them.
In verse two of Psalm 138, God specifically says through David’s penning that He has exalted His Word above even His Name:
“I bow myself toward thy holy temple, And I confess Thy name, For Thy kindness, and for Thy truth, For Thou has made great Thy saying above Thy name.” (Young’s Literal Translation)
The abundant (See John 10:10) and eternal life (See John 17:3) that God has given to all men by grace through faith (which comes also by grace—see Ephesians 2:8), is the Gift that God extended to us in the Truth of Jesus, for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Denoted in the original Greek by use of the singular tense of the verb “came” is that the grace of God is indistinguishable and inseparable from God’s Truth that reveals it. Likewise, the Truth of God comes to us only by God’s grace. “Grace and Truth” is a singular Entity, a single Being: Jesus Christ—God. Encapsulating all life, Jesus is the revealed perfection of God, who ”…gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
That is the Truth that Jesus continually delivers.
To a world inclined to judge people by performance, the Truth of God’s grace is a conundrum. Though grace is a breath of fresh air (an unexpected reprieve from “measuring up”), its unselfish “no strings attached” nature can make grace difficult to accept. Carrying no hidden agenda, grace’s extreme generosity is counterintuitive to self-preservation, defying worldly logic.
Yet there it is, “Grace and Truth” laid out in a lowly stable, publicly displayed in the innocent babe, most humbly born to die for the sake of others.
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:11, 12)
And how did God say that it would be so?
Through faith in His Word,..
Through acting—speaking, confessing—in belief of His Word…
Through faith in the Name of Jesus: the Living Word of God Almighty.
To all who humbly turn to Jesus to ask in faith for whatever is needed in accordance with the Father’s will, much is given. (See Mathew 21:22, Mark 11:24, Luke 11:10) Everyone who brings their needs to Jesus discovers that Jesus is already on top of every situation. Whenever Jesus is asked if He is either willing or able to help, His reply is always the same. He answers with His Father’s Self-professed Name: “I Am” (See Exodus 3:14 & John 8:58).
Like Father, like Son… always One and the same. (See John 5:19)
That is Grace, pure and simple: the Gift of God, giving His All.
And that is the Truth.
Jesus. His Name says it all.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11)