Today I am writing from Bellingham after a great weekend at the home church of Alife. I was blessed to preach and will be releasing the message and the prophetic word I gave for the present season as soon as it is available. It was a great weekend and I am blessed to be home.
We are the family of God, a place that God lives. We are not just a place that God visits. We are a place that God lives. Jesus came to find His body, the house of God’s dwelling in the earth. God has always wanted a place of dwelling in the earth. God dwells in and among His family and His family is a family empowered by and motivated by God’s grace. The grace of God is His manifest presence in and among us to cause us to become a testimony of all that we should be in Him.
In the family of God there are children, young men and women, and fathers, and mothers. John wrote in the book of 1 John in regards to these levels of maturity in the family of God. These degrees of maturity express the various aspects of God’s love in His family. We must have the attitude of little children with and expectation of God’s love. We must seek to grow in our ability to be like God in our character, nature, way, power, and authority. We must embrace the journey of becoming men and women who overcome all wickedness by the power of His grace. Embracing the process of overcoming is not just for our sakes, but for the sake of others in this world. Our aim must be to live for the sake of others. Our goal is to attain to a level of maturity that manifests the attributes of our heavenly Father here upon the earth. As spiritual dads and moms we must seek to live to give life to those that God has given to us. We are to be the family of God with the character, nature, way, power, and authority of God’s love.
How do we become a family where our character is a character of love? What does that look like in everyday life? As the people of God, we are not to be people who play church and live in some isolated bubble of God’s glory. We are people like all people on planet earth. We are dads, moms, brothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. We are business men, farmers, office workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, inventers, astronauts, lawyers, carpenters, fabricators, and all the things found in the practical world of everyday life. We are human beings like all other human beings, but in Christ we can take on the character and attributes of what humans should look like. Many people get an idea that Christ came into their lives so they could simply have a nice time in the earth until they go to heaven. I believe that God came to redeem us in our purpose as human beings. I enjoy the practical pleasures, conveniences, and tools of an everyday life. Driving in my truck is an upgrade to riding a horse as my sole means of transportation. I believe that everyday things are also the blessing of God in the earth, but we must possess them and they must never possess us. I believe that we can have the character of God’s family in the midst of being progressive in the practicalities of an everyday world.
We must be people of mercy and grace. Knowing that we have a Father who loves us and that our sins are forgiven is a foundation for understanding God’s mercy. That alone is not enough to inspire us to be different than we were before we came to Christ. God expects us to grow in maturity in Him to become as we should be. God’s mercy is a testimony of God’s love towards us, God’s grace is the testimony of God’s love working in us. Only God’s grace can inspire us to change to become as we should be in this world. Who we were outside of Christ is not who we were meant to be. Outside of Christ we were living a lie. We were not true to the character, nature, way, power, or authority of who God is. We were created in the likeness and the image of God and we must return to Him to be as we were meant to be in Him. All humans should be an example of the likeness and image of God to the creatures of the world. We must start as some people to be a testimony to all people of what this can become.
We do not present an image of people that can simply do anything or an image that just acts any way we want. We do not present a human image that is controlled or contained to a pretend action of obedience or pretend good. Law controls us, but grace transforms us. Law restrains our actions, but grace liberates our actions to finally be life-giving expressions for the sake of love. Law is a hard-fast, unchangeable rule. Grace is an internal force of love that brings about change with a transforming power of metamorphosis in our lives. Metaphorically speaking, we were supposed to be a butterfly, but we were born as a caterpillar. We were destined to fly, but we were born crawling. We need to experience a metamorphosis in Christ. We need a change of character, nature way, power, and authority. We misunderstand grace because we have redefined salvation. We say by grace we are saved, but we often think that by grace we will be saved when we die. God wants our souls to be saved. Our souls are the bridge between our spirits and our physical lives. In Johns third letter he wrote concerning the key to health in an everday world.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
God wants us to prosper in all things and to be in health, but it can only happen to the degree that our souls prosper. It includes our desires, our thoughts, our reasoning, our imagination, and our emotions. The healthier our thoughts are, the healthier our reasoning is. The healthier our reasoning is, the healthier our imagination becomes. The healthier our desires are, the healthier our emotions will be. The healthier our soul becomes, the heathier our lives will be. We will have a prosperous life is we have a prosperous soul.
I am a husband to Bonnie. She doesn’t need me to be a husband. She needs me to be her husband. She needs me to dwell with her and to understand her. She needs me to see how expensive she is and to treat her accordingly. She needs me to rule and rein in life with her beside me in all things. Bonnie Hanson doesn’t need a husband, she needs Ted Hanson to be her husband. This means I cannot just find a recipe or a method to be a husband. I must become empowered from within to be her husband. My son Jonathan, my son Aaron, and my daughter Joanna don’t just need a dad. The need me to be their dad. Jonathan doesn’t need me to be Aaron’s dad, he needs me to be Jonathan’s dad. Aaron needs me to be Aaron’s dad. Joanna needs me to be Joanna’s dad. I must become who I am for each of them. I go to certain congregations as a minister. Those places don’t need a minister. They need me to be who God says I am for them. I need discover who God says I am for them. I cannot get it from a sermon book. I cannot get who my wife needs me to be from a marriage book. A marriage book can inspire me, but I must discover God’s grace that makes me who I am for her. I must constantly grow and mature. My wife does not need the husband she married forty years ago. She needs a better husband than that. She needs the husband that has been growing in maturity for forty years. The churches I go to need me be the minister who has been growing in maturity in the process of divine connection and relationship. What is going to cause us to be who we are to be today is embracing the power of God’s grace in our lives each day. We must see Jesus in our lives now, today. We must embrace the changes that comes in our desires, our thinking, our reasoning, our strategies, our emotions, and our imaginations. God grace is able to save our souls!
Ted J. Hanson