Notes from Papa

For several years, every morning I read and personalized the daily devotion page in Sarah Young’s great book “Jesus Calling. Sarah took things that Jesus spoke personally to her and crafted them into wonderfully encouraging words that are true for all of us…and most every day I felt as if Jesus were saying these words directly to me! I first became aware of Him speaking to me when I was 11 years old.  After a lengthy period of not looking for His voice, I asked Him to reveal Himself to me when I was in my late 30’s.  He did and He’s never stopped!

In the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament), God was never referred to as Father in an intimate way. In the fifteen or so uses of “Father” in those scriptures, it is never used personally.

Jesus rocked Jewish religious society when He referred to God as His Father…and their Father. He even had the audacity (to them) to use the Aramaic term “Abba” which is an endearing term a young child would use for their father, much like “Papa” is used today.

In Paul Young’s wonderfully impactful book, “The Shack,” he calls God, the Father, “Papa.” Many times I use that term in communicating with Him. To help others experience Him more personally, I’m now taking intimate things He, Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit say to me and rewriting them slightly to relate to either men or women, young or old. Rarely do I hear Him speak with an audible voice—primarily it’s an “inner voice.” 

The “Notes from Papa” that you will read on this site are things He’s said to me, that scripture holds to be equally true for all of His family. While I can list scripture references that correlate with everything written in these notes, I’m not including them here because I hope you will sense the flavor of a loving Father speaking to you rather than a theologian. 

I was very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving, human father…however that’s not been the case for everyone.  For those who have a difficult time thinking of a father as being really good, loving, and for you, I suggest you read “The Shack.” It captures the heart of a loving father better than any resource I know of!

These “Notes From Papa” are not just for me personally. They are for YOU!!! www.godisforme.org is dedicated to helping everyone who visits the site to come to know in the depths of their being that the real God (whom Jesus calls “The Only True God”) is truly good, is really for you, and loves everyone exactly the same. He is “especially fond of you!”

As you spend time with our Papa, I encourage you write down what you hear from Him and keep your notes.  I’ve found this to be a wonderfully encouraging way for me to renew my mind, especially as I review specific “notes” when I am going through a situation similar to a previous experience. Perhaps Papa will then encourage you to use some of the things He communicates to you to help others.

I pray that you will experience and enjoy His unconditional love, radical grace, and total reconciliation for you as you hear from Him through these “Notes.” 

 

~Paul Gray         

GOD DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS “GRACE”

If you were to ask God how He would describe Himself – what exactly is His glory…what would He say? We don’t have to wonder: Moses asked Him!
God had Moses set up a tent (a mobile tabernacle) where God would meet with Moses in the desert where they were after crossing the Red Sea.
Exodus 33:11-19 (Italics mine) The LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses said to the LORD: “You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then the Lord said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Be sure that get the main points of this: Moses found grace in God’s sight; God knew him personally; Moses asked to see God’s glory and God said, OK, I will show you my goodness. I will be gracious, I will give grace and compassion on whoever I want!

God Himself, when asked to show His glory to us, showed us His goodness – expressed as His grace.

Exactly how He showed Moses His goodness and Grace, we don’t know… but we know that God considers His glory to be His goodness and His grace.
Jesus, who is God and who is Grace, who is glorious in every imaginable way, considers His glory to be His Grace!

DESCRIBING GOD
How would you describe God? People usually use the word glory to describe God.
The New Testament Greek word that we translate “glory” is “doxa” which literally means “opinion of.” The Glory of God means two things:
First, God’s opinion of Himself – who He thinks He really is…what He’s all about.
Second, God’s opinion of mankind, what He thinks about us, who He thinks we really are.
In seminary and bible college, students are taught that glory (doxa: opinion) means “everything about a person.” Their reputation, their recognition, their fame… what they are praised and honored for, what distinguishes them, all that comprises them, their splendor.
Teaching includes the “characteristics of God’s glory” starting with the Three Big O’s:
Omnipotent – God is all-powerful.
Omniscient – God is all knowing – He knows everything.
Omnipresent – God is everywhere present at the same time.
We sometimes describe God’s Glory in terms of Him being the Creator of everything and we think about all the stars in the universe – that’s glorious. We look at majestic mountains, ocean coast lines and beautify scenery that God created and we talk about His glory.
In the Old Testament, the Jewish people talked about His glory when He would save them and punish their enemies… who, of course, were God’s enemies (or were they?).
I was taught (maybe you were, too) that you should fear God…be afraid of Him because He knew all your thoughts… everything you did, He was always there watching you, and He was all powerful. He was keeping a list of the bad things I did and I would have to pay for them and His punishment, because He was all powerful, would be hell to pay.
I was taught that God punished bad people forever… really punished them… in hell.
However, to find out what God is actually like, perhaps we should spend time with Him… and ask Him.
If you were to ask God how He would describe Himself, what exactly is His glory…what would do you think He would say?

WHAT MR WILEY WAS ALL ABOUT ~by Paul Gray

How would you describe yourself? Are there one or two words or phrases that would really capture who you are?

The opinion we have of ourselves… the way we describe ourselves… might not be the way others would describe us. It might not be the way God describes us, either!

My University band director, Russel L. Wiley, served at the University of Kansas for over 40 years. He was a very accomplished musician, top-flight conductor, amazing recruiter, super innovator, highly creative and highly decorated. People used all these and a plethora of other highly complementary ways to describe him.

However, to find out what he was really like, who he really was, what motivated him, you needed to spend time with him – know him personally and observe him in action.

But to really find out who he was at his core… you needed to listen to what he had to say about himself, what was important to him, what he dedicated his life to.

One summer when I was working for Mr. Wiley, he had just dismissed one of his peers from another prestigious university… a man who seemed to “bask in his own glory” as he was appearing as a guest conductor at Mr. Wiley’s summer camp for high school musicians. This other conductor had publicly humiliated a student for the quality of instrument his parents had provided him with. Without making a scene, Mr. Wiley privately paid the man and gave him a one-way plane ticket home.

In explaining the situation to me, he related that what he was all about was building up and encouraging students to be all they could be. He wanted to empower kids and give them confidence and help them reach musical heights they never imagined. His help didn’t stop with the band. He got students like me jobs, he opened doors for non-music major kids to get accepted in other programs, and he used his considerable influence to help students after college.

He described himself as helping people become all they could be. Music just happened to be the tool he had with which to do that.

Once when I was working for him, I really let him down by forgetting about an important responsibility I had. He ended up doing the work for me. Afterwards, he knew that I knew he had personally done my work. Do you know what he said to me about how I let him down and he had to do my work? Nothing. Ever. He gave me grace. For all his accomplishments, awards and acclaim, I realized that his “glory” was his grace.

THE GREAT CONDUCTOR

2 Peter 1:9-11 (MIRROR) If anyone feels that these things are absent in his life, they are not; spiritual blindness and short-sightedness only veil them from you. This happens when one loses sight of one’s innocence. (The moment one forgets the tremendous consequence of the fact that we were cleansed from our past sins, one seems to become pre-occupied again with the immediate sense-ruled horizon, which is what short-sightedness is all about; this makes one blind to his blessings. Spiritual realities suddenly seem vague and distant. Become acquainted with your innocence!) Therefore I would encourage you my fellow family, to make every immediate effort to become cemented in the knowledge of our original identity revealed and confirmed in the logic of God. Fully engage these realities in your lifestyle, and so you will never fail. Thus, the great Conductor of music will draw your life into the full volume of the harmony of the ages; the royal song of our Savior Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:17 (MIRROR) So now, with us awakening to our full inclusion in this love union, everything is perfect! Its completeness is not compromised in contradiction. Our confident conversation echoes this fellowship even in the face of crisis; because as He is, so are we in this world – our lives are mirrored in Him!

Colossians 2:7, 2:19 (MIRROR) Just like the roots of a tree, draw your sustenance and strength from Him. Like a building rising up out of its foundation your life makes the full stature of Christ visible; standing tall in His shoes, firm in your faith posture. The language of gratitude that overflows from your lips reflects the exact impression of what you were taught…Religious jargon is completely out of rhythm with the head. You are directly connected to Christ who like a choir conductor draws out the music in everyone like a tapestry of art that intertwines in harmony to reveal the full stature of divine inspiration (which is Christ in you). 

1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Zechariah 4:6-7 (Italics mine) Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” 

RESTORED ~by Paul Gray

 


2 Peter 2:1-11 (MIRROR) I am Simon the Rock, bondman and ambassador of Jesus Christ. We are in this together; God’s faith sees everyone equally valued and justified in Jesus Christ our Savior. God’s desire is that we may now increasingly be overwhelmed with grace as His divine influence within us and become fully acquainted with the awareness of our oneness. The way He has always known us is realized in Jesus our Master.

 

By His divine engineering He gifted us with all that it takes to live life to the full, where our ordinary day to day lives mirror our devotion and romance with our Maker. His intimate knowledge of us introduces us to ourselves again and elevates us to a position where his original intention is clearly perceived!

 

This is exactly what God always had in mind for us; every one of His abundant and priceless promises pointed to our restored participation in our godly origin! This is His gift to us! In this fellowship, we have escaped the distorted influence of the corrupt cosmic virus of greed.

 

Now (in the light of what we are gifted with in Christ) the stage is set to display life’s excellence. Explore the adventure of faith! Imagine the extreme dedication and focus of a conductor of music; how he would diligently acquaint himself with every individual voice in the choir, as well as the contribution of every specific instrument, to follow the precise sound represented in every single note in order to give maximum credit to the original composition. This is exactly what it means to exhibit the divine character. You are the choir conductor of your own life. Study the full content of faith; discover in faith how elevated you are, and from within this position (of your co-seatedness in Christ), enlightened perspective will dawn within you.

 

Here you will realize your inner strength and how fully competent you are to prevail in patient perseverance in the midst of any contradiction. It is from within this place of enlightened perspective that meaningful devotion and worship ignite!

 

In worship you will find a genuine fondness for others. At the heart of everything that faith unfolds is the agape-love of God. While you diligently rehearse the exact qualities of every divine attribute within you; the volume will rise with ever increasing gusto, guarding you from being ineffective and barren in your knowledge of the Christ-life, displayed with such authority and eloquence in Jesus.

 
 
 
 

PEOPLE ARE ATTRACTED TO CHRIST ~by Paul Gray

The most attractive and fulfilled life possible is the life of Grace! The most attractive and fulfilled life ever in history was Jesus’s life. More people have been attracted to Jesus and His life than anyone ever in the history of the world.

People are attracted to other people because of their success. We’re attracted to successful athletes. We identify with them and want to be like them. They inspire us. Children and adults imagine they’re like them. Remember the Michael Jordan slogan, “Be Like Mike!” We’re attracted to successful artists, musicians, actors, writers and composers. They inspire us, they make us feel like we’re part of something grand, something bigger than just ourselves.

In all of these instances, the person that is attractive to us has accomplished something magnificent… they may still be plying their craft, but they have successfully finished something whether it’s a sport’s championship or title, a piece of art or musical composition or performance recording, a film or story…they have successfully finished something.

Jesus is attractive to us not just because of His miracles, not just because of His wise teaching, not just because of His love, forgiveness, acceptance and inclusion of everyone, and not just because of His raising from the dead.

Jesus is most attractive because He finished something! Not just some thing, but the most important thing ever!
Jesus defeated death, sin and evil forever. Jesus took away all the sin of the world forever. Jesus died once for all. Jesus included all of mankind forever in His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Everyone died with Jesus and Jesus gave everyone life. Jesus made everyone new creations. The Holy Spirit of Christ took up residence in each of us permanently. 

Jesus finished God’s work for Him at the cross!

Hebrews 12:2 So now we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (MIRROR) Your salvation is not a reward for good behavior! It was a grace thing from start to finish; you had no hand in it. Even the gift to believe simply reflects His (Christ’s) faith! (By grace you are! Saved by the gift of faith; grace reveals who we are, and the faith of God persuades us of it! You did not invent faith; it was God’s faith to begin with! It is from faith to faith, (Romans 1:17) He is both the source and conclusion of faith.) (Hebrews 12:2) If this could be accomplished through any action of yours then there would be ground for boasting.

YOU ARE ATTRACTIVE!

If no one is noticing that there’s something different about you, then they’re not seeing Jesus. I’m not saying that in a condemning way, I’m saying that in a positive, hopeful way to encourage you to choose to let Jesus live as you and through you. That’s a win, win, win situation for everyone.

That’s Grace multiplied…Abounding Grace…Hyper Grace — Grace upon Grace! The New Covenant of Grace Himself is in you!

Ephesians 1:17 (MIRROR) I desire that you will draw directly from the source; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory ignites the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in you in the unveiling of his Master Plan. I desire that you know by revelation what He has known about you all along!

Ephesians 4:15 (MIRROR)  Love gives truth its voice. The conversation that truth inspires creates the atmosphere wherein growth is both spontaneous and inevitable. The whole person is addressed in Christ who is the head of the body; he is the conclusion of God’s communication with man. 

NLT Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

Ephesians 4:16 (MIRROR) From Him flows the original composition and detail of our design like words intertwined in poetry, (like a conductor of music) they connect layer upon layer to complete the harmony, following the rhythm of His thoughts like footprints. Meanwhile the body thrives and pulsates with the energy of love. Each individual expression finds it complete measure there.

Philippians 1:9 (MIRROR) It is my desire for each one of you, that the realization of love’s completeness in you will increasingly burst through all boundaries, and that every sphere of your relationship with others will be greatly impacted by your intimate acquaintance with love.

Colossians 1:6 (MIRROR) This word resonates within you and its appeal is prevailing in the whole world. The harvest is evident everywhere and gaining ground; as also witnessed in your own experience from the moment you heard and understood the true implication and the relevance of His grace…You continue to increase in your intimate acquaintance with that which God knows to be true about you. This results in the most attractive and fulfilled life possible.

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE? ~by Paul Gray

John 3:16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

You may be perishing right now. You may perish tonight. The Greek word that we translate “perish” means “to destroy, render useless, to be lost.”

Who wants to destroy you?

John 10:10 (Jesus) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Jesus said the thief comes to rip you off!

There are two different entities who are extremely interested in you. Jesus, grace, who loves you unconditionally, has forgiven you completely, who is for you, and who IS Grace…and the thief/evil one/liar/deceiver who is totally against you.
The Father gave us Jesus so that we wouldn’t perish but have eternal/everlasting life which is right here and now... and forever!

Every day and every moment, we have the opportunity to believe one of those entities. Do you believe what the Spirit is saying to you… or do you believe the lie of evil that Jesus is too good to be true?

The Truth is that Jesus Christ, God Himself, Pure Grace, The Gift of God…is in you and He is for you! Christ in you, the hope of glory!

And here’s what He wants! He wants to live as you and through you. When He does, grace is multiplied all over the earth.
When you choose Jesus, which means to choose to let Him live as you and through you instead of believing lies, you don’t perish- you thrive, you experience and enjoy abundant eternal everlasting life!

Jesus, who knows everything, who is all powerful and is everywhere present, lives in you and wants to express Himself as you and through you.

Expressing Himself looks like unconditional love for you and everyone you come in contact with, total forgiveness, universal acceptance and inclusion, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faith, mercy and grace.
When that happens, you will literally be radiant and overflowing with joy. People will be attracted to you. They will want to know what’s different about you!

NOT A “POTENTIAL GIFT” ~by Paul Gray

Remember that the original definition of grace meant a birthday gift? The Apostle John knew that meaning when he wrote:
John 3:16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

A tremendous amount of thought went into that gift. Remember the concept was that what the gift was worth indicated the value or worth that the giver placed on the person receiving the gift.

God – Jesus, Papa and The Holy Spirit- knew you and chose you before creation. They loved you unconditionally before They created you. They wanted to give you a birthday gift – a grace that showed you how much they valued you.

They could have just given you the gift of life…
They could have just given you freedom from the law…
They could have just given you spiritual gifts… like leadership or speaking in tongues…
They could have just forgiven your sins…

Those are all nice, wonderful, stupendous! But they wanted to give you something that would show exactly how much they valued you. So, they gave you the most valuable entity in the entire universe- they gave you Jesus Himself! Jesus, Grace, is the gift! Grace is in you!

2 Timothy 1:9-10 (Italics mine) God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Because of God’s great love for you, He gave you the greatest gift ever. Not a potential gift. Not something you have to do something to get. God gave Jesus to you before creation and then in time and space, at the cross and put Him in you. The Holy Spirit of Christ is in you right now.
Grace is in you!

GRACE IS WITH ALL ALREADY

The very last verse in the Bible (Revelation 22:21) says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

In the original Greek, it actually reads, “Grace (our Lord Jesus Christ) is face to face with all” (every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything). Jesus is with all and Jesus is Grace!

Look at what Paul wrote to the church in Rome: Romans 5:15-17 (Parenthesis and italics mine) The free gift (Jesus who is Grace) is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift (Jesus who is Grace) is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift (Jesus who is Grace) arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace (Jesus) and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Listen carefully: the enemy/deceiver/liar has kept us in the dark and ripped us off. When we hear about grace, righteousness, free gift, fullness, etc., he tells us that those are things (“doctrines,” “concepts,” “nebulous mystical spiritual deals.”) He says “You can’t really define or understand them, but you must work hard to achieve them.” Those are all lies!
Here is the truth that will open your eyes and set you free from the darkness- God the Father is the giver and Jesus Christ is the gift! Jesus is grace!
You and I, and everyone, were given the greatest gift of all time at the cross. We were given Jesus Christ, Grace Himself who came to live in us!
Colossians 1:27 This is the mystery: Christ in you, the Hope of Glory!
GRACE IS IN YOU!

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