Please note that all Scriptures may not be posted at this time.
Gen. 2:25 π Jn. 9:25 π Rom. 1:16-17 π Rom. 3:23 π Rom. 3:24 π Eph. 1:2 π Eph. 1:3 π Eph. 1:4 π Eph. 1:5-6 π Eph. 1:9-10 π Eph. 1:13 π Eph. 1:18-19 π Eph. 2:1 π Eph. 2:1-2 π Eph. 2:3 π Eph. 2:4 π Eph. 2:6-7 π Eph. 2:8; 2nd π Eph. 2:9 π Eph. 5:25; 2nd π Eph. 6:12 π
“To walk in the Holy Spirit means that you will be walking in change.” (Bob Hughey)
“The fun of sin is a plastic rip-off compared to the thrill and the joy that God has for us as we walk in His Holy Spirit.” (Bob Hughey)
What exactly happened that evening at the kitchen table could never be defined in a few sentences, paragraphs, chapters, or for that matter, even words themselves, for if something really did happen to Bob, it would manifest itself in a different and transformed life, a continually changing life. It is a new life which is the definitive mark of eternity, as well as, the proof of it.
With that in mind, we shall not delve into the intricacies of all the inward reworkings God had to perform to bring Bob around to committing his life to Jesus, for what God did with Bob was more than just fill in a few holes with some sort of heavenly putty. No, God in all his mercy didn’t just try to fix the problem of Bob’s self-indulgent nature by rewiring a few bad circuits or replacing a couple of burned out chips. Instead, the Lord gutted the entire inner being of Bob Hughey and replaced it with a new nature, the very nature of Jesus Christ; a total contradiction and counteractant to Bob’s old self. Bob had been given a new birth from above, which meant, that for the first time in his life, Bob was seeing clearly, seeing things from God’s perspective, with the result that Bob’s actions, thoughts, and motives were the exact opposite of what they had been previously. “...one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see!” ( Jn. 9:25; top ) Look out world! Bob Hughey has become a new creature!
What happened was no mere religious experience, for religion can only touch the outward things, but what touched Bob was deeply internal. The eyes of Bob’s heart were opened to see Jesus, not in some physical vision, but in His spiritual totality. Bob saw Jesus, not just as some theological concept, or even as just the Head of the church. Instead, he saw Jesus as the Head of the universe, the Master of the whole system of things, and because of that revelation, Bob knew that he owed Jesus his whole allegiance and devotion. Previously, it had all been just an outward form of attending church three times weekly and putting in the necessary time to get by. Now, however, the truth was out. Jesus didn’t come to tell us something about the truth, or to set up a system of dogma, doctrines or theology about the truth. Jesus was the truth and still is. He came to show the difference between the written code and the Living Word.
God doesn’t want to waste any time in giving us abundant life, and that was part of what struck Bob initially as he read the Bible. Even though Bob had tried to connive and weasel his way into some sort of happiness for himself all those years, what a massive weight was taken off of his shoulders with the reassurance that God wanted to give Bob life more than Bob even wanted to have life! After shackling himself to all sorts of materialistic pursuits in order to buy a sliver of freedom, what a fresh breeze of truth it was when Bob saw that God wanted to give him freedom, even more than he wanted freedom.
“For 30 years I built my life on my own strength, my own righteousness, Corvettes, career and money, but the fruit of this was disappointment, frustration, disillusionment and anger with God. That’s the fruit of living for yourself.” (Bob Hughey)
With these revelations established in his heart, all Bob wanted was more of these truths. He was being consumed by Light and wanted to know the real Truth, the true Truth, that is, God’s truth about everything. He would be satisfied with no less, for now he knew that he could not be satisfied with anything less. Bob was finished with playing church and now was ready to accept everything God had planned for him. Like a newborn child, he was ready to feed off of all God would give him to grow. The hindrances of flesh and greed and ego had been washed away, and a new foundation had been established for Bob to plant himself on. Not only was he willing to grow, Bob wanted to grow, especially in the grace and knowledge of his Lord Jesus Christ. Bob knew this meant that changes were coming, but he truly desired for God’s Word to have a place in his heart and knew that his heart had to be touchable and teachable, which ultimately meant that he also had to be changeable. It was ever so clear that to walk in God’s Spirit meant to walk in constant change.
The first thing that changed in Bob’s heart was his conception of who God is. Previously, Bob had seen God as the eternal listmaker who perpetually demanded the utmost and expected perfect performance at all times. If there was even the slightest slip in the achievement of holding up these highest of standards, then the stinging slap of judgment would clang every bone and fiber of his consciousness. God, through Bob’s eyes, seemed to be on his back with every turn; this perspective, in turn, became the reason that all Bob returned to others was equal judgment and condemnation.
Oh, what a release came in Bob’s relationship with God when he came to know that all the time he had been running away, God was shouting, “I LOVE YOU!”
All it took was Bob to stop trying to avoid God and see that, in believing in Jesus, God wasn’t holding anything against him. With this knowledge, Bob was freed up, totally and completely, for now he began to comprehend the depth of God’s richness, for all the conditions for love were gone. God loved Bob no matter what.
Instead, all he could do was gratefully and wonderingly pray, “Thank you God that You know me and You still love me.”
That proclamation was just the first step in many steps to come, but faith is something that is born in one’s heart when you see how much God has done for you.
Rivers of joyous tears sprayed out of Bob like a fountain. Cleansing came as this miraculous love washed out a lifetime of resentment, worthlessness, and lack of self-respect. As all the dirt was rinsed away, the Holy Spirit came in, filling Bob with love, power, and a clear mind, along with an infinite number of other good things. Unconditional love then began to manifest itself in every intimate aspect and circumstance that had ever happened to Bob, or that ever would.
Bob now understood that God had reconciled him through Jesus and he now had peace with the Almighty. With this knowledge came the second aspect of his salvation, that of Bob being able to accept himself as the man God had created him to be.
For years Bob had been ashamed of several physical features that he felt stuck out like grotesque deformities. He could still hear those kids in school chiding him about his big ears.
“Hey, look at Hughey, Jumbo the Elephant! His ears look like a taxi cab with its doors open!”
“And what about those buck teeth, Bugs Bunny Hughey?”
“Doesn’t Bob walk funny, with those turned in pigeon toes!” “What about that kinky, curly hair?”
Well, at least Bob could try to do something about his hair. As a teenager, in order to hide that hair which he thought made him look like a sissy, he would take massive globs of Royal Crown hair dressing, which was no more than a rancid smelling version of petroleum jelly, and smear it all over his wavy locks, then force the hair to appear straightened by combing it straight back in a ducktail.
The deeper the insults cut, the further down, down, down plunged Bob’s assessment of his own worth. It was only after the love and forgiveness and the holy embrace of Jesus invaded Bob’s heart, soul, mind and spirit, did he begin to see that God knew quite well what He was doing when He created him with those special features that made him unique. With grace being poured in, those great walls of self-rejection and condemnation crumbled into dust, and in return, were bastions of love, mercy, compassion, boldness and joy. Yes, joy, for in seeing God as the all-wise Maker of every fiber of his being, Bob began the most wonderful celebration of cleansing and purification that a created object could ever rejoice in.
With praise and thanksgiving Bob could now smile and proclaim, “I see You, God. You had me born to Paul and Faye Hughey in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Thank you! I see You, God, that You had me to be the son of a former drunkard. I see now that the events and circumstances of my life have always been totally under Your control. I see now, that You chose Peggy especially for me, before the foundations of the earth. I celebrate who I am in You. I celebrate my kinky, curly hair, my buckteeth , my pigeon toes and my big ears. Now I see that I am wonderfully made and I can say with gladness that I am a vessel You personally created and formed, because You love me and care for me.”
After years of shrinking back from God’s presence and feeling as if God had somehow cheated him from living a happy life, and venting his own self-rejections and subsequent rebellion, Bob could be at rest with himself and at peace with his God and say “Glory be to God for Peggy! Boy, I love her, Thank you Lord for Peggy!”
Yes, this newfound acceptance of Jesus naturally brought about Bob’s acceptance of himself, which led to the third most significant place of restoration in his life. Bob was now free to accept Peggy for whom God created her to be.
Bob had always been restricted in giving Peggy a wholehearted place in his life because he had been blind to the fact that, physically, God had “fearfully and wonderfully made” him, and in God’s eyes, the product was magnificent. It took the remarkable force of the forgiveness of Jesus for Bob to see it, for before, as Bob didn’t really like anything about himself, his relationship with Peggy was hell. After all, if you don’t accept yourself, you will never accept your mate.
Jesus was now Lord of Bob’s life, and with that, Bob recognized who had been there the whole time, sticking it out with him, loving him, praying for him, standing firm for him. It was Peggy. It was Peggy’s absolute commitment to him and their marriage under the Lordship of Jesus that had finally given him freedom to just be himself, to like himself, and even to accept himself. It was then that Bob started loving and accepting Peggy Hughey.
There she was, devoted and enduring. Though she knew all of Bob’s warts, faults, blemishes, and scars, Bob knew, emphatically, that Peggy loved him. A marvelous freedom came rushing in when Bob saw that he was loved.
Peggy was Bob’s partner in celebration, for now, Bob had been delivered from his perfectionism; a pursuit destined to always end in frustration and dissatisfaction. He had been dumping the blame on Peggy for his own failures, wanting to bring her down to his level. Each time Bob “blew it,” the first thing he wanted to do was make Peggy blow it. If he couldn’t be perfect, he certainly couldn’t stand Peggy being perfect.
His newly established freedom helped Bob start totally fresh in his relationship with Peggy. In Jesus, he learned to go to the heart of his problems, in love, never condemning or criticizing, for with Peggy, Bob now had a trusting, loving relationship that was full of grace. This grace erased all judgmental spirits and competition. With those obstacles gone, Bob and Peggy could go straight to the heart of the problem without Peggy being threatened or Bob feeling defensive.
“Well I’m right and you’re wrong” was no longer a method of solving problems. Instead, Bob and Peggy could look at each other, admit that there was a problem and work out the issue, because now they were in it together. How incredible it was to step out of deception and into pure Light and discover that Peggy wasn’t the enemy all those years...Satan was!
Now that the perpetrator of Bob’s problems had been exposed, he acted in accordance with this discovery by running to Peggy rather than running from Peggy. Bob was being expanded, and so was everything else that had been locked up in his old, sensualistic world.
All those years of an adversarial clashing of personalities now came to a screeching halt as Bob had his eyes opened as to whom the real culprit had been in driving him away from Peggy. She had withstood all onslaught of the attack, while Bob had bought into the biggest lie of his life. From that point on, Bob diligently stood on guard against the deception of the enemy. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ( Eph. 6:12; top )
This was a truth that Bob would forever highlight in boldface print in his heart...daily...lest his relationship with Peggy, and eventually everyone else, end up in the dung heap. On an ongoing basis, everyday, Bob reminded himself that Satan was, is, and always will be his enemy; he would never outgrow his need to know that. As a result, instead of beating Peggy down, Bob began to cleave to Peggy and love her, which meant that he was beating the stew out of Satan.
With the emancipation of Bob’s heart and his sins having been lifted from his own shoulders, God was able to begin a thorough restructuring of Bob’s perspective of marriage. In God’s eyes, this union would be an act bringing them to completion rather than competition, cooperation rather than antagonism. It was more than cohabiting; it was a joining, an adventure of becoming one. How clear it became, once Bob was free to love Peggy for who she was, that a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge about the union of a man and a woman could become instant revelation. Now, as razor sharp as the crystal, clear blue of the ocean, God taught Bob and Peggy the purpose of marriage. If either of them was to make progress in the Lord, they would have to be deeply and intensely struck with the fact that He was making them one.
Bob had told Peggy for thirteen years, “I love you.”
But, he didn’t love her with a godly love. He only wanted to use her, for cleaning the house, cooking his meals, and meeting his sexual needs. Bob wanted Peggy to be his servant. It was always a selfish thing every time Bob said, “I love you.”
God changed everything. From now on, Bob’s “I love you” would mean, “I want to love you. I want to care for you. I want to serve you. I want to see you come into the fullness of life that Jesus Christ has for you. I want you to experience all that God has for you.” It was this kind of love that changed their relationship forever.
The struggle was over for Bob...what liberty! Through this freedom, Bob made a willful decision to love Peggy. For so long, Bob had ridden on his emotions and thought that was love, but as easy as it was for him to fall in love with Peggy, it was just as easy for him to fall out of love with her. Bob’s initial romantic infatuation had soured due to his own selfish feelings. It was becoming clear to Bob that his love for Peggy would now have to be founded on something more than a wavering feeling; it would have to be based on a concrete and willful act. He willed to love her. This is Agape, in contrast to human passions and physical sensations.
With this step, the feelings came. How foolish it had been all those years trying to change Peggy into his image of the perfect wife, which, if it had happened, would have been as far away from real perfection as a television show is from real life. Not only could Bob not change Peggy, he no longer wanted to. Adamantly, and with all the sincerity of the open arms of his Lord, Bob released Peggy from all expectations, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Thus, Bob began the maturing process of allowing the love and grace he was receiving from Christ to inundate every aspect of his relationship with his mate. Since he had been totally exonerated by the mercies of Jesus, in turn, Bob came to the place where he began to never expect anything out of Peggy’s performance. This meant that anything and everything that did come from Peggy, every blessing, every step of growth, would cause Bob to rejoice in God’s workmanship, that He was bringing to completion those things which He had begun in Peggy even before she was born. Not that Peggy was or is going to perform perfectly, but that God would be faithful in accomplishing everything He has planned for her.
Bob’s task in all this was only to love her where she was, for what she was, and for who she was...for eternity...without putting any additional demands on her...and any good thing on top of that would be icing on the cake that comes from God’s immense grace. This revelation set Bob free from nitpicking and scrutinizing, and therefore, judging everything Peggy did. He began looking to God for his security rather than viciously concentrating on his mate’s performance. Bob let Peggy begin driving the car and he put her name on the checking account. Basically, Bob began to treat Peggy like a human being, giving her the same rights and priveledges he had been giving everybody else. When the change came, when Jesus came, Bob’s heart turned to Peggy. It brought them to a place of life and freedom where she didn’t have to change and neither did he, for they had accepted one another. Their walk was, and is, a walk of peace and grace in the Spirit, that enables them to love every person, just where they are.
The love of God was knocking down every place of bolstered flesh that had prodded Bob to place everything under his microscope of harshness. In its place, arose a heart of softness and clarity, for now when he thought of his precious companion, he knew that God had not made any mistakes in the choice of his mate; quite the opposite, for God so loved Bob that He gave him Jesus as Lord and Peggy as his wife.
Heaven was new, eternity was new, and Peggy was...well, now when Bob looked upon her, he saw a woman unlike any other on the face of the earth. There would be no more comparisons between Peggy and anyone else; God had built Peggy exactly like Bob needed; he was attracted to her in a way unlike any way before. Her beauty was more than physical, now. It was an inward spiritual radiance that captivated him in a most appealing way. Peggy was now a queen in Bob’s eyes. She was the vessel God was using to shower him with grace and love, and God was also going to use Bob to gush forth with waves of blessing on Peggy.
“Look at how you used to act towards your queen,” God revealed. “You used to curse her, mistreat her, mentally abuse her.”
Now Bob wanted nothing less than the royal treatment for his precious companion. Through Jesus, the only desire in Bob’s heart was to honor Peggy, respect her, and treat her as the weaker vessel.
God was building a new foundation in their marriage. Before, Bob had thought Peggy was a burden, only there to hold him back and narrow his life. Now, with his mind enriched by the Truth, Bob knew that Peggy was there to enlarge his life, bring focus and sharpness to his vision and enlarge a place in his heart for God to pour out His grace. He was no longer threatened by Peggy, for she had gone through the fire of adversity and withstood the test by clinging to her husband, with her eyes on Jesus. Bob had, at one time, been intimidated by Peggy because he knew she was more spiritual than he. She read diligently in the Word of God, and he didn’t. She prayed fervently and continually, while he only paid lip service. And the more Peggy remained faithful to Jesus, the more Bob went out of his way to make her life miserable.
When Bob and Peggy share their testimonies, Bob looks back to what he once was before Jesus, and tongue-in-cheek, says:
“Peggy owes her relationship with Jesus to me... I drove her to prayer. I drove her to fasting. I drove her to the Lord.”
Now, however, Bob was walking in change and trusting that God’s process of making them one for His glory was the only way he could go. There was no turning back.
There would be no more of the world’s perspective of a cohabiting marriage in the same home, living under the same roof but having no bond holding them together, both doing their own separate things, following their own desires. How dangerous that had been, and oh, what a sign of a bad marriage. Instead, there would be a developing cooperation in unity as the Lord continued to mold them into one spirit.
Through God’s splendid grace, Bob now had the freedom to run to Peggy and confess all of his sins to her, for he knew that she would never cut him off. “The man (Adam) and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” ( Gen. 2:25; top ) Bob could totally unzip himself, be naked before Peggy, pour out his heart and go to her for counsel, for the threat was gone. Bob had found security in his vertical relationship with God, and that brought mutual trust and security in his horizontal relationship with Peggy. Bob had been brought to a new place, a place where he could be transparent, laid open and bare, before God and before Peggy. He could applaud the person God had made him to be and be thankful for the body that God had made for him as well. That erased competition, it eliminated intimidation and destroyed that insecure feeling of inferiority. Others might look at Bob and complain that he hadn’t made the grade, but from now on, Bob had confidence that his God had stamped “New and Improved” on his inner nature.
Not only did God want Bob and Peggy to be husband and wife, he also wanted them to be best friends. It used to be that when anything good happened, Bob would first run and tell somebody else, anybody else, other than Peggy; and having a best friend who is not your spouse can bring disunity and hurt in a marriage. God brought the two of them together, so that Bob delighted in sharing good news with his spouse, for she was now his newfound best friend.
In those whispers of change, God told Bob that it was no longer “Peggy” and “Bob,” but that He was determined, through Jesus Christ, to unite them as one spiritually in His name.
What a lesson! Bob in his unregenerate mind had thought marriage was just God’s way of legalizing sex. It wasn’t then and it never will be. It was, instead, a sharing of their entire lives together.
“But God,” Bob reasoned, “Peggy and I are such opposites.”
To which God gently answered, “Yes, I know. That’s the way I have created you. Do you not see that you need Peggy’s quiet, intuitive, spiritual nature, and that she needs your hard, concrete way of thinking? You need these balancing traits to keep you from falling into apathy and to keep her from being deceived.”
Another winner for God’s side! From that moment, Bob and Peggy would make no more major decisions without being in unity. All the world would see the miracle of how God could take two opposites, like Bob and Peggy Hughey, and shape them into one heart, one mind and one flesh.
Becoming one is a lifelong process of two people dying to themselves and being resurrected as one in the likeness of Jesus. God takes a domineering Bob and a passive Peggy and lets them experience the cross of Christ; that Peggy might experience death to Peggy, and Bob experience death to Bob; and through the resurrection life, God brings forth a unity and a oneness that is a demonstration of His grace, His love and His power. That is not a life of less, but a life of more.
Everything about his relationship with Peggy took on a pristine perspective, only because Bob’s fellowship with God had been revived through new birth. Bob could have cared less about doctrines. When Bob had lived by doctrine, he only had contact with God through his brain; spiritually, he was void of life. God, though, was desiring a heart-to-heart relationship; an alliance where Bob would come to know the very essence, the very heart of God, and from that friendship, let the very same spirit pour over into his relationship with Peggy. That is a comprehension far beyond mind-to-mind, far surpassing brain-to-brain, deeper than flesh-to-flesh, but easily understood by yielded heart-to-yielded heart. Bob belonged to Peggy and she to him. Bob now desired to “get out” of himself and start to “get in” to Peggy. He wanted to know Peggy, how she felt, her likes and dislikes, and share the deepest life with her that God had built for them as a couple.
Almost overnight, through Jesus, Bob’s outlook about Peggy was turned inside out. Instead of lording over her and placing himself in the position of an overbearing master or authoritarian, Bob saw Peggy in a new light. The best explanation of this discovery could be described in one line, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her...” ( Eph. 5:25; top ) Bob found, as he began loving his wife, that his greatest contentment came in being the vessel that God would use for pouring out grace upon Peggy. His purpose was to be an instrument to help Peggy be totally and completely fulfilled, and Bob knew that he would not be able to do that if he was controlled by a selfish spirit in his heart.
Psychology couldn’t do it, self-will was powerless, a positive attitude was incapable of bringing about the change of heart that only Jesus could bring about. But with a heart filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Bob relinquished his all-consuming desire to stand up for his own rights; selfishness and Jesus just don’t mix. With joy, Bob died to self, for the sake of Peggy. Ephesians 5:25 (top) became more than just religious rhetoric, or some lofty ideal. Now it was the desire of Bob’s heart...it was life. Most men do not like hearing those words, for it does not fit the all-American, macho, male image most men want to portray, but Jesus cut through that image by dying for the Church.
“Bob, do you love Peggy enough to die for her...daily?”
“Lord, I’m willing to go to the gas chamber for her, but this thing of dying every day, I’m not so sure...”
But that was the question Bob had to answer to go on with the Lord and with Peggy. There could no longer be any quick, easy way out. Bob wanted life, but was this the way?
“Am I willing to die daily...for Peggy?”
In asking this question, it was as if God were saying, “Bob, if you really love Peggy, then this will be the evidence of it. You will gladly give yourself up for her daily and be sensitive to her and minister to her and be sure that her needs are met today. By losing your life for Peggy today, you will find your own life, today, as well.”
This is not some law that the flesh can emulate. It can only come about through an act of a loving God on a changed heart. This meant that instead of wanting to kill Peggy, Bob was willing to live and die for Peggy, daily, for eternity.
Bob was committed to Peggy, with no strings attached. This decision would be costly, it would be painful; for when the flesh hits the cross, it hurts, but it is worth it. What God had in store for them in His Kingdom was worth any price to pay, be it tribulation or suffering, or any other trial on the face of the earth.
Change is costly. Change is painful. In fact, Jesus said that through many tribulations do you enter His Kingdom. That’s talking about suffering and dying to flesh. LISTEN! When my flesh hits the cross, it’s painful. It may not bother you for my flesh to die, but it sure bothers me.
You see, when you hit the cross, and Jesus calls you to that place that you must die to your flesh and to your desires, it’s painful... But it’s worth it.
What God has for you in His Kingdom is worth any amount of pain or suffering that you will ever go through on the face of this earth.
It’s worth it. No pain, no gain with God. (Bob Hughey)
The corner had been turned and there would be no turning back. The self-righteous thinking that had crippled him for years was now only a memory to remind Bob to never ever consider himself better than Peggy in any way or form, for now Bob had really “found himself,” and it was in losing himself that it was accomplished. By seeing Jesus, Bob now knew who Bob was every day. In Jesus, Bob also saw what Bob deserved every day, and also, what grace God gave him every day. From then on, that knowledge was the ballast which would keep Bob and Peggy on an equal plane.
Truth upon truth had its effect upon Bob by showing him lie after lie that he had believed. Although he probably never used these exact words, the mentality of “my marriage would be better if...” had infiltrated Bob’s mind and actions, fostering more negativity and blame in his heart towards Peggy.
“Your marriage would be so much better, Bob, if you had another place to live...”
“Your marriage would be on a better track if you could just make more money...”
These were the falsehoods that had continually pried Bob’s mind away from his wife and family. But, in the midst of all the lies and distortions, there was Jesus coaxing Bob into reality, so that he could see through the perversion to truth and walk in the freedom that a good marriage had nothing to do with any “thing,” but instead, it had everything to do with how he was doing in Jesus! It didn’t even matter how Peggy was doing, because as long as Bob daily continued in that fresh, intricate, vibrant, active, life relationship with Jesus, then no matter what Peggy said, did or didn’t do, they still had a living relationship with each other because of the relationship Bob now had with Jesus Christ. His marriage was held together, like the rest of creation, by Jesus, and his marriage worked only because of Jesus.
“It’s a good thing to have a godly mate, but it’s a pathetic thing to have an ungodly mate. If you don’t believe it, just ask Peggy.” (Bob Hughey)
It didn’t take Bob long to see that his top priority, after his relationship with Christ, was to devote the majority of his time and energy towards his relationship with Peggy. This was not a short term, patch-up deal until every thing became right, then things could go back to the way they were. To the contrary, maintaining his relationship with Peggy became an eternal priority with Bob. Unless things remained right between he and Peggy, then nothing else in his life would be right either.
Every part of Bob’s life had been thrown into a somersault, and when the dust had settled, a new urgency took control of Bob’s inner being. With Jesus now the preeminent factor in his life, Bob had realigned those things that moved him, compelled him and drove him. God’s love had rearranged Bob, as well as, Bob’s priorities, values and everything else in his life.
Consequently, the most vitally important motivator influencing Bob became his relationship with Jesus Christ. Bob knew that whatever price he had to pay to maintain this relationship, be it getting up at 4:00 a.m. to pray, or spending hours in the Bible, it was a price he knew that he must pay, else he would wind up as he was before, cheating others and being cheated out of life.
“You can stay in your comfort zone and die, or you can get out of your comfort zone, and by faith, believing in Him, trusting in Him, take Him at His Word and live.” (Bob Hughey)
Daily, Bob would remind himself of his new life in Jesus. Each morning as he got up to shave, he would look at himself in the mirror, straight in the eye, and say out loud, “Hughey, you are dead to yourself today and you are only alive through Jesus Christ. You are dead to your pride today. You are dead to your ego today. You are not in competition with anybody else today. You are to hear God and lay down your life as a servant today.”
And, as Jesus became Number One, it spread to and strengthened Bob’s Number Two priority in life, and that of course, was Peggy. From Christ’s ministry to Bob, and Bob’s ministry to Peggy and Nolan, a third priority became clear, which was Bob and Peggy’s ministry to others, which is covered in the later chapters.
It is a spiritual fact that marriage cannot be at its fullest and best if Jesus is not the first love of both the husband and the wife, yet just as true, but unfortunately not as readily understood, is that an individual’s personal ministry can never attain its greatest fulfillment unless that person, with his mate, are truly one in the Spirit. There is a supernatural overflow...from Jesus-to mate-to ministry...that cannot be overlooked and most emphatically must not be avoided.
This became one of the foundations of Bob’s new outlook on Jesus and Peggy. The reason Bob’s life had been so twisted and messed up was because his relationships with Jesus and Peggy were shams. With the facade now gone, Bob awoke to the fact that he could never be in the right relationship with anyone else if he was not in the right relationship with Peggy, and of course, Bob could never be established in a right relationship with Peggy if he was lacking in his relationship with God.
More changes made their way into Bob’s life, and God was using every and any situation to convince Bob of the futility of his former life. One major change came to Bob in his perspective of his job and, morever, his perspective of life. For 31 years, Bob had the mindset that he was going to be a rich, successful American. During those years, Bob had not been careful about how he was walking. But times were changing, and so was Bob. In this day and age, many people are led to believe that in order for a person to change, there must be a long, arduous road taken, with small increments of progress happening over a period of years, and even, decades. There is certainly much more hope in Jesus’ way of doing things, for when a person submits to a change, Jesus is ready and willing to comply. Peggy was obviously the first to notice that something drastic had happened to Bob, especially in his mindset about making money.
“The big change,” Peggy said, “came when Bob decided to quit using bad language and decided to stop living for himself; stop being so stingy and start giving things away instead of hoarding. Bob came home from work one day and said, ‘Peggy, I have been selfish for thirty years. I’m going to start giving things away.’”
“And he did! It was a drastic change that literally happened overnight. I couldn’t believe it, but I was glad.”
This was an eternal step in the right direction, but God was faithful to open the blinds of Bob’s eyes to see the real worth of the pursuit of riches and power.
God used Bob’s position at work to teach him a valuable lesson about his goals in life. It came on an enlightening weekend when the president of the company called Bob to provide entertainment for another group. The president said, “Hughey, get the company cabin all fixed up. I’m bringing a few fellows in the ‘Millionaire’s Club’ down from Chicago.” This club was an elite group which only accepted members if they had one million dollars cash in the bank, on top of any other assets they owned. The company plane was used to bring them down to Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Bob drove over to an out-of-town filling station and charged two cases of whiskey as gasoline and oil on the company credit card. Of course, Bob also knew these guys would be expecting complimentary pornographic films, which he arranged.
The lesson came as Bob went down to pick the men up at the end of the weekend. As he opened the door of the cabin, he saw some of the most miserable and pathetic men he had ever seen. They were in worse shape than Bob had ever been in, even in his worst stupor. Some were even passed out on the floor, dead drunk, satiated with the weekend’s pleasures. Bob had to load each one of them up in the company wagon and put them all in their beds in the local motel. God used this mightily to impact Bob.
Although Bob did not hear an actual voice, the Holy Spirit spoke directly to Bob’s heart, saying, “Bob, this is the end result of the direction you are going. Do you like what you see?”
The Lord helped Bob see the perspective of life that He has, and that time is really short.
He loves me. He wants His nature to be lived in me and He knows that “I have declared you saved and holy and sanctified. And now I am going to work that out to where you will really come to experience it. Before, all you could do was sing about it and talk about it. But now you are coming to the place where you can really experience it.”
However, my salvation is not conditional even upon that. My eternal life is not conditional upon my performance. It is conditional upon the performance of Jesus Christ. Therefore, my relationship with you is not conditional upon your performance. It is based upon the performance of Jesus Christ. That’s why I can love and extend grace and have fellowship. This is not so that I can tell others about how much I have learned about love, or to try to get others to love me, but to love.
To the extent that I am loving others, that is the extent that I am loving Jesus. You can tell how you are doing with Jesus by the extent that you are loving others. The closer you get to Jesus, the more you are going to love, and the more you are going to be loving like Jesus. (Bob Hughey)
“One thing is for sure. If it comes down between you changing or God changing, guess who is the one that is going to be doing the changing?” (Bob Hughey)
Jesus loves you; He really does, but you need to to get it out of your head and into your heart. I sang “Jesus loves you” for 31 years, I knew all the Bible verses, I had a big brain full of the right Scriptures...and I was lost. There was no life.
Jesus wants you to have life more than you want to have life. I’m not just talking about heaven either; I’m talking about life now. Jesus came that you might have life, and more abundantly, more than anything you could get otherwise. It is not a rip-off following Jesus; Satan is the rip-off artist.
God created you and me to be totally dependent upon Him. The way of the world is independence, but the way of the Spirit is dependence.
Now, I’m going to throw out a line that might surprise you, but it is the truth. God never expected one good thing out of you. Let me say it again, God never expected one good thing out of you. I have heard Christians talk amongst themselves saying, “I’m just not doing good.” Of course their self-image was down and their self-esteem was down and their self-worth was down, all because they hadn’t been doing good.
The truth is, God never expected you to do good, because if God had expected anything good out of you, then He never would have sent Jesus to die for you. Instead, He would have said, “Go save yourself.” However, God knew that you couldn’t do it yourself, so He sent Jesus.
I love what Ephesians 2:1 (top) says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Now visualize this. You were dead. You were flat out, stinking, on the slab, in the morgue, dead. That’s where you were, and “dead” means dead. It means separated from God. It means no life. Therefore, God is saying, “You thought you were alive, but you were dead. You were on that cold slab in the drawer in the morgue, dead, rotting away just like Lazarus.”
Now let’s see a dead man do something to save himself. The best a dead man can do is just lay there and stink! Some of you were dead men and some of you were dead women, and all God expected of you was to lay there and stink. You never were told this in the Baptist church were you? They always told you to be good, that you were meant to be good; but really, you were meant to lay there and stink.
“You were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” ( Eph. 2:1-2; top ) Well now, just who is that talking about? That’s you! You were in Satan’s church, and in that church you were dying in your trespasses and sins.
“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” ( Eph. 2:3; top ) So what does all mean? I think that means everybody. Just look around you. Everybody has lived in lust and disobedience and transgressions and sin. When we walk into a room, the natural tendency is to think as Satan wants us to think, which is, “Those people over there are more spiritual than I am. I’m not very spiritual.”
The truth is that we all lived in our trespasses and sins, and we all formerly lived in the lust of our flesh, and we all indulged in the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We were all children of disobedience and rebellion. We were all law breakers living in sin and death. There was just nothing good about any of us. That’s the great equalizer. Doesn’t it feel good to be equal?
Now all of this leads to the next verse, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.” ( Eph. 2:4; top ) What have you done? Nothing! What has God done? “While you were dead in your transgressions He made you alive together with Christ.”
He made you alive. It wasn’t that you got baptized. It wasn’t that you went to church. It wasn’t that you gave a lot of money to the poor. No, it was that He made you alive together with Christ.
Until we get this burned into our hearts, we will be tossed to and fro, we will be as children, we will be bounced around and beaten to death by the devil. This must be indelibly written in our hearts, that “God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ.” So that, “It is by grace that you have been saved,” and remember, ”grace” is what God has done for you even though you don’t deserve it. Grace has nothing to do with what you have done, but it has everything to do with what He has done.
When people ask me, “Hughey, how are you doing?” I always answer, “Better than I deserve.” That is my testimony. Why? Because I am a law breaker and I deserve death.
You deserve death, you deserve to stay in that morgue, you deserve to stink throughout eternity. That is all you deserve. But God being rich in His mercy, saved you. He made you alive together with Jesus!
I don’t care how well you have read the Bible. I don’t care how many seminars you have been to. It is still God being rich in His mercy. He saved you! And it’s nothing that you have done, and nothing that you deserve. It is what He has done because of His mercy, because of His grace, because of His love. When you really see all of that, all you can do is say, “Thank you, Jesus!” When you see that, you will be fanatical because you will know how good He has been to you. That is called the “Gospel” and that is called “Good News.”
God has raised us up with Him, and He has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” ( Eph. 2:6-7; top ) Do you see that? Do you know what I think that verse is saying? I think that in the future, God is going to get Bob Hughey and He is going to get you and He is going to hold us up and He is going to say, “Look here! Let Me show you what I have done. Bob Hughey was dead and stinking in the eternal morgue, and I reached down and saved him.” God is going to use you and me as a demonstration of His kindness. God is saying, “You thought you were so right, when in fact you were lost, but I saved you. Look at Bob Hughey, I saved him. You knew him, didn’t you? He thought he was right, but he wasn’t, but look, I saved him.” God is going to use us as a demonstration to the rest of the world where He says, “Look at My kindness; look what My grace has done.”
“By grace you have been saved through faith.” ( Eph. 2:8; top ) Let me show you how bad our churches are. All of my life, I heard Romans 3:23 constantly being quoted. You know the verse, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I had that verse drilled into my brain. I saw it on plaques around the church. The church beat me to death with that verse. The problem was that they never quoted the next verse. Romans 3:24 says, “Being justified as a gift by His grace, through redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” I didn’t know that verse was there until I was 31 years old.
Do you see what religion can do to you? It will pull a few verses out of the hat and beat you to death and use guilt to motivate you. Religion will use manipulation to motivate you. Religion will use anything it can to motivate you and get you to conform to its philosophy, when in reality God says, “Yeah, you were all dead in your transgressions and sins, but you have been justified, you have been put right with Me through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” That is really Good News.
But let us also remember that all of this Good News is from “faith to faith.” ( Rom. 1:16-17; top ) It is faith from beginning to end. It was faith when I met Jesus at that kitchen table and it is faith today, and when He comes back again, it is still going to be faith. It’s not in understanding, it’s in faith, and that means trusting. Faith trusts in God and not in ourselves. I don’t trust me, I trust Him. I don’t believe in me, I believe in Him. I have seen posters in the homes of some believers saying, “I believe in me.” I don’t believe in me, I believe in Jesus. I trust in Jesus. I hope in Jesus. I believe that God so loved me that He gave me Jesus, and that He so loved you that He gave you Jesus.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” ( Eph. 2:8; top ) Did you get that? It is not of yourselves. It has nothing to do with your self. It is a gift from God, so it is “not a result of works, that no one should boast.” ( Eph. 2:9; top )
“Well Bob, you know, humbly speaking, I have done this and I have done that.” You have done nothing. You have nothing to boast in except your weaknesses and Jesus Christ.
“Well, Bob, I have always been pretty good.” No you haven’t, because you were dead in your transgressions and sins. You stunk! That’s how good you were. Here’s what you did...you drew flies! Do you want to boast in that? Then go ahead and boast. God saved you, so all you can boast about is Him.
Praising the Lord is not some religious thing you do, rather, praise is something born in your heart when you see what God has done for you. I praise Jesus because of His faithfulness to me today, even though I haven’t been faithful this past week. He has though; therefore, I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ. Twenty years ago, and today, I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let’s look at Ephesians 1:2; top . “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” As you read the Word of God, you will find that grace and peace are always mentioned together. Have you ever wondered why it doesn’t say “law and peace?” Have you ever thought about that? The reason is that you can’t keep enough law to have peace with God. He knows us better than that. He knows that grace and peace are inseparable. If you are trying to maintain your relationship with God today on the basis of what you have done, you don’t have peace. Your relationship with God has nothing to do with your performance or your feelings. It is His grace from beginning to end, and it is faith from beginning to end.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” ( Eph. 1:3; top )
God didn’t look at us and say that He was going to dispense a few ziplock packages of His blessings. He does not give His blessings in small, little packets of “grace” and send them out to places. He doesn’t send packets of joy to one city and packets of faith to another city. No, God loved us and He sent the whole thing, everything, in Jesus. You don’t get what you need from God in some little, prepackaged bags. He has already given you everything you need pertaining to life and godliness in Jesus. And He didn’t so love you so much that He sent you a book. He loved you so much that He sent the Man, His Son. I am narrow minded, and as I look around at what is happening in the world today, I’m getting more narrow minded every day that I live; Jesus Christ is the only answer for this world today. It’s not that the stock market is going to get better or that the economy is going to get better. There are no market slumps in Jesus! Every day is a fulfilled day, a complete day and a blessed day, because He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus.
“...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” ( Eph. 1:4; top )
Let me tell you something. When you look at me, you are looking at a holy guy. I’m holy. And when you look at other believers in Jesus, you are looking at holy and blameless people. That’s Good News. Now look at yourself. You also are holy and blameless.
“But Bob, you don’t understand!”
Yes I do!
“But Bob, you don’t know the things that I have done!”
Sorry, you are still holy and blameless because God has said you are. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, and he is the one pointing the finger at you. Satan will go around saying, “Look, you didn’t treat your spouse the right way.” Then you will start going “Woe is me!”
But God says, “You are holy and blameless, that is the way I see you, from beginning to end.” Don’t get your eyes back on your belly button. There is a move in this nation to get your eyes turned on yourself, and it is in the church. It’s called inner healing. I’ll tell you what. I came to Jesus and I got healed. I got forgiven, cleansed, healed, redeemed, justified...everything...through the blood of Jesus Christ. And nowhere does Jesus tell us to get our eyes on our inner being, or that child in you, or your navel! The Word of God tells you to look at Jesus, and for you to keep your eyes on Him; you trust in Him, you cling to Him, you walk with Him. That is where life is. Don’t ever turn inward. If you turn inward, you will get depressed.
But God says that you are holy and that you are blameless. Listen, God is not uptight with you today. He knows you, He knows what you’ve done, but remember, He never expected one good thing out of you anyway, in your old carnal, fleshly, unregenerate state. You see, the lie you have believed is that God expected something good out of you, so He must be really disappointed in you. But God isn’t disappointed with you, and if God isn’t disappointed in you, why are you disappointed in you? That is Good News.
It was for freedom that Christ died for you. Freedom from failure, freedom from fear, freedom from looking at yourself, freedom to look at Jesus and trust Jesus and believe in Jesus.
“He predestined us to adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” ( Eph. 1:5-6; top )
I have heard people say, “Well you know, grace is just going to make up for what I don’t do. Well, you just do the best you can, and God’s grace will make up for the rest.” That’s wrong! God’s grace is the “100 percent.” God isn’t sitting up there thinking, “Well, so-and-so is doing pretty good, I think I’ll give him a little dab of grace today.” No, God freely and lavishly poured His grace out upon us. And the Word of God says that His grace is sufficient. Sufficient means enough.
“God, do you mean that you are satisfied with me?”
“Yes Bob I’m satisfied with you.”
“God do you mean that you like kinky, curly hair?”
“Yes Bob, I like kinky, curly hair.”
“Well God, I guess that means that I like it too!”
I used to not like myself at all, because my eyes were on me and I was comparing myself with everyone else. And I always found someone else with better looking hair than what I had. Then, after I came to Jesus, I started liking me. Once that happened, I started liking Peggy, and Nolan, and I even extended it to the rest of the Body of Christ!
“He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.” ( Eph. 1:9-10; top )
God is saying to us today, “I am summing everything up in Jesus.” That means that it is not in the United Nations, it is not in a summit meeting in Washington D.C., it is not in a denomination or a non-denominational denomination; God is summing up all things in Jesus. If you want to know what wisdom is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what faith is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. God is summing up everything in Jesus, so God is telling us to keep our eyes on Jesus.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” ( Eph. 1:13; top )
The church doesn’t have Gospel meetings. The Good News is never told. It’s, “Come join our group.” It’s, “Come submit to our authority, rituals, and our doctrinal way of thinking.” That is what we have heard. But that is not good news.
The Good News is that God loves me and He has saved me in Jesus.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He cancelled out the debt that you as a dead person owed. And when Jesus said that it was finished, it was finished. You can underline it, you can put it in bold print, you can put exclamation marks by it, you can highlight it in red; it is finished. There is not going to be another Jesus, there is not going to be another gift, there is not going to be another packet of blessings, because it is finished. The whole redemptive purpose that man had been waiting for, that he had tried to get through law, sacrifices or keeping a religious ritual, was all wrapped up and finished in Jesus.
When you really think about that, the only thing this Good News can produce is praise, thanksgiving, freedom, excitement, joy, and peace. Peace with God, peace with yourself, peace with your mate, peace with your family, peace with your kids, security. It all comes when we look at Jesus and hear Him say, “It is finished.”
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” ( Eph. 1:18-19; top ) Notice that it does not say “will power,” but rather “His power.” I am speaking because of His power. I don’t go by feelings. The American church has believed the lie that you go by feelings. It is His power towards us who...what?...go to church three times a week? No? Towards those who tithe? No? Towards those who sing and dance? No? It is towards us who believe! It is towards those people who trust in Him, who listen to Him, who obey Him, whether it feels good or not, whether you understand it or not.
I’d love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!