April 28, 2017

CHRISTLife — ThirtyTwo: Bride, Friend, and More

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Yesterday we read in our study of CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity that we are ACCEPTED by God through all that Christ accomplished for us.  It is “in Christ” that we are accepted by God Almighty.  God knows every bit of you—every thought, every action, every single thing that makes you you—and He accepts you because you have been made new.  You are righteous, you are justified, you are sanctified, you are purified, you are His child.  He has brought you into a relationship with Him that is like no other!  And you belong to Him!

In today’s reading, Mrs. Myers continues to encourage us by communicating more and more proper images to hold in our thoughts of who we really are.  She writes about God being our Husband (Isaiah 54:5) and that we collectively are the Bride of Christ (Romans 7:4).  She reminds us that Jesus calls us ‘friend’ (John 15:14-15), and that we are now citizens of God’s heavenly Kingdom (Hebrews 13:14).  And that we are God’s servant, just as Jesus Himself gave us His example (Philippians 2:7).

And, as she writes (page 136), “Our belongingness also means that God accepts us as His true worshippers…made possible by our spiritual oneness with Christ.”   To worship is to acknowledge Who and What God is—and God has made Himself known to us through His Word. Through the Scriptures, we find the knowledge of Him.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,
2 Peter 1:2 and 3

We never have to worry or be concerned that we might be worshipping the Almighty God in a wrong or disrespectful way. We have been given the Truth—God’s Word is Truth.

During Jesus’ prayer just before He was taken captive in the Garden of Gesthemene, He prayed to His Father for those who were with Him, and also for us (“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word…” verse 20). He prayed,

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy]
by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
John 17:17

And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.
Verse 19

We not only have the Truth but, by God’s grace, we have been sanctified by the Truth.  Being sanctified <purified, consecrated, separated out, made holy> we are able to truly worship God in holiness.  As such we can come before Him, holy and acceptable, worshipping Him as we will do throughout eternity.  Oh, what glory that will be!  But no need to wait…remember we are accepted through Jesus’ accomplishments…we can worship Him now!  We can bring Him honor and glory and worship, all due to His mercy and grace.

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

We have the privilege to worship Him…just as the angels and the saints around His throne are doing right now!  But not everyone, at this time, can truly worship our God—only those who are His.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well,
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23 and 24

For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 3:3

For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.
Matthew 4:10

God is the object—the sole object—of our worship.  Not wonderful people, not saints, not angels.  As John was warned by the angel sent by Jesus to give him the prophecy in the Book of Revelations:

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me,
“You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you
and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus.
Worship God.
Revelation 19:10

Worship belongs to Almighty God, the Great I AM.  King David knew this.  David worshipped God alone.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For He is our God,
and we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.
Psalms 95:6-7

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Worship the Lord in holy array;
tremble before Him, all the earth!
Psalms 96:7-9

I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145:1-3

It is our joy and our privilege to worship our God!  We have been accepted and made holy, like He is, and given the right to come before Him to worship Him in spirit and truth.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyOne: Accepted

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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
and that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

We ARE!  This is one of my oh-so-very-favorite verses in all 66 books of the Bible!  What comfort…what encouragement…what enablement is communicated in this one sentence!  And, as His children, He has accepted us through the accomplishments of Jesus Christ!

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Ephesians 1:4-6 KJV

Now THIS, my friends, THIS should definitely be one of the ‘images’ in your inner identity album.  “I am ACCEPTED ‘cause God says I am!”  It truly is as simple as that, y’know.  There is nothing—nada, not one tiny thing, not anything at all—that you (or I) can do to be accepted or make yourself any more accepted by God.  He has done it all…in Christ.  There aren’t too many words which communicate God’s love to us than these; they always cause tears to well up in my eyes (if not flow out of)!  Words which tell of His great love for us: chosen…without blame… adoption… His Will…to the praise of the glory of His grace…accepted in the beloved!   Amazing, yes…and TRUE!

Webster’s definition says that to ACCEPT means to ‘receive willingly, to regard with approval, to value, to esteem, to take pleasure in or to receive with favor.’ Take that and think of yourself, child of God, insert your name—“I, _______, am willingly received by God;  God regards me, _______, with approval;  God values me, esteems me, takes pleasure in me, and receives me with favor!”

C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Are there grander words in any language than these four ‘…accepted in the beloved’?  There seems to be a sacred poem in these words.  To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard.”

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Psalms 139:1-6

We—every single human being who ever has been born and who ever will be born—are known by God.  Truly “such knowledge…it is high; I cannot attain it!”  But it is the truth!  And God’s desire—His love—for all is to be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:16 and 17

When we are saved and brought into a relationship with Almighty God as His children, we receive access to Him.  He has completely accepted us and made us part of His family, His household.  Again, nothing we can do or could have done to accomplish this—it is all His gift of love, His doing through Jesus!

For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,
but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:18 and 19

This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.
Ephesians 3:11 and 12

* ~ * ~ ♥  ~ * ~ *

Might I encourage you to take a little bit of time right now and seek your Father’s presence.  Put everything else aside and thank Him…praise Him…exalt Him…love Him.  Tell Him how thankful you are to be His child and to be accepted—because you are!   ♥  

CHRISTLife — Week Seven

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I would like to start off by asking you three questions:

Do you feel that you belong?…that you are worthy?…that you are competent?

I know…NOT easy questions!  Here, let me ask them again with a small (but HUGE!) different slant, ok?

Do you feel that you belong to Almighty God?
…that you have value and worth to your heavenly Father?
…that you are competent and can do what He asks you to do?

How about now? Are your responses different; perhaps more positive? Oh, I truly hope so!  And you know why?  Because you DO belong to Almighty God!  His Word tells us: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people…(1 Peter 2:9).”  And you have MUCH value and worth to your heavenly Father!   His Word tells us, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with precious  blood, as of alamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).  And you ARE competent and you CAN DO because you have Christ IN you!  His Word tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

God doesn’t see us the way we oftentimes see ourselves. God see us the way we are…the way He has made us to be…the way we are in Christ. God sees us accepted; as His Bride, friend…and more; as worthy; as loved; and He delights in you, favors you, and honors you.

In our continuing study of CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity, we have entered into Part 3: The Three Pillars of Your New Identity. For the next two weeks, we will be focusing on the Truth of these ‘pillars of our new identity.  This week,Mrs. Myers writes on the following topics in chapters 31-35.

  • Accepted
  • Bride, Friend, and More
  • Worthy
  • Loved
  • Delighted In, Favored, and Honored

So I am back with a question.  Now being reminded of the Truth of who you ARE—the Truth of what God says… Do you feel that you belong?…that you are worthy?…that you are competent?  (Yes, i know…still the same question.  God wants you to know that you DO belong, and that you ARE worthy and competent! His opinion and thoughts towards you will never change!)

May the words of this song help to bring you to a place where you can sing along with your brother, Jason Gray, confessing the Truth that you are…

   Forgiven
   Beloved
♥    Hidden in Christ
♥    Made in the image of the Giver of Life
   Righteous
   Holy
♥    Reborn and remade
   Accepted and worthy
   This is who you are now

CHRISTLife — A Quiet Time (Part Three)

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Each Saturday recently we have been looking in-depth at a few of the most important aspects of having a quiet time—or as some folks call it—a devotional time.  Already we have talked about two very foundational aspects of a quiet time—Bible reading and singing praises.  This week we are remembering the importance of being thankful and expressing our gratitude to our Father.

Truly, is there anything else that you can think of that can so change your heart’s attitude more than thankfulness?  I don’t think it presumptuous to say that every one of us has had times of worry, sorrow, despair, grief, anguish, pain in which we turned our hearts to seek God and found ourselves praising and thanking Him for His goodness and kindness towards us.  True?

Before we go any further, let’s stop for just five minutes and worship our God voicing our thanks and our praise!


~  Thank You  – Hillsong / Songwriter – Reuben Morgan  ~
Thank You for Your kindness, thank You for Your mercy
Thank You for the Cross, thank You for the price You paid

Thank You for salvation, thank You for unending grace
Thank You for Your hope, thank You for this life You gave

There is no one like You…There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You, Jesus Jesus

To Your name we give all the glory
To Your name we give all the praise
And You’re alive—Our God everlasting—let Your face shine on us

Thank You for Your promise, thank You for Your favor
Thank You for Your love…everything You’ve done for me

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The Psalmist, writer of many, many songs of thanks and praise, had this in his heart:

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1 and 2 AMP

Who can speak forth enough words to tell all the wonderful, mighty things that God has done?  Or who can utter all the praise that is due Him?  Clearly the simple answer is ‘No one.’  But that doesn’t mean we don’t still thrill to voice our gratitude and thankfulness to our Great God!

I checked out Webster’s definition of thankfulness:

THANK’FUL, adjective.
Grateful; impressed with a sense of kindness received, and ready to acknowledge it.

• The Lord’s supper is to be celebrated with a thankful remembrance of His sufferings and death.
• Be thankful to Him, and bless his name (Psalm 100).

I think Mr. Webster’s definition clearly shows that thankfulness is both thought and action—you ‘sense’ having received <God’s> kindness AND you ‘acknowledge’ it. Here’s a great example:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]!
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
and a thank offering and into His courts with praise!
Be thankful and say so to Him,
bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good;
His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Psalm 100

The Psalmist was confessing—remembering—just a few things he was grateful for, AND voicing his gratitude.  We can—we should—do the same! We have oh-so-very-much to be thankful for, amen?  We definitely ‘sense’ God’s abundant goodness and kindness to us, true?  And we acknowledge it through our words of gratitude and thankfulness.

I will thank Yahweh with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
Psalm 9:1

I cried to You, O Lord, and to the Lord I made supplication.
Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!
To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalms 30:10, 12

So in your quiet time (but not ONLY in your quiet time!) may I encourage you to tell Your Father how very grateful you are for His goodness, for His protection, for His healing, for His deliverance, for His provision, for His calling, for His admonition, for His guidance, for His love, grace and mercy!  And give Him much thanks!  (Perhaps you might share with us something you have thanked Him for just today…?  Leave your comment below; thanks!)

Keep worshipping Him and enjoying your quiet time with your Lord!  As you seek Him, He will be found…He promises!

CHRISTLife — Thirty: Belonging

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Picture this scene:

Years ago while walking down the hallway of the school where I was teaching, I came face-to-face with an eighth grade student who had transferred out of my class the previous quarter.  Curious about her transfer, I stopped her and the conversation went like this:
“Why did you transfer out of my class?”  She replied: “I don’t like you!
After years of teaching, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every teenager in my class was madly in love with me.  However, no one had ever point-blank told me so to my face.  A glutton for punishment, I pressed her for more information. “What is it that you don’t like about me?”
Placing her hands on her hips, swerving them from side to side and rolling her big eyes at me, she bluntly said, “Lady, there ain’t nothing about you that I do like!
Whoa! It wouldn’t do for me to repeat what I wanted to say and do to this fourteen-year-old.  Let’s just say, if I had carried through, I would have been put behind prison bars for assaulting a child.  So, I just mustered up a fake smile to her, and continued on my way.  As I walked on down the hall to my next class, my thoughts flashed back to an encounter I had with myself a few years earlier.  Alone in my bedroom one cold and rainy night, I had gazed into the mirror on the wall and uttered the exact same words that this fourteen-year-old had so bluntly spoken to me: “I don’t like you,” and I also admitted for the first time in my life: “I have no idea who I am.”

After my encounter with myself in the mirror, and what was fast becoming my bottomless pit of despair, it was as though the Holy Spirit took me by the hand and we began to travel down a muddy road that I had traveled for years.  As I retraced my tracks along that road, I viewed people whom I had allowed to mold and shape me into their image.

Being a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person with a low-key personality, I had avoided conflict at all extremes.  In doing so, I became a yo-yo on a string, bobbling up and down, trying to keep peace and harmony, albeit a false harmony. People Pleaser—that was my addiction.

Talk about having no sense of belonging, that was me.  How well I can relate to what Mrs. Myers says we do on the human level to achieve a sense of belonging:

“…we base our feelings of belongingness on our ability to attract love and approval and inclusion. Since both we and other people are imperfect and changeable, human relationships fail to fully meet our need for inner support.” (page 127)

New Sense of Belonging:  I believe the Holy Spirit took me down that muddy road to view ways I had gotten off the right path and then He gave me a new direction.  I began to travel on a new ‘Road of Identity’—one that gave me purpose in life.  In our chapter today, Mrs. Myers describes it so well.

  • “In God we have a belongingness based on eternal, unconditional love that accepts us without regard for our merits or demerits.”
  • “…In Christ we never have to view ourselves as deficient or as outsiders, or as inferior to those who see themselves as exclusive or elite.”
  • Christ is in us. (Colossians 1:27)
  • We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • ‘Through the blood of Christ,’ we are now ‘inside the circle of God’s love.’ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We ‘belong in God’s household with every other Christian.’ (Ephesians 2:19)
  • Each of us is a full member of ‘the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.’ (Hebrews 12:23)

It reminds me of an old hymn of the church…
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Let’s pray:  Father God, Your Word says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9 NIV).  Thank You, Lord, for choosing us as Your own.  Help us to look only to You for belonging…not anyone else.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

CHRISTLife — TwentyNine: Enlightened

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♬♪ I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin; I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in ♬♪
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night ♬♪Praise the Lord, I saw the light

I saw the light, I saw the light! ♬♪No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, ♬♪ no sorrow in sight! ♬♪Praise the Lord, I saw the light

As much fun as this song is to sing, it is even more so a joyful proclamation of God’s redeeming grace in our lives!  No matter how ‘good’ a life one could possibly lead before accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior…life prior to that IS aimless and filled with sin.  It is only through the accomplishments of Jesus on the Cross as He fulfilled the plan of salvation that Almighty God alone could have put into motion that anyone can ‘see the light!’

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,
righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light
Ephesians 5:8-13

Oh, do you not just love the end of that passage? “…Everything that is illuminated becomes a light….” That’s us (you and me)! We have been illuminated…the darkness that filled every part of our heart has been dispelled by the Light of Christ!

When Jesus spoke to His disciples about truly ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ He was also including us in that group of people who are blessed!  We have heard the message of salvation and have responded to His call!

But your eyes are blessed because they do see, and your ears because they do hear!
For I assure you: Many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see
yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear yet didn’t hear them.
Matthew 13:16 and 17

May I encourage you to recognize the light that you are!  1 Thessalonians 5:5 tells us that, “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”  Being we now ARE children of the light, we should fulfill Jesus’ words (Matthew 5:16), “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

We do, for now, live in an evil, dark, perverse world.  But, by God’s grace we have the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Light of the World, living in our hearts.  We have been made new, we have received grace upon grace, we have His power alive within us and we are the children of the Light!  Let your little light shine!

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God
without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
holding fast to the word of life….
Philippians 2:13-16

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And here are Kim’s thoughts and her beautiful inner identity album page for this week; she writes:

This page really touches my heart as it is my life’s story!!  God turned my darkness into light.  My mess into my message. and just like Isaiah 61 says:

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Hallelujah!

CHRISTLife — TwentyEight: Empowered

cl empoweredMost times it’s through weakness that we experience God’s strength. He uses our weaknesses and the areas that we feel less strong to open a divine door. Without weakness we would rarely experience His strength. My mind goes back to Gideon and his army of 300, yet he was equipped to do exactly as God intended and defeat an army that worshipped idols.  He started out with 3000 men, and God reduced the army to 300.  Another example of less is more is the feeding of the masses with just loaves and fishes.  Doesn’t our God just have a way?  When we trust Him with our life, can’t He equip us and empower us for exactly what He has for us to do?   You already have access to the strength the Spirit gives, simply because He lives in you!

He has called you for supernatural acts, my friend, which require supernatural equipping.  We must be charged up in order to do the will of God.  Like your cell phone, it will do you no good if it is not charged.  Same with us as believers, if we do not stay connected to His Word, and in tune with His Spirit, how will we know what  God has in mind for us?  He speaks to us through His Words in the Bible. And at the end of this chapter, there are a few verses that were recommended for deeper study and I thought we could go through them together…

Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power; Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
Exodus 15:6

God saved the Israelites by parting the Red Sea.  It is an almighty symbol of God’s saving work on behalf of His people.  This event is a reminder of the salvation of our God.  How do you remind yourself of His great saving work in your life? What “red sea” do you need Him to part in your life today?

I love You Lord, You are my strength.
Psalm 46:1

This was written toward the end of David’s life when there was peace.  God is praised for His works and blessings thoughout the years.  What blessings has He done in your life, and have you praised Him for it?  What if are you struggling with right now?  Even if… He is worthy to be praised.  What is your “if?”  Even if the world around you is crumbling, we don’t need to fear.  In the face of utter destruction, the writer expressed a quiet confidence in God’s ability to save him. No matter what, God is our refuge.  Even if there’s turmoil and trials, He’s not just a retreat—He is our Eternal Refuge and strength in every circumstance.  He is always providing, always there to help.  His power is complete and He gives us victory over all!  He will never fail you, He will always rescue you.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord Himself is my Strength and my Defense; He has become my Salvation.
Isaiah 12:2

God is never too tired or too busy to help and listen to His children.  His strength is ours and—if we stay close and engaged in His Word—we will always have His strength at our disposal. All you have to do is say His name and seas calm, problems fade, and you are restored.  Even if a whisper is all you can muster, Yahweh is listening and ready to intervene.

Friends, you may feel like you don’t have what it takes to do battle for God, but He sees it differently.  He sees you as equipped, empowered, full of strength and ready for any task laid before you.  1 Corinthians 1:27 says,”But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”  If this is you, you are exactly where God wants you. You are in a position to listen and accept what He has for your life and you are humble enough to know that you cannot do anything on your own.  For He has promised that when we are weakest,  He is strongest.  And when we are at our lowest, His strength carries us.  It is such a precious time of communion that we don’t ever want to forget and we will always cherish such times.  I encourage you to journal and keep a list of when you and God are more in union and you couldn’t make it another minute without His strength.  Then you have a battle plan to share with others and a faith that can move mountains!

Let us pray: Dearest Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit in me.  Help me to never get in the way of Your perfect plan.  I pray for a fresh filling every morning, oh God.  I thank You for Your power in me, for Your patience in my weakness and for Your strength when I need it most.  Lord, keep me humble. Keep me teachable and positioned to hear You only.  Silence the voices of the world that can be so loud and can drown You out sometimes.  Help me to remember that the only way to hear You is to be still and listen and to read Your word and pray. Thank You for parting our “Red Seas” and for taking care of our “if’s.”  Forgive us when we forget that You are enough.  We love You and praise You and sit at Your feet.  Precious Lord, thank You for hearing us. It’s in Jesus name we pray, amen.

 

CHRISTLife — TwentySeven: New Altogether

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The Truth contained in that Scripture is now more clear to me than ever before!  Surely I am not the only one to be having these moments of clarity and revelation?   If I was a cartoon character, I would have a little bubble over my head with the words “Oh!  Yes!  Now I understand!  Thank You, Lord!!!”  Truly, for so long, I have walked around endeavoring to renew my mind…I have!  Really!  But it has been such work because I was not keeping this Truth as my motivation.  The ‘cart before the horse’ syndrome.  No longer!  I have seen the light!  Since I have put on the new self, I am “being renewed in knowledge according to the image of <my> Creator.

Oh, the Lord does encourage us…He motivates us…and spurs us on.  And really all that is ours to do is simply believe Him and take Him at His Word. We CAN count on His Word being true.

Here are a few statements of Truth about who we are in the newness that Christ has made available to every believer.

  • new attitude of mind (Ephesians 4:23)
  • new heart (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • new spirit (Ezekiel 11:17)
  • new nature (Colossians 3:10)
  • new heritage (Galatians 3:28)
  • new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • new birth (1 Peter 1:3 and 4)
  • new self (Ephesians 4:24)

If God says we have all these things…then we do.  Mrs. Myers writes: “…you may sometimes think to yourself, ‘Well, that’s just not true of me, even though I <do> belong to Christ.’”  (Anyone else?)  Perhaps I have shared that mindset in the past.  But now, I no longer do.  I AM who God says I am! (And y.o.u. are, too!)

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
In Christ there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all.
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.
Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.
Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:9-17

This is quite a list of righteous, holy ways of living!  Images that God thinks of you…pictures that reflect the way that Jesus lived—and so can you (me, too)! Now those would make a beautiful page for our inner identity albums, wouldn’t you say?

“So take God at His Word and press forward into a growing experience of the renewal to which He has called you!”

— Mrs. Ruth Myers

CHRISTLife — TwentySix: Always A Receiver

cl always a receiver

Time measured out my days, life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God but knew I’d never be so strong
I looked hard at this world to learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace…I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
And I know how that would go—the battles I would face
Forever running but losing the race…were it not for grace

So here is all my praise expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place and ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full just how much His Love would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven so I would not be lost

Were it not for grace!”  I believe you (me, too!) are thoroughly and thankfully cognizant of the awesome goodness of Almighty God to mankind in the incredible provision of His grace.  And it is SO good to be aware of where we would be…but perhaps even more important to recognize that, because of grace, we are where God would have us to be.  As Mrs. Myers so abundantly points out, we are always  recipients of God’s amazing grace!  We are the joyful “receivers not independent achievers!”  Here in this 26th chapter, Always A Receiver, she writes about grace/God’s favor over 20 times!

Throughout the Bible, we find many believers well aware of and thankful for God’s grace!  Whether it was James offering motivation to the Hebrews living in dispersion throughout Europe or David’s exclamation of praise, these are just two examples of men who were assured of the truth regarding grace.

But He gives more grace.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
James 4:6

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

Equally we, too, should be assured of all that Jesus’ sacrifice and death has given to us by God’s grace.

[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God,
freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy),
through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:24

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace
in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1 and 2

And so we can also praise our God declaring how good and kind He has been to us! We are redeemed, saved, freed from slavery to sin and now live, in that freedom, under grace.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14

Paul shared the following with Titus as he urged him to encourage and reprove the people in Crete. May we have the same heart—keeping in mind the grace we have received and do always receive!

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God
and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us
from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people
for His own possession who are zealous for good.
Titus 2:11-14

CHRISTLife — Week Six

CHRISTLifepart2coverpic

So! I have briefly read through each of the chapters we will be studying this week in CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity.  As always, Mrs. Myers shares the Truth and additional godly images that encourage us to say “I AM what God says I am!”  (Are you more and more believing it? Can you say it wholeheartedly?)

This week’s chapters are:

Always A Receiver…focusing on grace, grace, and more grace!

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and His grace to me was not without effect.

New Altogether…take God at His Word; and see yourself as the new creation that He has made you to be!

Colossians 3:9 and 10
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self
with its practices and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.

Empowered…In Christ we have absolutely all the strength we will ever need to do any thing that He calls or commands us to do!

Philippians 4:13
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him
Who infuses inner strength into me;
I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].

Enlightened…No longer do we dwell and walk in darkness! Let your little light shine!

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light
of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

(And then as we jump into Part Three, Three Pillars of our New Identity)
Belonging… to God because of His love that accepts us into union with Himself!

Ephesians 2:19
Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens,
excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship
with the saints; and you belong to God’s [own] household.

And throughout each of the chapters we study this week, there seems to me to be an underlying message that is communicated throughout—giving praise to God for the Truth of our identity.  As we continue to look at the facts of just who we are in Christ and faithfully replace the old, negative images (lies) with the Truth and reality of our True eternal, spiritual life.

  • We can praise Him for the new creation we are and the new life we are living.
  • We can praise Him that through Jesus we, who are weak, are made strong.
  • We can praise Him that we can see because ‘in His light we see light.”
  • We can praise Him for all that His precious, unconditional, everlasting Love brings into our lives.
  • We can praise Him that we will never again be on the outside…through Jesus’ blood we now belong.
  • We can praise and thank Him wholeheartedly declaring “I AM who God says I am!”