April 24, 2017

CHRISTLife — ThirtySeven: Competent

cl competent

We have this kind of confidence toward God through Christ.
It is not that we are competent in ourselves to consider anything
as coming from ourselves, but our competence is from God.
2 Corinthians 3:4 and 5

This is the Truth.  There is nothing, not anything, not even one tiny bit that you (or me, too!) can do to add to…or even take away from…this fact.  Our competency (some versions use the word ‘sufficiency’) comes from Almighty God.  He planned for it, He purposed it, He predestined us to be competent…through Christ.

“How, Coleen?” you might ask.  The ‘how’ is by continuing to learn about who we are in Jesus…and Who He is…through the Scriptures!  We seek Him and keep our eyes on Him.  As we do, we will be transfigured (or changed) into His very own image! (Those are not my words…listen!)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold
[in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are constantly being transfigured into His very own image
in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another;
2 Corinthians 3:18

“God has purposed for us to share in Christ’s glory so that the glory of the Son might be magnified in the countless mirrors of those who are conformed to His image.”  Every believer (you and me!) has this supernatural thing done in them by God’s grace and mercy!  It is a continual process, this redeeming work, and has been begun by our Lord in each of us!  It is part who God knew you (me, too!) to be before the foundations of the world.

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,
in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified,
and those whom He justified He also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30

This is our competency—our sufficiency IN Christ—already accomplished for us.  We must have the mindset that ‘I AM who God says I am!’  We must keep the Truth in our minds, replacing the negative images we have thought about ourselves for so long with the righteous, holy, sanctified, justified, TRUE images that the Lord tells us we ARE!

So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above,
where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.
Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.
When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed,
then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

The day will come when the fullness, the completeness, the total magnitude of ALL that God has purposed will come to pass.  At that time we, too, will BE the glory of the Lord! At that time we will no longer be hidden in Christ but will be revealed in full with Him in glory!  But even now, we have been made sufficient and competent!  We are constantly being transfigured (changed). We can do!

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

We ARE who God says we are!  And we are ready to be the fullness of His glory, amen? Come quickly, Lord Jesus!  We want to be all that God has purposed for us to be!  We want to bring honor and glory to You!

CHRISTLife – Three: Swan Story

1513255_414194085379002_1926593591_nI have been the swan and I have been the ugly duckling.  It all depends on the lens that you are looking through.  When I was in my late teens, I battled an eating disorder….  Oh, I knew what God said about me—that my body was a temple and I was to honor Him with it.  But I saw total imperfection.  I went to counseling and ultimately God and I won the victory (but notice I put Him in the equation!)  I remember looking in the mirror and seeing one thing; then closing my eyes and praying to see myself the way God did.  I cried out to the Holy Spirit and asked Him to be my eyes. You know what? When I would open them again, I saw God’s creation—a beautiful young woman on fire for His Kingdom.  Isn’t that what it is all about?

We know how we see ourselves.  We have given ourselves many, many names.  Some not so nice, right?  So I thought I would find proof of what God thinks of us, or how He defines us in His Word.  At the end of the chapter, there are many verses to look up and I would like to read them together, okay?  Then you decide, swan or (ugly) duckling.

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit, they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my Rock! There is no evil in Him!”
Psalms 92:12-15

Palm trees are known for their long life; so to flourish like a palm tree is to stand tall and to live a long time.  The cedars of Lebanon are 120 feet in height and 30 feet in circumference!  So, if we are strong like these, we are solid, unshakable, strong, and immovable!  God sees us as godly ones, His children who are unmoved by winds of circumstance, because we have Him on our side.  Our foundation is a God Who never changes and is not shaken by the struggles of this world.  These struggles only make us more beautiful in His eyes.  You see, we have won the victory through Jesus!!

So all of us who have had the veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord—Who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him
as we are changed into His glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18

As believers in Jesus, the veil has been removed and we can be like Him!  How then can you see anything other than beautiful?  As we read about Him and become close with Him, we see the truth about Jesus and it transforms us.  And as we learn more about His life and His sufferings and death on our behalf, our knowledge deepens and the Holy Spirit works in us to change us into Christ-like daughters. And so it is that the more closely we follow, the more like Him we will be!  Now what do you see in that mirror?

Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you,
because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul always started his letters out by saying what he appreciated about his readers and the joy he felt because of their faith in God and their love for each other.  He is thanking God for these people!  As a community of Jesus followers, aren’t we better together?  Shouldn’t we be uplifting to each other?  I challenge you to find ways to encourage the women around you.  We can get so caught up in the comparison game and falling short of our neighbor.  But God created you to be you and to be the most amazing you that you can be.  In His image we are created and we are made to love each other like He loves us.  How much better the world would be if everyone felt this love?  We wouldn’t have many insecure women if we followed Paul’s example.

And last is…

Rather you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All glory to Him, both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

This is Peter urging his readers to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus, to get to know Him more and more by walking close to Him.  No matter where you are in your journey with Jesus—whether you are mature in your faith or just a beginner—the world is sinful and it is always a challenge to our faith.  There is always room to grow!  Never be content with where you are.  Always seek and pray and read His Word.  You will grow in the grace and knowledge of Him!  The closer you are to Him, the more strength you have to handle these hard and trying circumstances we will go through. This is beautiful, my friends!

Now, answer the question that is asked in this chapter:

“How confident are you
that you truly can change, grow,
and become more than you now are?”

Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, we praise You for Who You are!  You are never changing, always the same and, in this uncertain world, we cling to You!  You love us and You created us to be Your followers.  In Your image we are made and You are perfect. Forgive us for the critical things we say about ourselves and for the constant comparisons we make to each other and to ourselves.  You never meant for us to be anything other than beautiful, full of grace, always forgiving, loving, God-fearing followers of You.  Help us to stay in Your Word and to always remember who You say we are. We are a swan in Your eyes;  help us to see and believe. You are so patient with us always.  We love You and thank You for always loving us and accepting us. For it is in Your name we pray, amen.

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Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 8 – Recycling the Pain (pgs 241-267)

Choice8_LHC

Galatians 6:1-2
My friends, you are spiritual. So if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path. But watch out, and don’t be tempted yourself. You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.” (CEV)
At the beginning of this study in January, I had many comments on apprehensions, anxieties, and generalized worries about getting back in to the memories & experiences of the past. As the study progressed, I’ve been able to see transformations in our participants. Some have had small “AHA” moments on how the past has shaped today. Others have had eye-opening revelations. Where ever this study has taken you, God has blessed your life.
We are heading in to our final week of Life’s Healing Choices, but this is not the final week of our journey. John Baker tells us, in the Celebrate Recover Participant Guide 4, “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Instead of the focus remaining on healing your personal hurts, it’s time to consider how others can benefit from our experiences. Baker references “recycling the pain.”
Recycle — to adapt or convert something to a new use
When we faced the events that shaped our attitudes, addictions, thoughts or behaviors, we never would have imagined that good would come out of it. Romans 8:28 states: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)
God truly does have an amazing plan for His children. He does not sit around looking for ways to hurt us, complicate our lives, or bring us pain. This comes from our choices in life. But He does promise to use ALL things for His good purpose. So when I consider the experiences of my past, I need to look to ways my experiences can help others. What did I learn from these events that can be passed on to another, give hope and encouragement?
We’re reminded that God “does His best work through weak people”

2 Cor 12:7 -10 tells us, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (The Message)
If you had asked me in 2001 what good would ever come from the chaos around me, I would have thrown up my hands and said “Nothing!” I never could have imagined that God would restore my heart and soul to the point of remarriage, blending families, and step-parenting. And, I certainly wouldn’t have ever guessed He would use me in a ministry position like Girlfriends Coffee Hour! But in the midst of everything, I didn’t blame God or accuse Him of doing things to me. I knew He didn’t want me to experience pain, but He promised to use whatever I did experience for the positive.
As a parent, I see the same type of things with my kids. I don’t sit around thinking of ways to inflict pain or hardship in their lives (though they may think otherwise with the household rules!), but I do know that their teenage minds will make decisions that sometimes bring painful consequences. My goal as mom is to help them learn from the experience, give suggestions to overcome, and help them move forward. There is a purpose behind all that we experience, whether we want to admit it or not.

God does the same for us through His Word, our interactions with fellow believers, and in daily prayers with Him. Baker shares that , “people are not helped by our strengths; they’re helped when we’re honest about our weaknesses … the proof that you are truly recovering is when you begin to focus outside yourself, when you stop being absorbed with your needs, your hurts, your problems. Recovery is evident when you being to say, ‘How can I help others?”” pg.242
This week we’ll look more closely at the following questions:

  • Why does God allow pain?
  • How can we use our pain to help others?

A few verses to ponder this week:
Ecclesiastes 4:9 -1 2 NLT
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. (The Message)

James 1:22 NLT
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

 

Your Reading Assignment this Week

Monday – Chapter 8 Sharing the Choice – Laurie
Tuesday – Why does God Allow Pain? – Leslie
Wednesday – How to Use our Pain – Kim
Thursday – Make the Choice – Amy
Friday – Recap of the week – Laurie

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we thank You because You are ever-present in our lives. No matter what we experience, You are there with us to give us strength, courage, comfort through each and every step. Even as we look to heal from our past experience, we can hold hope in Your promise to work ALL things for good in those who live according to Your will. As our Heavenly Father, You desire the best for Your children. Continue to guide us as we continue to learn more about trusting You. Amen.

Power Verses for Chapter 8
Matthew 10:8
Matthew 6:24
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Deuteronomy 4:9
James 2:17
Ephesians 4:1
2 Corinthians 3:18
Hebrews 10:24
Romans 12: 9, 13
Galatians 6:1
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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If you would like to send Amy a private email in regards to this blog, please email her at: Amy@girlfriendscoffeehour.com