July 23, 2017

CHRISTLife — FORTY: Embracing A Glorious Future

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What an opportunity, privilege, and awakening we have experienced in the last 39 days of this study.  We have been made aware again, or perhaps for the first time, that God created us because He loves us.  He created us on purpose to have a relationship and fellowship with Him.  We didn’t come crawling out of some swampland.  We came out of His heart.

We discovered that the ideal mirror to look into is not our bathroom mirror but the mirror of God’s Word, which is His Truth and His Love.  It is the “reliable, unchangeable grounds for accepting ourselves.” (Ruth Myers)

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

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Yes, we each came into this study with images of ourselves influenced by our past; many of those were negative experiences, failures, and hurts.  But God chose this time, this study, and each of us to destroy those images and replace them with His image of us from His Word, transforming our minds to line up with His mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

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Through this study we have begun to recognize and accept God’s description of us, His followers.  We “have chosen the way of Truth” (Psalm 119:30, NKJV).  I flipped back through the book, CHRISTLife, and was blessed to read again what God calls us:

created, child of God, daughter, called, chosen, loved, saved, sanctified, desired, beloved’s, bride, quilt-free, blessed, clean, redeemed, forgiven, righteous, purified, justified, alive, alert, new, holy, victorious, obedient, Christ-like, delivered, united, fruitful, transformed, temple, priest(ess), filled, complete, receiver, empowered, strong, enlightened, belong, accepted, approved, friend, citizen, servant, worshiper, worthy, delighted in, favored, honored, royal, nurtured, satisfied, secure, treasured, competent, beautiful, bold, confident, overcomer, anointed, purposeful, witness…and more!

Wow!  After reading those I’m breaking out into a little song and dance—what about you!?  Those affirmations fill me with hope, and confidence for now and for my future. As Ruth Myers said, “In God’s unlimited view, He sees our increasing glory as His Spirit transforms us into finished works of art.”

…Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

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Ladies, these “works of art” (us!) weren’t created to hang on some museum wall and gather dust.  We weren’t even created to walk this dusty earth forever.  Oh no, God has created us for purpose: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Our hope will be complete when we meet Jesus face to face (Isaiah 33:17).   Our future will be for all eternity, worshiping and serving in the presence of our King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 1:5-6).

Time after time in the Scriptures, God shares His desire and plan for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  Here are just a few passages for you to look up as you study today:

John 3:14-17, 17:2-3
Psalm 16:11
Romans 6:22-23
1 Timothy 6:12
Titus 1:2, 3:4-7
1 John 1:2, 2:25
Jude 1:21
Revelation 3:5

Ecclesiastes 3:11 even tells us that He has set eternity in the hearts of men, even though we can’t fathom everything He has done for us.  God loves us, God has chosen us, God planned from before time began for us to spend eternity with Him.  That desire is in His heart, and He placed it in our hearts—and Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-4).

If you have given your heart to Jesus, then you have everything you need to spend a glorious future in the very presence of our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It’s time to embrace your true and deepest identity, for “God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).   “I AM Who God Says I Am!”

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

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Dear Lord, we have completed the study of this book, but I pray that we never stop studying from Your Book what You have to say to us and about us.  Thank You for loving us and choosing us to be Your children so that we can spend both here and in Heaven a glorious future with You.  I pray that You, the God of peace, will sanctify each lady in this study through and through.  May their whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The One who “…calls each of us is faithful, and He will do it”(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — Sixteen: Called and Chosen

christlife graphic wk4_1Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,
that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
In love He predestined us to adoption as 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.
Ephesians 1:3-6

Called and Chosen

Is that not amazing?  And it is true.  God chose you (me, too!) in His infinite wisdom and sovereign knowledge.  What truly amazes me is ALL that His calling and choice have placed into our lives.  As I have been meditating on these verses that Mrs. Myers so abundantly has sprinkled throughout this chapter, I see how these are definitely images that we should have in our inner identity albums:

  • blessed
  • chosen in Him
  • holy
  • blameless
  • adopted
  • sons
  • God’s heritage
  • His portion
  • foreordained
  • saved
  • purposed
  • treasured possession
  • not rejected
  • eternally loved
  • without blame
  • justified
  • glorified
  • worthy
  • beloved
  • known by God
  • approved
  • saved
  • sanctified
  • God’s elect

Consider this statement from Pastor John Piper:
“Your salvation did not begin with your choice to believe in Christ—a choice which was real and necessary.  Your salvation began before the creation of the universe when God planned the history of redemption, ordained the death and the resurrection of his Son, and chose you to be his own through Christ.  This is a great objective ground for assurance. And we should consider it deeply.” *

In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance;
for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand)
in accordance with His purpose,
Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,
So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!
Verses 11 and 12

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—
not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus,
Who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:9 and 10

“You’re CALLED. You’ve been called personally by God and to God. That’s an in-Christ fact about you that can help erase any sense of alienation or lack of purpose that you may at times feel” (Mrs. Myers, page 68).

In light of all of this, sisters, may we daily fulfill the joy and honor and privilege of being called and chosen by Almighty God.  The Apostle Paul encourages everyone who is called to,

…live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:1-3

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Dear Lord, how awesomely wonderful and gracious You are to us!  We struggle, Lord, (You know that) endeavoring to hold the Truth of who You say we are in our minds and hearts.  But we want to…please help us through the empowering of Your Holy Spirit!  I pray for each person who reads this little blog today, Lord, asking that You cause the Truth of Your Word to sink into their depth of their hearts.  I pray that each will remember that Your ways and Your thoughts are high above our own.  I pray that each will recognize Grace and Mercy for all that they are.  I pray that each will remember that Your power and strength are made perfect in their weakness.  And I pray that each will believe more and more that ‘I AM who God says I am!’  Thank You for calling us and chosing us to be Your own.  Praying and asking these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

* From a wonderful series that Pastor Piper did on having assurance of just who we are because of God’s chosing and calling!

Esther – Chapter 9:6-16

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The king said to Queen Esther, “The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted.  If it pleases the king,” Esther answered, “give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edit tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged on gallows.”
Esther 9:12-13 NIV

In my Bible, the introduction to Chapter 9 is entitled “Triumph of the Jews.”  The enemies of the Jews thought they could take out their enemies, but the Jews were able to turn the tables on them! We also see that Haman’s ten sons were killed in verse 9 – so why the strange request from Esther?  Why hang ten dead men on the gallows?  Seems a bit—literally—like overkill. We’ve seen that all of Esther’s actions have been intentional so far, so what is the point of this request?  Darlene mentions that a public execution would put fear in the people (page 103).  It would do that, to be sure!   My Study Bible gives additional insight.

In Deuteronomy 21:22-23, God gives these directions through Moses: “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight.  Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.”  To the Jews, this is a reminder of God’s deliverance and fulfillment of a promise made to them long ago through Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse…” (Genesis 12:3 NIV).

If you go to your Bible, you will notice that I didn’t include the remainder of verse 3 in Genesis.  It concludes “… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Wow, what an amazing promise!  Did you realize that the promise to Abraham became your blessing, too?  Through Abraham, God makes a mighty nation—the Jews—His chosen people.  Through Abraham, God sends Jesus to fulfill His plan and redeem us all.  Hallelujah!  One of the beautiful revelations of studying Esther is how Esther’s story is our story!  We are all Esther–beautiful, favored by the ultimate King (God), chosen, given a helper (the Holy Spirit), redeemed and saved from our enemy (Satan)!  But here is a key difference—and please give it the reverence it deserves—in our life story, the One hung on the gallows, the One hung on a tree – is Jesus…yes…Jesus.

In Galatians 3:13 -14 (NIV) Paul writes “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”   I read this and I am so humbled, so grateful, so joyful!  You see, Jesus became the sacrifice that saved me from death.  Jesus became the curse so that I can receive the blessing!  Because He triumphed over the cross, over curses, over death, He rendered Satan’s power ultimately useless over me!  Just like the Jews’ enemies in Persia, who thought they were going to destroy them, Satan has had the tables turned on him! WE ARE SAVED!!  WE ARE REDEEMED!!

Praise God today, sisters, because He has made the power of the Cross available to us who believe in Him!  Don’t live in fear of the enemy; live in the hope and confidence of those redeemed out of the hand of the devil.  Just like the Jews were overwhelmingly victorious – so will you be in your life.  Read the story of Esther again and apply this knowledge to your life – I am Esther and, just like God worked in her life, He works in mine! God bless you, sisters!  WE ARE REDEEMED!! Let the knowledge of that change your life!

Let’s Pray:

Holy God, thank You for the Book of Esther!  Thank You for Your words that give us wisdom, knowledge, hope and all of Your precious promises.  Help us to live today and every day with the knowledge that You love us very much and that You want us to live abundant lives of joy! Thank You that Your son became the curse, OUR curse, so that we can receive the blessing HE deserved. May we be eternally grateful and strive to live out our days in humble, grateful submission to You and fulfill the purposes You have for us!  Thank You for loving us!  Help us to love others the same way. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 5 – Day 2: I AM Family

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Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. 

Ephesians 1:11

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Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Colossians 3:12 

Chose. That word says so much. Here are a couple of definitions that I found for this word; looking at the definition helps me to better understand the full impact of the meaning of a word.

  • To want; desire.
  • Make a deliberate decision: to make a deliberate decision to do something

We can’t choose our earthly family, we are gifted (doesn’t always feel like it but yes) with them by God; they are genetically ours.  We love them for their good characteristics and pray them through their bad; as my son says “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”   This principle can be easily applied to our earthly families because, like Teresa said, these relationships are tangible, we can see the connections and they are sometimes easier to grasp than the concept of a spiritual family, whose connections we cannot see with our eyes.

Our spiritual family is different. It’s a family chosen by God; we’re related by blood,—but not flesh and blood like siblings are related—but by the blood of the Lamb.

We don’t choose our family in this life, but God chose us.  He picked each and every one of us.  If nothing else this gives us reassurance that we are part of the I AM’s family; take confidence that He wanted us!  He knew our past, present, and futures and still chose us.

He desires to have a relationship with us.  He made a deliberate decision to call us into His family.

There’s something that Teresa wrote that truly touched my heart: “When it comes to our spiritual family, we like to pick and choose.”  We walk around life looking at those around us, questioning why we have to accept them, and questioning why God chose them.  They may have hurt us, we may know things about their past, and we may wonder why we have to accept them.  I know I have been guilty of this.

Look at Colossians 3:12 again…and see how we are to interact and love our spiritual family:

Tenderhearted – Merciful – Kind – Walking in Humility – Gentle – Patient

 Why?

Because He chose you.   Because He chose me.
Because we are the family of The Great I AM.

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for choosing me despite my past, despite my present, and despite what my future holds that does not live up to Your word.  Lord, please give us the hearts to accept our spiritual family as You have accepted and chosen us.  Lord, please guide us and give us the opportunities to walk with a tender heart, with mercy, in kindness, with humility, gently, and with patience. Help us to embrace that we are a part of Your family.  Thank You, Father.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen

The Resolution for Women – Intelligent Design

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Memory Verse:

You did not choose Me, but I chose you.

I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit.

John 15:16

 

I have to be honest and tell you that today’s chapter really spoke to me in so many ways!  I can’t even tell you what an impact it has had on me!  I struggle with my value, like many of you do.  I always have.  It’s like I know in my head that I am valuable, but it just hasn’t reached my heart yet.  I can tell you how worthy you are, to God, and I do mean it.  I just need to take my own medicine.

Last week, I was on the phone with my Life Coach.  We discussed this very issue:  the feeling of no value.  Just after that call, I opened this book and read today’s chapter, and just about fell over!  I said, “Wow, God!  You know just how to get Your message across, don’t You!!?”  It was amazing!  But that really shouldn’t surprise me because God is always listening, and He is always ready to talk to us, when we are willing to actually sit down and listen!!

Today, I want to show you who you are in Him.  I am taking my own medicine in this lesson, also.  I pray that this scripture speaks to you, as it did to me when I read it.

1 Peter 2: 9-10 (MSG)

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.

Let’s look at those two scriptures just a little bit closer.

  • You are chosen by God
  • You are chosen for the high calling to do God’s will
  • You are chosen to be holy, set apart, sanctified
  • You are His instruments to speak for Him
  • You are to tell others what God has done in your life
  • You have been changed from being a nothing, into being a “something!
  • You have gone from being rejected, to being accepted!

Did you see that?  We have such a high calling on our lives because HE CHOSE US!  He chose US because He knew we would do what He called us to do!

He did not reject us!  He accepted us!

He turned us from being a nothing, into being a something!!

Wow, Ladies!  What more do we need to see here!?!

We should never allow others, or things, to control our thoughts about who we are, and what our value is!  God says it right here….WE ARE CHOSEN TO DO HIS WORK!  That is VALUE!  He would never choose us if He didn’t think we couldn’t do what He is calling us to do!

Whether your job is as a homemaker, a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, or a ….. the list could go on and on…..  HE CHOSE YOU to be that person!  He chose you.   Therefore, He will equip you.  If He will equip you, He will be with you all the way….  All the way, my dear Girlfriend!  He sees your worth to do His work; to spread His word; to spread His love!  And if He has chosen you, this means He thinks you are worthy and valuable enough to do what He needs you to do!

I don’t know about YOU, but I am about to jump up and down and shout, “Hallelujah!!!”  Can I get an AMEN out there???!!!

As Priscilla said on page 53, “this resolution is important – this commitment to assign genuine value to who we are based on our God-given worth, talents, gifts, and abilities.  Because once we’ve settled this issue (in our own hearts … my emphasis here), everything else can begin falling appropriately into place.  We’ll have the freedom to build our lives on what really matters, discarding all the things that don’t.”

Wow!  I don’t know about you, but I am ready to discard my stinkin’ thinkin’ and start focusing on what God’s word says about me!  I’m ready to stop owning those negative thoughts, and start taking back my life, and my value, for God!!

Remember, “The life you are renovating has far too much God-given potential for you to plant its roots in something so menial.  Dig deep and lean in to the truth – the truth of who you are and what He’s created you to offer to the world – and then orbit your life around that steadfast knowledge.”  That steadfast knowledge!  That knowledge that will never let you down, no matter what!  AMEN?

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Let’s Pray: 

Oh Father, we come to You today with open arms, and tears of repentance for the times we have doubted our worth; for the times we have not chosen to believe Your word, and allowed our stinkin’ thinkin’ to take first place over You.  Lord, please forgive us!  Cleanse us of all that junk that keeps us so bottled up inside.  Cleanse us from the pity-parties that we throw for ourselves!  Cleanse us from all the lies that we have told ourselves, and have allowed ourselves to believe.

Lord, I give You praise for all that You have shown us in this chapter today!  Thank You for opening our eyes to see who we truly are, in You Lord!  May we stand in that knowledge today, and allow it to sink down deep into our hearts, so that we know that we know, that we know!  Thank You Lord for revelation knowledge!  May we never go back to that stinkin’ thinkin’ again!   In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

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Today’s blog assignment: 

Name some things in your life that you have allowed to shape your self-worth or self-image?  When you have completed this assignment here on the blog, return to your Facebook Online Bible Study Group for today’s FUN Activity!!  You just never know what we have in store for you!! 

 

If you are not a member of our OBS Facebook Group, and would like to be, please send us an email and we’ll be happy to place you!!   Our email address is:  GirlfriendsCoffeeHour@gmail.com

 

BE BLESSED!!