June 28, 2017

This Week…Ephesians 2:10

SeekingHimLogo

For we are His workmanship,
having been created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God has before prepared that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

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This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, our sisters have reminded us that we ARE God’s workmanship, handiwork…truly His masterpiece.  Here are a few highlights from the devotionals that Ann, Ahmee, Cynda and Tina wrote earlier this week.

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In Finding Purpose, Ahmee shared her own struggle in the past in finding her own purpose…and coming to realize that we do not have one single purpose in life.

What is my purpose?  This is a question that everyone has to answer.  People struggle with answering this question…people die trying to answer this question…people search their whole lifetime trying to answer this question.  Some of us start asking this question at a very young age; some have just always known.

So, your purpose?  Well, your purpose can be in the moment. Your purpose doesn’t define your worth…your worth is always found in God Himself.  Your purpose is simply the role(s) you are in at any given moment.  Your attitude during any season determines whether you see yourself in your purpose.  Purpose isn’t just a one-time ultimate goal.  It shifts.  God has “good works” for us.  Not just one single work / purpose.

Make sure that you are mindful of your current purpose…and not blinded by your end game goal.”

In Good Works, Ann focused on what are the good works God has created us for.  She wrote,

“The anchor Scripture for this week says we were ‘created to do good works.’  What then are the good works, those that God prepared for us to do in advance?

  • Matthew 5:16
    In the same way let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
  • 1 Timothy 6:18
    Command them to do good to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share.
  • Titus 2:7
    In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity seriousness.
  • Hebrews 10:24
    And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.
  • James 2:17
    Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by good deeds, is dead.
  • James 2:18
    But someone will say you have faith I have deeds show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith but I do.

Brethren, as we are doing good works it is not unto man but it is unto God (according to the Scriptures).  Let us take up this noble call with our whole hearts and pursue the calling.”

In Seond Chances, Tina reminded us of David (a man after God’s own heart) and God’s purposes for him…and us.

“While David was living his life, he did not know what he was going to be or where God would have him.  He served God in the areas where he was needed.  From being a shepherd in his father Jesse’s household to showing up where his brother’s were serving in the king’s army.  I am certain David did not plan on slaying a giant that day!  But David did what was asked of him.  David was not perfect.  But he did do what was required of him to serve God and His people.

Can you and I have a relationship like David did with God?  Of course we can.  God will always be there for us to call upon Him and for us to talk to Him.  All we have to do is trust Him and believe God wants the best for us.  Why else would God send His Son Jesus to live among us? Why would God sacrifice his only Son?  Because He loves us.  As our Father, He disciplines us, loves us, hugs us and holds our hands all throughout our lives.  All we have to do is reach for Him.”

And in Living the Good Life, Cynda wrote about the good, blessed life God has prepared for us—truly, a gift!

“When we carry out the good deeds God has predestined for us, it is a way of expressing our gratitude for the good life He has provided for us.  In turn, God blesses us even more.

The Lord will open for you His abundant storehouse….
Deuteronomy 28:12 HCSB

I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.
Zephaniah 9:12 NLT

Job was blessed more in the latter part of His life than in the beginning (Job 42:12).  As if His abundant gift of mercy and grace wasn’t enough, God chooses to bless us even more.  We cannot outdo God.  His gifts are never ending!

Why does God give us gifts we could never earn or hope to repay?  Because we are His handiwork—His masterpiece —born anew through the death of Christ on the Cross; which is the greatest gift of all.  All because God loves each one of us more than we could ever imagine!”

Living the Good Life

SeekingHimLogo

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
[living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Ephesians 2:10 AMP

Did you catch that?  We are ‘predestined for…living the good life’!  Not only has God prepared us to do the good works He planned before we were born, He also prearranged a good life for us.  Psalm 16:11 HCSB states, “You reveal the path of life to me.”  God reveals the paths He has made ready for us.  We don’t have to earn the good life.  We don’t have to work for it.   It is a gracious gift from God (should we choose to receive it).

John 10:10 NKJV tells us Christ came so “…that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  In Jeremiah 31:12 NLT it says, “They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden….”  Not once does it mention that we must work to receive these blessings.

I love this quote from the Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Bible Commentary:
“Works do not justify, but the justified man works.”

Works will not save us.  Works will not earn us the love of God.  But works are something we do because we love God.  When we carry out the good deeds God has predestined for us, it is a way of expressing our gratitude for the good life He has provided for us.  In turn, God blesses us even more.

The Lord will open for you His abundant storehouse….
Deuteronomy 28:12 HCSB

I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles.
Zephaniah 9:12 NLT

Job was blessed more in the latter part of His life than in the beginning (Job 42:12).  As if His abundant gift of mercy and grace wasn’t enough, God chooses to bless us even more.  We cannot outdo God.  His gifts are never ending!

Why does God give us gifts we could never earn or hope to repay?  Because we are His handiwork—His masterpiece—born anew through the death of Christ on the Cross; which is the greatest gift of all.  All because God loves each one of us more than we could ever imagine!

Second Chances

SeekingHimLogo

For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

As we walk through life, we are given chances to begin again.  God knows we are not perfect.  We strive every day to be better.  With the help of the Holy Spirit we will do more and more for the Kingdom.

I was listening to someone this week talking about bearing fruit for the Kingdom.  If you have been serving in a certain area, and you feel God is closing that door, it is not always a bad thing.  You have to cut away some of the bad (or simply unnecessary) things to let the good enter into your life.

While David was living his life, he did not know what he was going to be or where God would have him.  He served God in the areas where he was needed.  From being a shepherd in his father Jesse’s household to showing up where his brother’s were serving in the king’s army.  I am certain David did not plan on slaying a giant that day!  But David did what was asked of him.  David was not perfect.  But he did do what was required of him to serve God and His people.

Can you and I have a relationship like David did with God?  Of course we can.  God will always be there for us to call upon Him and for us to talk to Him.  All we have to do is trust Him and believe God wants the best for us.  Why else would God send His Son Jesus to live among us? Why would God sacrifice his only Son?  Because He loves us.  As our Father, He disciplines us, loves us, hugs us and holds our hands all throughout our lives.  All we have to do is reach for Him.

God knew what Peter would do. Jesus knew what Peter would do. Under pressure and full of fear, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.  Would we deny knowing Him if we were in similar circumstances—under pressure and fear-filled?  We do not know.  Just as Jesus restored Peter after His resurrection, I would hope and pray that Jesus will restore us if we are faced with such an occasion. Our Heavenly Father loves us.

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Father, thank You for loving us.  Thank You for showing us how Peter was forgiven and restored so that he could proclaim the words and ways of Jesus.  Help us to be bold and able to speak on Your behalf when we need to.  Let the power of the Holy Spirit speak through us.   Thank You!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Good Works

SeekingHimLogo

For we are God’s workmanship
created in Christ Jesus to do good works
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2: 10

I am reminded of Jeremiah 1:5…

Before I formed you I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.

This just shows us how we were created.  In Genesis 1:26-28 God said, “Let us make man in Our image and Our likeness…”  You will notice God was giving power to man to have dominion over things and what distracted is the sinful nature of man.  However God’s compassionate love gave us Christ Jesus in Whom we are born again.  Now that we are born again, what is required of us?

1. Go back to the drawing board and see the purpose of God over our lives

2. Appreciate God for giving us the second chance

3. Fulfil the call that we have without murmuring or blabbing

The anchor Scripture for this week says we were ‘created to do good works.’  What then are the good works, those that God prepared for us to do in advance?

  • Matthew 5:16
    In the same way let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
  • 1 Timothy 6:18
    Command them to do good to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share.
  • Titus 2:7
    In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity seriousness.
  • Hebrews 10:24
    And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.
  • James 2:17
    Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by good deeds, is dead.
  • James 2:18
    But someone will say you have faith I have deeds show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith but I do.

Brethren, as we are doing good works it is not unto man but it is unto God (according to the Scriptures).  Let us take up this noble call with our whole hearts and pursue the calling.

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Dear Lord, we thank You for You knew us for all times.  We thank You for You predestined us and You knew our roles on earth for each one of us.  May we come to a full understanding of the good works that we are to do.  Use us to the maximum and all to the glory of your Holy Name.  Open our eyes of understanding to see the best inside us and how we should take action.  On our own we can hardly manage; we need the Holy Spirit—Christ in us—for this to be undertaken.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Finding Purpose

SeekingHimLogo

For we are God’s workmanship
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

What is my purpose?  This is a question that everyone has to answer.  People struggle with answering this question…people die trying to answer this question…people search their whole lifetime trying to answer this question.  Some of us start asking this question at a very young age; some have just always known.

I have never been one of the latter.  How lovely it would be to know what you want to do with your life from a young age.  I am one of those people who, well into my late twenties, am still trying to figure out my purpose.

I can’t say for sure what the big picture is, but I can say that focusing on the end game has caused me to miss out on a significant amount of present time.  I believe that yes, a goal should be in mind; but when you don’t know what the future holds (which is often), you should do what you know to do right now.  Doing nothing is a waste of time.

For instance, I have had quite a few jobs in my working career and just about each one I have treated as a means to an end.  I do my job and I do it well.  I excel in the actual performance but my attitude has not always been the best.  Instead of going in with the mindset that this job is what is paying my bills now, I go in with the mindset that this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life, so it’s not important.  Have you ever tried to do a job that you didn’t think was important?  Coupled with the fact that I’ve always had the mindset that there are always more jobs…disaster is what occurs.  And I’m not a bad employee.  It is just the way that I approach the job that is the problem.  I feel that ‘If this were my purpose, then I would be happy doing it.”  Ha! Being content is something that is cultivated, it doesn’t just happen because the circumstances are good.

So, your purpose? Well, your purpose can be in the moment. Your purpose doesn’t define your worth. Your worth is always found in God himself. Your purpose is simply the role(s) you are in at any given moment. Your attitude during any season determines whether you see you in your purpose. Purpose isn’t just a one-time ultimate goal. It shifts. God has “good works” for us. Not just one single work /purpose.

Make sure that you are mindful of your current purpose…and not blinded by your end game goal.

Paint Your Picture

SeekingHimLogo

For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

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Julie Myers, singer / songwriter
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Pick me up like a paintbrush, God
Dip it in the colors of my life
Paint Your picture, Father
And fashion a heart that is wholly Yours

Take Your fingers, God
Master Potter, come mold the clay
Tell Your story ss You mold me
Fashion a heart that is wholly  Yours

And write your name
Write Your name in the clay
And sign Your name
Sign Your name on the picture

Take all I am
Take all I have
I am Yours forever, forever

 

What Does God Think Of You?

SeekingHimLogo

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
    the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
    human beings that you should care for them?

Psalms 8:3 and 4

Have you ever wondered how valuable you really are to the Almighty God?  When you truly understand His Majesty—how extraordinarily phenomenal He is—then fathoming how our God could find us worthy has the potential of being unimaginable.  The beauty of God is He loves us and His word says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins,” (1 John 4:10).  The Bible has much more to say on how important and worthy we are to Him.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “…for we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  We are handiwork…not sloppy work, not an afterthought of work…but His handiwork!  And He has good works for us.  God thought of us, planned our lives and, then, made sure we had purposes.

Matthew 10:30-31 says, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  God numbered the very hairs on our heads. Each one!  Every single one!  That’s far too detailed to be perceived as unworthy.

Psalms 139:13-16 says, “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”  Worthy, worthy, worthy!  Oh, so very worthy.  Look at such the delicate detail taken on both you and I.  A God of majesty took all His majesty and used it to create us.

The last verse I have to show how important we are to God is Genesis 1:27.  This verse should leave no doubt in your mind that you are important to God.  This verse is at the very beginning of His love letter to us and it says, “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”  In His own image.  Nothing says important like making one like you.

Are you valuable to God?  Do you know your worth in Him?  Do you believe you are worthy in His eyes?  Because you are!

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Lord, help me to see me like You see me. I pray that Your words be louder than those around me and that I never forget who I am to You. Amen.

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 — Week Eight

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Here we are, friends, coming down the homestretch!  This is week 8—the final week of our CHRISTLife study!  Y’know perhaps ‘homestretch’ is not the right word.  Truly this is not the destination but rather the launching pad to living our lives with the mindset ‘I AM who God says I am!’

Born-again and given a new identity in Christ, we have total sufficiency in Him (2 Corinthians 3:5).  And this week, Mrs. Myers puts before us that “…righteous, holy living is consistent with the persons we are now. It isn’t something foreign to us that we have to produce out of duty or even gratefulness. Rather, as we choose to follow Christ, we can expect to live a holy life because of who Christ is, what He has done, and what He has made us through our new birth.”

We ARE who God says we are…who Christ has enabled us to be!  Some of these images we will consider this week are:

  • Nurtured

Casting the whole of your care…on Him, for He cares for you
affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
1 Peter 5:7

  • Satisfied

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
Psalm 63:5

  • Secure

He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
Psalm 40:2

  • Competent

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

  • Bold

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13

  • Confident

And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying,
This is the way; walk in it,
when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:21

  • Purposeful

…for it is God who is at work in you,
both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

May I encourage each of you, friends, to believe and take hold of these Truthful images that we are looking at each day this week.  They are who you are (me, too!) because of the indwelling of Christ!

In this song, I Lift My Life Up, the lyrics go “When I hear You calling out…I follow now wherever the road may go.”  We, too, can make this commitment knowing that God has already enabled us!  This is who we ARE!  And, God has not left us alone to figure out what to do with these enablements. We have His Holy Spirit inside us helping us to remember that I AM who God says I am—nurtured, satisfied, secure, competent, bold, confident, and purposeful!  All for His glory!

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord, I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up
Have Your way in me

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