January 24, 2018

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 – Nine: Too High or Too Low

Oh, how we suffer and struggle under the lies and misconceptions we struggle with in our hearts!  (I can almost see your beautiful heads nodding in agreement.)  We must find a way to “be realistic in the way we view and accept ourselves” (page 40).  As we continue along in CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity, Mrs. Myers lovingly and faithfully keeps bringing us back to the Truth of who we are in Christ.   Or, as we like to phrase it, ‘I AM who God says I am!’  There is a children’s song, originally sung by the Gaither Family back in the day 😉 that could be our new anthem. As you listen along, hopefully you will be renewed in your mind to sing along believing that you ARE a Promise (with a capital P)!

I am a promise…I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital “P”
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice
And I am tryin’ to make the right choice
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be

  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  

Kim shares another page with us from her ‘Inner Identity Album’ along with her encouragement for us today:iiakimiamapossibility
“I love this page because it serves as a reminder that even though there may be times in our walk with God that it doesn’t seem like He is working, or perhaps we are walking through circumstances and they are screaming loudly—these are the Truth’s that we can hang on to!

He loves you
He has good plans for you
He is working for your good
He hears you
You are His
He will never leave you or ever forsake you
HE IS FAITHFUL in ALL Things!!!

These reminders could not have come at a better time for me…God’s timing is always perfect!”

  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  

So, sisters, Kim and I pray for you (and ourselves!) that

  • you will keep on listening to hear God’s voice (He has MUCH to tell you!)
  • keep on trying He’ll help you make the right choice (He never leaves nor forsakes you!)
  • ‘cause you’re a Promise to be anything He wants you to be (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

CHRISTLife – Six: Choosing New Images

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How is your inner identity album coming along? I’ve talked with a few ladies and there seems to be lots of different ways of crafting them. Some are putting collages together with words and pictures cut-out from magazines and other publications. Some are journaling their thoughts and prayers. Some are making actual pages for a scrapbook. Some are sketching. But one thing that is consistent from each who have shared with me is that they are amazed at what they are finding in their heart! Mrs. Myers poses some very pointed questions, doesn’t she? Don’t shy away from them…I do understand that they are difficult, at times, to honestly answer. But if we want to deal, once and for all, with the negative ‘self-talk’ and the lies that we have come to believe, well, no one can stop that for us…just you (and me!).

David wrote in Psalm 139 that God knew everything about him.

  • God formed and made him
  • God knew him before he was born
  • God was aware of everything he did
  • God knew what he would say, and think

God was fully acquainted with the whole makeup of David—his abilities and talents, his temptations and weaknesses, his doubts, his sins, everything. And God still saw him as “… a man after His own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14).

David knew the Truth…and believed it. He choose to think what God knew about him. And, yes, there were times he faltered; so he sought God’s help. And so should we.

Can you say, as David did:

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
Psalm 139: 23

There is no one—never will be—who cares more for you than your heavenly Father! His heart is for His children! He loves you with an unconditional love and He is “…your Refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). God is the very best One to run to when we need to deal with our hearts!

  • He formed and made you
  • He knew you before you were born
  • He is aware of everything you have done (and will do)
  • He knows what you have said (and will say)
  • He knows your innermost thoughts…and He loves you!

Now HERE is true perspective:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the LORD.
And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8 and 9 NLT

God Almighty—the Creator of the heavens and everything upon the Earth, the Sovereign God with an eternal plan of redemption for all mankind—His thoughts are the ones that are True, right, and should matter. When we are doubting, we can turn to the Scriptures and be reassured of just how God thinks of us. When we are shaken by hurtful words and accusations from others, God’s Word can be the soothing balm for our souls. When the enemy attempts to dissuade us from believing the Truth, we have the Scriptures to stand upon and say, as Jesus, did, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written…” (Matthew 4:3-11). We have the choice, moment by moment, to choose what we believe. And as we make the choice that lines up with God’s thoughts we will strengthen our hearts to make that good and right and positive choice the next time. When David cried out to God to ‘search’ his heart and ‘know’ his thoughts…

Will you draw near to your Father and ask Him, as David did…
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

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Dear Father, You know us…inside and out. And You love us—You really, really love us! Help us, Lord, to allow You to show us what is truly in our hearts as well as the way to deal with it. Help us to seek Your guidance and admonishment so that we can live in the freedom and the Truth that You have for us. Help us to ask You to search us, try us, and know us! WE need Your help, dear Lord! We pray and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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CHRISTLife – Four: Inner Identity Album

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Don’t you just love looking at photographs?  Me, too.  And, with all the advances in current technology, almost everyone can snap away on a whim!  So many of us enjoy capturing both the big events in our lives as well as every day occurrences with photographs. A photograph is an image.

im·age   /’imij/  n.

1. A reproduction of the form of a person or object.
2. Physics – An optically formed duplicate, counterpart, or other representative reproduction of an object, especially an optical reproduction formed by a lens or mirror.
3. One that closely or exactly resembles another; a double. He is the image of his uncle.
4. Semblance or likeness. We are made in the image of God.
5. A personification of something specified: That child is the image of good health.
6. A mental picture of something not real or present.
7. A vivid description or representation.

The way in which we ‘picture’ ourselves in our own minds and hearts is our ‘image’ of ourselves.  And we keep these images of ourselves in an inner identity album. Our author, Mrs. Ruth Myers, uses this terminology to describe a “sort of mental photo album that strongly influences our sense of identity” (page 19). In other words, our inner identity album is like a scrapbook in our mind of how we picture ourselves—both negatively and positively.  The negative pictures show how our thinking about ourselves has been influenced by the world, other people’s words, difficult situations. And the positive pictures are reflecting the Truth from the Scriptures—the way in which God sees us.   These images portray what we think about ourselves in both of these ways—influenced by lies as well as the Truth.  They are the photographs in our inner identity album.   As we allow God to heal us and to change our image from negative to positive, we are ‘posting’ different pictures in our inner identity album.  These are the pictures that show ‘I AM who God says I am!’

Such as the Truth that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

When we hold that Truth in our minds and believe it with our hearts, then our image of ourselves is one of being beloved by God, always and forever, and nothing can ever change that!

Or the truth that God is always with us.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

And the Truth that we are provided for by God.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:25-26

We think on these things and they become the image that we have of ourselves…the Truth that is contained in our inner identity album.

As we continue along in this study, we are endeavoring to replace the lies with Truth. We will be changing our image and revealing that I AM who God says I am!

So my friend Kim and I thought it would be a grand idea to actually create an inner identity album as we go through our study of CHRISTLife.  Want to join us?  Each Tuesday and Thursday, we will have a little project—scrapbooking, journaling, etc.—that we can each do.  And on Thursdays everyone can post a picture of what they are currently working on—their inner identity album.  Today, Kim is introducing us to this idea with a simple, beautiful page that depicts that she IS who God says she is!

And now, from Kim:

CLiiakim

This scrapbook page is a reflection of my transformation. I have gone from the pit of despair, and the lies I once believed, to knowing and believing what God says about me—the truth.   Praise the Lord!!!

  • I am His masterpiece
  • I am redeemed from my past; I no longer have to live there
  • My past does not define my future
  •  I have been redeemed
  • There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus
  • I can now leave the past in the past and move forward in my redeemed life

This page was made from items I had around the house—old magazines, a few scrapbook pages, some stickers and Modge Podge.   I encourage you to make your page(s) personal to your own journey with God.   Let them show what He reveals to you personally.   Through this Bible study and the CHRISTLife book, we are being  transformed into the women that God says we are. Each one will be unique and different and will reflect us personally as God meets each one of us right  where we are at.

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Dear Lord, we are so thankful for the truth that we ARE who You say we are!  You know that in certain areas we struggle to maintain having that same vision as You do…please help us!  Help us to identify the lies and to refute them with the accuracy of the Truth of Your Word.  Truly it really only matters what You think…we so want to change our thoughts to being aligned with Your thoughts.  We need Your help, Father…and we are assured that we have it!  Thank You!  Praying and asking these things in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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