April 27, 2017

Brave

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

No one ever told me this would be easy
But I never knew that it could be this hard
Oh, the worry, the worry, the worry is weighing on me
Could you help me break down all these question marks
And make me

Brave…I’ll fight like a soldier
Brave…Rise like a warrior
Brave…Won’t stop ’til the final day
Brave…I want to be stronger
Brave…Going to be bolder
Brave…Look up and I see the way
You make me brave

I know, I know I’m no superwoman
But impossible is possible with You
So no, no, no more running, no more hiding
Strike the fire so I’ll be fearless too
And make me

None go with me
Still I’ll follow
Through the joy and
Through the sorrow
Cross before me
World behind me
There’s no turning back

Moriah Peters
Written along with: Matt Bronleewe, Joel Smallbone

Lyrics to I Have Decided To Follow Jesus – S. Sundar Singh

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I’m always telling my kids that they can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens them…and that nothing is impossible with God…and that He is always in control.  But I wonder if I believe that myself.

Do I believe that I can do anything with God on my side?  Or do I tend to run and hide?  Doubt and avoid?  I think we can all relate to the words of this song; we want to be stronger, braver, bolder… We want to be so many things that we feel we aren’t.  I see this song as an anthem, as a reminder from our Heavenly Father that through Him we can do anything.  Remember that impossible is possible with Him.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

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Lord, we often forget that with You anything is possible.  That with You we can accomplish anything.  Thank You for the reminder through this song that we can be brave.  Despite what we are facing we can move forward with You on our side.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Child Forgiven

 Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer.  It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body.  Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed. 

However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’!  We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past.  We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause, a hug,
and the rest they so deserve.  God bless you, ladies!

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
I thought I had my bases covered

My destiny was in control
But I could see I’d never reach perfection
The day I hit a slick spot in the road

After that I thought my life was over
But Jesus had a different point of view
All I did was confess, and Jesus did the rest
Thank God I’ve been released and made brand new

You’re looking at a child forgiven
You’re looking at a soul set free
You’re looking at a pardoned prisoner who’s walking now in liberty
I’m standing here because of wondrous grace
My sins are in the deepest sea
He washed me clean somehow
So what you’re seeing now
Is a happy, happy child set free

Now what you see is not a perfect person
What you see is not a faultless soul
What you see is someone who was broken
Until the hand of Jesus made me whole

What you see is not a finished product
What you see might sometimes miss the mark
But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize
The perfect holy children that we are

The Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Hey, before we go any further, would you do one thing, please?  Would you go look in the mirror….  Now, see there?!  There is a “child forgiven, a happy happy child set free”…you!

But for the grace of God, we would still be prisoners and slaves to sin. But for His wondrous and amazing grace, we would be without hope.  But,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace….
Romans 3:22-24

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 and 14

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Ephesians 1:4

One of the joy-filled lines of this song is “But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize—the perfect holy children that we are…”.  Now I know we aren’t completely and totally perfectly perfect yet…but remember Jesus told His disciples (and us!) to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The apostle Paul, who is such a wonderful example to us of how to live righteously, wrote of his own struggle with this Truth:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on
so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;
and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:12-16

It is so very important to remember the Truth of who you are in Christ.  Here are just a few aspects of this reality that, by God’s grace, He has made us to be.

  • I am forgiven; Jesus paid my debt

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13 and 14

  • I am His child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

  • I belong to Him

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

  • I am chosen, holy

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

  • I cannot be separated from His love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

  • I have been given strength to do all which God calls me to do

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…].
Philippians 4:13

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead,
and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us
and released us from our sins by His blood—
Revelations 1:4 and 5

God’s Great Dance Floor

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I’m coming back to the start
Where You found me
I’m coming back to Your heart
Now I surrender
Take me
This is all I can bring

I’m coming back to the start
Our God is freedom
And here we feel Your heart
Your heartbeat for us
Take me
This is all I can bring

You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts: let the future begin
Let the future begin

Take me
This is all I can bring

I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor

Chris Tomlin
written along with Martin Smith and Nick Herbert

*  ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~  *

Last week I kept thinking about starting over and getting back to basics.  I have been trying so many different things to make changes in my life that I lost my focus.  I was doing lots of things…but none of them well.

First of all, in one of my secular FaceBook fitness groups, a girl posted she was wiping out all her accomplishments and starting over.  Then something similar happened in a Christian group.  (This song was mentioned multiple times.) Finally, for the last several days I have had this verse stuck in my head:

I’m coming back to the start
Where You found me
I’m coming back to Your heart
Now I surrender
Take me
This is all I can bring

Ok, I may be slow at times, but even I could tell God was trying to make a point with all of this—I need to go back to the start.  So I reread all the material from when I started my current fitness journey and decided to begin again.  To start applying the basics in diet and exercise, and stop trying all the crazy new things or current fads.  But that line from the song kept playing over and over in my head. “I’m going back to the start….”  Then I realized I needed to go back to the start in my relationship with God…back to the foot of the Cross.

I was searching for anything that could help me regain control of my health and wellness but I was looking at worldly solutions.  At the same time I was seeking to deepen my relationship with God by doing multiple studies; and, again, doing none of them well.  I felt tired, weary of the struggle.  Nothing was working.  I was wearing myself out, physically and mentally.  Finally, I realized I needed to surrender.  Thank goodness God never gives up on us.

This song is such a celebration of God’s grace.  We come alive because of the grace He extends to us. Ephesians 2:1 & 5 (NKJV) state:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…
…even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…

Christ wants us to feel alive in Him.  Not tired, not weary, not defeated—ALIVE.  We have something to celebrate.  If I am struggling, I need to stop and ask myself  “Am I living in Christ?”  If I am, then, (as Philippians 4:13 tells us), I can do all things because Christ is my Strength.  2nd Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV) reminds us “…for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.”

I know this to be true, yet I so easily forget and go back to striving on my own. So, I am going back to the start because God IS my freedom.  I want to feel alive and the only way I can do that  is through God’s {great dance floor of} grace.  Let the future begin!n

Just Hanging Out

SeekingHimLogo

Recorded in the Gospel of John, our Lord made seven statements referring to Himself as I AM

I AM The Light of the World
I AM The Bread of Life
I AM The Door

I AM The Good Shepherd
I AM The True Vine

I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life
I AM The Resurrection and The Life

Each week during this season of Lent, here on the Seeking Him blog, we will be focusing our devotionals on a different aspect of Jesus’ revelation of Himself as I AM.  The aim of Lent should be to prepare our hearts for the remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice—His trial and torture, the Crucifixion and His death…and above all, the celebration of His Resurrection from the dead.  We pray that this will be a great encouragement to each of you who read them.  And that all of us will consider the significance of Jesus’ words and, through them, be helped as we remember and are thankful for all Jesus went through during the last few weeks of His life on this earth.

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Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine,
so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
I AM the Vine, you are the branches;
he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:4 and 5 NASB

I wonder if you are like me…. When I read a passage like this one, I start to fret.

  • What if I am not producing enough fruit?
  • What if I need to be doing something else?
  • What if I am not producing ANY fruit? How do I start?
  • What if it’s not the right kind of fruit?  How do I know?

What if, what if, what if!!!

I was reading commentaries on this passage and I learned so many amazing things!  But a commentary written by Chuck Smith included this passage that seemed to answer all my ‘what ifs?’.

“The only lasting fruit is that which is produced as the result of the relationship with Jesus Christ.  And here again, the idea of fruit indicates to us the method of God. The fruit that comes forth from our lives is a very natural thing; it’s not forced.  That apple hanging on the tree is not out there struggling and striving and pushing and doing its best to get ripe.  All it has to do is just hang in there and it’s going to ripen.  And it’s going to come to maturity.  And I just need to hang in there, just to abide in Christ, and the natural result of abiding in Christ is my life is going to bring forth fruit.  One of the problems…today is this endeavor of forced fruit.…you’re being pushed into all kinds of activities, not really directed by the Spirit.  And this can become worthless expenditures of energy, unless God is behind it and God is guiding it and God is directing it. Unless you’re abiding in Him, you cannot bear fruit of yourself.  You cannot sit down and say, “Now, this is what I’m going to do for God this year. And these are the projects that I’m going to endeavor. And this is my plan by which I intend to fulfill this goal.”  That bearing fruit that God desires is the most natural thing that can happen to you as you abide in Christ.  It’s just a natural function.”

– Chuck Smith
click here to read the entire article

I have one purpose—to produce fruit.  If we are hanging out with Jesus, the fruit will come naturally!  Whewwww!  That’s a big relief. I don’t need to do more or be more.  I just need to hang out with Jesus more (“abide in Me…”) and let the Holy Spirit direct me.  Anything I try to do on my own is going to be a useless struggle and is destined to fail.  It would be “forced fruit.”  I am powerless on my own.

Philippians 4:13 AMP (one of my favorite verses) tells us:

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].

Christ empowers me!  And when I abide in Him, I have full access to all His power.  The fruit will be a natural result.  I like the way David Guzik * puts it: “Fruit bearing is impossible without abiding; but it is inevitable with abiding.”  Philippians 1:11 HCSB tells us when we hang out with Jesus we are “…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” John 8:31 AMP reminds us “If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.”

We have two choices then: either hang out with Jesus or go it on our own.  If we hang out with Jesus, fruit comes naturally.  If we go it on our own, we will continue to struggle and begin to wither.  Not much of a choice really, is it?

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, I want to spend more time with You so that bearing fruit comes naturally.  I don’t want to offer You forced fruits from my own labors. When I begin to fret, remind me relax and hang out with You.  May Your plans be my plans.  Help me hear Your voice and follow Your lead. In Jesus’ name – Amen, It Is So!

* here is a link to David Guzik’s article on John chapter 15.

Child Forgiven

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I thought I had my bases covered
My destiny was in control
But I could see I’d never reach perfection
The day I hit a slick spot in the road

After that I thought my life was over
But Jesus had a different point of view
All I did was confess, and Jesus did the rest
Thank God I’ve been released and made brand new

You’re looking at a child forgiven
You’re looking at a soul set free
You’re looking at a pardoned prisoner who’s walking now in liberty
I’m standing here because of wondrous grace
My sins are in the deepest sea
He washed me clean somehow
So what you’re seeing now
Is a happy, happy child set free

Now what you see is not a perfect person
What you see is not a faultless soul
What you see is someone who was broken
Until the hand of Jesus made me whole

What you see is not a finished product
What you see might sometimes miss the mark
But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize
The perfect holy children that we are

Performed here by the Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

  *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Hey, before we go any further, would you do one thing, please?  Would you go look in the mirror….  Now, see there?!  There is a “child forgiven, a happy happy child set free”…you!

But for the grace of God, we would still be prisoners and slaves to sin. But for His wondrous and amazing grace, we would be without hope.  But,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace….
Romans 3:22-24

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 and 14

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Ephesians 1:4

One of the joy-filled lines of this song is “But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize—the perfect holy children that we are… ”.  Now I know we aren’t completely and totally perfectly perfect yet…but remember Jesus told His disciples (and us!) to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The apostle Paul, who is such a wonderful example to us of how to live righteously, wrote of his own struggle with this Truth:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on
so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;
and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:12-16

It is so very important to remember the Truth of who you are in Christ.  Here are just a few aspects of this reality that, by God’s grace, He has made us to be.

  • I am forgiven; Jesus paid my debt

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13 and 14

  • I am His child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

  • I belong to Him

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

  • I am chosen, holy

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

  • I cannot be separated from His love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

  • I have been given strength to do all which God calls me to do

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…].
Philippians 4:13

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead,
and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us
and released us from our sins by His blood—
Revelations 1:4 and 5

Everything I Need

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I cannot climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

When every moment is more than I can take
And all of my strength is slipping away
When every breath gets harder to breathe 
You carry me, Jesus carry me

I need You
You are everything I need
I love everything about You

You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need

Jon Michah Sumrall, Dave Lubben  ~ Kutless

 *  ~  ♥  ~   ✞   ~  ♥  ~  *

Father, when life gets to be too overwhelming it’s Your refuge I seek. You are all that I need!

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ
may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

It is in our weaknesses that we are made strong through Christ. Jesus is all we need. He is the strength in our weakness. God is our everything in our time of need.

I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. The pangs of death surrounded me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
Psalms 18:1-4

Jesus is the one who carries us when we feel as though our strength is slipping away. It is in these moments that we must turn our focus back to Him.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

 *  ~  ♥  ~   ✞   ~  ♥  ~  *

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are my strength in ALL my weakness and it is in my weakness that You make me strong.  You are my everything!  Father, I need You!  Thank You for Your faithfulness to see me through to the victory that lies ahead.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!!!

Do You Eat Healthy and Exercise as a Way to Honor God?

glory of GodHave you ever been frustrated because you cannot seem to stay motivated long enough to consistently exercise and eat healthy? Do you feel like you have the discipline for a short time, but then fall back into old habits and quit caring because it feels useless? Here is a question for you to ponder.

How might things be if you decided to eat healthy and exercise as a way to honor God?

WHAT HAVE YOU GIVEN TO HIM?

As followers of Jesus Christ, there are things in our lives we have decided to give to Him such as finances, time, resources, marriage, children, work, etc.  Why then, as women, do we sometimes try and take on the battle of our health and fitness by our own strength, discipline, and power?

HONORING HIM vs YOUR STRENGTH

Can you relate to one of these scenarios?

  1. You know you should get up and get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, but you cannot seem to find the motivation or desire to do it.
  2. You have had a stressful day, you are tired and frustrated, and you think you have earned the right to overindulge with “comfort foods.”

How do you think you might handle the situation differently, if you paused and asked yourself, “What is the best way I could honor and bring glory to God with my body right now?”

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever, you do, do all to the Glory of God.”

God wants us to worship Him with our body. Deciding not to overindulge, eat out of emotions, and taking time to care for our body through physical activity can bring Him honor.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through HIM who strengthens me.”

God does not want or expect us to “try” harder on our own.  He will give us strength to face the big things and the small things.  Our health is just as important to Him as it is to us.  Why not ask Him for strength that is not of our own so that we can eat healthy and exercise as a way to honor Him?

If you are ready to make a change and find the right motivation, I would love to help you make healthy living a part of your life.  You can learn how to exercise and make the right food choices, in your busy world. Email me at crystal@yourfitnessdesigner.com to schedule a time for a for a free telephone consultation.

In Good Health,

Crystal

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 Six

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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!”

CHRISTLife—Five: Acknowledging Wrong Images

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Wouldn’t we all like to pretend that there are no negative and unhealthy images of ourselves hidden in our hearts and minds!?  But the fact is that there probably, almost assuredly, are.  I would prefer if the bad self-images would run off like water on a duck’s back, and the good self-images would be like water on a sponge, which soaks into the core of the sponge and still remains visible on the outside.  Former experiences and people from our past all have an effect on us, whether good or bad.

Our emotional reactions to situations are often “clues to negative images of ourselves” due to past experiences, whether we remember those experiences or not. They influence our attitudes and behaviors.  2 Corinthians 13:5 (AMP) tells us to: “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves….”  To better understand ourselves and our “inner identity album,” we need to examine our viewpoints and beliefs.  They have been formed either from previous bad experiences or from good experiences. We need to separate the bad from the good so we can get rid of the wrong images that distort the truth.

An example might be that as a child in school your teacher gave you a hard time because you were left-handed, you wore hand-me-down clothes, and/or you couldn’t see the blackboard from your seat.  That experience might have distorted your view of those in authority.  It might also have caused a negative self-image to grow in you that has led you to believe you aren’t good enough and you can’t do anything right for those in authority over you.  Your emotional reaction might be to withdraw or to be defensive.  Ruth Myers says this, “We need to become more objective in our viewpoints and beliefs. We must learn not to color the facts with our misguided conclusions and opinions” (pg. 23).

Do you ever hear yourself say, “If only…?” Yes, I know I have said that at times and I’m sure you have too. When those negative, unrealistic “If only….” thoughts come into your mind and even on your lips, you (and I) need to begin to replace them with reality and God’s Word.

“If only my situation would change…”
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

“If only I hadn’t committed that sin in my past…”
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

“If only my parents had been better examples…”
…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Romans 12:2

Recently I saw the movie, “The Guardians” for the first time.  Although just a whimsical, fictional story (of which I will probably forget most of it in short order), there was one line that popped out at me.  Jack Frost asks, “How can I know who I am, before I know who I was?

Obviously, I am contemplating this question from the perspective of this study as well as God’s Word.  Check out Psalm 139.  Here are just a few verses in response to that question:

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me…
You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion…Every day of my life was recorded in Your Book…
How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.

We are His!

In Jeremiah 31:3, God tells us, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love; with unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself.”  Because He loves us so, He wants to help us.  Let’s not waste time wishing the past had never happened.  We have today, and we have God’s Word.  Let’s take on the privilege, the responsibility, the hard work, and the joy of rejecting all the unrealistic and false images in our “inner identity albums.”   With God’s help, let’s replace the lies with truth—His Truth.  How freeing and uplifting that will be when we aren’t carrying around the burden of those lies anymore.  Then, too, our negative reactions will be replaced with responses that bless and glorify Him.

I want to encourage you to go back to chapter 5, page 25, and read again the Scripture references and answer the questions in light of God’s love for you.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends You,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalms 139:23-24

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Dear Lord, thank You for this first week of our study. Already, You are revealing to each of us wrong images from our past that still produce negative emotions. We thank You that Your Word is The Truth. As we study together, help us break down the negative past and rebuild our lives based on the truth that is Your Word. ‘I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath’ (Psalms 116:1-2). In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

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