June 23, 2017

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 5: I AM…with Christ in Eternity!

I would like to invite you to listen to this video before reading today’s blog.  Close your eyes, if you will;  allow the Holy Spirit to surround you and speak to your heart.  (You will definitely want to turn up the volume!)

 

I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by His side…I can only imagine what my eyes will see when His Face is before me…I can only imagine!  How about you?!?  Does your heart not yearn for our Lord’s return?  Do you not have your heart set on life eternally spent in the Presence of the Great I AM?  Can you hardly wait?!?

King Solomon, a man graced by God with more wisdom than any other man, wrote the following.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

God did this!  He put a strong desire to dwell forever with the Great I AM in the human heart!  We understand this, don’t we?  I can only imagine….

In our final lesson today, Teresa shared with us that we have REASON, we have HOPE, and we have PROMISE to cling to.  (Please insert your name in the blanks.)

  • REASON:   (_______) needed a Savior—John 3:16 and 17
  • HOPE:         (_______) is awaiting the Lord’s return—Philippians 3:20
  • PROMISE: (_______) will have a new, perfect body—Philippians 3:21

Please personalize this, my friends!  When we recognize and believe that the Great I AM has made a way from the beginning for (______) to be saved and redeemed and bought back with a precious and costly price—the blood of Jesus—then, I can only imagine….

And check this out!  Here is another promise…we shall see Him; how AWESOME is this?

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8

Hope remains for God’s children (us! you and me!) We have these beautiful promises from our Faithful God—we SHALL SEE Jesus face-to-face.  I can only imagine….

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him,
because we shall see Him as He is.
1 John 3:2

From this glorious verse we are assured of THREE things:
we know that He will appear;
we know that we shall be like Him;
we know we shall see Him.

To KNOW and be assured of these things gives such comfort and joy to our hearts, doesn’t it? This is TRUTH to speak to ourselves every day!  To remind ourselves that I AM God’s child, I AM going to be like Him (like HIM!!!  amazing!), I AM going to see the Lord.  The truth contained in the Scriptures is our standard, upon which we can stake our very lives because God has spoken it.   I can only imagine….

Jesus’ followers have always believed that He will come again.  He promised the apostles: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” John 14:3.

Paul related the same promise: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness…” Titus 2:11-14.

The Church today believe this, too.  We wait for His return!  When Jesus was finishing giving Revelation to John, at the very end He says,

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I AM coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Revelation 22:20

————————

Friends, this concludes our study of ‘I AM, Discovering the Character of God through the Revelation of the Scripture.’  Has this study been EVEN MORE than you had hoped?  It certainly has for us!  We pray that Teresa’s book, the accompanying blogs written over the past 7 weeks, and our group study has been a great blessing in your life.  God has certainly knit our hearts together as we have studied the truth of His Word together.  God bless you! <3

And, Teresa, we just would like to communicate our love for you and our thanks!  At the opening of your book, you invited your readers to dig in and ‘find ourselves’ in the pages of God’s Word.  Oh! My!  How amazingly that has happened!  We remain so very thankful for your obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He taught you…and you taught us!  We are so thankful to God for all that He has worked in your heart, Teresa.  May He continue to make Himself known as He leads you along this path He has placed you on!  We pray for you and your loved ones asking the Great I AM to continue to bless you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you…in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

_____________________

Ladies, may I pray for you?

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Lord, I thank You for each and every one of Your daughters who I have been privileged to journey with through this “I AM” study.   We have shared this journey—the growth, the challenges, the struggles, the peace, the joy—and grown closer together.  Thank You for that, Lord!  I pray for each of these dear hearts that You would continue to draw them close to Yourself.  I ask, Lord, that as You have worked in each of their hearts, they would continue to seek You and find You through the Scriptures.  Thank You, Lord, for their hearts, their lives, and their loved ones.  In Jesus our Lord’s name.

Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 4: I AM…The Root and Offspring of David

2Samuel7_IAMI am where I am because of my family.  Faith in Jesus and a strong relationship with Him is a legacy that has passed down from generation to generation.  I am so blessed to have known Him all my life.  My grandparents on both sides were faithful Jesus followers.  My parents made sure that above all else, my salvation and my relationship with Jesus trumped all.  I want to make sure that my children know Him and will spend eternity with Him.  To follow only Him and to faithfully see His word.  It’s true that we cannot choose our family, but God did choose them for us.

Have you ever looked at Jesus’s family? Did you know James was His half-brother? Did you know that James did not believe in Jesus until after the resurrection? The Book of James is written as a letter addressing many issues about how faith in Jesus needs to affect the way we act. It also addresses some misunderstandings about the relationship between salvation by faith in Jesus and the need for believers to live a godly life.  James 1:2-4 says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

The scripture from today’s lesson is Hebrews 11.  It has been called the “Hall of Faith” because it mentions a long list of people who were used by the Great I AM because of their faith.  No doubt the author of Hebrews confused the readers by calling it this.  These mighty Jewish people, heroes if you will, never received all that God had promised them because they died before Jesus came.  In God’s plan, they would be rewarded together for enduring much testing.  Old Testament faith was also a heartfelt trust in a personal God.  Many before us faced difficult times and persevered by faith.  Notice that in every illustration in this chapter, it starts with “It was by faith that….”

Hebrews 12 begins “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run the race that God has set before us….”

Maybe the weight that slows us down is our past or maybe it is what we are dealing with right now.  You and I both have had the awesome privilege of meeting Jesus and have formed a real relationship with Him.  Now, what are you going to do with Him? Don’t you love this question that Teresa asks in this book?

It is God’s will for us to win this race we call life, for us to lay down our recurring sin that weighs us down sometimes. There will be pain from exertion, but we are told to pace ourselves and bear the pain with grace and with patience. And remember that others, who have run the same race and finished, will be cheering us on!

*****

Let’s Pray:

Dearest Lord,

Thank You so much for all those who went before us to show us that all Your promises do come true and if we trust You we will be rewarded.  What a day that will be when we see Abraham, Isaac, David, Mary, Martha, Peter, Noah (and the list goes on and on), rejoicing when we cross the finish line all together.  You are our great reward and You are worth it.  I end with a prayer from 2 Samuel 7:25-26, “And now, O Lord God, I am Your servant: do as you have promised concerning me and my family.”  In Jesus’ Name I pray.

AMEN

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 3: I AM..the LIVING ONE

2Chron7_14_IAM

What a wonderful way to close out this study knowing that our God is the “Living One.”

 Our Living God from A – Z

A- AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH (HEBREWS 12:2)

B- BREAD OF LIFE (JOHN 6:35)

C- CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD (ROMANS 8:39)

D- DELIVERER (ROMANS 11:26)

E- ETERNAL LIFE (1 JOHN 5:20)

F- FAITHFUL AND TRUE (REVELATION 19:11)

G- GREAT HIGH PRIEST (HEBREWS 4:14)

H- HEAD OF THE CHURCH (EPHESIANS 5:23)

I- I AM (JOHN 8:58)

J- JESUS (MATTHEW 1:21)

K- KING OF KINGS (REVELATION 17:14)

L- LIGHT OF THE WORLD (JOHN 8:12)

M- MEDIATOR (1 TIMOTHY 2:5)

N- NAZARENE (MATTHEW 2:23)

O- OUR PASSOVER (1 CORINTHIANS 5:7)

P- PRINCE (ACTS 5:31)

Q- QUINTESSENCE – THE MOST PERFECT EMBODIMENT OF SOMETHING (REVELATION 1:8)

R- REDEEMER (JOB 19:25)

S- SAVIOR (LUKE 2:11)

T- TEACHER (JOHN 3:2)

U- UNMATCHABLE – NO ONE IS EQUAL TO HIM (ISAIAH 40:28)

V- VINE (JOHN 15:1)

W- WORD (JOHN 1:1)

X- EXCELLENT (PSALM 8:9)

Y- YOURS – HE IS FREE TO YOU IF YOU BELIEVE (ROMANS 10:9)

Z- ZION, KING OF (PSALM 9:11)

Revelation 1:18  I am the living one.  I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

WOW!  God’s Word speaks for itself to show us Life (living life-Himself)

People go around asking all kinds of questions daily.  Some of the many questions we have heard are: Who made the trees?  The flowers?  The birds?  The animals?  The earth?  The rocks?  The stars, sun, moon, ocean, mountains?  Who made you and me?  And the answer is:   Someone who is greater, more intelligent than all, made them!

That Someone is the only true and living God. He is invisible to our eyes, because He is a Spirit.  He lives in heaven.  He is eternal.  He has always existed and He always will.  We know Him because we see the things He has made and because He has given us His book called the Bible in which He reveals Himself to us.  We don’t find His bones in a grave, like other gods who have died, because our God lives!

Do you know the only true and living God?  If not, would you like to?  Do you want to be free from your daily burdens of sin and have a sweet assurance of “living” with the “Living One”?

If you are ready to meet the “I AM” and “live” with the “Living One” for eternity then all you have to do is ask Him.

“Dear Lord Jesus, 
I know that I am a sinner, I believe Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins, was buried and rose from the grave.  I ask You now, Lord Jesus, to come into my heart, and take away my sins, and save my soul.  Change my heart and life, Lord, to be what You want me to be!  I thank You, Lord for the forgiveness of my sins, Your gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your mercy and grace!  AMEN.

Oh what a precious journey you will have as you will get to know the “I AM” – the “Living One” now that you have accepted Him as Christ your Savior.  I may not ever get to meet you personally here on this earth, but know, my friend, that I will be praying for you as you begin your new life with Him, and on the day He returns I will meet you in heaven!  Hallelujah!

**********

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

I thank You for these past seven weeks that we have been able to dig in Your Word together, Lord, and truly get to know Who You Are and who we are in You.   I thank You for any that have received You as Savior and I ask that You help them to continue to dig in Your Word and become the beautiful creation that You intended for them to be and help them to spread this wonderful news of salvation with the world.  In Your name, I pray.

Amen!

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 2: Alpha and Omega

2Chron7_14_IAMAlpha and Omega

These are two very powerful words; they are strong and demand attention.
But for me these words also bring comfort.  Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End. There is so much in between those two words, in between those two names.

Alpha (Friend. Redeemed. Forgiven. Free. Confident. Assured.) Omega

This is who I am in the great I AM.  This is who you are in the great I AM.
When I look at this title, and what the Alpha and Omega truly means, it reassures me that I will never be left alone.  Christ has been with me from my start and He will be with me through my finish. He will be with me when I need a friend; when I need redemption; when I need to be forgiven; when I am seeking freedom; when I need confidence and when I need assurance.

By having a relationship with Christ we can feel these things, we can develop a relationship in which we will always know our Beginning and we will always know our End. To quote Teresa from this book, “Jesus wants to be your best friend.” He wants us to have all of these things in abundance. He wants to be there in our Beginning and in our End.

 ____________________________

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for showing us our beginning and our end. Thank You for being there in our lives for both, and through all the in-between. Lord, You offer us friendship and redemption.  You offer us things we do not deserve; Your love always remains. Your gift of friendship always remains. Lord, help us to walk in the power of Your promises and in Your covering.  Most importantly, help us to be an example to others of what it means to be a friend of the I AM.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 1: 7 “I AM’s” in Revelation

2Chron7_14_IAM

Revelation is more than just the end of the Bible.  It is more than the end of time, or the end of the world.  A revelation is a new realization of something you previously had not known or understood.  It could be revealing of a secret.  A revelation is definitely a gaining of knowledge you can use to apply to your life.

Here we are at the end.  The last week of our study.  The omegathe last.  There are seven more “I AM’s” for us to look at this week.  As we conclude our study together, we find that four of them use the term “Alpha and Omega”.  The word nerd in me had to look these up for us.  Let me show you a couple of things I have learned.  (Warning: This will be cheesy!)

  • The New Testament was written in Greek, the Old Testament in Hebrew (mainly).  Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters in the Greek alphabet and signify the “beginning and the end” or eternity.    The Greek “alpha” was derived from the Hebrew “aleph.”  (Doing a Happy Dance!)  The Hebrew name for aleph sounds like “eleph” or ox.  An ox is a leader and leads the other letters in the alphabet.  (Get it?  The alpha – bet?)
  • Ox comes into play in our culture, too.  How many times have we signed a greeting card with oxoxox?  Did you know you were actually sending God’s love to that person?  These are Christian symbols introduced through the ages, based on the Bible and the Great I AM.  Don’t get me started on crossing your fingers….
  • The Hebrew word for truth – “emet” is made up of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  This kind of consistency makes me dance with joy.  Our God is a God of order.  No matter what language or dialect you speak, His TRUTH will always be the same.  He is “I AM”.

From the Prophet Isaiah, “I AM the first and the last”  (Isaiah 44:6) to the Psalmist, “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God” (Psalms 90:2), to John, “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8), the message of the Bible DOES NOT CHANGE.

This “I AM” is important because Jesus is telling us He was before creation and will be after the end of time.  He is eternal.  When we see or hear Alpha and Omega (AΩ or ox) we are seeing the “I AM”.  Because of our relationship with Jesus (The Great I AM) we can claim the “Truth.” 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him,
and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 2:4-6

As a member of God’s family, seated in the heavenly places because of Jesus, we are in His KINGDOM.  A kingdom is where the king is.  The Kingdom is where the KING lives.  If you have received the gift of salvation offered by Jesus, you are in the Kingdom and the King lives in you.  Did you hear that?  The KING lives in YOU!!!  The Kingdom is not a far away land, it is here now.  If the King lives in you, the kingdom is hereon earth.  The kingdom is not broken down into small factions of fighters in their own corners doing their own thing.  We are ONE Church, ONE body of believers, living in the Kingdom of God RIGHT NOW!!!!  Let revival begin with us!

We have received a revelation over the last seven weeks.  Now, we have a responsibility to share the good news with others.  Listen to the prayer of our hearts as we declare our allegiance to the King of Kings.

Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, King of Kings,

We praise You for the HOPE You have placed in our hearts as we have drawn closer to You.  We thank You for the great LOVE You have shown us that while we were yet sinners, You wanted us.  Lord, we want to let this fire burning within us to be seen by the world.  Heal our hearts and heal our lands so that we may serve You.  We ARE the ChurchSend us out to do Your work while we are here on earth.  We are YOUR church…One Body, unified for Your purpose.   Live in us.  Bring Your Kingdom now.  We are ready.  We love You, Lord.

AMEN

“I AM” Chapter 6 – Day 5: I AM…Able to Do Anything

Eph2_10

 

Hasn’t it been such a great joy and encouragement to consider just some of what I am (I AM) and who I am (I AM) IN CHRIST these past couple of weeks?  My heart has been revived and refreshed because of the TRUTH that has been presented in our I AM study.  I am so thankful for all that God revealed to Teresa as she wrote this book.  We have reflected upon the truth of who and what God has made us to be in Christ. Here in the Book of Ephesians, listen to this truth:

 

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through HJesus Christ…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us…In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will…And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory. — Excerpts from Ephesians 1:3-14

How about a little review?

I AM accepted
Colossians 1:12 and 13
…and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…

I AM family
Galatians 4:4-7
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

I AM free to be me
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

I AM fit for service
Ephesians 1:3-7
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

I AM complete
Colossians 2:9 and 10
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

I AM significant
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

I AM a branch of Christ
John 15:5-8
I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.

I AM God’s workmanship (His masterpiece)
Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I AM a minister
Ephesians 4:3-6
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

whew! …or rather… HALLELUJAH!  And who and what I AM in and through Christ leads us to—I AM able to do anything!  His grace covers me!

2 Corinthians 12:9

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

The Apostle Paul, sharing of us struggles to live for God’s glory, tells us what the Lord revealed to him.  This truth applies to our lives, too.  In our weakness(es) we, too, are given the sufficiency of Jesus’ power through His gracious help and provision.  Through all that I AM in Christ, I AM able!  God has provided for us in so many ways!

 

Let’s Pray:

Lord, we offer our hearts to You!  We stand in awe, so amazed and so thankful…hearts full of praise to the One Who has made us accepted, free, in Your family, fit to serve, complete, significant, a branch of the Vine, Your masterpiece, a minister of Yours, and able to do anything!  It is in Your Presence, Your indwelling of our hearts through Your Holy Spirit that we can be anything…and we are!  We are!!!  Thank You, Lord.  May You be honored and glorified as we live today in light of all that You have made us to be.  May our voices and our actions prove “I AM His!”  We praise You and we love You!

Amen.

“I AM” Chapter 6 – Day 3: I AM…God’s Workmanship

Eph2_10

Have you ever wondered just how God made everything?   Have you been sitting outside during the summer looking up at the beautiful sky with all the twinkling stars shining like diamonds, the bright moon shining so bright you didn’t need a flashlight?  What about walking along the beach as the sun begins to pop up on the horizon with it’s beautiful orange canvas?  What about when the skies turn dark and thunder is clapping so loud you need earplugs?   These ladies are some of the many wonders of our Lord from His artistic hands!

Our God of the universe created all this beautiful artwork and more. As you sit and think on these, your mind is captivated by ALL the wonders of God’s creations; and yet, in all these things happening around us, there is still MORE!  Something even greater that He is molding into being.

 His greatest masterpiece of all time = You and Me!!!

God created the heavens and earth and He knew it was good, yet there was still something missing….It was US!!    So He decided He needed to make man in the image of Himself.    We were created to have fellowship with Him.   We were not just an after dinner thought.   We were the special finishing touch to His creation!

Zechariah 2:8 says ”For thus saith the Lord of hosts; after the glory hath sent Me unto the nations which spoiled you; for He that toucheth  you toucheth the apple of His eye.  He says we are His workmanship.”   How about that?  We are His greatest work of art.  We are so valuable that He tells us we are the apple of His eye!

Ephesians 2:10  says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Did you know there is a Master at work in you?  Did you know your life is a priceless work of art? He is the Master Artist, who is painting, sculpting, chiseling away each day as He envisions you to be.  With every stroke He is shaping your identity in His image.   You can depend on His Masters Art Degree.   You will experience every day as He chisels at you that what you end up with is a “one of a kind”  “not for sale” masterpiece.

Do you have a hard time believing you are God’s masterpiece?  That you are special to Him?  If you question this at all, then that means olslewfoot (Satan) is trying to convince you otherwise.  Don’t let him come in and fill your head and heart up with all kinds of lies.  This is definitely not what our God thinks of us!

How about taking a trip to the closest mirror in your housegoright nowthen come back….and take a long hard look while you are there.

OK, so what did you see?  I pray you saw a beautiful cherished creation, a treasure, a masterpiece!  Because that is what God created when He made you.  But maybe you saw some things when you looked in that mirror that you didn’t like.

Think of your life when you look in the mirror as a canvas that began empty with nothing there but as soon as you were born He began a new work in you creating an astounding depiction of His glory and grace.   I know sometimes you may think “But wait, God…this part of my life is a waste;  don’t draw that!”   But remember these are some special strokes and chiseling that God is having to apply as He is growing us, changing us into His special masterpiece.

Are you willing to let Him paint, chisel you until He gets you right where He wants/needs you to be?

 You are His most prized possession and what matters most to Him is you!

So why not let Him be the creative Master artist that He is and let Him transform you so that you reveal His beauty, His glory and His love, His MASTERPIECE!

A lovely work that comes straight from the Master’s hand.

 When you looked in that mirror did you question, “God, am I your masterpiece?”

If you feel or have felt this way at any time in your life,  open your heart, your ears, and watch this video and allow God to show you who you are or who you can become.

Now say this  “(your name)  is God’s  original Masterpiece!”

 

Let’s Pray:

Dear God,

Sometimes it is hard for me to think of myself as a piece of Your artwork, created to be just who You wanted me to be.  Help me to acknowledge and embrace who You have made me to be.  I’ve had areas in my life that needed or still need chiseling, and I thank You for continuing to be a Master Artist and stroking me daily in areas that need to be fixed.  Help me, Lord, to fully be that person You had in mind as You made me.  Help me to live to glorify You and to fully reveal this wonderful masterpiece that You continually grow and chisel each day!  In Your name I pray.

Amen!

“I AM” Chapter 6 – Day 2: I AM…A Branch

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  

Galatians 5:22-23

You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.   Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

 John 15:3-5

 

I am a branch; this is a title that I willingly accept in my life.

When I think of a branch the first thing that comes to mind is the extension of a tree; simple, right?  A branch is a part of something much bigger than itself but plays a very important role in the success of the tree as a whole.  A branch at any time may be full of fresh green leaves, fruit, flowers even, but at other times the branch may be bare.  It is still alive and still connected to the tree but it is in a season of waiting—a season of needing to be content until it is time to bear fruit again. There are also those times when a branch may be broken, when the gardener needs to reattach it to the tree in a way only he can…to allow the branch to become reconnected to the tree.

I love how the relationship between God and man is illustrated.  I love how He can take something as simple and beautiful as a tree and give us a visual concept that applies to our everyday life.

Like Teresa said in today’s reading, bearing fruit means more than winning souls to Christ (although that is a task we are assigned with).  Remember, being a branch means that we are an extension; we are to display the characteristics of Christ.

Love – Joy – Peace – Longsuffering – Kindness – 

Goodness – Faithfulness – Gentleness – Self-control

Displaying these characteristics is part of being a branch.  “We can only bear this fruit by the work of the Holy Spirit in our life.”

What is listed above is a lot of fruit—a lot of characteristics that we are commanded to display. This can be very intimidating.  Yes, I pray that I can display all of these fruits of the Spirit.  But I understand that I am a maturing Christian, I am a maturing woman.  There may be times when I don’t display any of them, and times where I only display one or two.

God’s grace reminds me that His love for me surpasses my lack of bearing all the fruit at once. His grace also reminds me that I may be called to bear different fruits in different circumstances.

God has already “pruned and purified us.”  He has already accepted us and appointed us. Ladies, let us daily remain in Christ so that we can bear His fruit and so we can be examples to others of the joy that comes from being branches of the I AM.

Don’t forget this week’s Memory Verse!

Eph2_10

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Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us these fruits of the spirit.  Thank You for making plain what is expected of us.  Lord, please place on our hearts what fruit we need to display at what time.  Lord, remind us that we need to stay rooted in You, through prayer and through studying Your word in order to bear fruit.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.

AMEN

“I AM” Chapter 6 – Day 1: I AM…Significant

Eph2_10Have you ever thought about yourself as the person you might become?  Have you ever wondered why you struggle when you are doing everything right?  Have you sensed the spiritual battle around you?  The enemy knows your secret.  Do you?  Your life is more about who you might become than who you already are.   Your life is a threat to the enemy of your soul.  You are important.  It’s time to make your life meaningful.

As we turn the page to Chapter 6, we are beginning to see ourselves as SIGNIFICANT.  I took a survey to see what makes something or someone significant and I was met with blank stares.  As I asked more questions, I realized the definition of the word was the problem.  Do we not think we are significant because we do not know the definition of the word?  What else are we missing simply because we never defined the words in our lives?

In our study this week, we look at the word “significant.”  Today I want to introduce another word: POTENTIAL Potential is who you could become if you pursue who you are meant to be.  Please don’t leave this world with unused potential.  Use it all up!

po·ten·tial  /pəˈtenCHəl/

Adjective          Having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future.

Noun                  Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.

Synonyms

ADJECTIVE        possible – feasible – eventual – contingent

NOUN             possibility – potentiality

 

Your life is FULL of potential, usefulness, meaning, expressiveness, eloquenceand significance.  What are you willing to do to reach that potential?  It’s not too late to expand your life’s vocabulary.  Let’s make the enemy mad and GROW.

Think of some of the most significant people in our history, our culture, or in your family.  Can you imagine what would have happened if Billy Graham decided to stay home even one night of his crusades?  Can you imagine a world without a Billy Graham Crusade?

What about India without Mother Teresa or Ghandi?  Or South Africa without Nelson Mandela or Angus Buchan?  Or the United States without George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?  The list is long of people who have chosen to make a mark during their time on this earth.  What will your mark look like?

  • Each of these people are just like you.  They were born, they grew, they made choices, and they lived out their convictions.  There were crossroads and milestones in their lives along the way.  Hard choices had to be made.  If we could sit down with each one of them they would have a story to tell of good times and bad, successes and failures, hurts and blessings.  Their lives were not easy, but they lived them so we can benefit from their sacrifice and contributions.  We remember their names even after they have passed on from this world.  Their lives were significant.  Can you imagine our world without them and their influence?

The future is up to you.  Take a moment today to ask God what HIS desire is for your life.  The enemy already knows you have potential, do you?  God wants to use your life to bring His Kingdom here and now.  The choice is yours.  Will you let God change you to be who you were created to be?

Worship with me as we offer this prayer through the song “Starts With Me” by Tim Timmons.

Let’s Pray:

Father God,

You have created us with incredible potential.  Help us to accept ourselves as valuable to You and to submit ourselves to do Your will.  We want to allow You to change us into someone useful and meaningful.  We want to leave a legacy that will be remembered long after we have left this world.  Father, place the desire to be significant deep within our hearts and give us the strength to see our purpose through to the end.  We want to finish this life well.  We want to be able to lay our crowns at Your feet and bring You glory.  We love You, Lord.

AMEN

 

“I AM” Chapter 5 – Day 5: I AM…Complete

GFCHmemverse3

Complete!  Could that really be true?!?  For years I struggled, truly suffered, being tempted by the enemy of our souls to doubt the truth and veracity of this fact: I, Coleen Ann Brigit Hayden, AM complete in Him!  I AM!  (And you, my friend, you are complete in Him, too!) ‘How do you  know that?’ you ask?  The Bible tells me so!

For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body,
and you are complete through your union with Christ.
Colossians 2:9 and 10

The word complete communicates that the thing which is complete has no lack or deficiency.  So if we are complete through our union or relationship with Christ then there is no lack or deficiency in all that comes through that relationship.  It is enough.  We are fully, perfectly, completely equipped.  ‘With what?’ you ask?  Well, a couple of days ago in our lesson, Teresa gave us a beautiful graphic which contains the essence of what I am saying.  It presented ‘character traits’ that became ours when we were born-again, or had our spiritual new birth.  Among other things, it said we are:

  • Chosen – 1 Peter 1:2
  • Forgiven –  Colossians 2:13
  • Free – Galatians 5:1
  • Justified – 1 Corinthians 6:11
  • Redeemed – Ephesians 1:7
  • Righteous – Romans 5:9
  • Sanctified – 1 Corinthians 1:30
  • Sealed – Ephesians 1:13

It is ONLY through our relationship or union with Jesus that we are complete—there is nothing,  absolutely nothing, that we can do by ourselves that will make us complete.  Remember who and what we were…

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:1-8

Doesn’t that just melt your heart AND revive your heart all at the same time!?!  Read through those verses again, and pick out your very favorite phrase and praise our Great I AM through it!  (I would LOVE to hear which phrase hits your heart the most…and why!)

  • God being rich in mercy
  • By grace you have been saved through faith
  • Because of the great love with which He loved us
  • Might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness towards us
  • It is the gift of God

This—His love, His grace, His mercy, His gift, His riches—is what gives us the opportunity for a relationship or union with Jesus!  How GREAT is our God!

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.  In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6

Hold this truth in your mind and never doubt that you are completely, completely, completely  COMPLETE through your union with Jesus—He is your Lord!

 

* * * * *

Let’s Pray:

…that Christ may dwell in <our> hearts through faith, as <we> are being rooted and grounded in love.  I pray that <we> may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that <we> may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.

Amen.
(paraphrased from Ephesians, chapter 3)