November 18, 2017

CHRISTLife — ThirtyEight: Bold and Confident

cl bold and confidentGod chose us.  He also chose us to do His good works here on earth, as we await His return.  And the most amazing thing about this is He seems to choose the most unlikely and unqualified people to carry out His most important works.

Do you know this to be true? And often the response to His calling is, “Are You sure, God? Me? Why?”  Unintentionally we limit Him by what we think we can and cannot do.  For what’s impossible to us is possible with God.  We just have to believe that He has called us and He has a mission for us to spread His Word to the world.

Feeling unqualified?  When He calls, He equips and qualifies us to do that which we so feel we aren’t qualified to do.  Let’s go to His Word and look at some of those He called…and their response to Him.  And how different the world would be if they had felt they couldn’t do it!

God calls Moses:

Moses was 80 years old when he was sent to free the Israelites from Pharaoh.  His response was something like, “Me? I can’t even speak well. Do You really think anyone would even listen to me?”  When Moses finally quit making excuses and obeyed, the way was paved by God through the Red Sea, across a desert and, finally, to the entrance of the Promised Land.  All along the way, God was providing food and shelter and water for these people who trusted Moses with their lives.

Have you ever thought about what could have happened if Moses has said no?

God calls Jeremiah:

Jeremiah was a teenager at the time that God sent him to deliver news to the Jewish people.  Because He was so young, he thought that no one would take him seriously.  But God did.  He said in Jeremiah 1:5,”Before you were born I set you apart.”  For 24 years, Jeremiah was at God’s call, and all he did was write books filled with God’s words. The first one was destroyed and Jeremiah was imprisoned. His feet were in chains and he was thrown into a pit. But God sent rescuers and made a way for all His messages to be delivered.

God calls Gideon:

Last one on my list today is Gideon—and my favorite, I will have to say!  God called him His mighty warrior!  He told him to save His people who were being attacked constantly by their enemies.  He also wanted Gideon to destroy the idol, Baal.  But Gideon, who was working in a wine press, hiding in fear from his enemies, had many excuses as to why he wasn’t God’s man.  He said that he was a coward and how could God use him to fight for His people?  Fast forward…God fully equipped Gideon to do so much more.  He used his weakness to prove God’s strength.

See?  You are ready for any task that God has laid in front of you.  You may not even know what you are called to do but know this—you are called to do great things!  And He will make sure you have everything you need to complete His will.  God calls you to serve with what you have and just as you are.  All you have to do is trust and believe Him,  and love Him enough to do what He says.

  • Matthew 14:22  If you love Me, then look at me. Keep your eyes on me.
  • Matthew 16:4     If you love Me, follow me.
  • Luke 10:37          If you love Me, go and do likewise.
  • John 21:15-17    If you love Me, feed My sheep…tend My lambs.

And remember, there is only one that wants to see you fail. There is an enemy who wants to fill you with fear and lies and keep you silent so you won’t do the Lord’s work. But God did not give you a spirit of fear, “…but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

He gives you courage.  Courage is what will help you persevere.  And it’s God’s power that resides in you and gives you the confidence you need to go on and accomplish with victory the will of your Father in Heaven.  The Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not want for…anything!

CHRISTLife — Week Eight

cl part three banner

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 — ThirtyFive: Delighted In, Favored, and Honored

cl delighted in favored and honored

Hadley, my two-year-old granddaughter, recently spent a week with me.  And, yes, I pampered her as all grandmothers do their grandchildren.

Like most women, Hadley enjoys a bubble bath at the end of a day and I was happy to oblige her.  One night, along with the rest of the bath toys she likes to surround herself with, I tossed a crown into the tub that had been used for decoration on a birthday cake.  As she soaked in the bubbles, the crown floated past her.  She grabbed the crown, placed it on her head and said:

I’m a Queen.

Oh, the imagination of a child!  How quickly Hadley had made the transition from being a little girl surrounded by bubbles and toys to wearing the title of Queen!  Just for fun, let’s play an imaginary game.

Suppose you were standing outside the palace gates of a king. As you stood there at the gates, your attire looked something like this:

  • you were clothed in filthy rags of whining, coaxing, self-pity, anger, resentment, revenge
  • you fought for your own rights and pushed your way through life
  • you always tried to borrow from others the kind of love you desperately needed
  • you rummaged through garbage pails looking for scraps of self-realization
  • the life of a pauper was your lifestyle

As you stood outside the palace gates in your filthy drab, you heard the king beckoning someone to come to him and be his bride.  You look around to see who he is calling, but there is no one else standing at the gate at this time.  And then you hear him issue the call again.

You look up to the window where he stands, your eyes meet his gaze, and say:  “You can’t mean me—why I’m just a pauper.  I’m not good enough for you. And my appearance, well, I am not the prettiest woman in the world.  I wouldn’t be a very good helpmate either, because I am just so dumb.  One of my teachers in school told me I would never amount to anything, and she was right, I didn’t; I’m just a failure.  No, I can’t marry you; I’m just too unworthy to be your bride.  But, thanks for asking anyway.”

Without another word spoken from the king, he stretched forth his hand beckoning you to come into his arms.  This time, you caught a look of love on his face that you had never ever seen on another.  It penetrated into the very depths of your heart and you at last realized that, “Yes, he wants me!”  You accepted his proposal, you were quickly ushered into the palace to be with him, and he placed a crown on your head.  Instantly, your life took on a new identity with the king in the palace.

Oh, my dear friends, this is no fairy tale, it is for real.  It is a story about YOU and ME, and how quickly we transitioned from our pauper state into a place of royalty when we accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.  Oh, yes, we became the Bride of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  You now stand daily in His presence and—

  • He sees you as His gift that He delights in—Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 62:4
  • He takes pleasure in you—Psalm 149:4
  • He rejoices over you with gladness and singing—Zephaniah 3:17
  • You captivate His heart—Song of Solomon 4:9
  • You have favor in His sight—Psalm 84:11; Exodus 33:12; Psalm 4:3; 5:12
  • He honors you by making you royalty—Revelation 1:6; Romans 5:17

Enough said!  Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will just go fill my bath tub with bubble bath, light a candle, turn on the praise and worship music, and hop into the tub with my crown on. Just like Hadley said: “I’m a Queen!”

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * 

Let us pray: Father God, I thank You for rescuing us out of our pauper state through the shed blood of Your son, Jesus, into a place of royalty. I am overwhelmed when I read in Your Word how much You delight in me, how much You favor me, and bestow honor on me as Your queen. May we all wear the crown and title in a way that will bring honor and glory to Your name by fulfilling the purpose for which You created us to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyFour: Loved

cl loved

In this is love, not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

The KJV substitutes “Herein is love” for the phrase “In this is love” at the beginning of this verse.  Isn’t that a tremendous interpretation?—‘Herein, or, in here’ is love…truly nowhere else!  In God is love…He is love!

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace….
Ephesians 1:5 and 6

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures.  It is true whether we believe it or not.  Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it.  It originates in the very nature of God, who IS Love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” ~ Jerry Bridges

The love of God for you (me, too!) is a fact…an absolute…a given—the Truth.  I can doubt it, if I choose.  I can worry about losing it, if I want.  I can wonder how God could possibly love me, if I want.

OR, I can believe it.

This God, the Great I AM, my ABBA Father, communicates all throughout the Scriptures of His love—

  • steadfast (Psalm 103:11)
  • unfailing (Psalm 147:11)
  • inseparable (Romans 8:38 and 39)
  • faithful (Exodus 34:6)
  • everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • unconditional (Luke 15)
  • compassionate (Psalm 86:15)
  • merciful (Titus 3:4 and 5)
  • enduring (Psalm 106:1)
  • and more; so much more!

Confess these Truths to yourself, my friend…encourage and strengthen yourself in the Truth of God’s love for you!  Would you, please, do this…Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of the Truth, “God loves me!  He chose me, actually picked me out for Himself to have a relationship with Him.”  (Did you say it out loud?) Read through that list of truths that tell of the love of God…and speak them over yourself.  You are loved by God!

Perhaps you can sing along with the Psalmist David,

…in the morning I will sing of Your love;
for You are my Fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
O my strength, I sing praise to You;
You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God.
Psalms 59:16 and 17

Perhaps you can sing this beautiful song, too; will you…would you try?   ‘Cause He loves us..oh, how He loves us!!!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * 

And NOW here is some encouragement from Kim
along with her beautiful inner identity album page for this week!

CLkimiia0227

God’s redeeming love is such a powerful life-changing love…unlike ANYTHING I have ever experienced in my life!  He loved me out of my darkness and redeemed my life.  As Isaiah 54:8 states, “With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.”  Thank You, Father, for loving me that much….

CHRISTLife — ThirtyTwo: Bride, Friend, and More

cl bride friend and more

Yesterday we read in our study of CHRISTLife: Embracing Your True and Deepest Identity that we are ACCEPTED by God through all that Christ accomplished for us.  It is “in Christ” that we are accepted by God Almighty.  God knows every bit of you—every thought, every action, every single thing that makes you you—and He accepts you because you have been made new.  You are righteous, you are justified, you are sanctified, you are purified, you are His child.  He has brought you into a relationship with Him that is like no other!  And you belong to Him!

In today’s reading, Mrs. Myers continues to encourage us by communicating more and more proper images to hold in our thoughts of who we really are.  She writes about God being our Husband (Isaiah 54:5) and that we collectively are the Bride of Christ (Romans 7:4).  She reminds us that Jesus calls us ‘friend’ (John 15:14-15), and that we are now citizens of God’s heavenly Kingdom (Hebrews 13:14).  And that we are God’s servant, just as Jesus Himself gave us His example (Philippians 2:7).

And, as she writes (page 136), “Our belongingness also means that God accepts us as His true worshippers…made possible by our spiritual oneness with Christ.”   To worship is to acknowledge Who and What God is—and God has made Himself known to us through His Word. Through the Scriptures, we find the knowledge of Him.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence,
2 Peter 1:2 and 3

We never have to worry or be concerned that we might be worshipping the Almighty God in a wrong or disrespectful way. We have been given the Truth—God’s Word is Truth.

During Jesus’ prayer just before He was taken captive in the Garden of Gesthemene, He prayed to His Father for those who were with Him, and also for us (“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word…” verse 20). He prayed,

Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy]
by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.
John 17:17

And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.
Verse 19

We not only have the Truth but, by God’s grace, we have been sanctified by the Truth.  Being sanctified <purified, consecrated, separated out, made holy> we are able to truly worship God in holiness.  As such we can come before Him, holy and acceptable, worshipping Him as we will do throughout eternity.  Oh, what glory that will be!  But no need to wait…remember we are accepted through Jesus’ accomplishments…we can worship Him now!  We can bring Him honor and glory and worship, all due to His mercy and grace.

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:20

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1

We have the privilege to worship Him…just as the angels and the saints around His throne are doing right now!  But not everyone, at this time, can truly worship our God—only those who are His.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well,
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

John 4:23 and 24

For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 3:3

For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.
Matthew 4:10

God is the object—the sole object—of our worship.  Not wonderful people, not saints, not angels.  As John was warned by the angel sent by Jesus to give him the prophecy in the Book of Revelations:

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me,
“You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you
and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus.
Worship God.
Revelation 19:10

Worship belongs to Almighty God, the Great I AM.  King David knew this.  David worshipped God alone.

O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For He is our God,
and we are the people of His pasture,
and the sheep of His hand.
Psalms 95:6-7

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
bring an offering, and come into His courts!
Worship the Lord in holy array;
tremble before Him, all the earth!
Psalms 96:7-9

I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
Psalms 145:1-3

It is our joy and our privilege to worship our God!  We have been accepted and made holy, like He is, and given the right to come before Him to worship Him in spirit and truth.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyOne: Accepted

cl accepted 1

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 — Thirty: Belonging

cl belonging

Picture this scene:

Years ago while walking down the hallway of the school where I was teaching, I came face-to-face with an eighth grade student who had transferred out of my class the previous quarter.  Curious about her transfer, I stopped her and the conversation went like this:
“Why did you transfer out of my class?”  She replied: “I don’t like you!
After years of teaching, I wasn’t naïve enough to think that every teenager in my class was madly in love with me.  However, no one had ever point-blank told me so to my face.  A glutton for punishment, I pressed her for more information. “What is it that you don’t like about me?”
Placing her hands on her hips, swerving them from side to side and rolling her big eyes at me, she bluntly said, “Lady, there ain’t nothing about you that I do like!
Whoa! It wouldn’t do for me to repeat what I wanted to say and do to this fourteen-year-old.  Let’s just say, if I had carried through, I would have been put behind prison bars for assaulting a child.  So, I just mustered up a fake smile to her, and continued on my way.  As I walked on down the hall to my next class, my thoughts flashed back to an encounter I had with myself a few years earlier.  Alone in my bedroom one cold and rainy night, I had gazed into the mirror on the wall and uttered the exact same words that this fourteen-year-old had so bluntly spoken to me: “I don’t like you,” and I also admitted for the first time in my life: “I have no idea who I am.”

After my encounter with myself in the mirror, and what was fast becoming my bottomless pit of despair, it was as though the Holy Spirit took me by the hand and we began to travel down a muddy road that I had traveled for years.  As I retraced my tracks along that road, I viewed people whom I had allowed to mold and shape me into their image.

Being a “don’t rock the boat” kind of person with a low-key personality, I had avoided conflict at all extremes.  In doing so, I became a yo-yo on a string, bobbling up and down, trying to keep peace and harmony, albeit a false harmony. People Pleaser—that was my addiction.

Talk about having no sense of belonging, that was me.  How well I can relate to what Mrs. Myers says we do on the human level to achieve a sense of belonging:

“…we base our feelings of belongingness on our ability to attract love and approval and inclusion. Since both we and other people are imperfect and changeable, human relationships fail to fully meet our need for inner support.” (page 127)

New Sense of Belonging:  I believe the Holy Spirit took me down that muddy road to view ways I had gotten off the right path and then He gave me a new direction.  I began to travel on a new ‘Road of Identity’—one that gave me purpose in life.  In our chapter today, Mrs. Myers describes it so well.

  • “In God we have a belongingness based on eternal, unconditional love that accepts us without regard for our merits or demerits.”
  • “…In Christ we never have to view ourselves as deficient or as outsiders, or as inferior to those who see themselves as exclusive or elite.”
  • Christ is in us. (Colossians 1:27)
  • We are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • ‘Through the blood of Christ,’ we are now ‘inside the circle of God’s love.’ (Ephesians 2:13)
  • We ‘belong in God’s household with every other Christian.’ (Ephesians 2:19)
  • Each of us is a full member of ‘the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.’ (Hebrews 12:23)

It reminds me of an old hymn of the church…
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me.
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.

Let’s pray:  Father God, Your Word says: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9 NIV).  Thank You, Lord, for choosing us as Your own.  Help us to look only to You for belonging…not anyone else.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

CHRISTLife — TwentyNine: Enlightened

cl enlightened

♬♪ I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin; I wouldn’t let my dear Savior in ♬♪
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night ♬♪Praise the Lord, I saw the light

I saw the light, I saw the light! ♬♪No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, ♬♪ no sorrow in sight! ♬♪Praise the Lord, I saw the light

As much fun as this song is to sing, it is even more so a joyful proclamation of God’s redeeming grace in our lives!  No matter how ‘good’ a life one could possibly lead before accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior…life prior to that IS aimless and filled with sin.  It is only through the accomplishments of Jesus on the Cross as He fulfilled the plan of salvation that Almighty God alone could have put into motion that anyone can ‘see the light!’

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness,
righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.
It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—
and everything that is illuminated becomes a light
Ephesians 5:8-13

Oh, do you not just love the end of that passage? “…Everything that is illuminated becomes a light….” That’s us (you and me)! We have been illuminated…the darkness that filled every part of our heart has been dispelled by the Light of Christ!

When Jesus spoke to His disciples about truly ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ He was also including us in that group of people who are blessed!  We have heard the message of salvation and have responded to His call!

But your eyes are blessed because they do see, and your ears because they do hear!
For I assure you: Many prophets and righteous people longed to see the things you see
yet didn’t see them; to hear the things you hear yet didn’t hear them.
Matthew 13:16 and 17

May I encourage you to recognize the light that you are!  1 Thessalonians 5:5 tells us that, “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”  Being we now ARE children of the light, we should fulfill Jesus’ words (Matthew 5:16), “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

We do, for now, live in an evil, dark, perverse world.  But, by God’s grace we have the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Light of the World, living in our hearts.  We have been made new, we have received grace upon grace, we have His power alive within us and we are the children of the Light!  Let your little light shine!

…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God
without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
holding fast to the word of life….
Philippians 2:13-16

 * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

CLiiakim022014

And here are Kim’s thoughts and her beautiful inner identity album page for this week; she writes:

This page really touches my heart as it is my life’s story!!  God turned my darkness into light.  My mess into my message. and just like Isaiah 61 says:

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Hallelujah!

CHRISTLife — TwentySix: Always A Receiver

cl always a receiver

Time measured out my days, life carried me along
In my soul I yearned to follow God but knew I’d never be so strong
I looked hard at this world to learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace…I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
And I know how that would go—the battles I would face
Forever running but losing the race…were it not for grace

So here is all my praise expressed with all my heart
Offered to the Friend who took my place and ran a course I could not start
And when He saw in full just how much His Love would cost
He still went the final mile between me and heaven so I would not be lost

Were it not for grace!”  I believe you (me, too!) are thoroughly and thankfully cognizant of the awesome goodness of Almighty God to mankind in the incredible provision of His grace.  And it is SO good to be aware of where we would be…but perhaps even more important to recognize that, because of grace, we are where God would have us to be.  As Mrs. Myers so abundantly points out, we are always  recipients of God’s amazing grace!  We are the joyful “receivers not independent achievers!”  Here in this 26th chapter, Always A Receiver, she writes about grace/God’s favor over 20 times!

Throughout the Bible, we find many believers well aware of and thankful for God’s grace!  Whether it was James offering motivation to the Hebrews living in dispersion throughout Europe or David’s exclamation of praise, these are just two examples of men who were assured of the truth regarding grace.

But He gives more grace.
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
James 4:6

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11

Equally we, too, should be assured of all that Jesus’ sacrifice and death has given to us by God’s grace.

[All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God,
freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy),
through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
Romans 3:24

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace
in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1 and 2

And so we can also praise our God declaring how good and kind He has been to us! We are redeemed, saved, freed from slavery to sin and now live, in that freedom, under grace.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14

Paul shared the following with Titus as he urged him to encourage and reprove the people in Crete. May we have the same heart—keeping in mind the grace we have received and do always receive!

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 and to purify for Himself a people
for His own possession who are zealous for good.
Titus 2:11-14

CHRISTLife — TwentyFive: Filled

cl filled

 

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you
to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength 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,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly
than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

To me—THIS—is the epitome of being “filled.” For oh-so-many reasons…let’s take this passage apart—attribute by attribute—and look at each of these ways in which we are filled. Not only here in Ephesians chapter 3 but also in other Scriptures are these images of how God sees us reiterated. Remember: I AM who God says I am!

I am strengthened with power through His Spirit in my inner being (verse 16)
Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength

I have Christ dwelling in my heart through faith (verse 17)
John 14:23
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;
and My Father will love him,
and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

I am rooted and grounded in love (verse 17)
Colossians 2:7
Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith,
just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

I can comprehend the breadth, length, height, depth the love of Christ (verse 18)
Romans 8:38-39
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.

I can experientially know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (verse 19)
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced
that one died for all, and therefore all died.
And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves
but for Him who died for them and was raised again.

It is God’s desire to fill us with the fullness of Himself.  Through the passage above (Ephesians chapter 3) we see how He works that through the Christ in us.  Through the indwelling Spirit, we can begin to understand these things that ‘surpass’ our knowledge.  And because He is able to do ”far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us!“

In and through Christ Jesus, we have been filled!  Filled with all of this…and more! Here are more truths about who we are in Christ!  Please feel free to add more below in the comments!

As for me, however, I am filled with power
by the Spirit of the LORD, with justice and courage,
Micah 3:8

And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken;
and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak
the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage.
Acts 4:31

….And to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:19

Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:11

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.
Colossians 2:9 and 10

Personally I am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are rich in goodness,
amply filled with all [spiritual] knowledge and
competent to admonish and counsel and instruct one another also.
Romans 15:14

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

These beautiful Scriptures are my prayer for you (and me, too)…
The God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. Romans 15:13

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Colossians 1:9

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11