Your Identity

John 1.png

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.                   John 1:12-12 NIV

It’s extremely easy to lose our identity, furthermore, to find ourselves searching all over to find out who we are. We hear stories on the news and we see it in the people we associate with. Additionally, we certainly deal with it in a very private as well as personal way as we hear voices, voices which tell us and then are projected into the world. We tell the world what we think about ourselves and don’t think for a minute we’re fooling the entire world. We may fool some people, but overall, we aren’t fooling everyone.
We hear the voices in our heart, spirit and mind telling us good and bad. We hear the good from those who really love and care for us, we hear that good from God — yet we tend to believe the bad which comes from Satan and from those who don’t care for us. We hold onto that bad stuff.
We hear things like . . . you’re
Not good enough, Not smart enough, Not attractive enough
Not skinny enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, not athletic enough, Not from the right family, We’re told we’re not enough! And countless other lies. Hearing those lies long enough and your identity will be formed by it. You feel rejected. Eventually you believe you’re not enough. The voices which shape our identity begin early in life, from the moment we are born. Those words and thoughts stick! Don’t they? They play like a broken record. I know I’ve heard them. I was reminded I wasn’t good enough too many times.
As much as we think we can overcome them, they come back and haunt us. You remind yourself, they were right, I’m no good, not good enough.
Then we begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. We realize in our heart, spirit and mind we need Jesus to help us through life. Yet we sin. We know this fact and the world knows it, and we think we’re worthless; unlovable. I’ve committed too many terrible sins. My sins exempt me from God ever loving me. So, I question if Jesus would die for me. Maybe He’d die for a Saint but certainly not a sinner. I’m not good enough.
That’s where we get it wrong friends. You see, there’s nothing we’ve done which is so bad that God cannot forgive us and bring us into His family. Humanly speaking, some may never forgive you, divinely speaking, we have a God who is not human! Thank God for that!! And He can and will forgive you . . . if you ask.
So, whatever you’ve done in your life up until this very second, know that God wants to be in a relationship with you. He loves you, He died for you. In 2 Peter 3:9, as Peter wrote about the return of Christ, he said, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
That’s God’s desire for us. God doesn’t want you to think you cannot be loved and embraced by Him. Peter tells us repent, turn away from your sin. Turn to God and God will embrace you in a life changing relationship, he will change you and I from the inside, out. He wants you in His family. There is not a wall which is meant to keep you away, the door is always open, the lights are always on. But, we must receive Christ.
To receive this blessing from God, we must except Jesus for who is truly is, the Son of the Living God, the Messiah, the “Great I Am” What Paul wrote to the church in the book of Ephesians was readily understood but is often missed by us. Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians 1:5-6 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 the one he loves. Paul wanted the Ephesians to remember their identity. He wrote, in love he predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will.
It was God’s great joy to adopt us into His family. God didn’t have to, He wanted to. What is your primary identity? God adopted you — do you understand that? If you believe in Jesus, you understand you don’t earn God’s love. God loves you because of who you are and who you will yet become in His kingdom. In Ephesians 2:4-5 Paul tells us, but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved. Also in the same chapter 8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God- not by works so that no one can boast. John Wesley the founder of the Methodist Movement summons up grace in three parts-Prevenient Grace, the grace that surrounds us: is the grace that comes to us before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Justifying Grace- The Grace that makes our brokenness whole. Justifying Grace brings a big change to the relationship we have with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgiven by God’s grace. Justifying Grace is when God reaches out to a person through Jesus Christ with accepting and pardoning love.
Sanctifying Grace- Smoothing out the rough edges. Prevenient Grace is God meeting you at every corner, Justifying Grace is God reaching out to you with love, you turn a corner in your faith journey. Sanctifying Grace challenger’s believers to go deeper in faith, to love the world energetically, and to keep growing in the knowledge and love of God.
So, Paul was telling the people this — — If you have come to know Jesus, your most defining moment isn’t who threw you out BUT who took you in. God picked you out, picked you up, and took you home. God did that for you!! He was willing to die for you, so you would never again have to face rejection from the world. He wanted you to be part of His family, even when nobody else did!
There were so many issue facing the churches then as well as so many different problems we face today. Paul tells them as well as us of today, we need to change our ways, he reminds them they belong! Their most defining moment is not who threw you out, but who brought you in. If you heard the call of God and responded to Christ, you need to know He picked you out, picked you up, and brought you home. He adopted you. You’re family! Let that sink in. Remind yourself, God adopted me. Hold onto those words, believe them! The term redemption was also a trade word. In Ephesians 1:7, Paul wrote ~ 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
Jesus paid the price for you and me by his suffering on the cross. That was the purchase price. Christianity is not about doing enough for God so he finally loves you. No, God buys us — redeems us — through the blood of Jesus hanging on the cross: “In him we have redemption through his blood—the forgiveness of sins.” God doesn’t need to punish you for your sins, somebody else was already punished for them.
In Ephesians 1:13, Paul wrote, In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were SEALED with the promised of the Holy Spirit.
Paul is reminding them, when they believed in Jesus – – – they were marked with a seal of the Holy Spirit.
We need to know and believe our identity in Christ. Whatever happens that is not good in your life. You name it! Maybe you’re in it right now. Know that you are His! You are the King’s child! The Lord of life, the God of all Creation, the Lord of the Heavenly Armies . . .
He loves you . . . He adopted you, He redeemed you, He sealed you. You are His! That my friends are your primary identity . . . You are a child of the Highest God, Jesus, the Christ!
And that is freeing. I don’t have to earn my way in, I don’t have to buy my way in, when life is a struggle I don’t have to buy junk to satisfy me, because I am the Lord’s.
When I remember that I’m loved, I serve differently. When I remember that I’m loved, I love differently. When I remember who I am, I give and live differently.
When I find myself in one of those moments when I’m buying something I don’t need and I think, What am I doing here? Why do I do what I do? Chances are, I’ve forgotten who I am.
When I find myself leaving a conversation and think — Was it necessary to rip into that person and bring them down? Chances are, I’ve forgotten who I am.
When I find my blood pressure rising over something really, really stupid and think, You don’t understand me! Why don’t you agree with me? Chances are, I’ve forgotten who I am. When I remember who I am, when I settle this identity thing, and when I remember it, I’m free to give grace, because I’ve received grace. I’m free to give love, because I’ve received love. I’m free to serve, because God has served me and lavished His mercy on me. When I remember who I am, I live differently. Just as the people of Ephesus needed to remember their identity, we too need to remember who we are. Knowing our primary identity as children of God, bought by the blood of Christ.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Are You Able?

Jeremian 32.jpgIn the Gospel of Matthew a man came up to Jesus and ask “Teacher , what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied, There is only One who is good. If you want to eternal life, keep the commandments.” Which ones? he inquired. Jesus replied. “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All things I have kept, the young man said. “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. The Jesus said to his disciples. “truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”. When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved”? Jesus looked at them and said. “With man this impossible, bit with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:16-26

There are many people even Christians that are not willing to change their lives for Jesus, for me at times it is hard to understand how they would not be willing. We have become a nation that is so focus on material things and not spiritual things. For whatever reason everyone one wants the fancy cars, bigger houses, more vacation time, become work alcoholic and never spend anytime with their families and why because we have to have everything we see, guess what everyone we have created monsters within our own children.  With each passing generations most families spend less and less time with each other, eat fast food instead of someone preparing a meal and sit down at a dinner table and have good old-fashion table talk. There is a lot to be learn when doing so, learning about your child that God has created. We as adults are not teaching our children to have a personal relationship with Christ, and for the most part it is because most adults do not either. Instead of taking sometime out of their busy lives on a Sunday and spending time worshipping our Heavenly Father, they have become too busy for God, guess what when the day you leave this world, where do you think that you will be spending eternally with God? You better think of a better answer because God may said too most of us here on earth, sorry I am too busy for you, come back another time and there is not another time for you, it will be too late. However when we do decide to accept Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, we begin to seek and by seeking I mean read scriptures and a pray life with God. And overtime God changes us from the inside out, like Jesus tells us with man it is impossible to do that on our own, however with God all things are possible. So what are you waiting for start now, remember no one is promise tomorrow, it just maybe too late for some.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Possibilities

Matthew 19.jpgJust then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ” Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? “Why do you ask me about what is good? Jesus replied. There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Which one? he inquired, Jesus replied , You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. All theses I have kept, the young man said, “What do I still lack? Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ” Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter in the kingdom of heaven, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God? When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked,” Who then can be saved ? Jesus looked at them and said, ” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”           Matthew 19:16-26

Wow as we read these words from the book of Matthew it is a lot to understand what is going on here. First off we can not worship God and money, it is one or the other. As you can remember when God gave Moses the ten commandments which is in the book of Exodus 20:1-21 God spoke these words You shall have no other Gods before me. It is only by God’s grace that any of us are saved, thru Jesus being crucified on the cross for all mankind. Our sins have separated us from God however Jesus bridge the gap between us and God. As we also read in Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?  the answer is no. Long after child bearing years Abraham’s wife Sarah had a child called Isaac, everyone including Sarah thought it is impossible, yes for man but not for God. All thru scriptures we can read all the wonders that God has done, as well as he continues to do for us today. I remember when I was first married and I long to become a mom however, the doctors didn’t give me and my husband much hope, my answer that I told my doctor at that time, I don’t know how or I don’t know when that God will bless us with a child. And within two months I was carrying a child and gave birth to a baby girl on my own birthday. We all seem to forget that we serve an Awesome God, the Great I Am, our Creator, and their is nothing impossible for him to do. I remember the year my daughter was born and I wanted to help with the children’s program at my church during the summer called vacation bible school, everyone told me it was impossible. I stood up and said I can not find the word can’t anyone in scriptures It say I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength Philippians 4:13. From then on and for more than fifteen years I directed the program. It wasn’t me but God working thru me to do his will and believe me I love every moment of it. You see children always have faith even when we as adults don’t understand but they do, that yes God exists and that God can do anything.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

A Gift Called Grace Part 2

Grace part 2.pngWhere the grace of God is missed, bitterness is born                                                                   But where the grace of God is embraced, forgiveness flourishes.                                               The longer we walk in the garden,                                                                                                  the more likely we are to smell like flowers.                                                                                The more we immerse ourselves in grace, the more likely we are to give grace

( By Max Lucado: book called in the Grip of Grace)

I am not sure if you have had the opportunity to read any books by Max Lucado, if you haven’t I would recommend it very highly. I personal have read many of his books as watch him preach on television, and I truly enjoy his books and his preaching. Max talks about God’s amazing gift of Grace, and that gift is for all of us, so it doesn’t depend if we are smart enough, rich enough, living in the right neighbor, went to the right school it is for all mankind and believe me I am glad that it is. Yesterday’s posted I shared with all of you about Prevenient Grace that John Wesley the founder of the Methodist believe and the three aspects of grace. Now the second is:

Justifying Grace: The Grace that makes our brokenness whole. Justifying grace brings a big change to the relationship we have with God-it’s the present in which we are holding that we should open. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgive by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. To know God’s love in this way, to be touched by God’s justifying grace is a life-changing, life-rearranging experience. It creates in us an urgency to know God, to follow God’s way, and to trust that God is always with us. As poets and theologians often remind us there are many ways to realize and accept God’s justifying grace as there are ways to fall in love. For some people, it happens all at once “at first sight”. For others, it is gradual and cumulative, Some people comes to love eagerly, others need more time, fearing or resisting vulnerability. The way you come to receive God’s grace does not matter nearly as much as the truth of God reaching out to you with justifying grace and making you a new creation in Christ.

For myself I was raised as a Christian since the time of my birth, as a young adult I was always involved in my church one way or another. It was until a few years ago I began to search, truly search for myself, what in the world was I born for, and why am I here on earth. I began to search the scriptures, having more time with God thru my own prayer life then I realize the more I know of God, the more I had to know about him. I wanted to do deeper and deeper in understand who He is and His love for me as his child.  As I read these words that Paul wrote to Rome in the book of Romans 8:37-39

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.

Grace and Peace to you My Friends

Little Christmas

wisemen2.png On Friday January 6,2017 it will be Little Christmas or some may call it Three Kings Day, Christmas is a celebration of twelve days and not just one day. As we read from the Gospel of Matthew 2:10-12 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the place they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. You can find different answers about how old Jesus was when the wise men came, however, we can say this, that the Wise men or Magi (Kings) didn’t arrived to worshiped him on the same night since they did travel by camel it did take a little longer. God gave humans the perfect gift, his one and only son to be sacrifice for all, the wise men also gave gifts to Jesus, and today because we love others we also give gifts to show that love to one another. Since they were earthly kings that bowed down to the Christ child because they truly believed who he is, shouldn’t we today continue to bow down in understanding who Jesus truly is.  As I have mention before in other writings, if we search for God with all of our hearts we will find him. In order to truly understanding the true meaning of Christmas we need to open up a Bible and read it to know that God loves all of his children. People today seem to get caught up with all the craziness of the holidays season, with all the sales at the stores, the lights outside of our apartments or even our houses, and let us not forget the Christmas shows on our television. Thru it all we seem to totally miss the Reason for the Season, and that reason and the only reason we celebrate this time of year is because the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even the churches on Christmas Eve seems to be a little bit fuller than some Sundays, my question is this, the other days (Sundays) aren’t people still searching for the baby in a manager. Why is it that we only  attend church and give thanks mostly on Christmas and Easter, and the rest of the year people seem to be way to busy to take a moment to pray and give thanks to the Father (God).

If you are truly searching for God one of many steps is to find a church that welcome you with Open arms, no matter what you look like, smell like, how rich or poor you are. I personally am a member of the United Methodist Church our words are this Open Doors, Open Mind, Open Hearts, we welcome all of God’s children whoever is searching to have a personnel relationship with Jesus Christ. Just search on the internet to a UMC near where you live and you will find one near by. For me when I walk thru the doors ( which for me was 20 yrs ago)  to where I worship today at, I truly can feel the Holy Spirit at work there, I knew then as I know now this is where God wants me and where God is calling me to do His ministry. I have true joy when I am serving our Lord. Wise men and woman still are search for the baby who laid in a manger many years ago.

 

Grace and Peace to all of you