Your Identity

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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

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To Become A Child Again

John 13.jpgIn the Gospel of John, Jesus is preparing his disciples of things that were about to happen to him with being handing over to sinners and then crucified. Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you: Where I am going, you cannot come. ” A new command I give you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.                                                   John 13:31-35

Why is that adults simply cannot love others they way they seem to love themselves, at times they look to another with such hatred. Adults just seem to judge someone because of someone’s race, age, being rich or poor, the color of their eyes, how smart they are and believe me the list of the judgement seems to go on and on for way too long, all because someone is different from themselves. Hasn’t anyone ever notice that God created us in His image but not to look the same as someone else. If you think back when you were a child did it matter at all what another child look like, how rich or poor they may be, or did you simply look at the other child and think to yourself how you would like to have a playmate to play with, if you answer is yes like most of us would answer, then tell me what happen in between being a child and becoming an adult they too many times we seem to have hatred in our hearts all because someone is different from us.

God is love, that is why when you read in John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son (Jesus) into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.                      John 3:16-17

Jesus was without sin, a man who had no home to call his own, and what he had done was always good for another human being and even dying on the cross, why so we as sinners will not perish after leaving this earth, but that we will be reunited with our Heavenly Father for all of eternity. And what did he seem to do with anyone who was a little difference he simply love them.

You have heard that it was said Love your neighbor and hate your enemy., But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:44   Is it ever easy to love your enemy no it is not, and if it was everyone would do it and they don’t. What is a Christian–it is someone who is a follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ so if we call ourselves a Christian shouldn’t we love all people, just as Jesus would. This is why as Christian we need to have a walk with Christ, to help us to love all, in order for any of us to do the will of the Father we need to have a walk with the Son. In the book of Ephesians chapter 6 Paul tells us to put on the Full Armor of God because our struggles is not against  flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the power of this dark world. You need to understand that is satan w wants to destroy this world, to destroy families, friendship anyway he can. For you and me Paul tells us to Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions. So put down any hatred you have in your heart for anyone and put on the heart of love and compassion for another one of God’s beautiful creation.

 

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