Child of God

Our final destination on Romans Road. You’re now a child of God! Romans 8 is the declaration of our adoption as sons and daughters! You are a son or daughter of the most High God. We are in God’s forever family. 

Because we are sons (or daughters) we are heirs. What do we inherit? The blessings and the sufferings of Jesus. Paul says that our blessings will outweigh our sufferings. This is truth friends, we will suffer as Christ suffered. But the glory in blessing will be greater!

A song of declaration I love is “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music. It is the summary of Romans 8 in song. Sing it loud, sing it proud. 

I AM A CHILD OF GOD! 

Advertisements

United with Christ

I don’t know about you but Romans 7 is a tough one. Writing about it seems way above my pay grade.🤷🏼I wanted to pick out the verse that summed up the chapter. I bet if you picked up your Bible and read the whole thing, this seems to be the lesser point. But I submit to you, it is the major point. We are united with Christ. 👑

***

Instead of doing life by the law, we now do life in the Spirit. It is the Spirit inside of us that gives us life and the ability to serve in love. 

***

Sure, there is a lot about our flesh in there. While it may seem like the point is about us fighting our sin nature, the greater message is if we are following the law, we are still in our flesh. Good fruit is only produced in the Spirit. 

***

Spirit of the Living God by Meredith Andrews may not be a song about baptism but it asks the Spirit to have his way in us. “Cause when you speak, when you move, when you do what only you can do, It changes us, it changes What we see and what we seek” The Spirit changes us, what we see and seek so that we serve in Jesus name with His heart. 

Check it out! 

***

Photo Props: Scotty James Kunkle via Lightstock. 

When the Enemy Comes

It was just after my husband got baptized when they asked me to do a video of my testimony. Life was going really well. I was working at the church, we had a stable small group, I was volunteering in women’s ministry; about to embark on leading my first Bible Study. Everything seemed to be in place. I felt innocent and free so I said, “Yes!” Being convinced of the power of healing and transformation through faith in Jesus Christ, I sat in front of the camera with joy. Little did I know that my pot was about to be stirred.

It started pretty small. A few offenses here and there, constant banter of gossip trying to deepen the offenses, a rift between me and my supervisor at the church. I thought I was being stalked. You read that right, someone was watching me and it scared me. A new manager was hired at my husbands job. This man was out for blood and his aim was to take out anyone who didn’t dance on his command. For months, my husband walked on eggshells. He worked long hours and weekends trying to keep the peace. Life was growing difficult with both of us working on the weekends. I resigned my position, on my last day of work, my husband called to tell me he was laid off and on his way home.

In the middle of all of this, the video was finalized. The enemy was doing everything he could to keep that video from seeing the light of day. About a month before the video was to be released, a storm sat over the foothills where we live. A torrent of water rushed down the hillsides into the cities that lay at their feet. The home where the film edit took place was flooded. Thankfully, a first draft had made it’s way electronically to the pregnancy center. Nothing is left of the video other than the few scraps that were taken out of the initial edit. After all of that, the pregnancy center was talking about not using it at all. It grieved me. It is a true miracle that this video made it to the airways.

I honestly thought I would be blessed as a result of telling my story. To have so much commotion at one time left me confused. I blamed myself, believing that I sinned and grieved God. It never occurred to me that the video would be a player in what seemed like my life being laid bare. Instead of landing on my face in prayer. I fell on my back. I was a dead bug scrambling to hold on to life.

It’s been four years. I have learned a lot. Most of it lies in how I was being raised up in Lord. It is called sin doctrine (a.k.a. religion). I was believing a lie. Religion says that you are a sinner striving to do good. When bad things happen, there is sin in your life. I’ve had to go back to the beginning of my faith cry. Jesus died for all my sin, I am forgiven past, present and future. I am forgiven. Religion and grace cannot coexist. I choose grace. There I can put the blame on the one who caused the calamity, Satan. I declare God is good and the lover of my soul. Satan is my enemy. The mistakes made during that time are covered by the grace of God. 

If there is calamity on your life, take a look at what you are doing for the Lord. You are likely stirring up the powers that aim to keep the Kingdom from growing.  The enemy is after God, not you. It isn’t personal. If you can take the blame off of yourself and God, things will start to turn around. Remember: God is for you, who can be against you? If Satan comes against you, he is already defeated. What is coming against you has to end. It is a matter of getting understanding from the situation, putting the blame on the one who caused it, and seeking God for relief and restoration. God cannot fail in this because His promises are always true. Freedom lies in understanding that we have overcome by the blood of the lamb. When the enemy comes, land on your face and pray!

Free Through and Through 

We all want to be free. Our soul desires it.  Yet we have a hard time living our lives without trying to follow a set of rules in order to be loved. Religion left me guilty, condemned and ashamed. Jesus freed me. Walking in freedom is often what we want but don’t really know how to do. Living guilt free, condemnation free, and shame free is the beginning. Entering into moment to moment relationship with God is the ultimate goal. The example of Jesus only doing what the Father was doing and saying what the Father was saying is our inheritance and where freedom lies. We never live our lives separate from God. Because the veil was torn, this life of freedom is ours. It cannot be taken from us. So, go be who God created you to be and enjoy your life! 

Photo Props: Pixel Creative via Lightstock

You are accepted 

I purposely arrived at the meeting 5 minutes late. To my surprise, no one was sitting down. There was no food out. People were still trickling in. I felt myself start to sweat. My body was beginning to shake internally. I was having a mini anxiety attack. A voice told me to turn and run. “Get out of here, you don’t belong at this meeting.” I couldn’t believe it. That old orphan voice was trying to take over my heart. It almost worked. I was embarrassed that I was sweating. I quickly walked to a private place. Trying to escape notice. 

I thought to myself, “I am employed at this church. I can’t believe I actually feel out of place! This is ridiculous.” I started to wipe the sweat off my face. I took a deep breath and started to pray. As I prayed, the voice of truth took it’s place. The truth is that I am accepted. God, through Jesus, has adopted me and made me whole and holy. The NKJV says that Jesus made us accepted in the Beloved. This was God’s great pleasure. If you feel like you don’t belong, I promise it is the wrong voice trying to take hold of your heart. You are accepted always. Let it be your security.

A Treasured Possession 

A treasured possession. Wow, God considers YOU a treasured possession. Whenever I think of being a special possession, I think about Linus from the Peanuts gang. He has a blue blanket that he takes everywhere with him. The blanket is used for comfort, companionship, protection, costume… you name it; Linus uses his blanket for everything. It is the greatest example to me of how God feels about me and how I feel about God. It is a true “I am yours and you are mine” relationship. We are a treasured possession indeed.

Photo Props: Brittany Borowski via Lightstock

#christianity #scripture #identity #newchristian #god #jesus #purpose #treasuredpossession #godlovesyou #deuteronomy7 #treasure #linusandhisblanket #immadenew #youhavevalue #youhavevalueandworth #lovedbygod #iamyoursyouaremine #brittanyborowski #lightstock

Scripture Picture 8/25/17

I am tired of mediocrity, how about you? We were created for something! Father, thank you that you chose me and created me for a purpose only I can bring to this world. God show me what I was created to do! I say yes! Thank you for your Amen! 

#christianity #scripture#identity #newchristian #god #jesus #purpose #goodworks #servant #chosen #ephesians2 #loveandgoodworks #gettingyourhandsdirty #christianservice #godshandiwork #workingforthelord  #works #neelywang #lightstock 

Working it out

When I think back to my first couple of years as a Christian, I felt a lot like a baby learning to walk again. I was changed in the midst of some pretty frightening circumstances. My new self on the inside was trying to emerge while the outside still looked toxic. Paul says that we work out our salvation. It’s worked out over our lifetime and in all of the circumstances we find ourselves. As I was working the other day I kept getting an image in my head. Remember the body snatcher in Men in Black? The “bug” who killed a farmer and stole his body to use it as a disguise? I was recalling how he looked while he walked and talked and functioned in a body that wasn’t his, it made me laugh. I see the comparison though. When you are baptized and made new, your new self is foreign. You come in under the wing of God with all that protection and affection but walking in your new self can be awkward.

When you are working out your salvation, God reveals to us the things in our lives that hold us back. As I walked and talked, I had competing voices in my head. One said, “you are messed up, you have nothing to contribute, and no one likes you.” The other said, “I love you, you have confidence because of that, and I forgave you once and for all.” The voice of the Holy Spirit was competing with the voice of shame. I had to choose which one I would believe. There are a lot of ways to define shame. The one I identify with most is: shame says, “my circumstances define who I am.” It is a lie declared by the enemy over your life. Shame makes us want to hide. It silences our testimony. It stifles worship. It keeps us from sharing life with believers and unbelievers. It denies the work of the cross, claiming humility but cowering in pride. Why? Because shame says, “no one can know that and no one can see that.” Shame is the stop sign we sit at, wanting traffic to break long enough so we can resume travel on freedom road. The truth is, you are forgiven of whatever you are hiding and nothing can change the fact that you are forgiven. Because you are forgiven, you are free. You are free to participate in the Christian life, you are free to enjoy your life (thank Beth Moore for that anecdote) and you are free to stand before the Lord.

Shame also keeps us in condemnation. Condemnation at it’s best is walking with a crutch, at it’s worst it leaves us bed ridden. I think that we focus a lot on how we are sinners rather than saints. The longer we believe we are constantly missing the mark the longer it takes to walk in pure love and freedom. Our purpose lies somewhere out there, while we believe that what we desire will never come to pass. It’s all a lie constructed to keep us from living a full life in Christ. We are missing out because we don’t believe in the radical love of a triune God. One that sees your completed self, the fruition of your salvation worked out. You are forgiven past present and future. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus! It’s time for us to shed our shame and put on our confidence in God and who He says He is. The forgiveness of God through His Son Jesus is so radical that it is only supernatural. The truth is, your sins are forgiven. The ones in the past, the ones you think you may have committed today, and the ones you might possibly commit in the future. It is all covered. PERIOD! End of story. Look up because His light shines on you! Yes, you. All the time, everyday. Whether you believe it or not. That is the radical love of Jesus for you. You’re just working it all out, claiming your identity, standing firm on that cornerstone, while the wind tries to blow you over. The awesome thing about that wind…oh, yeah, it’s defeated.

Scripture Picture 8/15/17

Keep on believing! Keep your confidence in a God that keeps all of His promises. The peace that the Holy Spirit gives us is in us always, it is up to us to access it and give it away. While disappointment in humanity pervades, we have the peace that the world wants. Be bold and give it away freely. Let all the world come to know peace and a God who saves.

Photo props: Neely Wang via Lightstock 

#christianity #scripture #identity #youhavevalue #youhavevalueandworth #immadenew #romans15 #hope #godkeepshispromises #joy #peace #passiton #holyspirit #neelywang #lightstock

“When Christ calls a man…”

I love this quote “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” I have never read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, The Cost of Discipleship. I often see this quote scrolling through Facebook and when I see it, there is this reassuring “yes” deep down inside of me. This quote is similar to what I heard when I committed my life to Christ. I heard that I get a new life. That was the glimmer of hope lying ahead of me. However, the new life costs the tiny (or not so tiny, depending on how much you like your life when you give it) price of your old life. It costs your old behavior, your creature comforts, your coping mechanisms, it costs you everything that would have preserved your old ways. Including getting your own way. Yes, Jesus asks you to die first. Then follow Him.

The corresponding scripture to the quote from Bonhoeffer is this: “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to follow Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.'” (Matthew 16:24-25) Our humanness is what wants preservation, our spirit wants transformation. That is the tension. When we give up our life, we learn over time that for every life preservation moment, there is a corresponding moment to die and follow. My husband and I talk about this a lot. He will come home and say, “There was a car broken down on the side of the road and the driver needed help. I didn’t want to stop because I just wanted to get home.” That is the self preservation side of him. Then there are other days he will tell me the same story but at the end, “sorry I was late, I decided to stop.” We all have those daily choices. How often do we depart the path behind our savior to maintain our schedule rather than deny ourselves to help someone in need? Probably more often than we would want to admit.

Then there are those self preservation moments where we have dreams and desires and wants and dreams and desires and wants…you get the picture. American life is full of this to such a distraction that we hang on to things that are bad for us in order to look good to the world around us. Following Jesus might ask us to let go of the hopes and dreams we had before we were made new. There are a lot of preaching voices that say the opposite of that. I know, I listen to them a lot. It gets me a little confused sometimes. I truly believe that my old hopes and dreams died when I died. I truly believe that God will show me new hopes and dreams as I grow in love and trust for him. My old hopes and dreams were self created and self preserving. Those hopes and dreams will be replaced with the hopes and dreams sowed into my created value before I was born, into my identity in Christ. Why? Because without knowing God, believing in Jesus, and hearing the Holy Spirit, I don’t believe I can know what I was created for. My old way was to pick and choose. My new way is to search Him and follow. And as I search Him and follow, He will reveal my purpose. A purpose not created by me but created for me. My God given created purpose is so much bigger and so much better than anything I could have ever thought or imagined. The same is for every believer. There is a big life waiting for us if we are willing to drop our own agenda and let God show us what we were designed for!

I feel compelled to pray, because my God given purpose is still being revealed. Maybe it is the same for you. I thank you Father God that you created me for a purpose in this time. I thank you that my purpose meets up with your ultimate plan for humanity, that we would all come to know and love you and love others in return. May my heart be full of your love and compassion for others while I walk out my purpose in my life. I thank you for Jesus and the path that I follow Him on. I thank you that it is narrow, reducing the choices that I have to make. I thank you that your yolk is easy and burden is light and when I choose to follow Jesus it displays your splendor.

In Jesus Name Amen.