Archive

Archive for June, 2011

Your Identity in Christ!

Who are you in Christ?

I am accepted…

John 1:12
I am God’s child.

John 15:15
As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1
I have been justified.

1 Corinthians 6:17
I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

1 Corinthians 12:27
I am a member of Christ’s body.

Ephesians 1:3-8
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Colossians 1:13-14
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

Colossians 2:9-10
I am complete in Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

I am secure…

Romans 8:1-2
I am free from condemnation.

Romans 8:28
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

Romans 8:31-39
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Colossians 3:1-4
I am hidden with Christ in God.

Philippians 1:6
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

Philippians 3:20
I am a citizen of heaven.

2 Timothy 1:7
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

1 John 5:18
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant…

John 15:5
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

John 15:16
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

1 Corinthians 3:16
I am God’s temple.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21
I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Ephesians 2:6
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.

Ephesians 2:10
I am God’s workmanship.

Ephesians 3:12
I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

Have Confidence In The Unmerited Favor Of Jesus

This is another short but sweet devotion but the message is powerful.  There are countless examples in the Bible and in the world today about being in the right place at the right time.  I have had countless examples looking back in my past were I have not been able to explain it but I just have been in the right place at the right time.  I have had countless times where my plans have not worked out because God had different plans for me and positioned me in the perfect place in the perfect timing.  My plans are generally the wrong timing at the wrong place and it is why my plans generally do not work.  However, I have learned that if I simply trust in the Lord that I will be positioned to have success in His perfect timing and His perfect placing.

In the bible I love the story of Ruth.  She was a poor widow who had nothing.  Her mother-in-law Naomi left their family and were in extreme poverty.  They did not even have grain.  Ruth said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”  Ruth was confident that God would give her favor even though she was a foreigner and had no connections with anyone in the field.  She didn’t even know whose part of the field she would be able to glean in.

Ok so let’s look at what happened.  Ruth went in the field with her “hap” and went into the part of the field that belonged to Boaz.  The word “hap” is an old English word it means “to happen” to be at the right place.  However, in the original Hebrew text, the root of this word is the word qarah! (as we talked about yesterday).  The Lord’s perfect timing and placing put Ruth in that field.  Boaz saw her and fell in love with her and they married.  Before the meeting she was in her lowest point with everything in the natural against her.  But, Ruth trusted in the Lord and He positioned Her in His timing and His placing that was perfect for her.  It was so perfect in fact that she was named in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew.  Wow, that is awesome!!!

No matter what natural circumstances may be against you today, have confidence in the grace of Jesus and He will give you what I call “qarah success.”  He will cause you to be positioned at the right place at the right time to experience His protection and success in your relationships, career, finances and health!!!

And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz; who was of the kindred of Elimelech.   —   Ruth 2:3

Have confidence in the unmerited favor of Jesus and He will cause you to be positioned at the right place at the right time to experience success.

Rejecting Rejection

“…to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)

The emotional soil our roots are planted in has a bearing on our entire lives. God designed that we should receive love, care and protection in the family. As a child is born into a family it is totally defenseless, and dependable on the family that surrounds it. It is during the formative years of its life that it will receive its identity message. A child brought up in a loving atmosphere and home will face future relationships with security and confidence. Our family loved us and valued us; therefore we must be people of worth.

Psychologists confirm this. They tell us there are three parental attitudes that are absolutely necessary for a sense of security and to develop a wholesome personality. These are acceptance, affection and approval. A lack of any of these things will be interpreted by the child as rejection. Rejection may come as a deliberate hostility from others, or as a failure to communicate acceptance. Often it is communicated in its more subtle form of parents not being emotionally available to their children.

If for some reason love and acceptance were not there for us in the formative years of our lives we will face all other relationships with suspicion, mistrust and insecurity. If a life has not been properly rooted in love, its entire lifetime will be a struggle against fear and anxiety. We expect to be let down, left out, ignored, rejected. The rejected expect the present and the future to be a repeat of the past. Some people seem to get hurt in almost every encounter with others. The fear of rejection is a severe form of insecurity.

Parents who reject their children usually do so because they were rejected, or are going through problems of their own. Sometimes children are rejected because they were unwanted from the start. Rejection says nothing about the real worth of the child. It is a perception. Since a child has such a high regard for its parents it will naturally think that there is something wrong with him, when rejected.

Rejection is not being wanted, valued or regarded as significant. It brings shame. Shame, like guilt, has to do with how we feel about ourselves. Unlike guilt, which is based on my performance, shame is feeling bad based upon the way others have esteemed me. But shame is deeper than guilt. Guilt says, “I made a mistake.” Shame says, “I am a mistake.” If I make a mistake there is hope. I can confess and be forgiven. I can change what I do, but not who I am. Shame causes us to hate ourselves. Robert Louis Stevenson once confessed that he was suffering from “crushed wormery”, i.e. the feeling that he was no more than a worm, groveling on the ground.

One Hebrew word for shame is also translated as blushing, another word as contempt and another still as nakedness. Closely associated with the idea of shame is nakedness. When Adam & Eve sinned they were ashamed, and knew they were naked. Shame is a feeling of being uncovered. It is the feeling that everyone is looking at you and can see every part of you. It comes from being abandoned by the significant others in your life. Those who should have covered you have actually exposed you, uncovered you, abandoned you and made you feel vulnerable. Shame strikes at our identity and makes us hate ourselves and feel worthless.

Rejection can result in:

Spiritual consequences. There will be difficulty in relating to the Fatherhood of God.

Physical consequences. E.g. identity is found in performance and achievement therefore this leads to burn out.

Emotional consequences. When there is a breakdown in the human family, or a failure to communicate acceptance, there are profound emotional and personality effects in the lives of the children involved. This later results in personality and relationship problems., such as:

 Inferiority, isolation and the fear of abandonment.

 Withdrawal for protection.

 Will never get into situations that we cannot control. Thus no risks, no creativity.

 Driven to cover mistakes. Not allowed that luxury.

 Because rejection tells us that we do not have a legitimate reason for being it leads to constantly wanting to justify our existence.

 Fear of failure. Fear of trying new things. The need to succeed in order to be accepted.

 A reluctance to ask favours. Giving, but not receiving. A “repay” mentality.

 Fear of saying “no”.

 It is wrong to have a need. It is wrong to express your opinion.

 Shame is veiled by dress. Great emphasis on appearance.

 Drawing back from God.

Ministering to the rejected.

Only God can minister effectively to the rejected. David said, “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me” Psa.27:0. If you have been rejected God knows all about it. In fact Jesus suffered rejection more than any other person. Isa.53:3&4 tells us, “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He is despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.”

He was rejected:

 By His own people. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not”

 By the religious authorities. He was “the stone which the builders rejected.”

 By His disciples. “They all forsook Him and fled.”

 By the Father. “My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

The Bible says that Jesus was made perfect through sufferings. This is not a reference to moral perfection but to being perfected or completed as our High Priest. He passed through every kind of suffering known to man and is now equipped in the role of a sympathetic High Priest, able to identify with us, and minister to us in our pain. The Bible says He bore our rejection. (Isa.53:3&4). He, Who died of a broken heart (Psa.69:20), now lives to heal the broken-hearted.

The opposite of shame is glory. God created us for glory. At creation He crowned us with glory and honour (Gen.2:25). Glory is the feeling of dignity, being of value. Satan wants to fill us with a sense of shame. He uses significant events and people to do that to us. When Jesus was crucified they took His garments. This is figurative of what took place at the Cross. He took our sin, rejection and shame and exchanged it with the robe of His righteousness and glory. We are in Christ. And the glory has been restored to us, 2 Cor.3:18. We are no longer products of the past, but of the cross. We are no longer rejected, but accepted in Him.

Rejecting Rejection.

We must be willing to part with rejection, including the lifestyle that goes with it, self-pity, etc. Do you think often of past failure and rejection. When you recall past experiences is it with strong, painful emotions. Do you believe that certain past experiences have ruined your life and that you only have second best now? Do you have a victim mentality? Do you withdraw from people? The Bible says that you are no longer a rejected person. Therefore, reject rejection. Do it once, do it well.

Receive God’s unconditional acceptance of you. Eph.1:6. God took the initiative. He knew what we were like before we were born. His plans for us are positive. He acknowledges us, has established a relationship of permanence with us, has a purpose for us, is patient with us, has granted us access to Him, and accepts us unconditionally. There is a difference between acceptance and approval. Acceptance is a legal matter that deals with our status within the family of God. Approval has to do with our actions. These do not affect our position in the family.

Forgive all who have ever rejected you.

Ask God to heal you of a wounded spirit and make you a whole person with a whole personality. Knowing the truth will set us free.

Understand that you have been empowered with meekness. Knowing we are no longer rejected people does not mean that others will no longer reject us. But we need to understand that we do not have a problem with rejection any longer. “Rejected people, reject people. Healed people, heal people.” Meekness is the ability to handle rejection. God’s grace does not just free us from the past, it empowers us in the present.

Enjoy human relationships, but draw your confidence from your relationship with God. Heb.13:5. Rejection is like the bottom falling out (lack of support). But underneath are the everlasting arms.

Mark Rutherford once said, “Blessed are those who heal us of our self-despisings!” Thank God for His wonderful grace to us in Jesus Christ.

“Ministering to the Rejected” is one of the subjects covered in “Counselling God’s Way”, by Ken Legg Counselling God’s Way.

Pray For Qarah Today

This is an incredibly short devotion today but very powerful.  It is powerful to note the importance of first mention in the Bible.  Whenever a word is first mentioned in the Bible there is usually a special significance and lesson that we can learn.  So the first occurrence of the word qarah is found in Genesis 24 when Abraham sent his unnamed servant to look for a bride for Isaac, his son.

There were so many young women to choose from that the servant had to stop for the evening.  The servant did not know who would be the right one for Isaac.  So the unnamed servant prayed this prayer: “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”

The word “success” here is the Hebrew word qarah, and this is the first time it appears in the Bible.  The servant essentially prayed, “Give me qarah this day.”  It goes without saying that with the Lord’s qarah or positioning for right happenings, the servant found a beautiful virtuous woman named Rebekah, who became Isaac’s bride.

We need the Lord to give us qarah every day.  We need to pray the prayer of the unnamed servant.  Tell the Lord, “Give me success — qarah — this day,” and depend on His unmerited favor to cause you to be at the right place at the right time.

Then he said, “O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.   —   Genesis 24:12

We need the Lord to give us qarah every day.

Grace: Before and After

We are objects of His Workmanship!

Ephesians 2:7-10 (New International Version)

7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I want us to know how God look at us.

Before:

Ephesians 2:3-10 (NIV) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

Now:

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. In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Oh dear friends let me read this verse to you: In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

How does God show the incomparable riches of his grace? By expressing his kindness of his grace TO US. TO US. TO US! That means the world will know God incomparable riches of grace THRU US! This means HE IS NO LONGER MAD WITH US BUT PROUD TO SHOW US OFF! That is why Paul then says “We are God’s workmanship!”

Paul hence tells us that we are richly blessed, highly favoured and dearly loved:
Ephesians 5 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Thought of the Day

God is not upset with you; you are His work of art!

Right Place, Right Time

God wants you to have right timing – His timing, and nothing is left to chance because you are God’s child.  Psalm 37 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.”  You are that “good man” because you are the righteousness of God in Christ.  In our next day we are going to speak about the word qarah, which means “to encounter, to meet (without pre-arrangement), to chance to be present.”  My friend, you can depend on God to cause you to be at the right place at the right time, to have right happenings happen in your life!  I think we can all agree that being in the right place at the right time is a tremendous blessing.  Since the Lord orders your steps He will cause you to be at His perfect place at His perfect timing.

There are countless cases where split seconds can be the difference between life and death, blessings and financial ruin.  I knew someone this weekend who had to slow down and was frustrated because of that slow down on the road.  However ahead was a tree that crashed, if that person would not have been slown down they probably would have been struck by the tree and severely hurt.  Someone people call that chance, some people call that luck and others call that being in the right place at the right time because our steps are ordered by the Lord.  I believe the ladder.  I believe that although things may appear to be difficult that it is the Lord positioning me for blessings and doing it in His timing.  I believe that He orders things in my best interest even when I do not feel Him working in my life.  I believe that my next blessing and revelation of Him are right around the corner.

No matter how intelligent, wise you are or how fat your wallet is there is nothing you can do to alter the timing of being in the right place at the right time by the Lord.  God is faithful in protecting His beloved by putting them at the right place at the right time.  Nothing happens by chance – the Lord knows how to place you at the right place and the right time!  You can depend on Jesus for right happenings.  They all come by His grace.  In the Bible is says that the Lord Himself writes His laws on your heart.  He can speak to you and guide you in everything that you do.  Allow Him to lead you supernaturally!

…the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.   —   Ecclesiastes 9:11

Depend on God to cause you to be at the right place at the right time, to have right happenings happen in your life!

A Picture of a Blessed Man

We have spent some time on what the Bible says is a cursed man but looks look at what the Bible says is a blessed man.  Slightly after the chapter in Jeremiah where he talks about a cursed man he states that a blessed man is one who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.  He also states that a blesses man will not have fear when the heat comes and his leafs will be green and will not be anxious in times of a drought and will never stop yielding fruit.

When man puts focus on his own efforts it is impossible to be strong, not be anxious and to yield fruit during a drought.  Our world panics during a drought or a crisis and we are continuously trying to stay out of a drought because in a drought in this world we will suffer.  In the Lord however this is not true.  When we are in the Lord we continue to flourish and be blessed even during a drought.  When we trust in ourselves we will have stress, anxiety and fail at some point.  However, if we truly put our trust in the Lord and our hope is based on the Lord then we can be truly confident that we will be taken care of no matter what our surroundings are.  See the difference?  In this world we try and control our circumstances and surroundings, however, in the Lord we let the circumstances and surroundings come our way because we know the Lord will lead us through whatever our circumstances and surroundings are.  He will lead us through and we will continue to be blessed and will have favor and love irregardless of what we are facing.  My friends, that is grace, that is love and that is a Lord I love to worship and serve.  That is my God!!!

The tree described I think of a blessed man is an evergreen.  It is green no matter what; it flourishes no matter what it’s surroundings are.  It is still green in a drought.  Jeremiah says that a cursed man is a shrub in a dessert.  YUCK!  That is depressing.  I want to be an evergreen, I want to flourish and be green no matter what my surroundings are.  Do you think an evergreen does anything to be green all the time?  Do you think it is green because of it’s efforts?  No it is green because that is what God has done for that tree.  It is no different for us my friends.  The Lord directs our steps, He is the source of our blessings and when we trust in Him and hope in Him, irregardless of our surroundings we are blessed, favored and loved just like the evergreen.  Not because we did anything but because He did it all.  The difference is we walk through life void of stress and fear when we are focused on the Lord.

The main difference between the blessed man and the cursed man in scripture is that the cursed man cannot see good when it comes, the blessed man will not fear even heat when it comes!  This is very important:  Heat comes to even the blessed man, but he is not conscious of the seasons of the heat, but continues to be strong and flourish.  Let me say again that fear and stress are not from the Lord.  The Lord does not guarantee that tough things won’t happen, but He does guarantee that you will not have fear or stress and that He will carry you through.  This means you will enjoy divine health, youthfulness, vitality and dynamism.  Your only thing is to believe appropriately, trust and have hope in Him.

The blessed man will not be anxious in the drought.  Look around you and the meltdowns currently happening.  While it may be bad news for the world, the blessed man can remain at rest and not be anxious because God has promised that even in the midst of a crisis, he will not “cease from yielding fruit.”  Beloved, you are that blessed man or woman, choose to believe that and watch fear and stress leave your life.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease form yielding fruit.   —   Jeremiah 17:7-8

The blessed man is not conscious of seasons of heat, but continues to be strong to flourish.

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