Monday, September 30, 2013

Conflict and Frustration? Christ is our answer

Conflict and Frustration

Conflict and Frustration

Does this sound familiar?

This happens when a person depends upon his/her own strength to cope with present pressures and past rejections.

People are a three-part whole.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23)

We are a SPIRIT (Determines Our Identity), who has a SOUL (Personality) with a MIND (Thinker), EMOTIONS (Feeler), and WILL (Chooser), and lives in a BODY (Dwelling) that includes Speech, 5 Senses and Action.

Conflict and Frustration
Conflict and Frustration

Does this still sound familiar?

Ø  This may be due to our mind having a distorted view of God, self and others.
Ø  This may be due to our emotions dictating our actions.
Ø  This may be due to our will choosing to depend on the flesh instead of God.

God loves us enough to do what it takes to reveal our dependence on the flesh, so that we will be ready to exchange it (flesh) for His life.

The Exchanged Life
“All Things”
Romans 8:28
Ø  MIND being renewed to Truth Romans 12:2
Ø  EMOTIONS gradual healing
Psalm 23:3
Ø  WILL chooses to depend on Christ Romans 13:14

Christ living His life through us is victorious living!!!
Romans 15:18

Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Christ is our security

“You shall not go out with haste,…for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” Isaiah 52:12

We all have a need for Security, Significance and Satisfaction. This brief note is on security and taken from My Utmost for His Highest daily devotional December 31.

“Security from Yesterday. ’..God requires an account of what is past’ (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays….But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.
Security for Tomorrow. ‘…the LORD will go before you…’…God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our ‘rear guard.’
Security for Today. ‘You shall not go out with haste…’ ..let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true that we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past rest, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.
Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”

Matthew 6

...For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also... Take no thought for your life..... Is not life more than food and clothes?..  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin... if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?..  your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these this shall be added unto you....

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Back to the Future

 “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.”

Romans 8:38-39

Back to the Future

   A pervasive hindrance to an active, productive life of faith is a misdirected focus on the past. God is always working to help us move forward in our faith. He is future oriented. Our past experiences obviously influence our current and future actions; but when our gaze is too often fixed on the rearview mirror, we aren’t going to make the progress God wants. If our minds continually churn up destructive debris from the past, enjoying today and tomorrow is a chore. The past becomes a heavy metal albatross that few can bear.
   A pantheon of great characters in Scripture was chosen by God despite their checkered past. Moses spent four decades in oblivion following a heated killing. Abraham had a regrettable liaison with his maidservant. Peter turned his back on the Savior at a defining moment. Paul was the ringleader for Pharisaic persecution of the emerging church. Had they allowed their prior behavior to unduly control them, they and we would be spiritual paupers.
   I’m not sure what your past holds. Others may have hurt you deeply, abusing you physically or mentally. The memories are there every day and the feelings of shame won’t go away. Perhaps you are the guilty party and you are continually besieged by guilt and remorse over your actions. The past has a suffocating grip on your emotions.
   The way of escape is through forgiveness─real, genuine, biblical forgiveness─that releases you from the irons of the past and releases those who hurt you. God put your sins behind you through his forgiveness the instant you trusted Christ. He holds nothing against you. You are no longer a debtor to God. You may not forget the past, but you can break away from it by extending God’s forgiveness to those who wronged you and forgiving yourself as God has. If this appears too easy a solution for complex problems, it isn’t. Extending God’s brand of forgiveness to others or yourself takes courage and determination. But forgiveness is the only cure for the wounds of the past. Denial, suppression, or penance don’t work. There is no other recourse.
   Forgiveness is an act of grace, treating people with the favor of God, not as they deserve. Such grace is an expression of our faith in God’s provision for our future. We can move on with our life. We can look forward to good things. We are not prisoners of our past. Forgiveness has cleaned the slate and liberated us to become what God wants. Like Paul we possess the mindset that says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). Paul’s past wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t stop him from enjoying and serving God effectively.
   Put the past behind you, where it belongs; and watch Christ propel you into future grace, anticipating the goodness of God.

   Thank you, Father, for revealing to me how you used people with a sinful past to accomplish great things─even being a part of the earthly lineage of your Son. It comforts me and lets me realize you can do much through me.

   Learn from the past, but don’t drag its dregs into the future.

A Touch of His Goodness Dr. Charles Stanley page 113

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Why did Jesus Come?

“Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6
This way of life will only have meaning to those who have His life.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me" (Rev 3:20)

There are three doors to be opened: Savior, Lord and Life.

The believer is saved from the guilt and penalty of sin. Once the believer accepts Christ, he is eternally secure. He knows the Savior and is a "new creature in Christ" (2 Cor 5:17, Luke 7:50, 1 Cor 1:8, John 3:1-21).
The believer is being saved from the habit and the dominion of sin. He is accepting Jesus as Lord and Master (Rom 6:14, Rom 12:1, Phil 1:19, Phil 2:12,13, 2 Thes 2:13)
The believer is in the process of being brought into conformity to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29, Rom 13:11, Heb 10:36, 1 Peter 1:5, 1 John 3:2)
Only as the believer comes into the fullness of his identity with Christ and the "Exchanged Life" will his life take on the abundance of the supernatural blessings the Lord has intended for His children (Galatians 5:22-25).

Free at Last!
Why Did Jesus Come?
“He tells us in His own words. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ Luke 4:18,19
It is our belief that freedom is the birthright of every believer. We believe that freedom in Christ is God’s answer for every bondage. Many struggling with addictive behaviors and bondage are taught to cope. The emphasis is on the problem and what we must do. That is not why Jesus came.
Shift the focus from man and the problem to God and the answer. We must focus on what Jesus came for:
  1. Preach the Gospel-The Good News of what God has done-not what we should do.
  2. Proclaim freedom-our rightful inheritance as children of God.
  3. Recovery of sight to the blind-To see and believe the Truth that sets you free.
  4. Release the oppressed-Don’t put burdens of behavior and condemnation on people.
  5. Proclaim the year of God’s favor (grace)-Proclaim God’s grace.
If we focus on what we do-our program, our group, our freedom will be limited to our ability to carry through. If we focus on God and what He has accomplished on the cross, we will be able to experience freedom in Christ. Freedom is your birthright. Don’t settle for Less!”

Mike & Julia Quarles Freedom in Christ Recovery Ministry

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Christ birth in history and in me

“’Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23).

is Birth in History. “…that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God(Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of─He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate─God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our lord’s birth was an advent─the appearance of God in human form.
is Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.
God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chambers daily devotion December 25

“Christ in me” follow-up study:
Ø  underline the words “in Christ” in Galatians and Colossians
Ø  John 15 study vine and branches
Ø  The Rest of the Gospel by Dan Stone and Greg Smith
Ø  envelope project to visualized my position in Christ.

Use three envelopes that will easily fit inside each other:
4  Write GOD (largest) Gen. 1:1, 27; John 1:1; 10:38; 14:10-11; 17:21; 14:20.
4  Write JESUS (middle size) John 1:29; 6:35; 8:12; 10:9-10; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 1:21; Gal 3:27; 1 John 5:20.
4  Write my name (smallest) John 17:23; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal 2:20; 1 John 5:20.
4  Write Jesus position on a card or note (Jesus is in me) to be placed in the smallest envelope.

Decorate or write what is meaningful to you on each envelope.  The above scriptures are only suggestions.
Place the envelopes inside of each other.

Anything that comes into my life must come through God, through Jesus, to get to me; and when it gets there, it will find me filled with Jesus, so what is there to fear.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Exchanged Life - what? how?

What Do We Exchange?

Christ’s Righteousness
II Corinthians 5:21
Wrath of God
Peace with God
Romans 6:1
Ephesians 2:6, 19
Romans 7:4-6
Our Weaknesses
Christ’s Strength
II Corinthians 12:9-10
I Corinthians 15:57
John 15:11
John 8:32
Colossians 2:13
Galatians 5:22
Colossians 1:13
John 8:36
Total Acceptance
Ephesians 1:6

How Do I Exchange?

I admit my attempts to live my life in self-sufficiency. I see Jesus as the ONE who can rescue me from sin and self. I am willing to change the direction of my life from self-control to God-control. I present myself to Jesus in total surrender. In faith, I ask Jesus to place me into His eternal life. I accept God’s gift of Jesus’ righteousness and total forgiveness with gratitude.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Exchanged Life concept

The date 1869 suggests that this is not a new idea.
The Exchanged Life concept may have originated with Hudson Taylor, a missionary living in China. He wrote a letter to his sister dated October 17, 1869.

   “My own dear Sister…As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been, perhaps, the happiest of my life; and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul…..
    But personal need stood first and was the greatest. I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God. I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently…but all was with out avail….I knew that if I could only abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not…but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, often caused me to forget Him. Them one’s nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, hard thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control…Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin…I felt I was a child of God; His Spirit in my heart would cry, in spite of all, ‘Abba, Father’; but to rise to my privileges as a child, I was utterly powerless…
    When my agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus….’But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.’…’I will never leave you.” I’ll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me-never to leave me, never to fail me?’ And, dearie, He never will!…

    No fear that His resources will be unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me. All this springs from the believer’s oneness with Christ….

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Christ in you, the hope of glory

he Rest of the Gospel written by Dan Stone and Gregg Smith is a great book to help understand our identity. The following quotes are from the preface of this book. The authors demonstrate how to daily live the exchanged life. Life in Christ is possible here and now.

“’Christ in you, the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). Christ living in us and through us, as us, is the only hope we have of experiencing the glory God intends for our lives…We are not the center of the universe. The son is. We exist for the praise of His glory (Hebrews). God’s plan was to bring into being a host of sons and daughters whom He would indwell; through whom He would live and manifest Himself; and in and through whom Christ would reign supreme. We are the beneficiaries of that plan…we are not the center of it; Christ is.” The Rest of the Gospel gives ideas on how to live above the line in spiritual intimacy with God while still here in this physical world.

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20)

“These words mean the breaking and collapse of my independence brought about by my own hands, and the surrendering of my life to the supremacy of the Lord Jesus. No one can do this for me, I must do it myself. God may bring me up to this point three hundred and sixty-five times a year, but He cannot push me through it. It means breaking the hard outer layer of my individual independence from God, and the liberating of myself and my nature into oneness with Him; not following my own ideas, but choosing absolute loyalty to Jesus. Once I am at that point, there is no possibility of misunderstanding. Very few of us know anything about loyalty to Christ or understand what He meant when He said, “…for My sake” (Matthew 5:11) That is what makes a strong saint.
  Has that breaking of my independence come? All the rest is religious fraud. The one point to decide is-will I give up? Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the brokenness will come? I must be broken from my own understanding of myself. When I reach that point, immediately the reality of the supernatural identification with Jesus Christ takes place. And the witness of the Spirit of God is unmistakable-‘I have been crucified with Christ…’
   Will we allow Him to help Himself to us, or are we more concerned with our own ideas of what we are going to be?”

My Utmost for His Highest - Oswald Chambers - daily devotional November 3

 Ø  Have I made a conscious choice to be crucified with Christ?
 Ø  What happened as I began to give up my right to myself?

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5”