New Year! New Me! ~ Who I am in Christ

Understanding who you are in Christ will give you a strong foundation to build your life on. Knowing who are you in Jesus is the key to a successful Christian life and a life lived ON purpose. Once you choose to follow Jesus you become a new creation, the old you passes away and you become who you are in Him. Stop living out who other people say you are and take hold of the truth of God’s Word! Your identity doesn’t depend on something you do or have done.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, every one of these statements is true of you. Try reading the list below every day for a month, preferable out loud. As you speak these truths, you will believe it and your behavior will reflect your true identity. This renews your mind so you are not conformed to this world.

  • I am loved (John 3:16) For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

  • I am accepted (1 Peter 2:9) You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.

  • I am a child of God (John 1:12) But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

  • I am redeemed and forgiven (Colossians 1:14-15) For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

  • I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

  • I am a new creation because I am in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new creation. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

  • I do not have a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.

  • I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me (Hebrews 13:5) For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

  • I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39) What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • I am God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

  • I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me (Philippians 1:6) God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

 

New Year! New Me!

Today is the day! We have a brand new year ahead of us, a year that has the possibility to be filled with peace, promise, hope, and trust in the Almighty God. This is possible only through our God, whose love for you reaches as high as the stars in the sky. With God it is possible to get rid of the weight that entangles you and holds you back from the best life you can have.

There is an amazing, powerful God who wants to give you life to the fullest. At the same time, there is an enemy whose only goal is to steal, kill, and destroy you. However God is All-Powerful, and He overcame the enemy when Jesus died on the cross and rose again. It is because Jesus claimed victory over death that you can walk in freedom and have life!

God is after our hearts. His desire is to have an intimate relationship with you. He doesn’t make it hard to reach Him. Everyone deals with guilt and regret about mistakes and things in the past, so talk to God as openly as if you were talking to a friend. Because no matter what has happened in your life, God will never stop loving you!

God is holding this wonderful gift of life to you…all you need to do is accept it by realizing that God is the perfect King, and you’re in need of someone to save you. Welcome and allow God to be King of your life and to guide you. When you do, you will never be the same.

But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:40-43

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. Psalm 86:5

 

They That Wait

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) those who wait on the Lord, Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

 

For the past few weeks I’ve been plodding along a path that has left me tired and worn.  Nancy has had more than her share of hardships, from a broken toe, falling down our wooden stairs and having emergency retinal surgery.  I’ve found myself in a pit of whining and complaining, convinced God had somehow let us down.  As my thoughts swirled I began to believe that God did not know or care about all that was happening to us.  It’s then, in my darkest hours, I tend to forget to praise the Lord for all that He has done for me.  Like the Israelites of old, I found myself complaining about the manna God was giving us.  Instead of seeing Jesus before me and following Him wholeheartedly, I  chose to complain.  I believed I didn’t have the strength for the journey and that God was asking me to do the impossible – to trust Him in the midst of the storm.

“It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis.” Warren Wiersbe

I found Wiersbe’s statement to be true in my own life.  Then the other day as I stood washing dishes, I thought about everything that had happened the past few weeks.  I was reminded that “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength”.  I wondered what it meant to “wait on the Lord”.  The promise of waiting is a renewal of strength, and that’s what I needed, so I began to study.

The truth is, God knows.  He knows what we feel, what we’re facing and the challenges that lie before us.  The truth is that He is able and adequate enough to meet our every need.  On my own I’m unable to trust God completely, but He gives me the strength to trust Him if I wait upon the Lord.  My strength is insufficient but God is all sufficient and gives me strength for the journey.

I’ve learned that waiting isn’t just sitting around and doing nothing.  Waiting means “to hope” and to look to God for all that we need.

Isaiah 26:3 (AMP) “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You – in both inclination and character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 30:15 (AMP) “In returning [to Me] and rest you shall be saved,
In quietness and confident trust is your strength.”

Rather than continuing to complain I need to put my hope in God’s character, having a purposeful mindset to pray, praise and glorify Him. I need to spend time meditating on His character and His promises.    It’s a concentrated effort to shift my focus from the storm and the waves of life.  I’m placing my hope in the One who speaks, “Peace! Be still”.

Finally, I’ve learned I need to renew, which means “to exchange”.  This is putting off one thing and putting on another.  I need to exchange my weakness for His power as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.  As I wait on Him He enables me to soar when the trials are many, and to walk faithfully as I face the everyday challenges of life.

As I face each new day I need only to step out in faith, knowing that God has gone before me.  I trust in His promises and His character.  I know He won’t leave me, I know He will provide and I know He will fill me with His strength as I walk by faith and not by sight.

Walking through the waves

So much of my life has been lived in fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of looking dumb or being humiliated, fear of meeting new people, going new places or trying new things.  As a kid the new school year was frightening and my folks would remind me that everyone else is in the same boat.  While that may have been true, it didn’t help.  I was afraid to leave the comfort and security of home.  As I grew older new jobs scared me.  I would be physically ill on my way into work and have to stop along the way to empty the contents of my stomach.  Fear kept me from sleeping at night, from stepping out and trying new things.  It kept me from going or doing either what I wanted to do or needed to do.  Fear held me back from a great many things in my life and over the years I’ve learned that fear is powerful.

Fear isn’t all bad.  It tells me to run in the face of danger.  Fear protects me but it can also hold me captive.  I can be trapped by fear even when there is no danger present or when I allow my fear to grow into something greater than it should be.  Was there a real danger present at the beginning of each new school year or when I started each new job?  No, of course not, but because of what my mind was convinced of, my body reacted to, literally.  Yes, it’s true that when we’re convinced of something, like fear, our minds have the power to make us physically ill.  Consider Proverbs 23:7 which says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  I’ve given fear too much power.  My perception of a given situation can be entirely untrue and what’s more, I’m placing my trust in the wrong thing entirely – myself.  It’s time to shift my focus.

I don’t want to live in fear any longer.  I want to step into all that God has in store for me.  I want to go when God says “Go” and stop when he says “Stop”.  Isaiah 30:21 states, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  I want to speak when I hear his gentle voice urging me to talk with someone or pray boldly with a complete stranger. My heart’s desire is to move beyond the controlling confines of fear and step boldly into what God has in store for me.  In order for me to move beyond fear I must learn that ‘fearful’ is not who I am any longer.  Through Scripture I’m learning that God can set me free from fear.

There are two verses in Scripture I cling to.  The first is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The second is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  In order for me to step out of a fear-filled mindset I must step into something different.  For me, that something different happened when I was eight years old, the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I’ve been a born again Christian for 42 years but only recently have I understood the power of Christ within me.  I’ve walked far too many years without knowing or understanding that I didn’t need to live in constant fear.  Too many years not understanding the transformative power of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12).

I can’t claim to fully understand how Scripture works in me as I read it, but this I know: the more Scripture I read, the more peace I have.  The closer I walk with Jesus, the more I learn, the more I hide Scripture in my heart, the more peace I have.  I still have days when all I see are the waves and storms of life as they crash around me.  Still, I’m learning to keep my eyes on the One who calms my storms with the Word of His mouth.  Do I understand why things happen or for what purpose?  No, but I’m not meant to, because that’s what faith in Christ is all about.  It’s a simple childlike faith that believes and trusts, even when everything in me is screaming otherwise.  Fear is losing its grip on me as I grow in faith and trust in Jesus my Savior.

 

Sometimes it’s the little big things…

Sometimes it’s the little big things that keep you going…

Have you ever thought that?  Or had that happen?  Or are you wondering what I am talking about?

What I mean is that sometimes you run across a little thought, verse or encouragement and that is all you need to make a big impact on you and provide you with the push you need to keep going.

Social media (Pinterest or Facebook to name a couple) portray many clips and sayings – some that encourage, some that bring on the tears, and even some that invoke anger or another emotion.

But despite all the time I have spent scanning through Pinterest pins,  I have found that the Bible is the most encouraging, life-saving, true statements that promote life – and not only life – but a full life.  Did you know that?

There have been times when we wondered “did we do the right thing?” or “did we hear God correctly?”  Those questions would sometimes come during times of challenge.  And it has been a challenge to make the changes we have made.  But despite those challenges, the Lord is building a faith in us that I would never trade!

So what is a little big thing that keeps us going?  Well, it’s found in the Bible at Philippians 1:6 and it says:  “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It’s a little sentence with big meaning:  “being CONFIDENT (to be fully and firmly convinced) of this, that He (Jesus) who BEGAN (started) a good work in you (fill in the blank here – ours is Biblical Counseling) will CARRY IT ON (continue it) to COMPLETION (until it is finished) until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of Christ’s return).

What the Lord has started, He will not leave unfinished.  There will be a beginning, a middle and an end.  So any challenges that we face as we go though this change in our lives, we do not need to wonder if God will see us though – because He will.

What challenges are you facing?  Seek the Lord, for He will see you though!

Trust In and Rely Confidently On…

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP) Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

I love this passage.  We are commanded to trust in and rely confidently on the Lord.  When?  All the time.  Even when the storms of life swirl about us – we trust in Him.  Even when work hours have been cut – trust in him.  Trust and rely on Him when nothing makes sense.  We might not understand everything that’s going on right now and that’s okay because we’re not to rely on our own insight or our understanding.  We ARE to acknowledge and recognize Him – thank him for leading you through all the years of uncertainty and for being faithful and constant – He has not forgotten you and will not forget you.  The promise of this verse is that God will make your paths straight and smooth as you trust and rely confidently on Him and not your wisdom or understanding.

None of what you face today is a surprise to God.  Cry out to Him who is our mediator, who prays on our behalf – be confident in knowing that Holy Spirit prays for you with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26-27).  There is comfort in knowing that Holy Spirit cares deeply for us and prays continuously for our every need.  ~ Brad

Hope and The Solid Rock

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust in Jesus name. On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.”

Those lyrics from “The Solid Rock” hold so much meaning for me I love those old hymns. There is so much truth packed into the songs I grew up singing, although back then I didn’t appreciate them as I do now. This song reminds me to build my hope on nothing but Jesus. He is my firm foundation, my solid rock. When the storms of life assail me, I stand firm knowing that my feet are fixed on Christ Jesus who is my solid rock and my mighty fortress.

I know from experience just how disheartening and discouraging life can be. I’ve learned, slowly at times, to keep my eyes fixed on my Savior, my Lord and my King. Unlike earthly things, that leave me dry, thirsting and wanting, I draw from Jesus who gives me water from which I will never thirst again.

I encourage you to stand on the Solid Rock who is Jesus. Not sure how that’s done? Contact me, I’d love to sit down with you and walk with you through whatever it is you face today. I’ll always point you to the One in whom my hope rests. ~Brad