Source: Peace Redefined: 2015 In Review
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wound.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever, ( Psalm 73:26)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
God is waiting to walk with us through our broken places if we choose to accept His offer. Will you reach out to Him?
Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us but your name alone do we honor (worship/trust). They are now dead and live no more, their spirits do not rise. You punished them and brought them to ruin. You wiped out all memory of them. Isaiah 26:13-14
The Bible contains several accounts of times when the children of Israel abandoned God and His ways. Oftentimes because of their rebellion, they were captured by enemies and heathen kings who oppressed them. In addition to this physical oppression, the lords of idolatry and lust also ruled over them (2 Chronicles 12:8, 2 Chronicles 28:6, Romans 6:16-18). However, when they cried out to God and repented, in His mercy He freed them from their oppressors. He brought their oppressors to ruin. In return, the children of Israel acknowledged and worshiped God.
This week, I read Isaiah 26:13-14. Reflecting on these verses reminded me of my own journey over the last seven years. For sure it has been a journey of pain and spiritual growth. You see, even though I have been a believer for some time, I too, like the children of Israel had allowed other lords to rule over me. I was oppressed and ruled by the lords of …..offense, anger, resentment, bitterness, despair, hopelessness, insecurity……you get the picture. Many times, these other lords made me so miserable.
How did I get free from the lords that enslaved me?
In despair, I cried out to the Lord. Through reading His word and prayers, God opened my eyes to the havoc these lords were wrecking in my life. With God’s help, the chains of these lords over me are now broken. They are dead, rendered powerless, no more alive. Better yet, God wiped all memory of them and filled me with peace, hope and love. Glory Alleluia!
As I yield and surrender my challenges, Christ has taken hold of me…… and given me His perspective. He has shown me the path to freedom. I invited Him to be the center of my life, to be my all in all. One by one, the stronghold of anger, bitterness, and hopelessness have become powerless. I found peace in Christ. I credit my spiritual growth during this journey to Christ alone. Sure, God sent others to encourage me along the way. They served as His instruments of hope in my life. I am grateful to each one of these godly men and women. In all, Christ is worthy of all my honor, adoration and praise.
How about you? Are there other lords ruling over you? Invite Christ into your situation and make Him the center of it all. He is ready and waiting for you!
Israel Houghton’s “Jesus at the Center, It’s all about You” captures the essence of my new found freedom.
Listen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQspvrTBd6E
For we are God’s masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
Knowing who we are in Christ gives us freedom and confidence to have the correct view of ourselves. It helps us see ourselves just as God sees us. We don’t believe the lies of the enemy when he whispers “you are not worth it” and we don’t allow ourselves to be defined by our circumstances.
Ephesians 1:3-14 describes the basis of our identity. As believers who have put our faith in Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Savior, we are:
• Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
• Chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless.
Jesus made a special trip to seek out the Samaritan woman in John 4. She was an outcast and a rejected woman who did not know her identity. She was defined by her circumstances. She was looking for love and acceptance in the world. She had married five times and was presently living with a man to whom she was not married. Jesus chose this woman as his own daughter. He reached out to her. He chose you and me regardless of our circumstances. We are:
• Adopted and dearly loved
• Redeemed and forgiven according to the riches of God’s grace
• Lavished with all wisdom and understanding
• Receive the revelation and mystery of God’s will
• Eternal life
• Co-heirs with Christ
• Lavished with His love
God’s love for his daughters is measureless. Ephesians 3:18 states that no one can grasp the length, the width, the height and the depth of Christ’s love for His daughters.
• Marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit which declares us authentic that we belong to Christ.
• The Holy Spirit gives us authority
• We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God took great care to create us and every detail of our lives is important to him.
The ultimate goal of knowing and accepting our identity in Christ is to bring praise and glory to God. This means we stay connected to God through prayer, reading God’s Word, living a life of integrity and allowing our walk to encourage others by pointing them to Christ. It means we have confidence in the Lord. We know who we are in Him. When we live according to this knowledge, we will refuse to be shaken by life’s circumstances and challenges.
Though this message is for all believers, it is especially true for sisters in difficult circumstances. Are you living in your identity? Or are you allowing your circumstances to define you?
Remember, you are a Princess, Daughter of the most High God, Loved, Cherished, Redeemed, Forgiven, Accepted, Saved, Chosen and Clothed in His Righteousness. When next the enemy comes to harass you, remind him of whom you are in Christ. You my sister are a Masterpiece!
May the words of B. B. McKinney be an encouragement as you embrace your identity in Christ.
Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely,
He sees and knows all the way you have trod
Never alone are the least of his children,
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Have faith in God, He’s on his throne;
Have faith in God he watches over his own,
He cannot fail, he must prevail,
Have faith in God, have faith in God.
Scriptures: Ephesians 1: 3-14; Ephesians 2:10
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.
Christmas! It is time to celebrate Jesus’ Birthday. We gather with family and friends to mark this day. We eat, share fun times and exchange gifts. Speaking of gifts, we take special care to select the right gifts for family and friends, and present them beautifully wrapped.
The Magi also brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. The shepherds brought the gift of presence and worship. The heavenly hosts also rejoiced at the birth of Jesus by praising and glorifying God.
Jesus came to give us the best gift of all–Salvation. As we celebrate this day I am reminded to think about the most important gift that I can give to our Lord, Jesus Christ. How about you? What is your gift to Jesus?
The gift that you and I can give Jesus is our hearts- to allow Him to be Lord of all our affairs.
The poem above by Christina Rossetti captures it well. What can we give Jesus?
— Our Hearts! No wrappings needed, come just as you are!
Luke 2: 8-11(NIV)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Matthew 2:11 (NIV)
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Reflecting on 1 Chronicles 4:23, I think about Becky Lynn Black…my sister in Christ and mentor. Becky was a daughter, wife, mother, nurse, financial counselor and missionary. In all the different seasons of her life, one thing was constant…her love of Jesus. Becky worked for the King of kings. Doing his business was her priority. Her assignment was to allow the aroma of Christ to spread through her to others. Becky stayed with that assignment faithfully to the end. Her circumstances such as arthritis and cancer were no hindrance.
She mentored and encouraged many including me. Even though I knew her for about 2 years, I felt like I knew her all my life. Becky rubbed the aroma of Christ on everyone she came in contact with. In 2012, I wrote the following in my praise and thankfulness journal about a particular encounter with Becky:
“I praise God for Becky Lynn. She is a friend, a mother figure and above all a sister in Christ. I bless the Lord for making our paths to cross. I bless the Lord for using Becky Lynn to remind me of God’s character last week when I faced a major health issue. She volunteered to accompany me to my appointment even though she had her own health issues. She fasted and stood with me in prayer as I went through the necessary tests and procedures. Her words and the scriptures she shared encouraged me. It gave me peace, stability and inner joy. I bless the Lord for a wonderful woman of God!”
Becky was a connector. She connected people to each other and to Christ. Even while dying, she wanted to be sure that a friend would be at her memorial service to hear the gospel of Jesus. Becky left instructions for me to contact this friend and bring her to the memorial service. This was so like Becky…caring for others. Thanks to Becky I gained several new sisters in the Faith.
Becky impacted my life in so many ways—from going to serve and minister to women in Ethiopia, to her encouraging words, “Focus on the Character of God, not on your circumstances” or “our Lord is worthy of Excellence”. I miss you Sis!
Becky was faithful in her assignment to the end. She went Home to be with the King on November 2, 2013. She served our Lord Jesus with such great love and passion. How about you and me, are we doing the King’s business?
The folks in 1 Chronicles 4:23 were potters…they worked for an earthly king. Do you know the King of kings…aka our Lord Jesus Christ? What assignment has He given you? Are you serving Him with joy? Are you actively seeking opportunities to spread the aroma of Christ as Becky Lynn?
My prayer is that we are all encouraged by Becky’s life and motivated to use our gifts and talents to bring glory to the King—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To read more about Becky Lynn’s life story go here: http://www.daveblackonline.com/
“No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth” Revelation 14:3
Last week I reflected on Revelation 14:1-5. The passage was about the redeemed. One hundred and forty four thousand were standing with the Lamb. They were described as having the seal of God and His son on their foreheads. They sang a beautiful new song and the sound of their singing was like the rushing waters. It was as loud as thunder and like the sound of many harpists playing their harps—Beautiful! No one else could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed.
Verse 3 really caught my attention because it suggested that these redeemed folks were quite unique. They had been given a song that no one else could sing. Do you know that you are uniquely created to sing a new song? No one else can sing your song. It is specially assigned to you by God. No one else can sing my song. No one else can fulfill the purpose for which God made you and I. He has uniquely gifted each one with a song, a new song.
This morning as I watched the Zumba instructor lead the class, the verse from Revelation 14:3 came to mind. It occurred to me that she was singing her song. As class participants, we were helping to fulfill her calling. It was fascinating to watch as sisters—young and old moved to the beats. For the moment, nothing else seemed to matter as we danced, burned fat and sweated. I imagined that these sisters were not only releasing stress but perhaps they were also being transformed from within—getting a glimpse of their song and choosing to sing it.
The question is this, do you know your song? Will you sing your song? Will you walk in your calling? Whenever you follow God’s calling for your life, you are choosing to sing your song i.e. fulfill your purpose. Remember that you are uniquely created by God to fulfill the purpose that he planned for you long ago.
Over the last few years, the Lord has made my song clearer to me. I believe that I am making progress in singing my new song. I admit it has been a slow process but I am thankful that I am not where I used to be. Lord, with your help I have stepped out in faith to use my gift of teaching and encouragement to bring your light to others. I pray for my sisters who may be reading this blog. I pray that you will give them courage to embrace their song and sing it with passion. Father, as we choose to obey you and walk in our calling, I pray that we will bring you praise, glory and honor.