Seek to Add Value (Single & Following Jesus Part XII)

What does it mean to add value?

We live in a world of gimmie and bless me and serve me. In an ideal world, one with Jesus at the center, there would be lots of, “How can I serve you? How can I bless you? What about you?

If we all looked out for each other, every person would come into relationships looking for ways to help and bless the other person. There would be no one sided relationships, abuse, infidelity, dishonesty, selfishness, consumers in relationships, gross hurt or unnecessary pain. Utopia right?

The only perfection this side of eternity is found in Jesus. We are not perfect, He is. We can pursue abiding in His love so others around us are blessed.

When you and I set our minds on being a blessing it gives us the opportunity to love. Love is not selfish.

Love serves. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom.

The example of Jesus does not mean we offer up to everyone endless pouring out. Why? The one who gives the most is the one who ends up attached and loving.

It is important to use wisdom with our attachments. Though we are encouraged to just give and give, pour out and pour out…if you do not use wisdom you can end up having your heart shredded.

God intended for relationships to be reciprocal and involve commitment, not be one sided. God intended for both people to be loved and stewarded well. Love is supposed to be safe.

The level of access someone has to us should increase with the level of commitment.

Adding value is not giving everyone equal access to your heart.

Before you give your heart away, is the other person trustworthy to steward your heart. What is this person’s commitment to you? Casual, then their access should reflect that. Growing, they show you they are trustworthy, then a bit more knowing. Closeness/committed, then a bit more with the deepest intimacy (emotional, spiritual, or physical) happening inside of marriage. Some share way too much while dating to have their hearts broken. Engagement implies commitment, it is not marriage. Dating is not engagement. How much are you giving away?

Adding value is not sex outside marriage!

Some give their bodies away with zero commitment thinking giving without commitment will lead to love. Well, giving your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit away without an eternal covenant (commitment) is actually sin and not demonstrating self value. It’s like having a 1,000,000 car and giving people free rides. They have no plan on caring for the car, they just enjoy the ride. Our bodies are MORE valuable than a car. Would you give someone you just met a billion dollars? Probably not if you do not know someone. Yet movies show people climbing in and out of bed like it’s nothing.

Sex is more than a physical act, it joins two people in the soulish and spiritual realm. You are saying, “Whatever is in you, I invite into me.” Two people link in body, soul, flesh. God designed sex to unite people for life. His motivation was love (giving, knowing, intimacy), not lust (taking, self pleasure). The only closer connection is between God and born again believers where His Spirit lives in us.

Why use boundaries with giving or giving everyone equal access to us? The giver has the most invested. This means you do not treat boyfriends and girlfriends like husbands and wives. There are certain parts of our lives that are off limits. There are boundaries we need to have in place to prevent heart entanglements without commitment, emotional attachment too soon, over-giving, oversharing, etc. There is wisdom in what we give to friends as well.

The goal is to look at each relationship and see what you can bring to add value. This can consist of:

  • Encouragement
  • Listening
  • Kindness
  • Asking, “How are you?” and caring about the answer
  • Being honest
  • Being present
  • Devoting some time (texting and emails are not the same as quality time in person)
  • Inquiring about another person’s life
  • Caring about what interests the other person
  • Offering to help with something
  • Supporting something they care about
  • Loyalty
  • Initiating instead allowing all contact to be one sided
  • Being honest about what you like and don’t like
  • Not pretending (some pretend while getting to know someone that they like certain things or they are someone else-be the real you!)

If we ask God, He will show us ways to add value. Different people have different likes and dislikes. I may love something that someone else dislikes. The goal is to be on the lookout for what blesses someone else.

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,~Phil 2:4.

This means we also do not go into relationships as consumers. Over the years I have met several men who came with their wife list. They were checking off boxes. They were not looking for how to be a blessing, they were looking to be blessed. They were not looking to serve, they were seeking to be served. It was not about love; it was about selfishness. As long as I appealed to their flesh and met a few criteria I could (in their minds) be wooed or bought into relationship. Like a car they saw something they wanted and desired to purchase. If they could flash enough money or try to charm me, then magically I would fall for them and sign up for a life of servanthood. Ummmmm no. They had little plans to serve or love like Jesus.

Marriage is supposed to be about two people loving and serving each other. People are not objects we buy to please us. Our world suffers greatly because things are being loved and people used. People are to be loved. Love seeks to serve, help, support, give, invest, and add value. Does your person of interest care about adding value or are you an object they seek to obtain to please them? Do they take any interest in your life? Or is it all about them?

Let me tell you an important truth, selfish people hurt others. If you have grossly selfish friends or a grossly selfish mate you will experience pain and deep hurt. Do NOT think if they are selfish in the beginning you are going to change that. God changes selfish hearts, we are not God.

My encouragement to every person is to seek to add value and look for those who add value. It is not selfish to wish for a mate who actually cares about you, for who you are-not because they are lonely, lusting, trying to fill a void. Adding value is not about money, it’s about genuine love. You and I were created to be loved!

Love,

Erin Lamb

Advertisements

Encounter (Holy Spirit Series Part 7)

20140415-200335.jpg

There are so many wonderful things I could say about the Holy Spirit. Tonight I wanted to share more testimonies that will hopefully fuel your faith.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7 years old. My parents are pastors. So, I grew up hearing about Jesus and watching them live like Jesus. I saw them open our home to the poor, widows, orphans, and even those who had done horrible things to them. I watched my parents love the man who murdered their oldest son and never served a day in jail for the crime. I didn’t know at the time that their love was a display of one the Holy Spirit’s greatest works-agape love.

My first realization of His work in my life came on Easter when I was 7. I was watching the Easter movie about Jesus. When it came time for Him to go to the cross, I recall being overwhelmed with sorrow and love. I wept. This man gave His life to save mine. The Holy Spirit was so at work that day! I didn’t want to live another day without Him!

Like many Christians I thought God only spoke to special people, like pastors. 😉 Yet, there was this hunger in me for Him that couldn’t be quenched. There were so many things I couldn’t understand, like walking in a place and being able to know if it was good or bad. My mom said I had an uncanny knack of knowing spiritual atmospheres. Later learned it is the gift of discerning spirits.

It wasn’t until college I begin to hear God speak to me. A still voice would bring scriptures to mind, line by line. I had to look them up because my memory was never excellent at memorizing scripture. I began to journal, date, and log those versus. I still have some of those journals. He moved from speaking scripture to providing wisdom, and insight. I keep a journal with me at all times to document what He’s speaking.

Knowing (Prompted to Pray):

One night at a Sunday night worship gathering I was caught up in worship (meaning really into it). I was joyful, excited, and happy. At one point sorrow hit me so profound I felt as if I wanted to die. This was so strange. I began to cry big crocodile tears. I excused myself to the restroom. I begin to pray. I didn’t know what else to do. After awhile the grief lifted. Days later I was talking to a friend and she confessed she was going to take her own life. She said Sunday night she had it all planned. A light bulb went off for me. I asked what time? She said that evening. It was the exact time I was hit with grief. She said something like a wave of God’s love hit her and she couldn’t go through with it.

Healed in a Moment/Delivered in a Minute:

I told you last post about being trapped in my car under water. Well, after that incident, I had awful panic attacks in enclosed spaces. Mainly in my car. I would have to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, or otherwise be overcome with fear. I went to my pastor at the time for prayer. He wanted me to go to counseling. I’m not against counseling. I’m pro take it to God first. I left church discouraged. I drove around worshipping and talking to God. I told The Lord , “I never want to feel this way again. I know You can fix this.” It was in a moment that I felt extreme warmth surge through my body. Fear was gone. I didn’t have anyone pray for me or lay hands on me. God did a complete work in one minute.

He did the same thing for my heart. Years before that awful car accident, I had a bad reaction to medication during a routine surgery and almost died. The outcome was a healthy teenager came out on heart meds and seeing specialists. I told God I knew He healed. Jesus paid for healing. I’m happy to say my heart is healthy!!!! This happened with me and God. One moment changed my life, one act of faith.

There are people who travel all over to see miracle workers or “super” spiritual people. The Miracle Worker is God alone. The Spirit of God is in every born again believer. He doesn’t come in percentages and is fully God. There are so many breakthroughs that can happen with just you and God. I’m an ordinary person who has suffered quite a bit and seen God bring miracle after miracle! I’m thankful for every person who refused to help or could not help because it’s taught me to rely fully on God. Yes, we need people too. God is everything. He is my everything. The Holy Spirit is all powerful. So, I encourage you to fan the flame of your love for God! Get into the secret place with Him. Get to know Him for yourself. Know the Author of the Book (the Bible). Encounter Him. Let Him encounter you!

Greater is He who is in you than in the entire world!~1 John 4:4.

Love in Christ,

Erin

He’s Controversial (Holy Spirit Series Part 1)

20140106-200629.jpg

“…You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9.

“...if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” Romans 8:11.

The Holy Spirit is a controversial topic when it comes to some believers or non-believers. Some say He only works in certain ways today and no longer operates the way He did through the disciples. Some disagree. I am not writing this series to attempt to convince anyone to change their beliefs. I do want to share testimonies and scriptures that reveal the person of the Holy Spirit.

Why is He so controversial?

Well, I can’t answer that question fully. I can provide information from what I’ve heard, learned, and seen.

1. How do people know it’s God and not some fluke, someone’s imagination, or someone’s attempt to prove they are more spiritual?

A . Faith involves some risk. Learning to hear from God, getting to know Him, submitting to the Holy Spirit is a process. We always measure things against God ‘s word, use discernment, and pray. It’s dangerous to judge people when we don’t know their heart, motivation, or see what God is doing.

If you read the Bible, it’s filled with outlandish things to the unbelieving eye. Examples: God creating all things (many with just His words), God sending Himself to redeem humanity, the Virgin Birth, Jesus’s death and resurrection, our own resurrection and salvation. If we can believe these things which are the cornerstone of our faith, why do we limit God today or in other areas of life? God has not changed. Our expectations of what He will do have changed. Can we celebrate and acknowledge God can do anything?

2. Those Charismatics, Evangelical, and Holy Spirit filled people act crazy! Dancing, jumping, speaking in tongues, etc…shouldn’t Christians be reserved in their reverence for God?

A. Yep! I’ve heard this complaint before. Why is it okay for a person to weep when they have a revelation of God’s love and not okay for someone else to dance or leap for joy? David danced before the Lord, and when his wife was embarrassed by him, he said, “I will become more undignified than this.” God is so good. If we can jump, leap, scream, dance, and cheer for our favorite sports team, why do we pretend expressions for God must be quiet? I’m not stating church should be like a three ring circus. I am stating when we truly have a revelation of God’s goodness, we want to express gratitude. It looks different for everyone. Judging other believer’s encounters with God is not productive. We don’t know our own hearts and motivations, how can we (without God telling us) know someone else’s?

3. Do we really need miracles, signs, and wonders today?

A. Imagine knowing the person who had the cure for every disease and answer for every problem. You then tell the world, you aren’t going to ask him for help because a cure wasn’t needed-everyone was appointed to die anyway.

God still heals. He still performs miracles. He still does amazing things. We live in a world where people are dying daily; they need a miracle. We tell the world our God is all powerful, then reduce God to what we believe He will do. Miracles demonstrate the goodness of God. Salvation is the greatest miracle. We would not say we no longer need to preach the Gospel, yet some will say we do not need to pray for the sick or divine intervention in people’s lives.

4. What about those so called prophets for hire or miracle healers exploiting people?

A. Yes, there are some who misuse the name of God for profit or to exploit or hurt people. That does not mean God doesn’t want to work through His children to bless the world. People don’t counterfeit what’s fake. God’s name is Jehovah Rapha; He is the Healer. God speaks to and through His children. Every prophecy is to be tested. The disciples nor Jesus demanded money to help, bless, encourage, or heal someone. God’s a giver, not an exploiter. Love gives, blesses, and protects.

I will end with this story. This Christmas I was with my family. My uncle was there. We were retelling his testimony. He has seizures. One day he had one while driving. He hit a pole at an excelerated rate. He lost consciousness at the scene. Some man found him and cut open his throat so he could breathe. He flatlined several times (on the way to the hospital and at the hospital). I recall being in the waiting room with my family. I recall when they came out to tell us he was dead. My grandma got up and said, “Please take me to see my son. I need to pray for him.” The doctors looked at us like we were crazy. Why pray for a dead man. He was dead. We continued to pray in the waiting room, while others went to pray for my uncle. Needless to say, he’s alive today. The doctors say there’s no way he should alive or be able to function. His brain was without oxygen too long for him to be able to function even if they believed in bringing someone back from the dead. He walks. He talks. He feeds himself. He can read and write. He loves to talk on the phone. God performed a miracle that day. If I weren’t there, I might be skeptical. I’ve seen too much already to put God back in a box.

Final thoughts:

Please don’t be discouraged over this series if you’ve prayed for a miracle and it didn’t happen. I have those stories too!!! I refuse, though, to allow disappointment to sow bad seeds in my house of faith. My expectations are to be backed by God’s character, Word, and Spirit…not limited by past experience or disappointment. God can do anything! If He doesn’t answer the way we’d like, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us, care about us, we didn’t pray the right prayer or have enough faith, or that we should stop contending for healing, miracles, or breakthrough.

My hope is to inspire you to believe God can do anything!!!

God bless,

Erin

20140106-210837.jpg

The Holy Spirit

20131228-203201.jpg

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you,~Romans 8:11.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams,~Acts 2:17.

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law,~Gal 5:22-23.

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. He is fully God. He is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, has a will, and can speak. He is alive. He is a person,~Matt Slick.

The Holy Spirit is not a strange force. He is fully God. He can speak (Acts 13:2); He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30); and He has a will (1 Cor. 12:11).

He is the Spirit who empowered Jesus, led Him, raised Him from the dead, affirmed Him, bears witness to Him, and overshadowed Mary to conceive Jesus (Matt 1:18-20). He works to convict the world of sin. He lives in believers; continually revealing truth, God’s love, and proving wisdom, insight, and comfort. He works in believers to mold their character into the likeness of Jesus. And there is so much more. He is glorious!

The Holy Spirit is often misunderstood. To some He’s not necessary. To others He’s everything. Some equate Spirit filled living with wild, crazy, and looney manifestations. So, instead of seeking to live empowered by Him there is caution and sometimes quenching of the Spirit. I will say God can do anything He’d like and for some their walk with the Holy Spirit seems unconventional. I pray we are not quick to judge or compare. The only thing we can say is the Holy Spirit will not violate the Word of God. I’ve seen people laugh, cry, dance, shake, tremble, behave like they’re drunk, speak in tongues and have interpretation, all due to an overwhelming encounter with God’s Spirit. How can we assess the encounters? Well, all the things I’ve mentioned above are recorded in the Bible. And if they weren’t, we still must operate in grace and not accuse others of make believe, being prideful, or attention seeking. Discernment, love, compassion, and grace are needed.

I’ve found the encounter led to the person being changed in some way; deeper understanding of God’s love, healing (emotional or physical), freedom from some stronghold ( addictions, etc…). When God is working, who are we to judge, criticize, or put limits on God? He’s always up to something good.

The Roles of the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit serves a great purpose in the Trinity. Without Him we do not have a revelation of Jesus, we have limited to no understanding of Scripture, we have no comforter or depositor of gifts, we have no seal promising we belong to God, and we cannot live empowered lives without Him. He’s significant. He’s so important. He’s vital to living like Jesus.

The Works of the Holy Spirit (credit to Mike Slick for the outline).

Access to God – Eph. 2:18
Inspires prayer – Eph. 6:18; Jude 20
Anoints for Service – Luke 4:18 Intercedes -Rom. 8:26
Assures – Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6 Interprets Scripture – 1 Cor. 2:1,14;
Eph. 1:17
Authors Scripture – 2 Pet. 1:20-21 Leads – Rom. 8:14
Baptizes – John 1:23-34; 1 Cor. 12:13-14
Liberates – Rom. 8:2
Believers Born of – John 3:3-6
Molds Character – Gal. 5:22-23
Calls and Commissions – Acts 13:24; 20:28
Produces fruit – Gal. 5:22-23
Cleanses – 1 Thess. 3:13; 1 Pet. 1:2 Empowers Believers – Luke 24:49
Convicts of sin – John 16:9,14
Raises from the dead – Rom. 8:11
Creates – Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4 Regenerates – Titus 3:5
Empowers – 1 Thess. 1:5
Sanctifies – Rom. 15:16
Fills – Acts 2:4; 4:29-31; 5:18-20
Seals – Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30
Gives gifts – 1 Cor. 12:8-11
Strengthens – Eph. 3:16; Acts 1:8; 2:4;
1 Cor. 2:4
Glorifies Christ – John 16:14
Teaches – John 14:26
Guides in truth – John 16:13
Testifies of Jesus – John 15:26
Helps our weakness – Rom. 8:26 Victory over flesh – Rom. 8:2-4; Gal. 4:6
Indwells believers – Rom. 8:9-14; Gal. 4:6

As we enter this series on the Holy Spirit, I pray our hearts are enlightened to His work in our lives. May we submit to Him, listen to Him, follow Him, and thank Him. He, like Jesus and the Father, is an important part of our lives as believers. May we live Holy Spirit empowered lives! God bless you!

20131228-211601.jpg

Hearing God

20131210-173417.jpg
John 10:22-30

Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

There are people who believe God no longer speaks to His children. There are those who believe God only speaks to certain people. There are those who believe God is always speaking.

I used to fall into the category of believing God only spoke to certain people. I’d hear people say, “I had this dream, vision, thought, or heard this voice and I just knew it was God.” It puzzled and intrigued me. I wanted to talk to God and be able to hear a reply.

My journey started in my late teens when I picked up a Tommy Tenney book. He quoted so many scriptures on how God longs for ALL His children to hear from Him. I was excited and determined.

Then I started praying, “God I would love to hear Your voice.

What happened next? To me it seemed like a whole lot of nothing at first. There was silence…so I thought.

Then I’d notice someone would say something that hit right home with what I needed to hear. I learned God speaks through people. Of course we take what’s said and weigh it against truth…yet sometimes we are waiting for a loud voice from the sky and God is speaking through the people placed in our lives.

There were circumstances that seemed to point towards or away from things I was pursuing. I learned God speaks and works through circumstances! Sometimes people are waiting to hear an audible voice from God when He’s showing them through situations the thing they are pursuing is not wise. It takes prayer and discernment for some situations.

Here’s a good example: a person keeps overspending yet they’re praying for God to speak a word about finances. The obvious answer is don’t spend what you don’t have and to ask God for willpower.

Here’s another example: a person wonders if they should date or be friends with someone. The person’s behavior is consistently questionable. There’s not really a need to ask God for a yes or no. He allows you to see the behavior and choose for yourself.

God’s Word/Intersecting Thoughts:

I noticed Bible verses would pop into my mind, thoughts of God’s love, or people would cross my mind to pray for to contact. I learned God speaks to our hearts and minds through intersecting thoughts. He speaks in ways we often dismiss. He’s not yelling; He’s speaking and prompting.

I started dating and documenting dreams, words, intersecting thoughts, impressions, visions, and any time I felt God was speaking. There are journals in my house going back 15 years. Over time and with prayer, there’s an increased awareness of God’s voice. There are things that were spoken over my life that did not happen for years. Some I forgot about and when journals were revisited, there was the initial word.

God Longs For You To Hear Him:

God speaks! And He longs to speak to you. I’m not a special person with a super hotline to God. Hearing from Him is a privilege of EVERY believer. Every healthy relationship is rooted in communication. God longs to talk to every one of His children.

That being said…there are people who fear they are making things up or if they tell people God speaks it opens the floodgates for chaos.

Here are some tips:

1. God will not tell you to sin. Examples: God will not tell you to lie, steal, cheat, gossip, complain, maliciously hurt people or yourself, commit adultery or fornication, etc.. I had someone tell me once God told them it was okay to sin. That’s not God’s character or nature.

2. Filter what’s being said through love. Not our human love. God’s love. Is it truthful? Exalting God? Redemptive? Hopeful? A warning to lead to repentance? Filled with grace? Does it match God’s character? Would it be something you’d imagine Jesus would say?

3. Study the Bible and how God spoke to and through people. Especially look at the words of Jesus.

4. If sharing with someone else what you believe God’s placed on your heart, it’s a good practice to say…”I feel or believe this is what God has placed on my heart.” Especially if you have no history with that person. It also gives the person the opportunity to reject what you’ve said if it isn’t quite accurate. The Bible says all prophesy is to be tested.

5. Measure by the table below:

20131210-185321.jpg

Jesus in You!

20131201-091251.jpg

The purpose of being a follower of Jesus isn’t to become filled with head knowledge and have no application. Jesus intended for us to step into our identity and live it out. It’s a tricky road when you start talking about living like Jesus. The WWJD bracelets and mantra “what would Jesus do?” can be a catalyst for legalism. It’s not a bad thing to think about what Jesus would do, however, if I begin to rely on my efforts to be like Jesus there lies the problem. We are saved by faith and it’s dangerous to rely on ourselves. It fuels a belief that if I keep the rules, then I will be like Jesus. The truth is the Holy Spirit in us enables us to live like Jesus. You take Him out of the equation and you have modern day Pharisees; keeping the law without abiding in a Savior.

Let’s read what Jesus had to say in John 14:9-21. We pick up where Thomas asked Jesus where He is going and Phillip asked to see the Father. Jesus told the disciples He was going away (speaking of His death and resurrection). I recommend reading and studying the entire chapter.

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

There are people who try to be like Jesus without the Holy Spirit, by human will. It’s like trying to drive a car without the engine. You can have the manual and a map (God’s Word), but without the engine (the Holy Spirit) you won’t get very far. If we could do what God said without Him, we would have no need for a Savior. We need His Spirit to live a holy life and to fully understand His Word (the Bible). There are people using the Bible as a tool to destroy others because the revelation is not filtered through the Holy Spirit. The Bible can help or hurt depending on who is using it. The devil used scripture when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4).

Identity before activity:

God comes to change our identity. He doesn’t enter our lives to make us better people who can keep the rules. He comes to crucify the old man and resurrect us into a new creation (Romans 6:6). We cannot live like Jesus without accepting Him as Savior. Yes, we may have some good traits, but only God in us can fully imitate Jesus. It’s His power in us transforming us from the inside out. Being (Identity in Christ) leads to doing (Living like Jesus). If you get them out of order, it leads to self reliance instead of God reliance.

Doing what God says:

Obedience is never optional for the believer. God doesn’t give us a pass that says, “Pick what you want to do, and l give you permission to ditch what you don’t like.” God gives us His Spirit so our desires change, our nature is transformed (sanctification), and we are empowered to do His will. Yes, even with the Holy Spirit living in us we will find there are things God tells us to do that we don’t want to do. In those moments, we are able to cry out to Jesus for help. God responds to our cries for help. He forgives us when we repent. He cleanses us from our sins. He empowers us to turn from sin.

Help, I’m not acting or living like Jesus:

God doesn’t love us based on our behavior. He is love, and God’s love is unconditional. No one expects a toddler to drive a car. God knows our hearts, our maturity level, our weaknesses, and how to grow us up in Him. Life with Him isn’t supposed to performance based. The Bible is filled with people who have failed. I’ve failed at many things, and I’m sure you have to. We are humans relying on an amazing God. God longs to help us live like Him, not demand we imitate Him without His help. He wants to live through us! He asks us to seek Him first; receive His love, wisdom, insight, peace and power! He gave us His Spirit! The most powerful Being in the Universe resides in born again believers. Our role is to let God live through us.

Next time we will take about the ways the Holy Spirit operates through us…

Prayer:

Father, help us to rely on You and not ourselves. Help us to allow the Holy Spirit to live in us and through us. Help us to cease performing, relying on our efforts or human intellect, and help us to abide in You! May we seek first Your face. May those who encounter us, encounter Jesus! Thank you for our new life in You. Amen.

Unlimited Resources (Identity in Christ Part 12)

Image

Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it,~Jesus. John 14: 11-14.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest, Matthew 11:28.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:11.

God has not only promised us eternal life with Him in paradise, He has promised us access to unlimited resources here on earth. I am not talking about the prosperity message you see on TV, if you ask God for a million dollars He is obligated to give it to you. He’s not obligated to do anything. He’s God and He can say no to anything He wants, any time He wants. More than making us wealthy in terms of monetary wealth, God wants our souls to prosper. He wants us to become more like Jesus. Today I wanted to talk about the resources God has given us aside from salvation.

Grace (getting what we don’t deserve), mercy (not getting what we do deserve), love (nothing can separate us from His love), peace (Jesus said, “My peace I give to you, do not be anxious or afraid“), hope (Jesus went to prepare a place for us), joy (the joy of the Lord is our strength), healing (By the stripes of Jesus we are healed), wisdom (He who asks for wisdom will receive it), comfort (Jesus said, “Come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest“), rest (God gives rest to the weary), friendship (He no longer calls us slaves but friends), revelation (God reveals Himself to us), knowledge (The Holy Spirit revels the mysteries of God and provides prophetic insight), His presence (we can come boldly before God as beloved children), freedom (He who the Son sets free is free indeed), victory (we are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength), provision (Our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory), the Holy Spirit (He is our seal marking us as belonging to God, He is at work to transform us from the inside out), The gifts of the Spirit (God provides gifts to every believer to build up the body of Christ), the fruit of God’s Spirit ( the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23a)), angelic support (God gives His angels guard over us), intercession (Jesus lives to intercede for us), power (we have been given power in Jesus name over evil, sin, and the works of the enemy).

God didn’t save us and say, “Good luck down there. I hope you survive.” No, He said, “I have saved you, redeemed you, empowered you, filled you with My Spirit, given you the keys to the Kingdom, set you free to set others free, given you full access to Me, now do what you saw My Son doing.” Jesus came not only to save, but to destroy the works of the enemy. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John 3:8.

God has given us the power and resources to say no to sin, to free the captives, to bring liberty to the oppressed, to heal the sick, raise the dead, change lives, and bring heaven to earth. It’s not by our power or strength, but by the power of God working through us. We are not just here to suffer through life. We are here to be victorious. We are here to be a light in a dark world. It’s not our light, but the light of God shining through us.

So, my friends, no matter what we face in this life, God has given us unlimited resources to overcome. We don’t tell Him what to do or make Him our servant. We align ourselves with the will of God and stand on the promises of His word. We are here to bring glory to His name. We have the world’s best Papa.

Father I pray we come to You for our needs to be met. I ask that we see and embrace all that you have given us in your Son. You are awesome and mighty. You are a strong tower. You are the all sufficient One. Lead us, guide us, and set our affections solely on You. In Jesus most powerful name, Amen.

Image