10/26/14

My Position in my "Wonder-ful" Lord

I am breaking into my "Wonder" series to share my continuing wonder over all I am and have in Christ - my "position" in Him. 
This is the study I made years ago when I still struggled with my identity, security and dignity. As the victim of sexual abuse, I felt I would never "survive" my past. That was the enemy's lie.

The Lord gave me strength and wisdom to trust Him for complete healing. I wrote about this in a True Woman article in 2013. You can read about what God taught me in that process there.

I pray with all my heart you will be encouraged as you embrace these powerful truths.


In Christ, you have a NEW IDENTITY

· You are a new creature, born of God – 2 Corinthians 5:17; I John 4:7
· You are ALIVE! – Ephesians 2:5
· You are washed and sanctified – I Corinthians 6:11
· You are JUSTIFIED and made righteous – Romans 5:1
· You are reconciled to God – Romans 5:10-11; Colossians 1:22
· You are made HOLY through Christ’s sacrifice – Hebrews 10:10, 13-14
· You are redeemed and FORGIVEN – Colossians 1:13-14
· You are ACCEPTED in the Beloved – Ephesians 1:6; Romans 15:7
· You belong to God and have eternal life – I Corinthians 6:19-20; John 5:24
· You are His adopted, CHOSEN child – Ephesians 1:3-8; I John 3:1-2
· You become a member of Christ’s BODY – I Corinthians 12:27
· You are one with Christ (in spirit) – I Corinthians 6:17
· You become a part of God’s FAMILY – John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:19
· You are COMPLETE in all the fullness of Christ - Colossians 2:9-10
· You are a child of light, not darkness - I Thessalonians 5:4-5
· You have a new way of thinking – I Corinthians 2:16
· You died to the power of sin; crucified with Christ – Romans 6:1-6; Galatians 2:20
· You are Jesus’ FRIEND- John 15:15

In Christ, you have ABSOLUTE SECURITY

· You are indwelt and SEALED for God’s purposes – I Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
· You cannot be separated from the love of God – Romans 8:31-39
· You are CONNECTED to the True Vine – John 15:5
· You are SAFE from the Evil One, rescued from Satan’s domain – I John 5:18; Colossians 1:13
· You are free from condemnation and accusation (Jesus paid it all) – Romans 8:1-2; Colossians 1:22
· Your “real you” is hidden from the world, but settled in Him – Colossians 3:1-4
· You do not need to fear, because you’ve been given a spirit of power, love, and sound thinking – 2 Timothy 1:7
· You are ASSURED that God is working on your behalf – Romans 8:29
· You can be confident that GOD WILL FINISH what He’s started - Philippians 1:6

In Christ, you have GOD-GIVEN DIGNITY

· You are a unique workmanship with a special PURPOSE – Ephesians 2:10
· You are a disciple with a mission – Matthew 28:20
· You are a citizen of heaven – Philippians 3:20
· You are an HEIR of God (a joint heir with Christ) – Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7
· You are “seated in the heavenlies” and have a heavenly calling – Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews 3:1
· You are a child of the King … a ROYAL, set-apart priesthood – I Peter 2:5, 9-10
· You are God’s holy “temple” – I Corinthians 3:16
· You are a “kingdom” and PRIEST to serve the Father – Revelation 1:5-6
· You are a Minister of Reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
· You have spiritual AUTHORITY – Luke 10:19
· You are a minister of a new covenant – 2 Corinthians 3:6
· You are an AMBASSADOR – 2 Corinthians 5:20
· You are empowered to be effective and victorious – Philippians 4:13
· You are APPOINTED to do “the works of Christ” and bear fruit – John 14:12; 15:16
· You are salt and light to reach the world; a light shining in a dark place – Matthew 5:13-14; 2 Peter 1:19
· You are blessed with every spiritual blessing – Ephesians 1:3
· You are a child of PROMISE – Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:14; 2 Peter 1:4
· We will share an inheritance with the other saints in God’s “kingdom of light” – Colossians 1:10-12

My prayer for you:

"Father God, I ask you to encourage the readers of this post, especially those who need healing from the past. I am so thankful that "because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit ... (and that) Christ now gives us courage and confidence, so that we can come to God by faith" (Eph. 2:18; 3:12 CEV). Lord, I love you. And I'm glad you are redeeming all that the Enemy meant for evil in my life. I'm glad you are making me more like Jesus every day - healing my heart and giving me purpose and a place in Your Kingdom. Thank you for Jesus." Amen!

10/18/14

Wonder and our Words

It is a wonder that God even speaks to us.

We were enemies until He drew us to Himself, showed us the truth about our need of salvation, and offered us grace in the sacrifice of His Son for our sin. What a wonder!

But God does speak to us. The Creator speaks to us in His Word, through His Son, through prayer, through His creation, through the Holy Spirit, through other believers (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:1-2/John 10:27; Romans 8:26-27—the Holy Spirit's intercession when we don't know what to say; Romans 1:20; John 14:17/1 Corinthians 3:16; and James 3:17 a description of believers' wisdom). Some say God also speaks to us through circumstances, and even through music.

And our speech is important to the Lord! The scriptures are full of positive instruction and serious warnings about the use of our tongue. One verse in particular spells this out simply and clearly:

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).

Most (if not all) of us struggle with the tongue. In the flesh, we lie, we gossip, we criticize, we slander, we yell in anger, we speak suggestively, we use profanitywe use our mouth for evil.

As God changes our thinking to align with His Word and slowly transforms our speech, we tell the truth, we encourage, we praise and express gratitude, we comfort, we speak in purity, we share the Gospelwe use our mouth for the Lord.

Wonder over God captured my heart during my years with a revival ministry, and bit-by-bit I gave the Lord control of my tongue.
  • What would you have me say, Father?
  • Will you help me communicate Your truth?
  • What can I say to encourage my friend?
  • Will you teach me what to say to my lost neighbor?
  • Oh, Lord, forgive me ... I spoke that in anger.
In other words:
The God-centered, wonder-filled heart should manifest itself in a God-controlled, wise tongue.
Again, God speaks to us about the tongue in His Word, in verses like these:

James 3:10 — "... from the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be."
James 1:19-20 — "... let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak...."
Proverbs 12:18 "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Proverbs 13:3 — "Whoever guards his mouth preserves life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin." 
Proverbs 31:26 "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."

When we think about God and how wonderful He is, a prayer should form in our hearts, crying out to God for words that will please and honor Him

As the Psalmist prayed, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

Do you struggle with your tongue? How can a greater understanding of who God is encourage you to yield control of your words and conversations to Him?

Graphic adapted from image at FreeStockPhotos.biz.

9/19/14

Wonder and Our Work



Our wonder over God is intimately tied to our work for Him.

As a young believer, I mistakenly believed the only work that glorified God was “ministry”—meaning, the Christian service (missions, evangelism, witnessing for Christ, the pastorate, working in a church, etc.). I didn’t understand how all our work, from washing dishes to writing corporate reports, is to be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).

I remember the day another truth broke through. I was reading in Ephesians 2, and verse 10 says, "...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." 

Before the foundation of the world, the Lord chose work and acts of service that would be my responsibility. 


Jesus told His disciples the Father was working, and that He, Jesus, also came to work (John 5:17).

He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows Hi all things that He Himself does” (John 5:19). So, our Savior watched what His Father was doing, and then—as an act of obedience and desiring to please Him—Jesus simply joined in. 

And Jesus is a model for us. 

We are to seek God, try to understand what He is doing in the world and in our lives – and get with the program!

Where does the wonder come in? Wonder opens us to new possibilities. We begin to see God more fully, and out of gratitude, we'll want to serve Him.

As we get to know the heart of God in greater intimacy, we will be more attuned to His will, and we will sense when He has a task for us to do.

As we walk with Him—listening for direction, sensitive to how He is moving—the Lord will begin to open up to us His purposes for each circumstance. He is at work in each one, and it is our privilege to join with Him in accomplishing those purposes and plans.

But we don’t get God's will by osmosis. We discover God’s purposes in His Word, and through prayer. And sometimes, as we rub shoulders with godly Christian brothers and sisters.

John D. Beckett wrote about discovering and learning to love our work in his book, Loving Monday. After Beckett’s conversion, he discovered the Christian worldview and how it differed from much of the secular things he’d been brought up to believe. This greatly affected the businessman’s view of work.

“In stark contrast to my prior thinking,” he wrote, “the Bible enabled me to view my work as having great worth to God, provided I would bring it into harmony with Him in every way possible. As a believer and a business person, I was no longer a second-class citizen. Nor did I need to leave my Christian convictions and biblical values outside the office entrance when I headed into work on Monday mornings.”*

An understanding of God’s purposes, as expressed in the scriptures
 gives value to every calling, from the pastorate to motherhood. 

It's not just business or career choices that are valuable in God's program. 

For example, in a culture that devalues the work of women in the home, especially motherhood, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Jill Savage discussed motherhood as a high calling and blessed work. **

Jill said, "... moms begin to lose vision for what they do because it is so mundane at times. ... so much of what we do isn't missed until we don't do it. But it is so very valuable. ... We need to have a sense of why we're doing what we're doing."

Nancy said, "... in this area (as in every other area of life) it is so important that we go back to the Scripture to find our instructions, our goals, our purpose in life, our missions statement."

Exactly. 

The world may not give value to our work, but the Word of God does. And that is where we need to go to find our marching orders, no matter our calling or tasks.

Someday, when Christians stand before the Bema (Judgment) Seat of Christ, we will give an account of all the work we did for God and His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:10). We won’t be judged on the quantity of our works, but the quality will be tested. God will judge our motives and the source of our power in working for Him (1 Corinthians 3:13-15); it will be clear on that Day—some work just won’t stand the test.

The more I cultivate true wonder over God and remember that Jesus is going to return with His “reward” (or "recompense," Revelation 22:12), the purer my works become. And that’s as it should be: "... everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure" (1 John 3:3).

God has ordained work for us; it’s a wonder-filled, life-time adventure in following and serving Him!

Think about your life a moment. How can cultivating greater wonder give you greater understanding of God’s purposes and motivate your work for Him?
- Dawn
Check out all the "Wonder" articles under the sidebar label WONDER. 


* John D. Beckett, Loving Monday: Succeeding in Business without Selling Your Soul, (IVP Books, 2006), p. 74
** "Professionalizing Motherhood: The Value of Motherhood" - Revive Our Hearts broadcast and transcript, 10-15-02
Graphic adapted: Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net