Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God, to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.
But “good” Christians don’t exist.In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good” Christian that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a superior Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?
The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort. That’s called living in the flesh. It is contradictory to walking in the Spirit and has nothing to do with following Christ or honoring God
In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything. The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.
We’re not at war in Afghanistan, not Iran, not Syria, We’re in a battle between our ears for our hearts and thought life. It’s a battle for our culture, for our families, our communities and for our spiritual lives. I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan ort spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up their pews every Sunday.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
When is the last time you pleaded with Satan to flee from your presence? When’s the last genuine “Come-to Jesus “ meeting you had with yourself or a close friend about it? When is the last time a trial befell you and you knew it was Satan? When did you last sin or when was the last time you were disobedient? Did you talk with a close friend or your pastor about it? When did you last talk about Satan with friends?”
Here’s a question: Do you think we talk about Satan too much or too little?
Do you think we are at war spiritually or do you think that’s just a bunch of Biblical mumbo jumbo nonsense and you don’t want to be troubles with it at all.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years, he’s thinking about us every moment looking for someone to devour–to kill, discourage or ruin their day. Every time Satan tells you a lie and you believe him, he’s had a good day.
I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan or spiritual warfare a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Howard Beale got mad enough to go to war. In the 1975 classic movie Network Howard let everyone know how he felt in his radio audience when he shouted into his mike, ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Are you mad enough to go to war? Then strap your helmet on. It’s time. Or would you rather sit on your complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.
Maybe he’s not even paying attention too many Christian who are afraid to go to war.l lives. We’ve got to get off of our complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and go to war to preserve the Gospel that saved us and gave us new life.
When is the last time you cursed him for messing with you? When is the last time you commanded him to flee from you? When is the last time you thought about Satan? Thought about Evil? Thought about your own disobedience? When’s the last time you thought about sin? Yours or someone else’s.
Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years he’s thinking about us every waking moment looking for somebody to destroy or just discourage someone or ruin someone’s day or just get them off their game.
I would venture a guess that he’s not paying attention to lots of Christians who are afraid to go to war and prefer to sit on their complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and let other folks go to war.
The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10
What does satan say to us and how does it impact us? ( I know his name it’s supposed to start with a capital s, but ask me if I care.)
We all know satan can only speak lies. He is not capable of telling the truth. One area of our lives he likes to target is our identity in Christ. If he can get us to doubt who we really are he can call it a good day.
Occasionally I like to remind myself how I got here.
So I trace my steps from my godless birth in Adam to my intimate eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that I enjoy every day. I had little to do with creating the intimate relationship. In fact God did it all. my entire participation in his process amounted to accepting the gifts he freely gave me.
We all have a similar biography. Read Ephesians chapter 2 and you’ll discover that Paul seems to have captured our story there.
From death to life
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
We were dead in our trespasses and sins but God crucifed his only son on the cross so you and I could be free from the life of sinners forever.
Our old self crucified
0 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ on the cross so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” That does not mean we will never sin again. It means that forever we are free from the control of sin foreveFor if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!r. Sin no longer has power you control our lives. So God takes away our old self,our old life of sin away from us.
He freely gives his life to us
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the life of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10
Now He lives his life through us
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
If you watch much TV you discover there is a vitamin, a cream, a lotion, a diet, a pill, a vacation spot, or a breakfast cereal that will empower you and bring you happiness and good health and long life all for only $19.95.
Lately I’ve noticed that some of these products promise you they’ll empower you to face and conquer life’s challenges and become the successful person you’ve always wanted to be.
How gullible some of us are to believe that there’s power in a pill or breakfast cereal. Or that we will be empowered to leap tall buildings in a single bound if we brush with a certain brand of empowering toothpaste.
We are woefully misguided if any of us believes he or she has the ability to generate any power on our own. Many of us rely on our own resources to generate self power, which is not real power. If we rely on our flesh to produce power, we will surely fail and become frustrated.
The only Power that is beneficial or helpful to us is the power that comes from God. That power resides in the life of Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior we reside in him. To access his awesome power we must become weak and surrender our flesh to him. The weaker we become the more power becomes available to us through Christ..
By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
Every day, we have an opportunity to adopt one of three different attitudes. The attitude we adopt will go a long way in determining how much we accomplish during the day. This is true in sporting contests, work environments, church opportunities, and every relationship we have in life. Your attitude is your choice!!
PRIDE—I’m too big to do little things. The Bible reminds us that pride goes before the fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Pride is very deceptive and extremely destructive. Paul said, “If you think you’re too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You’re really a nobody.” (Galatians 6:3)
One day General Robert E. Lee was traveling on his horse and met a group of soldiers trying to get a wagon out of a ditch. Four of the soldiers were working at it and a Lieutenant was standing back, watching and giving orders. Lee asked the man why he wasn’t helping. He said that he was a Lieutenant. Lee got off his horse and got his boots and clothes muddy as he helped the other soldiers pull the wagon from the ditch. When he finished, the soldiers who had been helping looked at him and all of a sudden recognized that he was General Robert E. Lee. He was not too big to do a little job.
PITY—I’m too little to do big things. This negative attitude is usually the result of dealing ineffectively with some dysfunction in our past and comparing ourselves to other people. What we do in life God doesn’t compare to anyone else. Paul said, “Do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4)
We can never be too little to do something big. If God gives us the opportunity, He will supply everything that’s necessary to be successful in it. Pity should never be accepted as reality—it’s something that we have created and accepted. God can change that attitude.
POTENTIAL—I’m just right to do all things through Christ. This is a great attitude! Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Our strength to do all things does not come from anything that we generate—it comes from receiving God’s strength. God created us just right to fit us for the purpose He has for us.
Part of the problem is that we think we can changedo things in our own strength. Remember—the Potential Attitude is one in which we do everything through Christ.
If God gives you a vision to do something big, and somebody says to you that it is impossible—remember, they are talking about themselves—not you. The Potential Attitude changes the negative to the positive, brings excitement to life, and becomes a blessing to others.
Paul said, “We are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Gal. 6:5)
No, it’s not misspelled. What brand of n-a-c-r-e do you use?
Of course that begs the question, what on earth is necra?
Nacre is the filmy layer of goo an oyster secretes to cover a grain of sand that has embedded itself in the oyster shell and become a nasty irritant. The necra eventually hardens around the irritating grain of sand and exerts so much pressure on the grain of sand that it over time it becomes a beautiful diamond.of inestimable value.
Back to the main question– what brand of necra do you use? Of course we don’t have any necra laying around when things irritate us to the point of distraction. Walmart doesn’t carry it. either. And there’s no limit to the kind or severity of irritants we experience. The irritant can be is pesky as a snoring spouse or a banging toilet or a neighbor who parks two of his wheels on your grass.
Admit it. Things and people irritate us almost every day.
Unlike the oyster we don’t have any goo to make the irritation go away or turn it into a sparkling diamond. If we don’t dispatch that pesky irritation, it will continue to fester and gnaw at us and make us miserable.
Let me share a two-step process it is guaranteed to minimize or completely eradicate any irritation you might experience.
Bathe yourself in Psalms
It doesn’t matter which Psalms you read. Just open your Bible and start reading Psalm after Psalm. . The Psalms will begin changing your attitude and lifting your Spirit. Reading Psalms will give you an entirely new perspective of your irritations and give you God’s perspective and scriptures on how to handle them.
Remember, recite and meditate on Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 is not just a promise God makes to us. It is something God does for us in our daily lives. First of all every choice we make and everything we do gets filtered through God’s love and grace for us. And he uses our choices, decisions and actions for our ultimate good. So if you are dealing with irritations in your life keep in mind that God is going to turn it all into something for our good.
And bye bye irritations .If you don’t believe this method will work for you, try it and prove me wrong.
Horoscopes used to play an important role in my relationships–especially with women.. This was during my prodigal son romp through my recently divorced mid-life wilderness.
When I became interested in a woman, the first place I went was Linda Goodman’s book Sun Signs to see if the woman and I would be horoscopicly (my word) compatible.If our signs didn’t cross and our stars didn’t align I was history. No way was I going to spend time, energy or money on a horoscopic misfit.
It took me almost a decade and some serious Bible study and a boatload of God’s grace to figure out that I was born under a very different sign. It read, ‘”Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”
And I was adopted that moment by my Heavenly Father and became a son of God with all the riches in glory through my Savior, Jesus
Later it was hard to believe but for several years I looked to Satan’s lies in those horoscopes. That I would allow something Satan authored to help me make life choices and influence some of my personal relationships with so much Satanic bunk.
“So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish.”. Jeremiah 27:9-10
“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people .Leviticus 20:6.
I don’t think any serious believerr and disciple of Jesus Christ can justify astrology or horoscopes. Dare I say, you can’t believe in or follow Jesus authentically and follow astrology at the same time? I have known people claiming to be believers who check their horoscope in the morning paper religiously. they read their horoscopes more religiously than they read their Bibles.
If you are reading horoscopes now or relying on astrology to influence you at all let me encourage you do a word study on astrology. Find out what God’s word says. God’s word is truth. Horoscopes and astrology are both based on lies straight from the pit of hell.
For years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did. A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution. I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?
Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”
Is it okay for people to sin just because they’re human? What do you think?
How many times have we heard people who get caught committing sin announce, “I’m only human.” Why yes, we are. All of us are “humans”. We’re mortal. Politicians claim membership as humans with a flair of confidence after they’ve been caught in sin. Admitting they’re “human” seems to justify all manner of transgressions, to them anyway.
Paul reminds us in Romans 3:23 all (all us humans) have sinned and fall sort of the glory of God.
But does admitting we’re human when we sin give us a pass? Does our human condition make it okay? Where’s the remorse? Where’s the repentance? Where’s the accountability? Does being human justify sinning? Can we justify our sins by simply admitting we’re human?
We can be justified, but not by anything we say or do. We are justified by the precious blood of Jesus on the cross. His priceless blood supplies the only justification for our sins. Not anything from or by us. It is only Jesus and his blood on the cross that justifies the sins of us humans who have a personal relationship with Him.
Let’s replace, “I’m only human” with “It is against You, and You only, that I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so You are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.“ from Psalm 51.
By Deborah Ann Bulka
I am sealed for the day of redemption
I am called to eternal glory
I am the aroma of Christ to God
I am crucified with Christ
I am not ashamed
I am a sinner
I am forgiven
I am born again
and I am going to heaven!
Editor’s Note: “Grace means . . .” was written by Sparrow Girl on her blog over at Underthewaterfallofgrace It appears on here home page sidebar. She’s been one of my favorite blogging friends for years. She and I share the same passion for our true identity in Christ. She writes about it beautifully. Be blessed, my precious readers.
Grace means there are no demands on you today..you do not need to ‘do’ anything or ‘become’ anything – you already ARE all you were meant to be, as a gift (something given, not worked for, something already yours, experienced and enjoyed here and now by simple faith – by seeing it is yours), by Jesus’ work on your behalf.
You already ARE righteous, loved, accepted, at peace with God, empowered, free from sin’s power, strong, holy, pure, and ONE with God, together with Him forever.
You are His child, included in the royal family, and the inheritance is yours in Christ!
There is nothing left for you to do because Jesus did it all and will manifest it all in you! You are free! Free to enjoy a love relationship with the most Perfect Love of all – HIM!
I am being trained in righteousness
I am created for good works
I am a doer of the word
I am kind
I am humble
I am meek
I am patient
I am loving
I am fruitful
I am steadfast
I am gentle
I am faithful
I am never alone
I am never hungry
I am never thirsty
I am a slave to righteousness
I am baptized with the Holy Spirit
I am a partner of Christ, Jesus
I am His temple
I am His building
I am His field
I am His branch
I am His follower
I am His fellow worker
I am His ambassador
I am the salt of the earth
I am the light of the world
I am sober-minded and watchful
I am armed
I am His warrior
I am His friend
EDITOR”S NOTE–This week we are fortunate to have Deborah Ann Belka as a guest author. I encountered Deborah when I linked to her post last week on Bloggingmeetup. Each day this week we will publish one of Debra’s poems about our true identity in Christ. Debra Ann has captured in beautiful verse the essence of the child God has created us to be. What Deborah writes is true for every child of God, whether they believe it or not. Enjoy and be blessed.
By Deborah Ann Belka
I am loved
I am bought with a price
I am redeemed
I am set free from sin
I am joined to the Lord
I am alive by grace
I am justified
I am forgiven
I am sanctified
I am reconciled
I am transformed
I am renewed
I am made perfect
I am dead to sin
EDITOR”S NOTE–This week we are fortunate to have Deborah Ann Belka as a guest author. I encountered Deborah when I linked to her post last week on Bloggingmeetup. I wanted to share a post of hers each day this week. She writes beautifully about discovering our true identity in Christ. You may remember that the sole purpose of my blog is to help us all know, understand, believe and live out of our true identity in Christ. Many of my posts focus on those four goals. Deborah Ann captures the pure essence of what our true identity in Christ is in her poetry. I wanted to share her thoughts with all of you. I know you will be blessed. You can read more of Deborah’s writing on her blog at Poetry by Deborah Ann
Who am I in Christ?
By Deborah Ann Belka I am fearfully
and wonderfully made
I am His new creation
I am predestined
I am chosen
I am adopted
I am a son of God
I am God’s child
I am a child of light
I am a child of day
I am God’s bride
I am God’s clay
I am God’s future
I am God’s hope
I am alive to God
I am destined
I am called
Ken Chester is one of my favorite writers and bloggers. He understands his true identity in Christ and writes about the grace that has so lovingly and totally embraced his life. I know you’re going to love “Grace Linguistics” and you’ll be blessed if you visit his site and read his grasp of God’s grace. Enjoy.
“From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. you are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.” Romans 6:11 MSG
Life in Christ includes learning a new language. Before Christ, your view of the world was shaped by everything broken: families .. education .. relationships .. possessions .. accomplishments .. and trying to fill the inside of your life with the “outside”. It was never all that simple. A lot of choices .. good and bad .. went into how you looked at life .. at how you wanted to live .. at how you wanted to be loved .. and who you wanted to love. The world you live in wants you comfortable and conformed to its language. It tries to persuade you with defining any choice you make as being acceptable. It pressures you to accept everything on the outside as being permissible. And it will punish you with exclusion and rejection if you fail to agree to it’s terms and conditions. Sin by it’s very nature wants to hide .. to deceive .. and to just blend in around your world. It resists definition. It produces death everywhere it is allowed to grow. It reproduces heartache .. brokenness .. shame .. anxiety .. and a defeated you. Without Christ, you could never learn a new language not grounded in sin. Grace is His vocabulary. At first the words don’t fit the world you live in. It’s hard to see the shape of Jesus-words in the noise and confusion of today. But it is the only language that makes sense to you in Christ. Jesus is the one who took you once-sin-dead-life and made it alive in Him. It was His words and work that cleaned you up on the inside and given you a new language for life. This world no longer has a claim on you … Christ does. It only takes a moment ..
“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable (“all have sinned”) of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:23-24 MSG
Visit Grace Gripped for more thought-provoking blogs by Ken Chester.