Identity {Who or What Defines It?}

Indentity 1

Identity – Who or What Defines Us

We are not defined by who others think or say we are. We are not even defined by who we have worked so hard to be or believe we are. Honors, corporate ladders, and titles are all man-made distinctions – and distractions. God is not more pleased with gold tassels than with those who care for the poor or feed the hungry.

In Matthew 20, Jesus told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. He described the kingdom of heaven as being like a landowner who went out to hire workers for his vineyard. Although the workers were hired at different times throughout the day, they were all paid the same. Why? Because they each had agreed to work for that amount. The landowner was completely fair to each person, challenging the grumbling workers by asking them if they were envious that he was being generous.

Jesus stated in verse 16, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” We American Christians have trouble accepting this as the standard for us too. Surely this cannot be right. We cannot possibly all receive the same grace from God, can we? Doesn’t it matter who we are in this world? Don’t we have to be somebody?

The truth is that we are who God says we are, and God says a lot about us. Look at a few verses from the book of Ephesians:

  • Ephesians 1:4 says God chose us.
  • Ephesians 1:7 tells us we are forgiven.
  • Ephesians 2:10 states that we are His workmanship (not our own).

Let’s not stop here.

  • I Corinthians 6:19 says that we are God’s temple.
  • John 1:12 says that we are God’s children.
  • John 15:15 says that we are friends of Jesus.

Oh friends, the Bible tells us a lot about who we are as believers in Christ. We cannot allow the world or even well-meaning friends and family to wrongly define and label us. When you start to hear that lying voice in your head saying, “you are not good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, or that you are not smart enough, that you deserve that horrible thing that happened to you” STOP RIGHT THERE and tell yourself (yell it out loud if you have to):

  • “No! I am not stupid. I am God’s workmanship!”
  • “No! I am not unloved or unwanted. I am a friend of Jesus!”
  • “No! I don’t deserve to be abused. I am a temple of God!”

Sometimes the lying voice you hear is your own, and

Christ wants to be heard above it.

Instead of talking about how “proud” you are of someone (or someone telling you how “proud” they are of you) for whatever accomplishment(s) it my be at the time; tell them how proud you are of them for accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and for seeking to follow Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

You see, accomplishments (while they should be celebrated) are not what makes us good enough. What makes us enough is that we are transformed by the mercies of Christ Jesus.

  • Ephesians 1:3-14 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of his will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
  • John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
  • Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

Who or what are you allowing to identify you?

In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

Excepts taken from Reclaiming Sanity by Dr. Laurel Shaler edited by Colleen Woodruff.

Comfort My People

No doubt you have seen and heard the horrible acts of wickedness that happened in Nevada this past week. Pure evil. I know most of us realize  there is “evil” present in this world, but when that evil has a face and you see its affects, evil becomes a reality. 

I read a post two days ago written by a father about his son, who was there that day in Nevada with his wife. This 29 year old man used his body to shield and protect his wife from the showering bullets. She said that she felt the impact his body took when those bullets entered him from the back. She felt him fall to the ground. Even though the concrete wall was only a few feet away she stopped running, turned around, and stayed with her husband preforming CPR. Somehow she was never struck, but while people were running away from the wall of bullets, two men (who still remain nameless) ran towards this husband and wife. “They come from no where,” the father said…calling them angels. They picked his son up, carried him to their truck and took them both, along with another person to the hospital. 

By this time, when I was reading this post, my eyes were filled with tears and my heart just sorrowing for this father, his mother, and this wife. The 29 year old man (a son, a husband) never made it. He died because someone said yes to evil.

We know there are many more stories like this from that day, but this one wasn’t left my soul. I think of how he was a hero to his wife and she to him; I think of those two men, that truck, and how they were heroes to total strangers. The list doesn’t stop there: the police, hospital crews, and men and women who died and lived that saw someone else’s life more precious than their own.

I also think of someone else who saw the same in me…Jesus Christ! 

I don’t like death, grief, sorrow…my family and I know it all to well. My Daddy being the latest. It hurts. But grief, sorrow, death has another side to it as well…the comfort of God that is truly unique, deep, precious, strengthening, and we’ll…comforting. I try to describe the comfort that God gives, but really I do it no justice. It is something that is only experienced. 

There is also a choice when one is living in the land of grief and sorrow. The choice of better or bitter. This father is choicing better. Is his grief deep…you better believe it is, but even in the midst of evil, his own sorrow of losing his son, he is still choicing better, not bitter. For to be bitter is to give that killer another victim. For to be bitter is to destroy your own soul from within. 

There is yet another choice when coming through the valley of the shadows of death, when the pain lessens a bit, when the Lord comforts your heart and you see a fellow human being starting their own journey of grief, sorrow, and/or death…when better is chosen, something happens to you.

I leave you today with these verses:

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Rethinking 

Hank isn’t changing. He is a cranky guy. He has been cranky his whole life, and not just about church. He does not effectively know how to love his wife, his children cannot relate to him, and He has no joy. He’s been going to church his whole life — 60 years and nobody is surprised. Nobody in the church is surprised that he stays cranky year after year. No one is particularly bothered by it. It is as if we expect it — that’s just Hank. Nobody is expecting him to be more like Jesus year after year. Yet the Bible does expect it. The writer of Hebrews offers the following challenge: 

“You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the Scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. And a person who is living on milk isn’t very far along in the Christian Life and doesn’t know much about doing what is right” Hebrews 5:12-13 NLT

The Greek term used in the New Testament for disciple is ‘mathetes’, which simply means “learner.” 

As Bill Hull has written, the wrong question for the church is: How many people are present? The right question is: What are these people like? 

After people become Christians, the goal is for them not only to learn how to live like Christ, but to actually live like Christ. This involves nothing less than radical life change. If this is not happening, then discipleship is not happening, and rethinking must take place.

Excerpt taken from Rethinking the Church by James Emery White [pg 66-67]

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Do you know your Jesus?

today counts

thank you Lord for today


And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Col. 3:15-17. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” I Thess. 5:18.


As you walk throughout today, may your choice be Him! Above all else choosing to live Christ-centered, God-focused, and being thank-filled to the One who gave you the very breathe in which you breath right now…for tomorrow is not guaranteed. Today counts! 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

 

“In My Seat” [A Pilot’s Story Sept.10 – 11, 2001]

Today has been crazy busy. We are a homeschooling family. Much of my day is wrapped in educating our little ones, but that hasn’t stopped my mind from wondering and thinking about 9-11.

So in the midst of a few moments I have right now, I wanted to send you a link (I know, I need to upgrade) of some friends of ours.

Steve and Megan share their personal testimony of September 10-11, 2001. Your time will not be wasted. Please take a few minutes to view their testimony.

Sixteen years…yet it still impacts my 💓 heart like the first day I saw it. {09.11.2001–09.11.2017}

  • May we never forget those who courageous fought for righteousness, for their follow Americans and county, and in the keeping of America free. May be stay God-centered as a nation and keep Him first.
  • May we never forget those who gave of themselves sacrifically on that day and days after 9-11.
  • May we never forget those who mourn and have a whole in their family due to wickedness; for that day evil had a face and may we never forget!

Link: 

https://youtu.be/In My Seat

Blessings, 

In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

Grace {live like you have it….Oh you do!}

grace.png


I love music. Not all music, but I love music. God-honoring focused music, ok and The Piano Guys…lol….HA! :0) I know there is a whole music debate out there, but I will be frank with you right up front — this post is not about that. The song posted below (Grace by Laura Story) has been running through my veins for the past couple of days. Personally, I have sang and played this song often in church and at home, but truly it has just been an outpouring of this heart. I’d like to share it with you today and pray that it is a blessing to you. Know that we are all works in progress — so take heart, don’t give up, my friend! We serve and have a mighty, powerful, gentle and loving God who is ready to forgive, love, give wisdom and grace whenever sought by a whole heart. He is eagerly awaiting our coming/calling upon Him. He is faithful. He is unchangeable. God is never failing. He is stable. We have hope in Him. We are empowered through Him — for Christ liveth in me! We have salvation through His Son! Enjoy your Lord!

Blessings to you friends.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}


Grace by Laura Story

(1) My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.

I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

(2) At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

(3) As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.

(Chorus) I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.


I love you!

–God.

the Perfectness of Unableness

I John 4 18


So thankful that in my limitations, God is boundless. I needed this today and thought maybe you did too. I am so imperfect in and of myself and unable without Him, but truly thankful that He is perfect and loves me boundlessly even in my boundaries.

My friend, whatever surrounds you today (internally or externally), know the Lord knows we are unable, but also know this that He is able to do great and mighty things with our unableness.

Hope you have an God-encouraged day!

 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

the proof: for our human hearts

  • Psalm 18:1 “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” 
  • Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
  • Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
  • John 15:9 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
  • Isaiah 41:13 “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”
  • Isaiah 43:1-5a “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee:…”
  • Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Ephesians 2:4-10 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
  • Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  • Ephesians 3:17-20 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
  • I John 4:4,8b,9,17-19 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
  • …and there are so many more verses, demonstrations of God’s love for us. Think of the Cross. 

    Power of the Thought

    Our thoughts matter.

    • I’ve been doing much thought-searching lately. The deeper the dig goes, the more Scripture that is unfolded, the more revealing the revelation becomes…our thoughts are incredibly powerful. 
    • Sure, most of us would agree, this is no new grand discovery. But do we stop ourselves and take the time to think of the repercussions of even one thought we allow ourselves to dwell upon? Oh those ‘good’ ones are easy, but what about the ‘wrong’ ones we let slip out and then we justify by saying things like “We are having a bad day” or “I’m tired or stressed out right now.” Does this stand before our righteous and holy God? You know what excuses you use.

    What we think, no, what we choose to dwell on will determine what we become. This is not “think happy thoughts and happy things will happen” but rather the holding captive thoughts that are toxic in form {ungodly} rather than focusing {which is a personal choice} our thoughts on God’s Truth and choosing to cling onto God’s Truth then live those Truths out which produce God-honoring-pleasing thoughts.

    • Today, why not begin to replace your toxic, sinful thoughts with the only Truth that can set you truly free and bring true freedom (John 8:32). 
    • What toxic thoughts negativity affect your life and relationships?
    • Choose to replace them with God’s Truth – it’s worth it!