Posted by: Kimberly | Tue May 29, 2018

Loved, Accepted, & Worthy!

Many times I’ve heard people say they don’t feel worthy of love from someone else, either they don’t feel good enough for certain friends or to be in a relationship with a certain person. I wish that I could help them know that isn’t how God sees them! God sees us as his children, created in his image, his beloved. God shows no favoritism between his children as some parents do. He wants all of us to succeed. There are several verses that tell us that God is no respecter of persons. Romans 2:11-16; Galatians 2:6; Acts 10:34-43; 1 Peter 1:17 are all examples of how God does not choose favorites.

 

I understand when a person has been raised in a family where one or both parents were not loving or were absent, that it’s hard to conceptualize God as a loving Father. But that is just who God is — a loving and compassionate parent. It is in these situations, that we must not compare God to our parents, but see God as the parent that ours should have been, which is kind, compassionate, caring, loyal, trustworthy, nurturing, and always present when we need him. If he weren’t, could he have sent his own son to die on a cross like a criminal so that we could be restored to fellowship with him? Just think of how Adam and Eve had so much ease with God in the garden to speak with him and to fellowship. He wants that for each of us. He wants to take us back to a garden experience.

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Jesus made a new way for us to regain that experience and covenant by making a new covenant through his death, burial, and resurrection. He also gave us a new commandment in John 13:34 to love each other as he loved the church. Jesus became our once and for all sacrifice for sin. Jesus was the perfect lamb who did away with sacrifices with his ultimate sacrifice in death. He did away with the law by replacing it with grace, love, and truth. Jesus loved without measure, he healed those who were thought to be unable to be healed, he loved the untouchables, he loved the outcasts, he dined with sinners, he ate with those others felt unworthy, he spoke to those many thought beneath him. Jesus showed no favoritism in his communication with people. He only grew angry and frustrated with those who led people astray in Biblical teachings or profited from others by kicking out the thieves in the temple. He showed mercy to the man next to him on the cross, telling him that he was forgiven. If all of these people were able to fellowship with Jesus, how can anyone else feel unworthy? There is no calamity, no illness, no sin that separates us from God.

We are adopted into his sheepfold, like a shepherd guards his sheep. He gathers us tenderly and takes care of us, if we are willing to allow him to do so. We are all worthy and it doesn’t matter where we came from, what our past is or was, as long as we put it behind us from this day forward, Jesus’ arms are open. God adopts us, he takes us in, we are his, and we are worthy of anything anyone else is. It doesn’t matter what people have said to us that contradicts that over the years. Whatever contradicts what or who God says we are, is a lie. 

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us… And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:31-34 &38

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:15-17

 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:4-5 

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 1John 5:1

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. John 1:12-13

Jesus was born of God as a man. We are born of a man and may be reborn as a child of God. We can become joint heirs with Jesus Christ and obtain all that inheritance encompasses. I will share what our inheritance is in a future blog. But for now, be accepted, feel loved, and feel worthy of all that God has for you in this life. You are a precious child of God. 

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Posted by: Kimberly | Wed May 23, 2018

The Giants, Our Armor, & Freedom

1 Samuel 17:38-40,45,47,49 Then Saul gave David his own armor-a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine… David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies-the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled… And everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!”…  Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.

Mountain sunset

David was offered Saul’s armor when he went out to face Goliath, but the armor restricted him and didn’t allow him to move freely. He knew that he couldn’t go into battle wearing armor that was intended for someone else. He also knew that the only armor he needed was the protection of God. There are times in our lives that we face battles and we listen to how others faced a similar situation and try to do what they did and it doesn’t work for us. Sometimes we run to others for advice or counsel before we take our problems to God. David as a young man, walked with God and tended his flock of sheep. He had a close personal relationship with God and he knew the voice of his Lord. David knew better than to take on another man’s ill-fitting armor that would only encumber him in battle. Whose armor are we trying to wear instead of the armor that God has provided? David also knew that God would protect him and that he had found favor in his eyes. Have we not favor in our Father’s eyes? You may ask what is favor. Favor is an act of kindness beyond what is due, hmmm, that sounds like grace. Isn’t the fact that Jesus died on the cross favor and isn’t the fact that by grace we are saved, favor? Grace is easy and free, it isn’t encumbering and it doesn’t restrict us.  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:8-9

So, if there are giants (problems) in our lives, are we willing to go to God first and take on his counsel through the word and hear his voice by listening to the Holy Spirit and not run from one person to the other to seek advice? If we know and have confidence in the Word of God (Jesus Christ – John 1:1) that he has a plan for our life, then why are we looking for the advice of anyone but God? Of course, if it effects our spouse, we should discuss it with them. Another exception would be in ministerial fellowship, where it effects the direction of a church. Our counsel should still come from God, first and foremost and be directed by the Holy Spirit. The people in our life should be in tune with the Holy Spirit also; then they will hear the same message we hear or a very similar message. If we are not making wise decisions, perhaps we need to consider who our confidants are. When we know the ways of Jesus, the armor is easy and the burden is light, as he says in Matthew 11:28-30, which I especially like in The Message translation.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11:28-30
The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart). Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed. Proverbs 16:1-3

As we take on the armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-18) which is all we need, we are fully prepared to defeat any opposition that rises against us, because we realize that our wisdom comes from God and that Jesus defeated the enemy on the cross. Nothing we put on will feel wrong or ill-fitting, it will feel right and we will feel free as we are intended to feel when our lives are lined up with the will of God. We have Liberty to walk in all that he has for us. We, who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, are victorious in our salvation and need to learn to live as victors instead of victims. We need to put away, the thinking of “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” and remember that we are “Joint heirs with Jesus Christ!” Just think how much there is in an inheritance when we forget the past and look forward to the future! This is a brighter outlook, this is worth getting out of bed for every day. Let’s be giant slayers, victory claimers, and know that no matter what battle we face, Jesus is on our side, because he already fought the battle and won! He never said we wouldn’t have trials, but he gives us a way out. He is there with us and he is For Us! 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. — Romans 8:31-34

 

 

Posted by: Kimberly | Sat Apr 21, 2018

Capture Their Hearts

As I was praying for a loved one, I prayed for God to arrest their soul and then I thought how odd that sounds. But it is not off-base. Paul wrote and corrected the Corinthians that we must break down every stronghold of reasoning a person has to not believe in God. We don’t do it by pounding them with arguments or force, but by sound teaching. We give them convincing truths that show the doctrine of their life is led by deception and we do so in love. We show them the fallacies in their choices when the opportunity arises, but always in meekness and love.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

Many times people get caught up in causes or ideas that consume them and keep them from the purpose of life in general, which is knowing Christ. If they don’t have a personal relationship with him, then the cares of this world, no matter how worthy, can distract them from seeking out God. I have even seen Christians sacrifice time fellowshipping with God to work on a cause they’re passionate about. The problem with this, is without communion or time spent with God and guidance from the Holy Spirit, they eventually burn out. There is nothing in this world that can satisfy us more than our relationship with our Heavenly Father and communing with Him.

Colossians 2:8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.

So when I prayed for God to arrest their soul, what I meant was I wanted him to gain their full attention, so that they would see their need for Him and a relationship. But until they believe in him and receive him, they may not pay attention to our words. This is where our prayers are more powerful than a loved one’s words to them, because God is able to use others to open their hearts. Once that seed is planted, it will grow and eventually blossom. I pray he captures the hearts of those who don’t believe or who have turned their backs on God. I pray that he might send someone who with a simple phrase or action that might open their minds and hearts to Him.

Song of Songs 4:9 You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.

In the verse from Song of Songs, if the church as a whole is the bride and Jesus is the bridegroom, then we must remember we already have captured his heart. With one glance towards him, a cry out to him, or one tear – one ‘jewel’ he is there for us.

Think of how even the disciples, who intimately knew Jesus, did not recognize him as he walked down the road with them, after his death on the cross. He appeared to them as a stranger because they were still caught up in their grief. What are we caught up in that we might not recognize his presence in our lives now? Their hope was gone and they had given up. Yet later, they realized he was alive and sought him out and found him with the other disciples breaking bread! It can be that way for every lost person!!

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

May their hearts come alive to the word of God, may he capture their hearts.

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