"'Yet there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. He went on to say, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled them.'
From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
'You do not want to leave too, do you?' Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God'
Then Jesus replied, 'Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil! (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray Him.)"
After miraculously feeding over 5,000 people with a young boy's lunch, Jesus declared that He alone is the Bread of Life, that it is only through Him that people can be sustained eternally. He offered gruesome imagery of eating His flesh and drinking His blood in order to live eternally. In response, many turned from Him; this man didn't fit their cultural norms or ideas of the Messiah. Even one in His innermost circle would betray Him.
Astonishingly, Jesus knew all of this. He wasn't surprised when Judas betrayed Him. He wasn't surprised when followers who yelled "Hosanna!" on Sunday would yell, "Crucify Him!" on Friday. He knew who would reject Him, beat Him, kill Him. Yet despite this knowledge, Jesus still draws them in. He continues to share the truth of the Father with them, continues to heal and provide the miraculous, continues to share His very self with them, continues to love with abandon.
And so He does today. My God knows my heart. He knows the ugliness and beauty. He knows when I will turn from Him to do my own will. He knows how I will fail Him. He knows my sins that put Him on the cross. And yet! And yet, He still loves me. He still draws near to me, speaking the Father's love, truth, and justice into my life. Despite knowing my failures, selfishness, and hardheartedness, my Jesus draws close. He loves me still, loves me enough to die a brutal death.
What love is this?
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Over the past several weeks, I've painstakingly been making my way through the book of Ezekiel. I grew tired, discouraged, and frustrated as time and time again I read of God's judgment over a disobedient people. As I read the final chapters a few days ago, it hit me: perhaps God has grown tired, discouraged, and frustrated of our constant sin. Perhaps He's grown tired, discouraged, and frustrated with instructing us time and time again only to have us walk away from Him. Perhaps the emotions I was experiences while reading accurately reflect those God was experiencing as Ezekiel was writing.
Saturday, January 9, 2016
I'm a dreamer and a planner. I love making sure every little detail is taken care of. I'm goal driven, pushing myself to accomplish whatever I put my mind to, refusing to give up regardless of obstacles. What I'm not is patient. I don't like to wait. I have my plan and my goal, and I want it now.
But God's plans aren't our plans. His thoughts and ways are higher than our own. Amidst our conversation, I felt convicted. In my dreaming and hoping, I lost sight of now. In my discontent, I brushed off the now of only being a season as a prepare for greater things.
Yet God has purpose for the now. While this is but a season of my life, it's important. God has reason for the seemingly mundane tasks just as He does for the grand dreams that He's placed on my heart. So I'm fighting to let go of my striving for what's next and instead be still. Be still and listen to God's heart for the here and now. Be still and seek His will in this moment. Be still and be content were He has me. Be still and trust Him. Be still and know Him.
I'm tempted to change my title from LLPC to identity consultant. Over the past several months I've helped preteens to college students to sexagenarians tackle issues of depression, anxiety, transition troubles, family conflict, and friend fiascoes only to time and time again have the root of their problem boil down to identity: who am I? What defines my value? What directs me? How can I be valuable?
Time and time again this questions reveal heart longings to be loved, accepted, valuable. Time and time again I've had the privilege of sharing Christ's truth. And it's beautiful!
Seeing the transition that comes from securely knowing who God is and who He says you are is transforming and empowering. I've seen clients find new courage and hope as they embrace the grace and beauty of who God declares them to be. I, too, have found new boldness as I've learned to let go of others' expectations and danced my identity in Christ. I've found new freedom as I move from what to Who defines me.
Where do you find your identity? Who is defining you?
Who I Am In Christ
Why do I need to know who I am in Christ?
You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can live your life as God intended and fulfil your destiny.
The more you agree with God about your identity in Christ, the more your behaviour will begin to reflect your God given identity.
I encourage you to learn to see yourself as God sees you
God's opinion is the one that counts. Accept what God says about you, agree with Him that it is true of you and become the spiritual person you are.
Understanding who you are in Christ will give you a strong foundation to build your life on. Knowing who you are in Jesus is the key to a successful Christian life and a life lived ON purpose.
Your identity doesn't depend on something you do or have done. Your true identity is who you are in Christ.
Once you choose to follow Jesus you become a new creation, the old you passes away and you become who you are in Him. Please stop living out of who other people say you are and take hold of the truth of God's word. Find out what God says about you and agree with Him.
You need to know who you are in Christ so that you can know
what to do, when to do it, where to go, and how to do it
what to do, when to do it, where to go, and how to do it
Who you are in Christ
Because you are in Christ, every one of these statements is true of you.
· I am loved 1John 3:3
· I am accepted Ephesians 1:6
· I am a child of God John 1:12
· I am Jesus' friend John 15:14
· I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17
· I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17
· I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19
· I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
· I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1
· I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14
· I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10
· I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1
· I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17
· I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12
· I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21
· I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7
· I am God's co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1
· I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6
· I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18
· I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16
· I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5
· I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4
· I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5
· God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13
· I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5
Simply choose to believe what God says about you.
"How can two walk together unless they agree?" Amos 3:3
Try reading the above list every day for a month, preferably out loud. The more you know who you are in Christ, the more your behaviour will reflect your true identity.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" Romans 12:2
To live an effective Christian life you need to know and believe who you are in Christ. Understanding your identity in Christ is crucial to your success.
The best way to renew your mind and experience inner transformation is by knowing, thinking and speaking who you are in Christ
Train yourself to say the same things that God says in His word. Become who you already are in Christ. God wants to do more in your life than you imagine.