Day 30 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Know who you are in Christ

Day 30 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Shaped for Serving God

Know yourself.

 

Knowing who you are as Christian is starting at the very beginning.

“for you have been born again, that is, re-born from above spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for his purpose not of seed which is perishable but from that which is imperishable and immortal, that is, through the living and everlasting word of God.” 1 Peter 1:23 (adapted from the Amplified Bible)

When we embark on a journey, it is a measure of resources that determines the extent of our capacity and ability to fulfil the individual sections of the journey that will get us to our destination.

The analogy is similar to travelling long distances by car, we need to know how much fuel we have, have some idea of the amount of time the journey will take by knowing the speed we will travel at, the characteristics of the car and the nature and obstacles offered by the road will all form part of how we approach and prepare for the journey. Having a better knowledge of our car,  how far it will travel on a full tank of petrol, how much load it will carry, the better we will be able to plan. In this chapter, Day 30, Rick Warren is convincing you of the all-sufficiency of God to have planned who you are in the greatest detail. The problem I see here is do you know who you are?

“Our old life was a lie, foreign and incomplete of our design! The garments that we wore as a disguise are now thoroughly stripped off in our understanding of our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. We are no longer obliged to live under the identity and rule of the robes we wore before, neither are we now cheating anyone through false presentations. The garments we wore as actors in the world defined our part in the play but did not define us.
We now stand fully identified in a new creation, renewed in the knowledge according to the pattern of the exact image of our Creator.
The revelation of Christ in us gives identity to the individual beyond anything anyone could ever be as an American or African, foreign or famous, male or female, king or pawn. From now on everyone is defined by Christ; everyone is represented in Christ. In seeing Christ not just recorded in history but revealed through us we discover the face of our birth. (James 1:18)
You are the product of God’s love; he has restored you to his original thought. You belong to him exclusively. It is like changing garments. Now that you have gotten rid of the old, clothe yourselves with the inner compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, upholding one another in positive expectation.
If anyone finds fault with another, display the grace that you have been afforded, remembering how the Lord’s forgiveness has transformed our lives.
Wear love like a uniform; this is what completes the picture of our oneness.”  Colossians 3:9–14 , Para – adapted from the Mirror Bible.

Having a vision of yourself looking in the mirror of Christ. Christianity in the true sense of the word is a continual reflection of who you are, measured against the true image of Christ.

Our journey is knowing the truth about ourselves.

A sign saying, "Good news: Jesus Loves You," is seen as Pope Francis arrives to greet participants in the Renewal of the Spirit meeting in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican July 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-CHARISMATICS July 6, 2015.
A sign saying, “Good news: Jesus Loves You,” is seen as Pope Francis arrives to greet participants in the Renewal of the Spirit meeting in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican July 3. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-CHARISMATICS July 6, 2015.

When we have accepted Christ our first and foremost Spiritual gift is to display the fact that we have changed course and now stand as a pillar of Christ (for Christ) in the spaces that we normally occupy in our environment. By implication because we are now part of the order of Christ we have to take up our position as a living brick in the church of Christ.

Going to church ( or ecclesia ) is for you to enjoy fellowship with other Christians but also to be fellowship to others. You being at church or ecclesia of Christians reinforces their belief as well. You never know who is watching and will silently follow your lead. Never underestimate your status as an ambassador of Christ (2  Corinthians 5:20) and the symbolism you portray to those around you.

Paul in Romans 1:11-12 when he writes “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” is highlighting Spiritual presence will be mutually exchanged in an ecclesia of resonant Christian faith.

Your passion will drive you to perfection, this is true in finding your core giftings and in the way you will serve God as part of his church.

“Physically, each of us has a unique heartbeat. Just as we each have unique thumbprints, eye prints, and voice prints, our hearts beat in slightly different patterns. It’s amazing that out of all the billions of people who have ever lived, no one has had a heartbeat exactly like yours.

In the same way, God has given each of us a unique emotional “heartbeat” that races when we think about the subjects, activities, or circumstances that interest us. We instinctively care about some things and not about others. These are clues to where you should be serving.

Another word for heart is passion. There are certain subjects you feel passionate about and others you couldn’t care less about. Some experiences turn you on and capture your attention while others turn you off or bore you to tears. These reveal the nature of your heart.

When you were growing up, you may have discovered that you were intensely interested in some subjects that no one else in your family cared about. Where did those interests come from? They came from God. God had a purpose in giving you these inborn interests. Your emotional heartbeat is the second key to understanding your shape for service. Don’t ignore your interests. Consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things.

Repeatedly the Bible says to “serve the Lord with all your heart.” ( Deuteronomy 11:13 ; 1 Samuel 12:20 ; Romans 1:9 ; Ephesians 6:6 ) God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others. Listening for inner promptings can point to the ministry God intends for you to have.

How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you or challenge you or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don’t need rewards or applause or payment, because you love serving in this way. The opposite is also true: When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you are easily discouraged.

The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that you will excel at it. In contrast, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.”  Rick Warren writes under the heading SHAPE:  Listening to Your Heart. (Adapted from “The Purpose Driven Life” Rick Warren )(PDL – Rick ©)

Exploring your Spiritual Gifts and natural talents is a worthwhile journey and more often than not will surprise you. At Restore Community church we have an excellent course based purely on this journey which I would recomend highly. It is the Living Free Course ; http://restorecc.org.uk/whats-on/livingfree/

One of the resources which are a good study is “Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts” by C. Peter Wagner.

Further resources from Rick Warren; http://www.purposedriven.com/day30/

You can find more than 50 quotations on how the Bible defines who you are in Christ. Joyce Meyer has a great collection of these;
Know who you are in Christ ; From Joyce Meyer’s Ministries ; http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ

Day 29 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ You are the Rock on which Christ builds His Church

Day 29 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Accepting Your Assignment

You are the Rock on which Christ builds His Church!

 

Imagine for a moment you are right now standing in front of Jesus. Be silent and look into his eyes.

If Jesus asks you, “Who do you think I am?” 

and this retort resounds from your whole being “You are the Christ. You are the Son of the living God. You are my advocate and propitiate on the day of Judgement.”

And Jesus can reply to you saying, “Blessed are you, by my indwelling spirit, you are now truly a child of God. This truth is not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by our Father in heaven. I can tell you that by blood you can claim all the “covenants of our Father”as heirs to Abraham. As you have received your assignment as a rock in my church against which the gates of Hades will not prevail, I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”

This conversation, is yours to have or leave? I could not add “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” it was too scary!

Yes, it is a Paraphrase from Matthew 16:15-19 adapted from the BSB. Read that text and substitute your name into the text. Own it! When I wrote this I a had a calvarian earthquake moment.

This is Christ’s assignment to you. It is the gift of all gifts. Let this conversation sink into your heart and try to fathom the implications of your inclusion as a clear directive for the rest of your life.

You are the living rocks in the tabloid wall that the church of our living God is built out of!

who-am-i


You belong, simply abide in the vine, the nourishing juice you need will be fed to you by Christ, the sunshine will be provided by God the eternal, and Father will prune you so that you can produce an abundance of fruit. (John 15:1-8)

Learning to have the peace and trust in your soul to do the simple abiding is contrary and feels counter productive to religious practice. Working at religion makes a hard heart, Judaism is a very good example of that. (Good watching material – https://www.isaiah53.com/main/)

Further supporting material and Video by Rick’s people ; http://www.purposedriven.com/day29/

 

 

Day 28 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ You are Living the Greatest Miracle of All Time

Day 28 ~ The Purpose Driven Life  ~ It Takes Time

Bearing Fruit.

Our salvation is the most precious thing in all the world. It is also an ascension gift which lasts for eternity. It transcends the present human existence and finds its fulfilment in the heavenly realms.

This day 28 chapter of Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” is well worth reading. We should be searching for the fruit of our salvation. There is no fruit where there is no conversion. The difference between rebirth by Christ and religion can be measured by how much work it is to do God’s bidding. When doing the bidding of Christ becomes a natural out flowing of your being, and requires little or no effort, you are bearing fruit naturally in your Christ-likeness.

“Think of your faith as something much more precious than any possible evaluation of gold; remember that fire does not destroy the metal, it reveals it! Now even gold is an inferior comparison to your faith! Gold as a currency has only temporal and unpredictable value; it fluctuates as the market changes. Now, in the same way that fire reveals gold, your faith in the midst of contradiction, makes Jesus Christ visible and gives much reason to testimony and stories worth telling. This is what has permanent value, and exhibits the glory of Christ in you!
So even though you have never seen Jesus in the flesh you love him; even at times where he seems remote and invisible, your awareness of your union in him continues to ignite belief! You are leaping with indescribable and exuberant joy as you hold him in high esteem! In this place of joy, you are beyond the reach of any harm. Joy gives your faith a voice announcing the perfection of your soul’s salvation.” 1 Peter 1:7-9 (Para adapted from the Mirror Bible)

If we are spending time working hard at trying to model our lives with Christ’s example then the internalisation of God’s word has not been fulfilled and we are but good religious people. The real secret lies in our ability to do God’s work with joy and abundance. There has to be fruit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law.” Galatians 5:22 – 23 (BSB)

God has a real purpose for your life. Sometimes, fully understanding that purpose eludes us. The only reason for that is because we are, as Rick Warren says, impatient beings. God took thousands of years to prepare the stage for the Messiah.
My view on the old Testament is that it is mainly about Jesus Christ (Some examples- Genesis 22 “Abraham and his son Isaac”, Exodus 12 “The Passover.”, etc ). Throughout the old Testament, there are shadows of Christ and many incidences point to the coming of the Messiah our saviour. The old Testament reveals to us the lineage and covenants that are internalised by God and confirmed by Christ. Not only that there are very clear prophecies which point directly and uncannily accurate predict not only who and what he will be but also the exact timing of his coming. (see the predictions of Daniel..Here.)

Imagine this for a moment, God in his all knowledge tabloided the drama of the coming Christ in the history of the old Testament from Genesis to Malachi (all the books of the old Testament). In 1996 it is estimated the earth was 7311 years old according to the Septuagint (quoted by Christ), based on a (Non canonised) manuscript 350 years older than the Massoretic text. (Moses writings). That would mean that the earth according to the Septuagint would have been some 5300 years old at the birth of Christ.

So for all intents and purposes, we could say that God ordained 5000 years of history for his pivotal crescendo the Messiah. The best part of this is that throughout this time he elected individuals, willing servants, and directed them to form a concerted continuing story that would perfectly culminate at the time of Christ’s birth. Each individual in that story plays a critical role as part of the overall plan. Mostly I believe they only saw their small existence as a puff of dust on the earth yet their contribution still resonates in the history of the world today. Rahab the harlot who saved Joshua’s spies at the time did not fully understand that her deed and alliance with God’s people would carry her name as a faithful truthful servant. (Joshua 2, Joshua 6:12 – 25) Rahab’s name is more revered, read about and understood than George Washington, Churchill and many other famous people.

rahab

The sequence of the fruits of the spirit is different for different people. Again the diversity of God plays a role in our existence. But generally, they start with joy and peace (Galatians 5:22). One of the unchanging facts about conversion is that it manifests itself in your mind as fact “of a changed mind in alignment with Christ”. You go to bed at night having accepted this fact, and its manifestation proves itself every morning you wake up. Therein lies one of the greatest miracles of this world.  You wake up with this changed mind, it ebbs and flows through your spirit and soul but never leaves you. This in itself is a great miracle, and if you have not experienced it yet, seek God, seek Christ, and align yourself with our triune God.

God will call you to his service in many ways. He will call you to his service in small day-to-day things and slowly or quickly be preparing you for bigger things. You cannot say “Lord use me as your servant.” and think there will be no consequences. As you do when you pray “may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” – exactly how are these heavenly things going to happen on earth if you are not a participant?
Bringing heaven to earth is going to involve you!
We are the ambassadors of Christ, therein lies a responsibility which will more often than not require Godly spiritual intervention.
“Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (BSB)

If you are a Christ-walker you are His hands and feet. Those are the easy members to engage, the most difficult member to engage in Christ-likeness is your heart, best of all, He greatly assists us with that member of our bodies. It is His promise that it will be changed.

Believe the unshakeable truth about God and have faith and be patient, His timing is perfect.

More on Day 28 – resources by Rick Warren ; http://purposedriven.com/day28/

 


Dare to test your fruitfulness? Watch this sermon by Paul Washer on “Do You Bear Fruit?”

Day 27 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Christ is our High Priest

Day 27 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Defeating Temptation.

Christ is our High Priest.

 

“Therefore, since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (BSB)

Rick in his book in the chapter under the heading Day 27 says, “God says it is the only way you’re going to break free: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”” (PDL – Rick ©) The text was taken from James 5:16 in the NIV.

Sorry Rick but you have it wrong! God does not say that the only way is by confessing our sins one to another. That is what the NIV says. That is possibly what the Temple model says. If you read this text in its context it says it points to this confession as a tool to help break a possible stronghold.  The original translation of this text by Tyndale read; “Acknowledge your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” James 5:16 (1599 Geneva Bible)

Francios du Toit in the Mirror Bible translating from the original greek, “if you have wronged someone talk to him about it; pray for each other to maintain a healthy fellowship. Righteousness is the fuel of effective prayer.” James 5:16 (Mirror Bible)

We as Christ-Walkers must continually keep each other in step and not be afraid or take offence when our brothers point out faults or help us keep to the path. We must never become arrogant or self-righteous. We must humble ourselves. (Ephesians 4:2) (Philippians 2:3) (Romans 12:16)(James 4:10) (1 Peter 5:6) There are many verses on humility.

James in his Epistle, nowhere says that God said, “the only way to deal with sin or temptation is by sharing this in a group or with fellow Christians”. This is not biblical. I do not deny that it is very helpful sometimes to use this method. My high priest has always been Christ. The sins of my life are such that I would not want to burden anyone else with them apart from Christ. I really do not want to sound arrogant, but my refuge has always been Christ and it is only in Him that I will and can find forgiveness (1 John  1:9). Christ has re-aligned me and changed my heart and mind in miraculous ways. (Jeremiah 31:33)(Hebrews 10:16) Christ is our only intercessor with God. (1 Timothy 2:5)(Hebrews 8:1)(James 3:13)

This promise of my inclusion “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezequiel 36:25–27 (NASB) is a testimony of my life.

Our declaration and recognition of sin is manifested in us by the Holy Spirit “for those who are in Christ”. We are not called to align ourselves or realign ourselves, with any other person who has walked this earth apart from the Nazarene. We as Christ-walkers are commanded, directed, pointed etc.. To adorn our hearts minds and bodies with Christ.

Christ came and spent His blood on the cross to break us free of the Mosaic Law and the Temple model. The curtain was torn from the Top Down in the temple in Jerusalem revealing the Holy of Holies. Note; not from the Bottom up. God put his finger into the curtain and split it asunder as one would do when cutting butter. From the Top Down! God came down on the curtain that had separated us from him. We must not rebuild these temples from the old Testament. Our triune God did not intend us to return to having intercessors. Jesus Christ is the only intercessor or representative of God. And that is the absolute end of it all.

“When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:50-51 (BSB)

And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:38 (BSB)

curtains

At that moment we entered a new error which was sealed by the unleashing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)(Ephesians 2:18) you are now the Holiest place there is for God to dwell.

As God would have it I received this by email from Ann Voskamp this morning;

When your heart needs a fresh start

guest post by Liz Curtis Higgs – Posted by Ann Voskamp

In my early attempts at writing, I used exclamation points like condiments, sprinkling them all over the page.

My poor readers! Exhausted by the end of the first paragraph! Whew!

I’ve since learned to dial things down, but I do get excited when I find an exclamation point in the Bible:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It’s all I can do not to stand up and shout, “Ta-da!”
So, mind if we unpack this one? It’s the first verse I memorized as a new believer, when I discovered God can make all things new.

Therefore,2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore is a summary word, taking into account all that came before it. This portion of the letter to the church at Corinth is about reconciliation. About being Christ’s ambassadors. About looking at our sisters and brothers of the faith through a new lens.

Therefore says, “Because of all Christ did for us, consider this.”

…if2 Corinthians 5:17

If is an open door, revealing endless possibilities and overflowing with hope. Jesus often used this word in His teaching: “if you have faith” and “if you knew the gift of God” and “if you remain in me.”

If makes us stop and ask, Who is this verse meant for? Am I invited?

…anyone2 Corinthians 5:17

Ah. Anyone definitely includes you. Whether we’re talking “any man” (ASV) or “any person” (AMPC), the pathway to eternal life is clearly lit, and the Lord Himself beckons us forward.

…is2 Corinthians 5:17

I know, I know. “Is, Liz? You’re focusing on the word is?” Absolutely. It’s the pivotal word in this verse. Either a person isor is not a follower of Christ. Though we are always growing in our faith, each of us has a defining moment.

That moment is defined by God, not by us.

When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” and Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” the Lord didn’t congratulate Peter for being wise or clever. Instead, Jesus told him, “This was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) Peter made his confession of faith by God’s power alone.

I AM declares that I am. Not the other way around.

…in Christ,… 2 Corinthians 5:17

Some translations give the little word in a bit more muscle—“belongs to” (CEV), “united with” (CJB), “joined to” (GNT). The One in whom we live and move and have our being is what matters, which is why the word in cannot stand alone.

When we are in Christ, and He is in us, we are transformed.

…the new creation has come:2 Corinthians 5:17

God doesn’t just clean us up, fix us up, straighten us up. He recreates us in the image of His Son. He starts from scratch. He makes us new. In Christ we become “a new being” (GNT), “a new person” (NLT), “a new creature altogether” (AMPC). In Christ we get “a fresh start” (MSG).

What does that look like in real life? There are as many answers as there are people.

For me, a changed life decades ago looked like this:

I stopped drinking alcohol and started going to church.
I stopped using drugs and started reading the Bible.
I stopped sleeping with strangers and started making real friends.
I stopped running away and started putting down roots.
I stopped pretending I had all the answers and started asking God questions.

Through it all God loved me. That was the realization that undid me, in the best sense of the word. It shattered my misconceptions. It trampled my pride.

God didn’t just rock my world. God blew my world apart and then rebuilt it from the ground up.

…The old has gone,2 Corinthians 5:17

First, the icky stuff from our old lives must be pried from our stubborn hands and cast aside. Old habits, old ideas, old lies.My inclination is to tuck such things into the deep recesses of a drawer. Just in case I need them later. Just in case I miss them.

God has a better plan. He makes certain those old things have truly “gone away” (CEB) and “the past is forgotten” (CEV). Gone means gone. History. Out of sight, out of mind, out of reach.

Gone means good riddance. Really good.

…the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

See how the zippy exclamation point grabs our attention? The Greek word here is also rendered “behold” (ASV), “see” (NRSV), and my favorite, “Lo!” (WYC). Getting rid of the old would be exciting enough, yet God also brings in the new. A new gift, a new talent, a new calling.

Is it time to put aside something old, beloved?

To let go, to walk away, to start over?

Even now He is bringing new life to your doorstep.

Make Him welcome.

Let Him in.

The above was a Guest Post for Ann Voskamp written by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Further reading for your contemplation; http://purposedriven.com/day27/

In you through Christ is the answer. Others, fellow brothers and sisters who are children of the triune God, may help you discover that. But it all starts with Christ and ends with Jesus!!

 

 

Day 26 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Let the Midwife Christ rebirth you’re Soul.

Day 26 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Growing through Temptation

When temptation becomes powerless.

 

In yesterday’s blog we examined a caricature position in our belief system. The temptations of this world grow increasingly weak as a result of our spiritual growth in God.

Our souls birthed, by the midwife Christ, materialises us as babes in the spiritual world of the heavenly realm. The miracle of that realignment, in unison into the family of God, gives us a surety of a new life, a new beginning, and a new dawn.

rebirth

That rebirth is never forgotten.

When Jesus enlightens Nicodemus about the spiritual rebirth it is an earth-shattering moment in the history of mankind. This simple phrase is a pivotal point between the old and the new in so many ways. If I were to make a summary of Christ’s law I would put this at the top of the list. Without the rebirth, God internalising his law on your heart, you cannot be set free.

In John 3:3 Jesus in replying to Nicodemus informs us, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

One of the analogies that remains true as de facto is that we are set free by the rebirth.

As I record this today I am drawing from my own experiences of the rebirth.

The rebirth may be a shattering moment when you are converted by release of the Holy Spirit at a rally or when attending a sermon. The way that the rebirth happens is not consistent and in many ways only defined into reality by the experience of the individual convertee.

Jesus intimated, “Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”” John3:7 – 8 (BSB)

Spiritual rebirth has a mind of its own. Again and again God creates, God’s creativeness manifests itself in abundance and glorified diversity. There is no one size fits all.

God will fashion your seekership cloak of Glory according to the shape of your malformed Spiritual existence, to complete His perfect workmanship in your realignment and growing righteousness.

“For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (BSB)

When I was seven years old I experienced some of the realities of the crucifixion whilst listening to a sermon in our local church with my family. At that moment I committed my life to Christ. That bond has been maintained by God. We were living in the then Southern Rhodesia.

Due to the remoteness of our farm I had to attend boarding school. God started by changing my life at that stage. I can remember clearly how I went back to school on the Sunday after my conversion and starting a Bible group in the hostel. A group of us boys used to get together in our dormitory before going to bed, we read the Bible together and prayed.

My awareness of God in my environment made it necessary, through the Holy Spirit, for me to learn about him and I developed a growing relationship with God. During my whole school life I was in boarding school, God was faithful in so many miraculous ways. I have always believed that we have to be part of the world but not of the world. sin and its temptations will always be there. Every time we turn our back on doing something wrong there is a victory in our hearts as Christ’s children.

Our awareness of sin and temptation is sharpened as we become more and more victorious.

“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1 – 2 (BSB)

Have I fallen and made mistakes? Absolutely! But Christ has always come and dug me out of the mud. The rebirth, our alignment in God and the heavenly realms, changes our attitude to this world and sets us free.

Salvation sets us free from the drawcard of temptation. Maybe not totally at first. But often gradually as we become victorious in declining temptation.

Whilst reading this Day 26 in The Purpose Driven Life it highlighted for me Jesus’s spoken truth about not having to be religious but living in freedom;

“and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:20 7b – 30 (BSB)

As our relationship grows with Christ, listening to the indwelling spirit, the shackles of temptations and sin fall away from our lives. And in many cases, we have no affinity to participate and will simply turn our back and walk away in disgust.

unchained

No matter how far you fall, it is Christ’s hand that will reach out and drag you back into the presence of your God. If you are trying to dig yourself out of that pit you will end up pulling the sides of the pit down on yourself.

“The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?”. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25b – 26 (BSB)

Read more about it here; http://purposedriven.com/day26/

 

References

There is a brilliant series on the Rebirth by John Piper at DesiringGod.org.
Full series of sermons can be found here ; http://www.desiringgod.org/series/you-must-be-born-again

Day 25 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ How to Walk in the Power of God

Day 25 ~ The Purpose Driven Life ~ Transformed by Trouble

Can you Walk in God’s Power?

 

Trouble will find us no matter where we are. The more we become a threat in living out and bearing fruit as DoC’s the greater the attack will be by the forces of evil that surround us. Take heart  for God in his wisdom will know your boundaries, and as his children, he will not test you beyond your ability to overcome.

Even that statement rings inaccurate, “God will not test you beyond your ability to overcome.” figure this, it is not your ability to overcome. If your core is God, your fountain of strength is God, and you are calling out to God in these times of trouble, it will no longer be your ability to overcome but the ability of your faithful all-powerful God. For God will step in, and at that moment you walk in his power.

Rick, in this chapter “Day 25” makes reference to these great overcomers;
“God could have kept Joseph out of jail (Genesis 39:20 – 22),  kept Daniel out of the lion’s den (Daniels 6:16 – 23) kept Jeremiah from being tossed into a slimy pit (Jeremiah 38:6 – 13), kept Paul from being shipwrecked three times (2 Corinthians 11:25), and kept the three Hebrew young men from being thrown into the blazing furnace (Daniel 3:1 – 26) — but he didn’t. He let those problems happen, and every one of those persons was drawn closer to God as a result.”
(PDL – Rick ©)

In times of true darkness, we will turn to God for a resolution.  We throw ourselves on Christ. The one all-encompassing character trait that is built and strengthened is our ability to rely on the unrefutable deliverance by God.

The true and all-encompassing story of the old Testament is that we have to have faith, not the kind of faith that God is something to believe in, but the kind of faith that God will come through for us. I often hear people say, “you must have faith”  and they mean you must believe in God.

I’m really sorry about this but I do not have any faith whatsoever that God is real!

On the contrary, I believe with an absolute certainty that God is real. I need no faith whatsoever for that. He is real as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night. He is as real as the taxman. And he is as real as the chariot of death that approaches me from the horizon. I do not need one grain of faith for that. What I need faith for is that God will come through for me every time I need him. My faith is spent on that.

lions-den

When Daniel stepped into the lions den, he had the type of relationship with God which allowed him to walk into that place of sure death knowing that his God would deliver him in one way or the other.

The story of David is a perfect example of having a relationship with a living God and expending your faith on His ability to deliver.

A perfect example of how God had systematically strengthened David in his resolve and absolute belief in the character of God is clearly displayed in 1 Samuel 17. Firstly David says to Saul, “let no man be afraid of this Philistine, I your servant, will go and fight with this Philistine” Saul then looks at David, in front of him stands a shaggy dressed sheep herder. And Saul says to David, “There is no way you are going to be able to fight this Philistine. You are nothing but a child. This Philistine has been a man-of-war since his youth and look at the size of him.”
The retort of David speaks to the heart of what God should be for us. He tells Saul about how God had formed him into the giant that stood in front of Saul at that very moment.
David filled Saul in, “I am a shepherd for my father. And when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from my flock I went after him and struck him and took back what he had taken from me. If the lion or the bear rose against me I took him by his throat struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed lions and bears, this unconverted Philistine shall be treated in the same way for he has come against the armies of the living God. The Lord who has delivered me from the clutches of the lion and the Bears will deliver me from this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17: 34 – 37 Para 
David talks about “the Living God”, not I have faith in God. He has a relationship with a living God. His faith in his reply is that God will deliver this Philistine into his hand. That faith of “God’s ability to deliver” had been formed over years of a relationship which had never failed him.

And David Glorifies God in his retort. David’s mission against the Philistine is God’s mission. If you know the will of the living God and you align yourself with that, who can come against you and succeed? Everything you tackle within the bounds of “God’s will” will succeed. The secret is to have a relationship with the living God so that you know his absolute will.

And I cry with my heart and soul Aba Father.

Note; He was calm cool and collected because he knew he had a living God; his faith was that God would deliver him and that the Philistine will be delivered into his hands.

david-gol

The internal transformation of the God infested heart is not the problem. The trouble is the fire  by which God purifies and grows the strength of character which moulds the man of God into understanding and relying more and more on the power of God to deliver.

The core of our strength does not lie in our emotions and their inconsistent judgements. The problem with trouble is that it can have our emotions override wisdom. The problem with our wisdom is that it sometimes is hemmed by the boundaries of our knowledge. Therefore, primarily we have to learn how to limit our emotions by chastising them with the edict of Christ. Then  to overcome we need to draw on the depths of the wisdom of God. None of this is possible unless you live with a changed heart afflicted and contaminated with the love of Christ.

You have to have a relationship with the Living God so that you can have faith, not in God, your relationship with the living God is manifested in absolute belief, your faith is grown that he will deliver you in this life and the afterlife.

For further reading ; http://purposedriven.com/day25/