TAKING A STEP AS TO WHO I AM IN CHRIST

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Pam Mitchell, contributor for today’s blog 

“May God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2,3.

I have just finished reading Vicky’s blog about taking the first step and it reminded me about a step I took a few years ago re: my identity in Christ. I had spent many years living a life of a non-person of no value to the world, even as a Christian.  I was very shy and timid, lacking in confidence, not knowing how to chat or communicate with people. I expect some of you now are thinking that cannot be Pam! She is sociable and chatty!  But it took me a long while to get to grips with believing the Word of God and how to apply it to myself.

In 2004, the Holy Spirit enabled me in a powerful way to see after being in a horrible state of self-pity.  My head knowledge of who I am in Christ actually went down into my heart where I embraced the truth of God’s Word. I realized I am a beautiful creation of the almighty God! I realized I was being deceived by Satan’s lies which were trying to destroy appleme. Instead, I was able to take the BIG STEP of believing and receiving the wonderful truth that I am the apple of His eye; precious and beloved of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And to this day I stand firm against the lies of the enemy that I am a no one!

So where does that leave me? Do I spend the rest of my life on earth just basking in the warmth and sunshine of God’s love and let the days and years go by?  NO! With this beautiful gift from God comes a responsibility to take the next step, as Vicky would say.

The next step is to reach out to other brothers and sisters and be an encourager as Paul was to the Thessalonian believers. So reader, I want to reach out and encourage you to not just read the Holy Scriptures, but to believe and receive them into your hearts.

“Rise up children of God,” shine out His beauty and glory in your lives, and let your daily bearing be one of a cherished child of God Almighty and bring Glory to Him. This is the victory we have in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour!

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TONIGHT’S MEETING -LIVING OUT OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

Picture1It is that time again when we all meet up for a cuppa, cake, and catching up. Yay! But it is much more than that. We have the opportunity study God’s word together;to build each other up in the faith and to spur one another on to serve our Lord Jesus.

Tonight’s topic is one which is very relevant and especially poignant as it challenges yet again our tendency to follow the world’s ways: LIVING OUT OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST. It IS the way of wisdom from which we can make wise choices with this gospel mindset. I think you will find it helpful and encouraging.

I hope to see you there!

WHERE: CORSHAM BAPTIST CHURCH

WHEN: TONIGHT, 25 APRIL

TIME: 7:30 PM

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TAKE THE FIRST STEP

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Vicky Stephenson, contributor for today’s blog

I’m stuck, I can see the signposts pointing the way and the path going over the hill. I can see the stages of the journey ahead, but my feet are stuck to the ground and I just sitting on a rock not going forward.

Why?

Lots of reasons: tomorrow would be a better day to start out; I’m really busy this week; kids are off school so not a good time… Maybe if I just pray God will fly me to the end. But Hebrews 12 (NIV) reminds me:

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary  and lose heart.

So looks like I need to start walking!!

taking the first stepWisdom shows me the way, signs postings the path I need to take, it gives encouragement and grows me through my journey but I need to start taking the steps.

So why don’t I?

  • If I don’t start I can’t fail
  • Life is easier and safer if I just stay where I am.
  • Do I really want to change be different/better move forward?
  • What if when I start travelling God has a different destination in mind to me
  • If I just sit still people don’t see me struggle.

Wisdom (and Eddie) tell me if I’m not moving forward I am sliding backwards so I need to get going. I need Paul’s example Philippians 3 :

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So In the first part of the journey what issue does God want to deal with (so many to choose from!)?

Let’s start with being a control freak: not being able to relax, wound too tight, not being able to let things go. Of course I know Psalm 62:8

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

So this week how do I start to let this knowledge sink from head to heart? How do I let go of the wheel and what would it look like? Maybe turning my phone off for a period, the world will survive without me being constantly vigilant over it. Trusting others to complete tasks once delegated without micro managing. Praying for people rather than imagesrunning round like crazy trying to fix their lives.

So maybe this week I will take these first steps on the lifelong journey with the Holy Spirit by my side.  Fellowship helps so feel free to ask me how it is going or join me on moving forward.

SEEKING OUR IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF CHRIST

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

Hi Girlfriends!
I hope you are getting on well with your study buddy in Living Out Our Identity in Christ.  

Personally, I am challenged.  After having done part of the study with my study buddies, I have been asking God through His Holy Spirit to show me where I have a tendency to seek my identity outside of Christ- because if I am not seeking my identity in Christ alone, I am seeking it someplace else.

I have always thought that it is God’s wonderful grace and mercy that He has allowed me to become Ed’s wife; a pastor’s wife. And, it is. But I also think it is God’s wonderful sense of humour that He has allowed me to become a pastor’s wife! I put myself in the same category as a giraffe with its long neck. Not sure what God was thinking, but, okay! I accept this gift and responsibility.

I AM grateful for this role God has given me. I am thankful for the opportunities AND challenges God gives me through this role. However, I must be careful not to allow this role to determine my identity. If I allow people’s judgement of me to define me in this role, good or bad, it can make me a slave to fear of getting things wrong; or pride of bringing glory to myself rather than God. And, I will begin to make choices to please people rather than God. And if my identity is determined by what others think of me, then I will be defined by my successes and failures as a pastor’s wife.  This reveals my heart; that I am more concerned with how “good” or “bad” a pastor’s wife I am rather than who I am in Christ. Before I know it, I would be dragged around by the roller coaster of emotions that this would produce in me. Yikes! There is no fulfilment in this but slavery. The only freedom and fulfilment we truly have is when we embrace our identity in Christ. It is the only SAFE place.

So, where do you find yourself seeking identity outside of Christ?

Picture1Think about it.

Talk to God about it.

Talk to your study buddy about it.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to penetrate the Gospel into your heart in this area of your life.

Ponder the scriptures from the bible study. Be bold: memorize one, or even two.

I will do the same.

And as He grows us in understanding that our true identity is in Him, we are then freed to enjoy and glorify Him in the unique ways He has created us.

Praise God that he loves us enough to take our broken, rebellious hearts and, because of the sacrifice of his son, offer us a new identity in Christ. Yay and Amen!

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba Father.'” Romans 8:14,15

“For by the grace given to me (Paul), I say to everyone among you not to think of himself any more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the to the measure of faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3 

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LIVING OUT OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation

Hi girlfriends!
As ever, you have been close to my heart in thought and prayer!  I have been pondering this month’s bible study, LIVING OUT OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST. We are considering unhealthy patterns of thinking concerning our identity which undermine wise choices. cd6b02d506f7a4284184ba700d29799b-300x199Doubting God’s Word can bring deception and lies to distort our thinking.  Circumstances, opinions of others, comparing ourselves to others, and our fears can chain our identity to these insecurities. This feeds into unwise choices or NO choices. But when we tie our identities to God’s truth it can and will lift us out of our insecurities. We must let our identity in Christ be the driving force in every choice we make.

 

“Who am I? Am I what I do? Or am I what I have achieved? Am I the things I’ve done right? Or am I defined by the things I’ve done wrong? Am I a saint? A sinner? What about what others think of me?

Who am I?

How I identify myself determines how I approach life.

If I am what I do, I will always need to do more and achieve more to find my value. If I who am iam what others say, I’ll always try to please people instead of my heavenly Father. But if I listen to who GOD says I am and embrace His identity in me, I’ll find the freedom to live out all He has planned for me.  And when I see myself the way GOD sees me, I walk with confidence, because I trust the ONE who answers the question, Who am I?”       Cleon Alleyne

Food for thought and prayer, yes?

The bible study is ready on this blog or will be available on hard copies at CBC and Rudloe on Sunday, 10 April. May you find true freedom and peace as you embrace your identity in Christ this week. We can be confident that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!” Phil. 1:6 NIV

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