Sunday, September 23, 2012

I AM changes i am: in Him!

Ephesians 1:3.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:4.  For He chose us in him…

Ephesians 1:11.  In him we were also chosen…

Ephesians 1:13.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 2:6.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ.

Ephesians 2:13.  But now in Christ you who once were far away have been brought near….

Ephesians 2:18.  For in him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Colossians 2:9.  For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…

Colossians 2:10.  In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.

 Read the Scriptures above carefully.  What is the common two-word phrase you read in every verse?  Now complete the following affirmation:

I am ­_______ Christ!  (This is your “affirmation” for today, which you should write on another 3 X 5 card.) 

To attempt to define this is almost impossible.  So, let’s try illustrating it (to do this little object lesson, you'll need paper and some laminating paper, or clear contact paper).

On a piece of paper, draw a picture of yourself – you can be as fancy as you want – or as sketchy as you want.  Oh, we can’t forget that in John 15, Jesus also says that He is in us.  So, put Jesus (really His Holy Spirit) inside the picture of you.  Since you are “in him,” but we can’t see him – put the picture you have drawn inside some laminating paper, or clear contact paper.  Seal it tightly.  Now, do one more thing.  Also, in John 15, Jesus says that He is “in the Father.”  So, everything you have done thus far needs to be inside another piece of laminating paper.  Seal it tightly. 

Take a close look at what you have made.  Reflect on what it means to be “in Him.”  What would change about you if you really understood and believed this concept?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I AM changes i am: royalty!

In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will… (Ephesians 1:5)  To those who have received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship, and by Him we cry, “Abba – daddy!”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs of God and coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:15-17).

Have you ever traveled to a third world country and seen the hundreds of children who live on the streets – hungry, dirty, many without family or home?  These nameless faces are a perfect portrait of who I was without Christ.  However, the Son of God chose to leave His heavenly home to come and open his arms for any child willing to be embraced. Believe me, I longed for that relationship. I was adopted – given a home and a family – a place to belong!  Not just any family, mind you, the family of the KING!  Now, I am a daughter, a child, of the King.  All the rights of a natural born child are mine.  I am royalty!  There were no conditions to be fulfilled – the offer was simply made to “all” who would come...and I came! Oh, there was a price that had to be paid, of course, and the Son paid the redemption fee. The payment was steep – He had to give up his own life, so I could step into His Father’s embrace.  This is unfathomable to me as a mom, but the Father agreed; and so the real Son died in order that I could have this home, this family, a new identity, and a new life. 

Think further.  Can you just imagine what a fearsome thing it is to live orphaned, abandoned, and hungry on the streets?  Street children don’t live long lives.  They are prey to every imaginable predator – evil people, disease, famine/starvation, animals, and natural elements (to name just a few).  Street children live a life of uncertainty, insecurity, and hopelessness.  Fear is their constant companion.  They are a slave to fear.  But when the king chooses to adopt, he sends fear running.  In his house, there is no fear, because his perfect love casts it out (1 John 4:18).  This analogy works for me, too!  Without Jesus, I, too, am a slave to fear and insecurity.  What a gift!  I am given not just eternal life, but innumerable gifts meant to set me free...

What an Abba!  What a daddy!

1)    If you were like one of those dirty street children (which you were) what was your life like on the streets?

2)    If you were one of those children, what is your new life like as a child of the King – as royalty?

3)    If you were one of those children, what do you think about this new life?

4)    If you were one of those children, do you desire to give all this up and go back to live on the streets again?  Why or why not?

5)    How does this relate to your “identity” in Christ as a child of the King of Kings…

Add these truths to your ever growing list:

I am a ­­­child of God.  I have a daddy who is pleased with me.

I am an heir of God, a coheir with Christ.  The inheritance of the Kingdom is mine.

I am no longer a slave to fear.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I AM changes i am: chosen

For He (God) chose us to be in Him (Jesus) before the creation of the world to be Holy and Blameless in His sight. (Ephesians 1:4)
That word “chosen” absolutely amazes me.  Growing up, I was rarely chosen for anything.  I knew what it was like to be “unchosen” – especially when it came to sports.  As a little girl, I wore big clunky shoes with braces fitted in them, because my feet were “broken.”  At least that was my perspective. So, I didn’t participate in athletics the way a lot of kids did growing up.  So, at recess or gym class, whenever a game began, team captains were awarded the honors of picking their teams.  Remember what that was like?  We all lined up, and one by one they chose their teammates.  Everyone knew that the last couple remaining were the worst ever players in the whole wide world.  The one who wasn’t picked was even worse than the worst, and most of the times, their names weren’t ever called.  They just walked, head hanging to the other side. Let’s just say, I understand how it feels to not be picked. 

But, God chose me.  He chose you.  Not only did He choose us, but He hand-picked us before He ever created the world.  At that time, when the earth was without form and void, He knew your name (Isaiah 43:2, “I call you by name.”  I don’t understand it.  Yet out of all the people who would be born, somehow, He knew my heart.  He knew your heart, and looked inside of you, and said, “I pick ­­­­­­­­­­­­­__________ (here'’ where you insert your name) to be holy and blameless.”  That is how He sees you…  That is who you are – a blameless and holy creation.  After some consideration of this fact, I wrote the following poem.  I pray the meaning of being a chosen one becomes much clearer to you:

It’s hard to see
Why God chose me
Before the world began
But He looked in my heart and set me apart
And called me to be part of His plan.

Though I was crippled and lame,
Still forth He came-
His finger pointed at me.
“It’s you I choose,
Come, you’ve nothing to lose –
A part of my team, you’ll be.”

I looked around
There were others to be found
Much more worthy than I’d ever be.
“Lord, is it not a mistake?
There are others to take…
Look closer, I think  you’ll agree.”

I trembled with fear,
But His response was clear
As compassion filled His eyes.
“No mistake!  You’re my choice.”
My heart soared and rejoiced.
I felt humbled, uniquely prized.

Whom He calls – He justifies –
Justifies – glorifies.
He is for us!  We’re precious to Him.
Not one can charge us.
Not one can condemn us.
We’re transformed by His love within.

So faithful I’ll be,
To the One who chose me
Who sees me as nobody sees.
My heart I give.
My life to live,
To proclaim His excellencies!

(1 Peter 1:1-2, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 8:29-33, Eph. 1:4)

 Well, grab a few more of those 3 X 5 cards.  It’s time to add to your “i am” statements.  Here they are:
1)       I am hand-picked by God, specially chosen.
2)      I am known by name.
3)      I am holy.
4)      I am blameless (more on these last two later).

 Spend a little time reflecting on these truths.  Sit with them. What do they really mean to you? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

I AM Changes i am: created with purpose

 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."   So God created man in his own image,
                        in the image of God he created him;
                                               male and female he created them.  (Genesis 1:26-27, ESV)

Year’s ago, The Who made popular a song we more recently know as the CSI theme song.  The refrain is fairly haunting, “Who Are You...Who? Who?”  The question crescendos with a scream, “I really want to know!” Even me!  I really want to know who I am; who God says we are.  I, too, want to have my theology match my reality.  So, as we begin start to dig into some identity truths, the best place to begin is at the beginning when God created the heaven’s and the earth... He didn’t just randomly decide to create.  God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit molded man with purpose and clothed him in dignity. 

It’s important to take note of a couple of Hebrew words that are used in this passage.  First, the word that’s been translated God is “Elohim – meaning more than one, but less than many.”  In the beginning was “Elohim,” the Trinity (Genesis 1:1).  The “three-in-one” fellowshipped together in perfect unity.  They certainly didn’t NEED human beings, but Elohim created man because they desired to (Rev. 4:11).  Someone has said that we were created out of the Holy “Us of God” – out of fellowship for fellowship.

The second important word is the word translated image.  This word (tselem) means “a likeness; a resemblance; not an exact replication or duplication, but a shadow of the original.”  We were created to reflect the nature of God.  That’s exactly what Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by my name; whom I created for my glory.”  To give something glory simply means to reflect that one’s character.  We aren’t meant to be a perfect copy, but a representation of… 

These two critical components of this one verse tell me two things about “who you are”:

1)    It pleased God to create you! In fact, He knew He was going to make you before you were even a thought in your mother’s mind; from the beginning of time you were in His plan.  He knew what you would be like, the things you’d do and exactly who you would become – and still, the God of the Universe was pleased to bring you into this world.  You are His heart’s desire.

2)    You were created with a purpose in mind – to be an image-bearer of the Lord.  Think about that for a moment.  That’s a pretty grand purpose in light of whom you are representing.

3)    You were created to fellowship with the Deity.  The three-in-one enjoyed each other so much, they wanted more...and you were chosen! 

Here’s a little assignment.  Grab some 3 X 5 cards.  Write the following identity truths on them:

  1. I am His heart’s desire…
  2. I have an important reason for being alive – a master-plan purpose!
  3. I am created to be an image-bearer of the Lord!
  4. God longs to fellowship with me (His want-to is intimacy with his creation).

Now, pull those cards out regularly.  Read them carefully (when you can, read them aloud; maybe even shout them out loud, so it cements them in  your heart).  At the least, say them convincingly.  Allow your mind to engage your heart with what you are saying. Write about them in your journal.  Tell the Lord what comes to your mind in regards to these two thoughts – Now, share these truths with someone else who needs to hear them (I’m sure you can find someone!)…