Monday, April 30, 2012

Christ is Your Peace, He Lives This Peace in You

The more that I tried, the worse things seem to get in my life. I was trying too hard! I was trying, instead of abiding in Him, as He abides in me (John 15: 1-5)

I am a good teacher. I am a good writer. I am able and skilled to do all things. I have the peace and good will within me to do all things.

How do I know that I have peace?

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5: 1)

I have peace with God. Christ dies on the Cross for me, that I may receive peace. In fact, Christ Himself is my peace:

"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;" (Ephesians 2: 14)

Of course, peace is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ comes to live in us:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5: 22-23)

How do I know that I have the good will to do all things?

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4: 13)

To every believer, this is truth. He lives in everyone of us, and it is He who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2: 13)

Then why did I struggle with uncomfortable emotions, doubts, and fears? Because I did not know who I was:

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4: 4)

Christ is within me! But there's more:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5: 4)

So my faith overcomes the world, and all of its troubles and hardships.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Bible Contains Your Identity in Christ

In the Movie "Memento", the main character loses the capacity to form new memories after a sudden trauma. Eventually, his long-term memories become distorted with other memories. He loses touch with who he is and what he is trying to do.

When human beings attempt to define themselves,  their identity and initiative get mired in mistakes and mishaps. We find ourselves weighed down by the empty thoughts and actions of years past.
Man simply cannot rely on his own memory to steel himself through life.The believer does not have to resort to such flimsy and unreliable methods to protect his identity, to establish himself. He has theh Word of God, Christ Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity:

"In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God; and the Word was God." (John 1: 1)

In the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets witness to the power and purpose of the Word of God in our lives:

Jesus declared the vital purpose of God's Word in our lives:

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4: 4)


"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24: 35)

The Word of God is everlasting, the source of eternal constancy that every man craves and cannot find in anything else:

"But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1: 25)

The Word of God is our identity, in Christ Jesus, whom we learn about in the Bible, for as the Apostle John wrote in his first epistle:

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3: 2-3)

The Word of God lives in every believer:

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." (Colossians 3: 16)

Unlike the main character in "Memento", if a believer finds himself lost, confused, unsure as to what he must do, by meditating on the Word of God, we become more like Him who loved us and died for us, we realize ever more that we are more like Him. We never need to wonder who we are, no matter how dark, dank, and dangerous the world may become for us. No matter how bad we may feel, no matter how distant our thoughts may be from the glorious ideal, who we are in Christ will never change, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and nothing can separate us from Him.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Are You Struggling? It's Because YOU are Struggling!

The above title is neither meant to mock you or make you mad or confused.

Instead, to the degree that we are struggling with anything in our lives -- our money, our moods, our emotions, to that extent we are still trying to live the life that Jesus Christ is living in every believer.

First of all, we are saved by grace through faith, not by works. This Grace is a person:

"For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1: 17)

That Christ is grace personified, we can justify this because just as He is grace, He is truth, and in this verse, the verb "came" is in the singular. The Holy Spirit wants to make it very clear that grace and truth are one.

Jesus Christ is our new self, He lives in us, he works in us by the Power of the Holy Spirit:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)

Christ lives in us, His faith produces obedience in us, His righteousness is imparted to us as a gift (Romans 5: 17), one that redefines who we are:

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. " (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21)

Paul was not telling the Corinthians to become reconciled, therefore. He was telling them to accept and live out what they had already become: the righteousness of God in Christ!

A life of victory in Christ is Christ's life living in and through us.:

"Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1: 27)

To the extent that we trust in our efforts, whether to control our tempers, to watch our weight, or to mind our thoughts, to that extent we fall from grace, and thus we breed sin instead of righteousness in our lives:

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [and so on]" (Galatians 5: 19)

Whether trying to do good or striving to do bad, the works of the flesh are all manner of sin. Every fruit born of righteousness flows from the Spirit, including the much desired and must-be-received "Self-control;

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

"Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." (Galatians 5: 22-23)

To the extent that we struggle with anything, therefore, we are demonstrating blatant unbelief, forgetting who we are whose we are. To the degree that we meet every calamity with the grace of God within us, to the extent that we abide in Him, as He is in us, then we bear the fruit of obedience. No matter how mad, sad, or undone you may feel, meditate on who you are in Christ, and all that He is now doing in and through you, for every believer is bearing fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who will never leave us nor forsake us.

Are you struggling? It's because YOU are struggling -- Let Him work in you!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Not Self-Made, but Made in the Image of Christ

During his fiery yet ultimately fizzled campaign, former Presidential Candidate Herman Cain trumpeted that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. An ordained Baptist Minister, he certainly possessed an overflowing charisma, one in sharp contrast to a frozen front-runner, at least to the media, and the other tongue-tied candidates who did not command any long-term following.

Sadly, he sunk his ministry when he later claimed that he was a "self-made man."

In Christ, we are not self-made anything. For the believer, Christ is made all things for us:

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1: 30)

How does this happen? Through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit:

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14: 16-18)

It is the Holy Spirit who births Christ within us (Galatians 4: 9):

"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

"[Christ] we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:" (Colossians 1: 27-28)

Christ lives in every believer, and it is He who makes us perfect:

"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10: 14)

We are transformed from glory to glory by the Power of the Holy Spirit, not our own actions:

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

The Holy Spirit brings Christ into us, it is the Holy Spirit who transform us from glory to glory to be more like Christ. In no wise is any believer ever a "self-made man."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Intimacy is Identity in Christ

In Christ Jesus, intimacy becomes identity. We are more than mere lovers, we are one! We are married more than man or woman ever could be.

I used to think that our relationship in God was based on growing in greater connection with Him. We start out as His children, say, then we become like a married couple.

I looked at passages like:

"And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali." (Hosea 2: 16)

Here, "Baali" means "my master", and "Ishi" means "My husband".

In another verse, I read:

"For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11: 2)

But then I read in Jesus' prayer before His trial and execution:

"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17: 23)

And of course:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

Then I returned to the first chapter of John's Gospel:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1: 12)

For the believer, our intimacy is our identity in Christ Jesus. For this reason Paul wrote:

"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
"May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. " (Ephesians 3: 17-19)

God is love (1 John 4: 16), and we are one with Him in our Spirit man, but He desires us to work out this salvation, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice and renewing our minds to the Truth (Romans 12: 1-2).

Intimacy is identity in Christ realized to our minds and senses through receiving His Word.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who am I? I am in the Great I AM

“I am Trayvon Martin” and “I am the 99%”. Everyone is busy trying to identify with something. The world is on shifting sand right now. Governments are teetering on the brink of political and economic calamity. Banks are failing. Families are breaking apart. Crime is rampant, respect is diminished. At any time, someone may burst out reciting William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming."

Who is the believer? We have defined ourselves by our wealth, our health, our stealth, and still we have nothing to show for it. We extended ourselves with credit, debit, and we still do not know what life is all about.

Many of us have not yet realized, or are learning anew, that life not about getting. It’s about accepting. We need life, but we cannot create it ourselves. We need Life, and that more abundantly. We see markets crumbling, governments falling apart. Every source of life and liberty is drying up all around us. Everything manmade is being shaken to the core, so that only the eternal remains standing.
The Occupy Crowds are looking for something to hand onto, to define themselves by something, yet outrage alone does not an identity make. The Tea Party movement wants to go back to the original principles of Constitutional government, which include the principles of limited government.

For those who live by faith, we are identified with Christ, and He, who was set aside to die for us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1: 4), is our new self, our Life, and Our Way and Truth in a lost and losing world.

We do not define ourselves:

"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100: 3)

We find our identity, we rest in who we are in the Great I AM. I am nothing except who I am in the Great I AM:

"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3: 14)


"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

and of course:

"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)

Or, one could just as well write:

"As I AM, so am I in this world. . ." It will take us eternity and then some to receive the full revelation of this, but when Jesus comes again, we have this glorious promise awaiting us:

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3: 3)

We do not need to find any other banner to rally under than this one:

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. " (Songs 2: 4)

 Let God, who is Love, by your banner, your heading, your identity, your everything, even in these terrible times.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

His Identity in our Heart

Since our heart speaks of our core identity, we therefore have the same identity as Christ.

We have received a new heart in Christ:

"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 11: 19)

On our heart are written God's laws:

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

"And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. " (Hebrews 8: 10-12)

The believer has the same identity, kinship, leading, and values in his regenerated heart. We are one with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our identity in Christ is affirmed early on in the Gospel of John:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12)
Paul emphasizes the same to the Romans:

"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8: 17)

Other verses to ponder about who you are in Christ:

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;" (Philippians 2: 15)


"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 2: 14)

Scripture could not be clearer. We identity with Christ, we are being transformed into His likeness, and relying on His life, which we receive by grace through faith, we reign in life (Romans 5: 17)

So, in every way we identify with Christ. He does not worry about anything, His needs are supplied, He is neither filled with rage or shame or any other perversion. Every believer is complete in Him (Colossians 2: 10). He sits in complete honor at the right hand of the Father, and in Him so do we (Ephesians 2: 6)

Grow in grace and knowledge of who God has made you to be like His Son, and you will witness His power in and through you to reign in life!

Monday, April 23, 2012

"As He Is, So Are You and I in This World"

This first entry for a daily devotional is devoted to informing every believe in Christ Jesus as to their proper, true identity, which is in Christ.

More than example, more than Lord, Jesus Christ is Savior, Servant, and Life itself.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

For many believers, they read this verse and conclude that He provides us life, and through His example, we receive the truth and we follow Him on this earth.

Jesus does not give us life, however. He gives us Himself:

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" (1 Peter 3: 15)


"at Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"

The heart is the seat of our guidance, our life, our thinking, our very selves:

"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

"Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

"All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
(Mark 7: 21-23)

For the believer, though, we have received a new heart with God's laws written on it (Ezekiel 11: 18; Hebrews 8: 10-12)

In Christ we are made the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5: 21). Our heart, therefore, receives truth and wisdom by the power of the Holy Spirit:

"The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things." (Proverbs 15: 28)


"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (Colossians 3: 15, NIV)

We rest in Him, for He is the one who lives and directs our lives in peace!