Feeling that sense of Peace

In my devotions this morning I received not only encouragement, but a sense of peace that I can only describe as being a feeling that I know that I am care and loved for by God and that he is always with me.  I receive a few devotions from Phil Ware they are: The Today’s verse, Spirit Fire, and A Year with Jesus.  This one comes from the Spirit Fire for today and I am glad that I get them because I am getting a better understanding of my identity in God and also I am being drawn closer to Him.  That is a better feeling that having to worry about what is going on in this work as far as where our next paycheck is coming and how we are going to pay the mortgage.  Here is what he says for today:

“A New Power” — SpiritFire for 10/24/2014

A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. — Romans 8:2 msg

Key Thought

Life as a follower of Jesus — as a person “in Christ” — is enabled by the new power that is in operation within us. That power is the Holy Spirit, the strong wind of heaven that clears the air and frees us from bondage to sin and death.Romans 8 is the great Emancipation Proclamation for the children of God in every age. It is a declaration that this “new power” is the Holy Spirit who lives in us and is at work through us and shares his power with us. Sin doesn’t have to control us. Death doesn’t have to defeat us. Our weakness doesn’t have to derail us. Limited words do not silence us. The Spirit is at work for us, and everything is changed… for the better… forever… for God’s glory and our grace!

Today’s Prayer

Father, thank you for your indescribable gifts: the gift of your Son for my sin and my assurance of victory and the gift of the Holy Spirit who brings me to life in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

God is not only there for us, but He is waiting for us to come to Him.  For us to ask for what we need and to provide for all of our needs.  He is a loving and gracious God and wants to take care of his children.  I have not only been growing in Him, but I am also getting closer by relying on Him more in my life.

What about you?  Are you doing this and obeying Him as I am?  Think about it, pray about it and seek Him.  I am!

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Reflection–2014

I was reading in my devotions this morning that I was struck with a confirmation of what I have been thinking, experiencing, as well as feeling lately.  It is talked about in Phil Ware’s devotion in “A Year With Jesus,” I have been receiving these devotions since Phil Ware started posting these devotions last November.  I have found them to be very insightful and encouraging as he uses this as Jesus speaking to us and what he would be saying through this devotional.  Here is today’s devotion:

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious Disciple,

Paul beautifully described the Father’s grace in the first part of his letter to the Ephesians. He emphasized that the Father’s grace saved you from sin, death, and the evil one:

As for you, don’t you remember how you used to just exist? Corpses, dead in life, buried by transgressions, wandering the course of this perverse world. You were the offspring of the prince of the power of air — oh, how he owned you, just as he still controls those living in disobedience.
(Ephesians 2:1-2)

But Paul went on to say that the Father didn’t just save you FROM this dead existence in bondage; he also saved you FOR a life of goodness and blessing:

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.
(Ephesians 2:10)

In the second half of Paul’s letter to these Ephesian Christians — and to their brothers and sisters in Christ living in other parts of Asia Minor — Paul described the character and compassion of the Father that must characterize their lives, and yours. Paul emphasized the old way of life of bondage should no longer characterize them — notice the underlined phrases in the verses below. They should take on the new way of life, a life that clearly reflects the nature of the Father who re-created them for this new life — especially note the phrases in bold in the verses below. One sentence from Paul sums up this emphasis well:

[A]lthough you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord.

The motivation for this new way of living comes from what the Father did to re-create you, the price I paid to redeem you, and the power the Spirit supplies to energize this new life. You are a child of the Father, a child of light; so step out of the darkness and live in ways that reflect the light — character and compassion of your Father. Go back and read Matthew’s collection of My teachings on the mountain — called Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. Notice how the things I said there are emphasized by Paul in a slightly different way.

Your motivation for this new way of living is not a matter of obeying a set of rules or laws but of honoring your Father for what He has done for you and remembering the price I paid to redeem you. As Paul said to the Ephesians, “So imitate God. Follow Him like adored children, and live in love as the Anointed One loved you — so much that He gave Himself as a fragrant sacrifice, pleasing God.” Let the world see your family resemblance to the Father!

Verses to Live

At first glance, you can view the following consecutive passages from Ephesians as a Christian set of laws. However, Paul’s emphasis on old life versus new life and on imitating the Father should remind you that this is about your relationship to God as Father, to Me as your older brother, and to the Spirit as the indwelling presence of Our family nature. This nature should “Spirit-naturally” come to life in you and produce this kind of fruit in your life(Galatians 5:16-23shares a similar understanding). Let your family resemblance shine through you in all you do!

Therefore, as a witness of the Lord, I insist on this: that you no longer walk in the outsiders’ ways — with minds devoted to worthless pursuits. They are blind to true understanding. They are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones. And now, since they’ve lost all natural feelings, they have given themselves over to sensual, greedy, and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites.

But this is not the path of the Anointed One, which you have learned. If you have heard Jesus and have been taught by Him according to the truth that is in Him, then you know to take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self — that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust — to take a fresh breath and to let God renew your attitude and spirit. Then you are ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God: truthful, righteous, and holy.

So put away your lies and speak the truth to one another because we are all part of one another. When you are angry, don’t let it carry you into sin. Don’t let the sun set with anger in your heart or give the devil room to work. If you have been stealing, stop. Thieves must go to work like everyone else and work honestly with their hands so that they can share with anyone who has a need. Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them. It’s time to stop bringing grief to God’s Holy Spirit; you have been sealed with the Spirit, marked as His own for the day of rescue. Banish bitterness, rage and anger, shouting and slander, and any and all malicious thoughts — these are poison. Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King
(Ephesians 4:17-32)

So imitate God. Follow Him like adored children, and live in love as the Anointed One loved you — so much that He gave Himself as a fragrant sacrifice, pleasing God.

Listen, don’t let any kind of immorality be breathed among you. Any demoralizing behaviors (perverse sexual acts, uncleanliness, greediness, and the like) are inappropriate topics of conversation for those set apart as God’s people. Don’t swear or spurt nonsense. Don’t make harsh jokes or clown around. Make proper use of your words, and offer them thankfully in praise. This is what we know for certain: no one who engages in loose sex, impure actions, and greed — which is just a form of idolatry — has any inheritance in the kingdom of God and His Anointed.

Don’t be fooled by people whose sentences are compounded with useless words, empty words — they just show they are empty souls. For, in His wrath, God will judge all the children of disobedience for these kinds of sins. So don’t be persuaded into their ignorance; and don’t cast your lot with them because, although you were once the personification of darkness, you are now light in the Lord. So act like children of the light. For the fruit of the light is all that is good, right, and true. Make it your aim to learn what pleases our Lord. Don’t get involved with the fruitless works of darkness; instead, expose them to the light of God. You see, it’s a disgrace to speak of their secrets (so don’t even talk about what they do when no one is looking). When the light shines, it exposes even the dark and shadowy things and turns them into pure reflections of light. This is why they sing,

Awake, you sleeper! Rise from your grave, And the Anointed One will shine on you.

(Ephesians 5:1-14)

Response in Prayer

Father God, thank You for redeeming me and saving me from a fruitless life of sin and death while being enslaved to the forces that are seeking to destroy all that is good in the world. I pray that I remember Your great love, Jesus’ great sacrifice, and the Spirit’s great power so that Your righteous character and gracious compassion will shine through in my life and lead people to glorify You, my dear Father in heaven, my beloved Jesus, and the Holy Spirit Who is my guarantee of glory. This I pray through the intercession of the Holy Spirit and in the name of my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Read it and see what you think.  These have been helping me get closer to God and helped me find my true identity in Christ.  I believe that I now who I am and I have a much better understanding of the person that I am suppose to become and who I need to be like.

Care to join me in this journey?  Let me know your thoughts.

Evaluating Things in My Life

These past six months have been a very difficult time, as well as very painful for me.  I have not only cried, but have joined a Celebrate Recovery group online where I have been healing and working the steps to restore, forgive, be forgiven, make amends as well as let go of the hurts, hangups and habits that I have hung on to for so long.  When I say that it has been a painful process, I mean that from the bottom of my heart.  I have not only exposed my self, but the layers of my past have come off and have been laid down and I am on the mend and healing.  Working through my hurts, hangups and habits has gotten me closer to God, and at the same time I have also been working on making amends toward those that I have hurt as well as forgive those that have hurt me.  Letting go of that hurt and leaving it at God’s feet.  It is a purging process that I have been doing and will continue to do and when something comes up I will be looking at things differently and seeing if they are from God or if they are coming from somewhere else meaning Satan.  I no longer want to be the same person that I was, nor do I want to repeat this process ever again.  My recovery will continue, but I will also become a stronger and better Christian as I look to God and rely on Him for everything.  This has not been an easy road for me to take, but it has been a necessary one.  I have been hurting and it is time for me to deal with it, and letting go of the past and all the feelings that stop me from knowing who I am in Christ.  I now know what my identity is in Christ and I am going to help others become the same and continue to work on being the best servant for God as well as being a woman after  God’s own heart.

In my devotional reading today from Phil Ware I not only see this, but I also know that we must do this as a body of Christ to follow all these things as God has commanded us to do.  I have been reading and learning from Phil about what Jesus would have us do with him in this daily devotional as he writes it as if Jesus was actually talking to us.  Read what Phil Ware has written for today:

Note from Jesus

Dear Member of My Body,

In several of Paul’s letters, he emphasized that My church was not just a body, but My bodily presence in the world(Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-30). When I lived on earth in a physical body, I brought the touch and truth of the Father to a broken and confused world. Now as My body, you are called to do the same thing.

You are a member of My body. The concept of being a member of an organization called a church is foreign to the New Testament and to My own teaching. When My apostles used the term “member” they were talking about a member of a body — a vital body part of an organism. How you treat others in My family, what you believe, and how you use your gifts to significantly impact My church. How you live these dynamics either helps or hinders the church to live and serve as My bodily presence in the world.

When Paul wrote the verses below, he used the emotional leverage of his imprisonment to remind My disciples in Ephesus and Asia Minor of the importance and urgency of:

  • living with a definite character that reflected My character,
  • agreeing on key doctrinal truths centered in Our — Father, Son, and Spirit’s — nature, and
  • using their spiritual gifts to help My body to impact the world with My character and compassion.

As they did these three things, My body on earth would reflect and continue My ministry. These things would help them resist false teaching and would restore My presence to the world through their lives as My church. These things happened, however, only when each member — each “body part” — did its work, based on faith and a shared doctrinal core and lived with gracious compassion for each other.

Verses to Live

Paul wrote Ephesians to give My disciples a glorious view of the Father’s intention for the church. In today’s verses, Paul emphasized that essential unity among My disciples must have three dimensions: unity of gracious character (paragraph 1 below), unity in faith essentials (paragraph 2), and unity as My bodily presence through using their gifts to bless My church as well as the lost world (paragraph 3). Unfortunately, the evil one can give My life, My message, and My church a bad name when My followers emphasize only one or two of these to the exclusion of the others. Please know that all three are important if you are to restore My presence to the world through My church!

As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you: Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were all called to pursue one hope. There is one Lord Jesus, one living faith, one… washing through baptism, and one God — the Father over all who is above all, through all, and in all.

This God has given to each of us grace in full measure according to the Anointed’s gift as the Scripture says,

When He ascended to the heights,
He put captivity in chains;
And in His triumph, He gave gifts to the people.

(Well, when it says “He ascended,” then that must mean that He had descended earlier to the lower levels, that is, to the earth. The One who descended is the same One who rose from the dead to ascend far above all the heavens so that He could fill all things.) It was the risen One who handed down to us such gifted leaders — some emissaries, some prophets, some evangelists, as well as some pastor-teachers — so that God’s people would be thoroughly equipped to minister and build up the body of the Anointed One. These ministries will continue until we are unified in faith and filled with the knowledge of the Son of God, until we stand mature in His teachings and fully formed in the likeness of the Anointed, our Liberating King. Then we will no longer be like children, tossed around here and there upon ocean waves, picked up by every gust of religious teaching spoken by liars or swindlers or deceivers. Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him — the Anointed One, the head. He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.
(Ephesians 4:1-16)

Response in Prayer

Father, forgive us. We have been short-sighted children. Sometimes we grow weak on truth and end up compromising Your will. Sometimes, dear Father, we’ve gotten so hung up on our own version of doctrine that we’ve forgotten to treat each other with gracious compassion. Other times, Father, we’ve forgotten to use our gifts and gotten caught up in going to church or being a member of a religious group rather than realizing that we are parts of Jesus’ bodily presence, Your re-incarnation of Jesus to the world through the church. So please forgive us — and please forgive me in particular — for our short-sightedness, contentious spirit, and lack of involvement in Jesus’ body, the church. While I cannot speak for everyone, O God, I do pledge my heart, my life, and my all to live out Your call to gracious compassion toward my brothers and sisters in Christ, to centering My faith in Your work and Your identity as Father, Lord Jesus the Son and Anointed One, and the Holy Spirit. I also pledge to focus my attention doctrinally on the truths that center on Your identity — the church as Jesus’ body, hope in Jesus’ return, faith in Jesus as Lord, and my baptism into Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. I also pledge, dear Father, to use the gifts You have given to me to bless Jesus’ church and help it minister as Jesus’ presence in my world. I ask for this forgiveness and I make this pledge in Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is not only my mission, but my prayer for all of you.  Will you join me?  What are your thoughts?