We Live For Christ

As we continue in our series on our identity in Christ, let’s sum up who are we in Christ.

We are connected to Him, remain in Him, serve Him or we are NOTHING.

We have the mind of Christ, opened to us by the Holy Spirit and shared with us in God’s Word.  Joyce Meyer states that wherever your mind is, that is WHO you are.  With the mind of Christ in us, we can be the beautiful people our God made us to be.

So, being one in Him, we are complete in Christ Jesus.  We can BE Christ in this hurting world. We can let the light of Jesus shine so brightly, our bodies lit up so fully, that all will be blessed by our completeness.

We’ll close this series on our identity in Christ with a story told by Kenneth Chapin.  He writes that the real proof of the power of the gospel (of Jesus Christ) is in CHANGED LIVES, that the gospel’s most powerful argument is not in great sermons preached but in the changes it causes in life.  AMEN.

Chapin says that after taking several classes in Seminary, when he became a pastor he thought that all that knowledge would help him deal with those who were facing death.  Then – in his first experience in a hospital room with a dying woman, he realized how useless all of man’s theories about death and dying are.  You know why?  He says,

“When I watched this beautiful Christian woman draw upon the resources of the Risen Lord to face death without fear, I realized that the greatest argument for immortality in this world is one Christian who has found meaning in life and hope in death by the power of the gospel.”

Our dear sister in Jesus showed this pastor and all of us, the glorious earthly finish of a Christian complete in Christ.  I have been at a Christian’s bedside to see the peace passing over a devoted face, filling the room with the glow and love of the Holy Spirit and so have you.

You are complete in Christ, my friends, complete through eternity!         The best is yet to come!

May everyone we know see the love of Jesus in us!

Barbara

WHO AM I IN CHRIST JESUS?

So Who AM I in Christ Jesus – my Lord and my Savior?

The frazzled mother running from one kid’s school to another, one soccer game after the other, soccer MOM, super Mom, getting home in time throw together that ever tasty meal for the whole happy family to enjoy – in between texts – to run off to a meeting, make sure homework is done, worrying about the kids grades, trying to figure out her own life?

Or what about the sandwich generation woman lovingly visiting elderly Mom to help her with laundry, her bills, her medicine, worrying about her care and then running home to her own chores to get done before she running from one kid’s school to another, one soccer game after the other….on and on…what’s this all about?

And…let’s throw you working Moms (and Dads) into this mix of trying to know who you are, worrying if you are doing enough!

All of us being pulled from one direction to another – priorities, time schedules, yikes!!

In Colossians 2: 10, those with the mind of Jesus can read with a quiet sigh:      “I have been made COMPLETE in Christ.”  Ahhhhh   Some translations say that we have been given FULLNESS in Christ.

The Light of Christ indeed FILLS our beings!

No more searching and wondering…but now feeling complete because of your salvation in Jesus!  Your sinful nature has been put off – You are completely forgiven!  You are completely righteous before God in Jesus. You are delivered from evil spirit beings.   You are full of all heavenly resources to grow in spirit with Your Lord!

You are full of the hope of resurrection from spiritual death – to have life everlasting!

Friends, In my life, I feel complete in Lord Jesus.  It’s so very hard to put what that means into words – don’t you think?

All I have to do is put Him foremost in my heart and mind, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide me and speak to me of God’s desires for me, do all I can in Jesus name.  The Schedules seem quieter, many relationships seem softer, my time with Christians in fellowship is always truly full – I can see love in each of you – I can see Christ in each of you.

You are complete in Him.

As Paul tells us:

I can see Christ’s gentleness in you!

I can encourage you not to worry about anything, not ANYTHING because our God is in control of your life and mine, He holds us in the palm of His hand! Do you Get that image?  I love it!  Why worry?

When we are complete in Jesus and full of Him, we know that whatever happens, is in God’s hands and  we TRUST HIM with it all –  with it ALL!  We may want to take our worry back – BUT – Let go of it again and leave it at the foot of the cross of our Lord Jesus!  He’ll take care of it.

Pray! Pray! Pray! Ask and you shall receive. Lives complete in Jesus Christ are based on prayer – period.  We LIVE prayer – our minds need not be disjointed, distracted, rattled – our minds need to be concentrated in prayer, trust and thanksgiving!

Completeness in Christ brings us His peace.  Hallelujah!

Barbara

EXCITING NEWS!!

Hello friends!

I’m excited to share with you that I have submitted my final manuscript of my third book, All Glory and Honor Unto to You, to my publisher!  I am hoping and praying for publication beginning very soon so that this Devotional Book can be available for Christmas giving.  It should be a great gift for Christian girlfriends and family members.

So – stay tuned for the news of the availability of the first editions!  Reserve your copy now!!

Blessings,

Barbara

REMAINING IN JESUS

Hi Folks,

Let’s continue our discussion on our Identity in Christ.

So, What does it mean to “remain” in Jesus?  I think it means that as Christ is, as Christ acts, as Christ loves … so must WE because we are connected to the VINE…connected to our Lord Jesus Christ who gives us our identity!

Let’s apply that identity.

In 1 Cor. 2:16: Paul tells us, “…we have the MIND of Christ.”

What does that mean?  Why does that make a difference?  Our mind controls who we are.  What we think controls how we act.  We have the mind of Christ because we are connected to the vine.  Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your (what?)   MIND!”  Why does Jesus tell us this in Matthew?

MacArthur says that, “As Christians…God instructs us.  We are able to understand all things of His word because we have the MIND of Christ.”  Obviously, we can’t know and understand everything – we’re humans!  We need human teachers and need to study the Word.

But…this illumination of our mind like Christ’s that Paul speaks of DOES mean that “Scripture can be understood by every Christian who is diligent and obedient.”  We remember in Luke 24, Jesus’ revelation to the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Verse 45: “Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Wherever our mind is, that is who we are in Him!!  Paul says in 1 Corinthians that as spiritual believers, having the mind of Christ,” we are allowed, by reading the Word and by the Power of the Holy Spirit, to know the thoughts of our Lord.”  Amazing!

What is the result of remaining in Christ Jesus?   Listen to Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:5 to those of us who have the MIND and thoughts of Christ telling us HOW to LIVE in that mind of ChristHow to let HIS light fill our beings:

Paul says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is Near!      Do not be anxious about anything,                                                                In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Oh, thank you, thank you Jesus for Paul’s blessing and that promise to us.

He continues “And (THEN) the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your MINDS in Christ Jesus. The Peace of our God will rule our hearts and minds.    He will guard our minds with His inner peace.

The peace of God is for me and for you!                                                   May you enjoy this blessing,

Barbara

OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST

Who AM I?  Easy for me – I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, a lay pastor…NO, NO – that is what I DO!  SO, Who AM I?

You don’t have to be a teenager, a college student, in a mid-life crisis to ask this question.You don’t have to be on the journey to “Find One’s Self” to ask that question BUT…

You DO HAVE to ASK IT?

Who AM I?

I have been including a collection of scriptures entitled, “THIS is who you are in Christ,” put together by Priscilla Shirer in my daily devotionals.  These scriptures have been powerful answers to the doubts and questions which Satan plants in our minds to discourage and depress us.  They clarify our true identity and purpose and build us up in our journey with the Lord!

A major part of my coming to Jesus involved the realization that I was NOT what I DO – wife, mother, teacher, etc. but so, so much more…My Identity was in Jesus Christ!

Your whole Identity – WHO YOU are – is in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

That eye-opening fact hit me when I was 32 – right in the middle of Who I AM being tied to what I was doing and how well I was doing it!  What a relief to know that God’s love for me was overwhelming even when I was overwhelmed being “Super Mom.”

Really?  I am a child of God?  I am a citizen of Heaven?  Really?  When that sinks in, your life is changed.  Hallelujah!

Years go by, kids grow up, tragedies devastate us, loved ones disappoint us, babies are born, jobs are lost…life goes on and on.  Because I am retired and not out there in the fray of life, WHO I AM in Christ takes on a deep, spiritual meaning.

Living for and in Jesus; living for God became my purpose at age 32 and has taken on a more significant drive each year since.  God knows our longings and desires to be significant so in the future in our blog let’s look at some of these scriptures He has given us to tell us so!

In John 15, verse 5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in Him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

YOU CAN DO NOTHING!  Thems pretty strong words, folks.  A living relationship with Jesus is absolutely necessary!  Without it is lifelessness.  Nothing. The fruit we will bear?  The evidence of our salvation in continual service and obedience to Jesus and His teaching.

As we think about this scripture, let’s take note of how it is we are living in relationship with Jesus today and every day.  Next time we’ll explore what that means.

God bless you,

Barbara

SO MANY BLESSINGS

I want to share with you some truly amazing blessings from Ministry Affirmation Sunday at our church the end of June.  Although we were celebrating the licensing of two new pastors, the focus of the service was the line on the back of every Sunday bulletin stating that every member of our family is a minister!  Pastors Dara, Blake and I shared about ministry among us these last 6 years and recognizing YOUR gifts for serving our Lord Jesus Christ.  Any ideas on how to use your gifts this summer?

What a pleasure to realize and praise His blessings in our midst, that ministry Sunday:

  • There was a huge group of loving elders, including several from the past, gathered at the altar, laying hands on Linda and Tim in prayer!
  • Several visitors mentioned that they looked forward to returning to this “incredible family!”
  • Looking out our congregation, I rejoiced seeing many tears of love and joy!
  • Many of us were truly overwhelmed by the movement of the Holy Spirit flowing through our family that morning and often!

It just doesn’t get any better than that!  Hallelujah!

Remember the blessings you have worshipping with your church family together this summer.  I’ll never take this gift of time in His Loving Presence with my brothers and sisters in Jesus for granted!  How about you?

Bless you,

Barbara

LIVING IN THE SPIRIT

Have you ever wondered what your life would look like if you were so full of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ as our Comforter? How do we “live in the Spirit?” As always, the word of God has the answer.

Our Pastor Blake’s Pentecost Sunday message centered on Stephen in Acts 6 – 7 as he walked in the Spirit. When a need arose in the Christian community, the disciples chose seven among them who were “known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom,” (6:3) to meet this need while the disciples were dedicated to prayer and ministry of the word. Stephen was one of this group.

“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power,did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. (6:8)
What a stunning example of an ordinary man achieving ordinary deeds through the power of the Spirit!

When men tried to argue with Stephen, they couldn’t stand up against “the Spirit by whom he spoke.” (6:10)
What protection in the Spirit!

But they persevered. Soon, through lies against Stephen, they angered the people and brought Stephen before the Sanhedrin. Stephen was so in touch with and living in the Holy Spirit that, “ All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that
his face was like the face of an angel.” (6:15)
Standing against these sinners, the Holy Spirit shown through Stephen!

After Stephen rebuked them all for not obeying the law sent by angels and murdering Jesus, the Sanhedrin were furious and stoned him. Facing this terrifying opposition, “…Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (7:55)
Jesus cared for and welcomed Stephen for his life in the Holy Spirit.

As he was stoned to death, Stephen prayed for Jesus to receive his spirit and not to hold their sin against his killers. A final act of amazing forgiveness in the Spirit! (Rev.Blake Heffner, 2017)

What a comfort and blessing to know that when we dedicate ourselves to Jesus Christ, committing to live a life in the Holy Spirit:

• Our ordinary lives can be so extraordinary
• We have the protection of Jesus and the Spirit with our adversaries
• The Holy Spirit will shine through us in adversity
• Jesus is watching and caring for us as proclaim His name to all the Earth
• Through the Holy Spirit, we will have the mighty power of forgiveness

I am so incredibly thankful for this message of encouragement in ministry, and pray that you are blessed as well. Hallelujah!

Barbara

Being a Child of God

 

Every once in a while, we all become discouraged, don’t we?  Whether it is some family issue, a person or project at work that just isn’t humming the way we wish or just that tired feeling that brings us down.  Will I ever feel that old energy again?  I know that part of my dismay is connected to the aging process, but I also know that when I forget who I am it’s bound to get worse!

I am a child of the most high God!  If someone asks you to whom are you a child, is your response Harry and Sue?  or Barbara and John?  Katharine and Warren (my parents)?  Obviously, these are our earthly parents, mortal parents who, unfortunately, will not be on this earth to nurture us forever.  Aren’t we blessed that we will never be left alone, either on this earth or in the heavenly realm, because, spiritually, we are children of our God?  The Bible says that we are made in HIS own image…can you imagine what that entails?  No one but our amazing God could have created an intricate brain which tells the rest of our body what to do, including our heart pumping into every little vein of our being!

Paul tells us that NOTHING can ever separate us from this God, our father, and His mighty son, Jesus Christ who was, is and shall always be…forever and ever!  Believe it every day and discouragement will fly in the wind as we flourish with Him!  Hallelujah!

Many Blessings,

Barbara

 

 

 

BLESSED ASSURANCE

“Perfect Submission – all is at rest

I in my Savior am happy and blest;

Watching and waiting, looking above,

Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

(Crosby and Knapp)

A few weeks ago, while we were vacationing in Florida, I received the tragic news that a dear friend of mine’s 39 yr. old son was killed in a car accident.  This touched me very deeply, even causing me to go to that dark place of fear that this could happen to my own precious son.  Hoping to get control over all this, I started on my daily walk on the beach.  I stopped and just looked out over the vast water, as I often do to feel peace.  Slowly, the words of the song to which I had awakened crept back into my mind, “Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

Lost in His Love…I wasn’t aware of anything or anyone around me.  The air was soft and warm cuddling my shoulders as I felt my heart healing, the fear fading, the sorrow softly shrinking.  I was totally lost…in the love of Jesus.  This place was “filled with His goodness,” as I heard Him gently whispering not to worry, her son was forgiven, washed clean and welcomed into the Heavenly realms.  We had prayed so often for this young man, and instantly I knew that God had heard every single prayer and that this child of His had heard the promises of Jesus.

Lost in His Love…in “perfect submission – all is at rest.”  In totally submitting to Jesus, I felt an aura, an inner peace, a “blessed assurance” indeed!  In this one mighty hymn verse, it is so very clear, so simply expressed, what a life lost in the love of Jesus can be:  Our perfect submission to Him brings us rest, happiness and endless blessings.  Filled with HIS goodness, we watch and wait, anticipating when we will join Him above, in the splendor of glorious eternal life!

Come, Lord Jesus – we want to live lost in Your Love.

Amen.

Barbara

 

 

“…all ye who labor and are heavy laden…I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)

The picture in my mind is of me carrying the weight of all the chores I have to do and the obligations I have to meet on my shoulders hanging down from one of those yokes they put across cattle.  At this time, how many of us have clung to these words of Jesus, have grabbed them and rubbed them all over our bodies like warm lotion, have taken them deep into our hearts when we feel like we just…can’t…do…another…thing or take…one…more…step?  I know that I have and that I do!

While we are blessed with days of vacation and time away from our daily routine of life, I am fortunate to have time to catch up with many things…with my writing, but more so, with the reading that I long to do.  I just finished reading A. W. Tozer’s amazing book, The Pursuit of GOD.  One of the most powerful messages Tozer gives is the description of what it is that makes us “heavy laden” and how Jesus can give us rest from that.  He says if we examine our burden ,we will find it to be an interior one, attacking our heart and our mind and reaching our body from within!  Have you ever imagined it that way?  I know I hadn’t.

What does it mean to have an interior or internal burden?  Of course, Tozer mentions specific types of interior burdens, but this idea struck my awareness of some of my own individual buried burdens hanging so heavily on that shoulder yoke.  Maybe it’s feeling unworthy and critical of myself.  Or maybe it’s a painful hurt coming as a result of a criticism or comment that someone made to or about me.  Perhaps it’s when I feel I’ve not done something as well as I think I should have.

Jesus wants to give me rest.  In the Bible he wants me to find who I am in Christ…not who I am in this world… but who I am in Him.  Slowly, these beautiful scriptures chip away at that heavy yoke bringing me down:

  • “I am a child of God” (John 1: 12)
  • “I have peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) The wood is cracking…
  • “I am not condemned by God” (Rom.8:1) The yoke splinters to pieces…
  • “I am completely forgiven” (Col. 1:14) It is nothing but a pile of wood on the ground!
  • “I am tenderly loved by God” (Jer. 31:3) Hallelujah!

“Here,” Jesus says, “Take MY yoke upon you, and learn of me…and you shall find rest unto your souls.”  (Matt. 11: 29-30) This new yoke feels like thick fleece wrapped around my shoulders on a chilly day; this new yoke fills my heart with smiling joys; my soul’s love runneth over!”  Why?

Our Jesus says, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matt. 11: 29-30)  Wearing the yoke of Jesus gives us rest because it reminds us of how incredibly loved we are by Him and by God.  And…wear it every minute…it NEVER wears out!  Thank you, Jesus.

God Bless you,

Barbara