Posts Tagged With: Jesus

You Also Were Included

“…And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…” Ephesians 1:13 NIV (read more)

This was the Scripture that greeted me this morning. Thank you Holy Spirit.

Yesterday I came across an old journal entry that I would never want my kids or grand kids to ever find or read. It articulated fairly clearly how messed up my identity crisis had really become. It was real and raw and authentic… but completely wrong. It revealed how thoroughly I had believed the enemies lies.

I spent yesterday wondering how much of my sense of identity is still more inspired out of the pit of hell rather than the heart of God. I didn’t have much hope for the latter.

And then the Scripture. Can we read it again?

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You Are INCLUDED In Christ! I Am Included IN CHRIST!

So what is our identity in Christ?

I’m so glad you asked. That was the first thing I asked as well. Great minds think alike I guess. I looked it up and found this helpful graphic:

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Those last few points were very eye-opening for me.

“You are declared righteous by God.” You are not a sinner. Because God says so.

“Your identity comes from what God has done for you and what God says about you.”

“Your belief about yourself determines your behavior.”

So ask yourself, will I continue to believe the enemies lies? Or will I believe God?

Someone has highly recommended the theologian Dr. C. Baxter Kruger. So yesterday I looked him up for the first time. I watched this very insightful video:

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Inner Healing? Try Inner Healed!

Every time I hear John Crowder speak on the glories and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus my heart swells with joy. I trust yours will too. This is a talk he gave about inner healing and how Jesus has already accomplished this. I have proven this to be true in my own life and have seen that my victory over depression has come about because I just started believing the Gospel.

Jesus really did save me! Done deal. To quote Jesus, “It is finished!”

I love telling people their salvation is bought and paid for. They are already forgiven, you just need to believe it and receive it.

I love a story Rick Warren shared once. A man walked up to him and asked, “Pastor, what do I have to do to be saved?” “You’re too late” Rick told him. “What do you mean I’m too late?” he asked. “What needed doing was already done for you 2,000 years ago. You just need to accept it.”

Categories: Gospel, Grace, Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments

Redeemed, Song and Story

Redemption is such a beautiful thing! I absolutely love the idea that any prodigal can come home to find Papa running to meet them. He embraces everyone who comes to him and showers them with affection and fatherly love. All of heaven rejoices! This is the very heart of God. Redemption is the heartbeat of heaven.

Jesus has said, “”It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Again, Jesus told a story to illustrate this in Luke 15 after he is “maligned” by the religious leaders who said, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them”.

Well, actually he tells three stories. Each story increasingly emphasizes the value of what has been lost and then found. The story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and finally the lost son. I don’t know how many times I have cried at the story of the prodigal son.

I remember on one occasion I was reading Luke 15 at a nursing home and when I came to the verse where the Father says, “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Jesus stood right in front of me and looked me in the eyes. He was speaking those words to my heart… and yes, I cried.

Psalm 107 is full of stories of people being redeemed and rescued as they simply call on the Lord for help. I hope this song, which is based on Psalm 107 blesses you and spiritually enriches your life!

Thanks for listening! Leave me a comment to let me know how this has touched your life!

ps. Take a moment to read Luke 15 again… and again!

Categories: Forgiveness, Redemption | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You Don’t Know Nothing!

I just realized the title was a double negative… which means you do know something. =)

I was arguing with my four-year old Ellie over lunch today when she said she knows everything. I said, “You don’t know everything.”

“Yes I do”, she replied.

“Ok, So what does pernicious mean? How bout undeterred?” (My wife at that point gave me a look and shook her head indicating that I should not share the joke about that last word… you just have to think about it for a moment and you’ll get it.)

jesus-scrabble“You don’t even know all the two letter words!!!” At which point I googled ‘list of two letter words’ and came across a scrabble list… Come on scrabble!?! These can’t be actual words! My wife and I didn’t even know 10% of two letter words!

We, apparently know next to nothing.

But then I explained to my girl that it isn’t knowing facts that’s the thing, but knowing people. I explained to her that because I know mama then in time, hypothetically, I could come to know everything she knows… but why would I need to? She can know what she knows and I can know what I know and we can compliment each other. The same is true of Jesus.

So since Jesus knows everything I asked him about where our lost iPod was. I listened and heard, “try behind Ellie’s bed”.

I looked behind her bed and nothing. I was kind of depressed.

I can’t even hear God correctly. When is my faith ever gonna deepen to where this connection is tangible and accurate? I encouraged myself with some of the other things I knew were good in our relationship and went to play my concerts.

When I came home Catherine said, “did you try behind our bed?”

So I got down to look. (Incidentally, Ellie’s other little kid bed is right next to ours.)

I looked left, I looked right, and there, behind Ellie’s bed was the lost iPod.

How is God speaking to you recently? Have a story to share? Leave a comment.

Categories: faith adventure | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Contact With God

My Testimony Part 1:

I had a powerful encounter with the living God, my loving heavenly Papa, at the age of eleven or twelve. Let me tell you how that happened and the events preceding it.

I grew up in a Christian home and had prayed to receive Christ, willfully and intentionally, on my eighth birthday. For the next few years I really enjoyed life! Especially being ten. That was a great year! I remember having this reflective moment as a ten year old, ‘Life is SO good!’

Shortly thereafter a neighbor introduced me to his dad’s Playboy magazine. =(

For the next few years I struggled with lust. The reason I get into this horrifying and shameful topic is because it was the prelude to my first amazing encounter with God.

I was in my treehouse struggling once again with lust and then the most amazing thing happened.

shekinahlight_600God showed up.

I knew him immediately. There was no mistaking it. This was God, my Creator, my Savior. I cannot describe to you how amazing it was. He was brimming with fatherly love, there was no judgment, just compassion. I felt the energy and holiness of his presence. I perceived him in the spirit realm beyond the mirage of what C.S. Lewis call the shadowlands (this physical realm).

He respected my free will and told me telepathically (this is how everyone in heaven most always communicates… get over it), “If you continue in this I will have to hand you over.”

As with most every time God says something to you, the understanding came with his words. I knew he was referring to Romans chapter 1:

God’s Anger at Sin

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. – (Romans 1 NLT)

So this was stage one. God abandoning me to do what I desired (or “hand me over” as some translations put it). I knew he didn’t want to hand me over but he respects our free will. We get to decide what kind of lives we want to live. I believe that to a large degree, we decide our destinies. Our free will matters.

I did not choose wisely.

An evil spirit entered me that day. It provoked me to sin. Mentally abusing me day after day. I grew to hate myself. I’d cut myself and bash my head with rocks at times. Eventually I turned to alcohol and other vices to numb the pain.

I would have times where I would turn back to God and find some relief but I didn’t have much of a support system to sustain following Jesus.

The encounter with God that day was life altering. I knew God was real. I couldn’t ever walk away from this. The rest of my life will be seeking him, coming back to him, following Jesus.

I want to encourage you with a few Scriptures that have encouraged me in this pursuit of Christ and really has formed a proof, like a mathematical proof in geometry, that I have eternal life and am secure in the love and care of my Good Shepherd and loving Papa.

“However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” – Jesus, (John 6:37 NLT)

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” – Jesus, (John 17:2-3 NKJV)

Did you catch that? If you come to Jesus, he won’t reject you. He can’t! The fact that you came to him shows that the Father has given you to Jesus. He then promises to give eternal life to all those who the Father has given him.

I have since had several other profound encounters with God that have changed me. He met me when I came back to him at the age of eighteen. He’s taken me on spiritual journeys. Came and commissioned me for my calling at twenty. He meets me in dream after dream – which I am particularly fascinated by!

Jesus stood before me in the spirit once and looked me in the eyes while I was reading the prodigal son story in front of a crowd. In fact, I sense his presence and experience his fathering every day. He is merciful, forgiving, gracious and so very good and loving to me. He is anxious to do the same for you. The reason I tell you all this is to provoke you to seek the Lord. He guarantees that you will experience him if you seek him with all your heart.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD”. (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)

Have you ever had an encounter with God? If so I’d like to hear about it. Leave a comment!

Categories: Encountering God | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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