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History and Destiny

September 25th, 2015

“For by grace you have been saved through faith . . the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 NKJV.

Your identity is not found in the debris of your past failures.

My thoughts and comments today are about “history and destiny.”

Everyone has a history; everyone has a destiny. History is who you have been; destiny is who you are in Christ. History traces the path to where you are; destiny promises who you can become. “God Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us . . for by grace you have been saved through faith.” Read Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV.

It seems we are more easily preoccupied with our own or others’ past record of struggles and failures than with the possibilities and opportunities still ahead. Possibilities for you are limitless in Christ. “Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT. In redemption, God replaces your history with destiny.

In the beginning, it was wonderfully simple. God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV. Sin is common to us all, but sin cannot change your origin. You came from God’s heart and hands. But life – your faults and failures as well as the hurts and misunderstandings from the fallen humanity of others – clouded the image with which you were created and your understanding of the Father’s purpose for you. Subsequent inability to reconcile the way things are with the way things should have been produces inner tension and confusion.

Identity is the core of everything about a confident and successful life, but many people struggle with a confused identity. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” Read Romans 8:29-30 NIV. I recognize three challenges that confront your assurance of identity.

(1) The brokenness of our own self-knowledge. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NIV. History is rehearsed in your memory with excruciating detail. You have to discover anew your identity in Jesus before all the stuff happened that you allowed to shape who you now believe yourself to be. Your identity is not found in the debris of your failures or the failures of others toward you. Believe God and His Word.

(2) The ill-founded evaluation of others. Your sense of self is wrongly shaped by others’ opinions, criticisms, and judgments of you. Leave all judgment to Him who judges righteously. The judgments of anyone, including your own, mean little until the Righteous Judge, who knows even the thoughts and intent of the heart, examines one’s life. The Apostle Paul foresaw that day, “At that time, each will receive his praise from God.” Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 NIV.

(3) The lengthy process of rebuilding broken lives. Never assume the difficulty, delay, or slow progress mean success is not yours. Recovery takes a lot of grace, patience, obedience, perseverance, hope, and faith. “Being confident of this . . that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

God rebuilds what self and sin have damaged or destroyed, through daily application of the Word of God, the work of Christ, the fellowship of His Church, and the power of the Holy Spirit to restore His “image and likeness” anew. God replaces your history with destiny. Your Identity in Christ is assured and secure. Read Colossians 1:21-23 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to live confidently, eternally secure in Christ Jesus.

To be continued . . .

Last Sunday, I taught on “Identity Theft” at Freedom Fellowship, New Braunfels, TX. The teaching is also available at their website, freedomnb.org. Then scroll down to the sermon title to listen or download the teaching. Please respond if you listen so I will know if audio teachings would be helpful in the future on EveryDay Life . . .

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Christian Communications 654

 

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Recovery

October 4th, 2013

“We are . . perplexed, but not in despair . . struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8 NKJV.

Beyond the pain, you will find God and the help you need for recovery.

My thoughts and comments today are about “recovery.”

Life can intrude in the harshest of ways. Your pain screams questions: “Why? Where is God? What can I do now?” In those moments, recovery is your need but not your expectation. There is good news, however. Beyond the pain, you will find God and the help you need for recovery.

While driven from Judah by King Saul’s treachery, David experienced the pain of a devastating loss. Read 1 Samuel 30. David and his brave men went to battle; returning to their homes in Ziklag, they were shocked beyond belief to find that a cruel enemy had plundered and burned their homes, taking their wives and children captive. They were devastated, having lost what was precious and irreplaceable. Loss often feels irrevocable. For you, it is; for God, it’s not.

First, they wept. (Vs. 4) Grieving for your loss is normal and a door to healing and recovery; great disappointment and loss are not experienced casually. You will grieve when loss occurs that you don’t anticipate. There are circumstances that “just happen” to one and all. See John 16:33 NKJV. And there are spiritual adversities calculated to devastate and diminish. See John 10:10 NKJV.

Second, they blamed. (Vs. 6) Blame is unprofitable, a waste of time usually misdirected – neither reducing pain, restoring loss, nor supporting recovery. They blamed David and spoke of stoning him. Pain tempts you to blame people, yourself, or God, feeding anger or despair while delaying a better future. Blame isolates you from help and distracts you from hope.   

Third, they found strength. (Vs.6) “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” When your soul is disheartened, find strength in God. See Psalm 61:1-3 NKJV. Beyond the pain, you will find God; that’s where healing begins. You are neither the first or last to face difficulty. You are in good company. “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9/15 NKJV. If you face and feel the first of those real life experiences, you can choose to affirm and believe you can be the latter.

Fourth, they sought God. (Vs. 8) David inquired of the Lord . . ‘Shall I pursue? Shall I overtake them?’” When David sought God’s wisdom, the One who “is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end . . Declaring the end from the beginning,” assured David of victory. See Revelation 1:8/Isaiah 46:10 NKJV. The first step toward restoration is changing your question from, “Why?” to “What do I do now?” Read James 1:2-8 NKJV. My favorite description of wisdom is, “Wisdom is the ability to see your present situation from God’s perspective.” Such wisdom comes only from God. Read Ephesians 3:17-23 NIV.

Fifth, they believed God. God rewards courageous obedience; “Go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you.” 1 Samuel 30:8 NLT. Everything? Yes, everything! There is no loss God cannot restore. See 1 Samuel 30:16-20 NKJV. My Dad taught me a spiritual bottom line: “God will never take anything away from you, nor allow anyone else to do so, except to make room for something better for you.” Is there room for something better in your life right now? In pain and loss, God is faithful to reward your trust, heal your pain, and restore your loss.

My prayer for you today is: look past the pain and find your hope and help in God.

 

 

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