Tag Archives: Identity in Christ

1 Samuel 18-19; 1 Chronicles 3; Psalms 59; Acts 13

“After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.” 1 Samuel 18:1-4 NLT

I was recently listening to a podcast with Lysa TerKeurst called, The Shame Script. Lysa talked about the ways shame can be harmful to relationships. How it can cause isolation, when God calls me to intimacy. I was reading 1 Samuel and reflecting on Jonathan and David’s friendship. It says there was an immediate bond between them. I like to imagine them having deep conversations about God. They were like brothers, bonded for life. They took their shame, doubts and insecurities to the Lord. I’m convinced that this made their friendship even stronger. They didn’t let anything come between them. Not even Saul’s jealousy of David. (1 Samuel 18:9 NLT)

“Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue for me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.” Psalms 59 NLT

How often do I carry past hurts into a friendship, instead of taking it to the Lord?

Dear Father, thank you for the gift of friendship and community. We are not meant to do this life alone. Thank you that I can trust you with my feelings. That you are the true healer of my heart. I want to live from a place of acceptance and not striving for it. Help me to be after your heart, like David was. Amen.

“But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do. And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel!” Acts 13:22&23 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, Acts, Psalms, Uncategorized

1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalm 104

Faithful work … loving deeds … enduring hope. When I read the encouragement poured out in 1 Thessalonians, I imagine a group of believers in life’s sweet spot where it’s easy to be faithful and loving. Understand: they weren’t in a sweet spot, yet a sweetness poured out from them–their faith. They were known by it, and God was known by it.

We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people. For when we brought you the Good News, it was not only with words but also with power, for the Holy Spirit gave you full assurance that what we said was true. And you know of our concern for you from the way we lived when we were with you. So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord. As a result, you have become an example to all the believers in Greece—throughout both Macedonia and Achaia.

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10, NLT, emphasis added)

In a three year drought, faith ignited a fire. Unwavering, confident, expectant faith from knowing God.

30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.

Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37 O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.”

38 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” (1 Kings 18:30-39, NLT)

(And rains came, ending the drought. Imagine the elation!)

Land is set aside for the tribes of Israel, and I read this piece:

11 This area is set aside for the ordained priests, the descendants of Zadok who served me faithfully and did not go astray with the people of Israel and the rest of the Levites. 12 It will be their special portion when the land is distributed, the most sacred land of all. (Ezekiel 48:11-12, NLT, emphasis added)

These are stories of man’s faith in a faithful God, not in life’s sweet spot, but in drought, in severe suffering, in focused and enduring service. It’s not just a believing faith, but a persistent, confident, expectant, actionable, demonstrable faith.

Lord Jesus, when I am burdened and bear a weight that’s heavy, what pours out of me? A three year drought … I am humbled, when I know a poor night’s sleep and a taunting stress are enough to make me snap. These scriptures remind me to keep a sure and eternal focus.

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved. (Psalm 104:5, NLT)

Let all that I am praise you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Psalms

Isaiah 34, 35, 36; Romans 4

We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:17-18 (MSG)

I am nobody and yet I am somebody. I am somebody, not because of who I am or because of anything I did; I am somebody because of who Jesus is and what He did for me. My value lies in my belief, my trust, and my faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary.

When in the midst of the circumstances of life I have to choices. I can either look at things as being hopeless, never to come to a ‘successful’ pass or I can trust in the God of the impossible, trust in His promises, trust in His love. I can trust that nothing that my Father in Heaven has said will come back void.

When I truly gave my life to God with a desire to do His will rather than my own, I began to understand that in myself, with all of my talents and strengths, I was still nothing and had nothing to really offer without Jesus living through me. When I began to walk in His footsteps, within His strength, I realized that it wasn’t about whether I had the skills, the knowledge, the ability to do things. I had to put even more trust in God that I could do all things through Him. It wasn’t about whether or not I was equipped to do the tasks at hand. It was about whether I was called or not. It is a bit cliché, but true all the same: God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.

So many times on the mission field I have felt complete out of my league. I questioned whether I even had the ‘right’ to be there, whether I was ‘worthy’. And as I questioned those things, God would use me in such a way that I knew it wasn’t about me, but about Him and His Glory.

One of the biggest difficulties on the foreign mission field is struggles with languages. In my situation, I have learned enough of the language to have a basic conversation and I often don’t have ready access to a translator. But that has yet to stop God from using me.

One of my favorite testimonies is of a widow name Lakshmi. She is an older woman, probably in her mid 70’s. I participated in her baptism 5 years ago during my first trip in Tamil Nadu. I looked forward to seeing her on Sundays at church because of the joy of the Lord she carried with her all the time. I loved watching her worship, hands raised, eyes closed with tears of joy streaming down her face running into her smiling mouth. Week after week, I would see her toward the back of the building worshipping and praying to the God of Love. And then one Sunday she didn’t show; and then the next and the next and the next. We knew that she hadn’t died, one of the other widows would have told us; but she wasn’t coming to church any more. We went to visit her during the week after not seeing her for a while. We wanted to find out if anything was wrong. She explained that her employer had found out that she believed in Jesus and changed her working day to Sunday so she had to choose between having the money she needed to be able to eat throughout the week and going to church. We prayed with her and blessed her. We asked God for wisdom.

A few weeks passed and one Sunday she showed up in church. After the service was over she came up to me for prayer. Richard, my husband, was busy with some other believers and wasn’t able to come and tell me what she was asking prayer for. I didn’t know why she was asking for prayer, I couldn’t understand anything she was saying. I trusted that God knew what she needed and prayed into that. I few minutes passed and I saw a picture of a heart; it looked like there was a crack through it, similar to the pictures that are drawn to indicate a broken heart. I began focusing my prayer on that picture of a heart, asking the Lord to heal her broken heart. When she had come up to me her face was so sad, forlorn, and as I began praying into this small vision of a heart, I could see the joy rise back into her.

Later on  that day, Richard and I were interviewing some of the widows who had recently began coming to church so that we could get to know them, their needs, and there prayer requests better. During this time Lakshmi shared with us what had happened, this time Richard was able to translate.

She had felt led that Sunday to skip work and come to church. The need to be with other believers in the House of the Lord was so overwhelming that she didn’t think twice about whether or not she would have enough money to feed herself during the week. As she was walking the 2 kilometers to church she began having very strong, deep pains in her chest, as if she was having a heart attack. She explained that she couldn’t focus during the service, wasn’t able to worship. She prayed and felt the Lord direct her to come to me for prayer rather than Richard. She shared that the pain was increasing moment by moment, but as I began to pray for her, immediately the pain lifted in her chest and by the time we ended with Amen, all of the pain was gone.

We both knew this wasn’t anything I did. We both knew that this was God in His Healing Glory working through our trust and faith in God’s promises. In her hopelessness, she was shown first hand God’s everlasting love for her. We stood together and believed in what the Lord would do for her.

God has called all of us. He has given us all a mission, called everyone to ‘Go’. You may not feel like you’re up to it or able to do it, but you have been called in some capacity. Put your belief in God’s promises. Put your trust in God’s desire to make a somebody out of ‘nobody’.

Energize the limp hands,
strengthen the rubbery knees.
Tell fearful souls,
“Courage! Take heart!
God is here, right here,
on his way to put things right
And redress all wrongs.
He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Isaish 35:3-4 (MSG)

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans