Tag Archives: identity

Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

“My people have been lost sheep.

Their shepherds have led them astray

and turned them loose in the mountains.

They have lost their way

and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold….

 

But the one who redeems them is strong.

His name is the lord of Heaven’s Armies.

He will defend them

and give them rest again in Israel…

Jeremiah 50:6; 34a

I am learning about identity. Who am I? What is my sense of self?

Often, when thinking about identity, I tend to look first at the roles I take part in – I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a wife, a mother, a friend, etc. Also, I think about my characteristics – I’m honest, caring, compassionate, strong, hungry for learning, loyal, etc. Sometimes I think about the ugly of my past or the sins of my current experience. All of these things make up identity as the world sees it; they are the identifiers that make me different than another person or similar to someone else.

But I am coming to learn that heaven sees me in a different light.

Before I really knew Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I was a lost sheep; I was led astray by the enemy and those that sided with him. Just like the people of Israel, I was turned loose into the wilderness and didn’t know how to find my way back. But my sin didn’t cause the Lord to abandon me, to leave me or forsake me. He was still my God, even though I wasn’t walking by His side. He still called me to come to Him.

“For the lord of Heaven’s Armies

has not abandoned Israel and Judah.

He is still their God,

even though their land was filled with sin

against the Holy One of Israel.” Jeremiah 51:5

The reality is, whether I have full revelation of it or not, that my identity is completely connected to God, as my creator, as my Father.

I am Julie. Who I am is loved by God. I am forgiven and saved. I am valuable and worthy. I am a child of God. I am a daughter of the King. I am called.

Yesappa, Thank You for being strong and full of grace and mercy. Thank You for never abandoning me, even when I was lost. Thank You for calling me out of the darkness into Your arms. Thank you for giving me true identity that neither the circumstances of my life nor the enemy can steal from me. Thank You for giving my life purpose. Help walk out ‘who I am is loved by you’ ever moment of every day; and when I stray from that, pull me back into Your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Hosea 14, 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16

I am so intrigued by parables – the unique way of teaching through storytelling and the multifaceted truths that can be found depending on one’s perspective. Whenever I read a parable I want to better understand the layers of meaning. I can stay on the surface, looking at the outside layer that tends to pop out; I can go deeper, looking into the context within society during the time of Christ. And, I can go deeper still, to the heart of the parable, delving into the spiritual layer, asking God for insight into His heart.

As I was praying over the reading selection today, asking God to highlight what He wanted to teach me, I kept hearing the word “Grace”. When I look at myself honestly, I know I am not deserving of everything that God gives me apart from Him. In my humanness, I don’t even come close to meeting the requirements for perfection, and if I was earning a wage, my pay would be docked for all of my failings.

But fortunately, God’s grace changes everything; a gift, undeserved, makes all believers equal in God’s eyes. It doesn’t matter what the past looked like – someone on death row for murder, truly repentant before God is as righteous as someone who has gone to church her whole life, believing in Christ as a child. It doesn’t matter what the present looks like – being a missionary in a foreign country sharing Jesus with people who have never heard His name is as valuable as someone who serves the people in his church and community. It doesn’t matter if I am first in line or last in line or somewhere in the middle of the line, I will still receive the same “wage”.

Living in the Kingdom of Heaven is an equalizer not because of who I am, or what I do, or how hard or long I work; the Kingdom of Heaven is an equalizer because of the “wage”:

The“wage” IS Christ. There is no partial payment, there isn’t overtime, there is only a “full day’s wage” – His life laid down, His blood spilled, dead and buried, then risen in Glory to bring freedom and restoration – a gift of grace for everyone who accepts it, love, mercy, favor, honor, the same gift for all.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your gift of grace, the greatest, most undeserved wage I could receive. Thank You for loving me, for offering me mercy, for bestowing me with favor, and for honoring me as Your daughter. Thank You for giving me worth and making me a valuable part of Your Kingdom. Help me walk in this knowledge daily. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 2 Chronicles, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hosea, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Numbers 36; Psalm 80; Isaiah 28; 2 John 1

I didn’t expect to find Jesus in the pages of a book comparing child attachments with peers versus parents pre- and post-World War 2. There was no mention of His name in the chapter discussing the weakness and wounding that takes place when children derive their value and esteem from peers.

In contrast, the parent,

“When the parent is the compass point, it is the messages he or she gives that are relevant. When tragedy and trauma happen, the child looks to the parent for clues whether or not to be concerned. As long as their attachments are safe, the sky could collapse and the world fall apart, but children would be relatively protected from feeling dangerously vulnerable.” Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate.

I saw Jesus there, out of context. When I tie my identity to this world, my job, what others think of me, if I am not tethered to or held up by Christ the Cornerstone, I am dangerously vulnerable to weakness and wounding. When Jesus is my compass point, I find Him completely out of (and within) context. He permeates every part of life.

Isaiah writes of the armies of Assyria and Babylonia, but I see Jesus reflected:

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:    “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Isaiah 28:16 (NIV)

When I wonder what the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant” sounds like, I halt at His presence:

“17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

 19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:17-19 (NIV)

Lord, you are the compass point. You are the One who was and is and yet to come–a sure foundation. (I can stand on you.) You are justice and righteousness, the plumb line. (I can discern what is true or false by holding it up to you.) You are the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever. (Sweet salvation.) I find you out of context and in the least expected places … your reminder and reassurance still that you hold it all together.

Courtney (66books365)

from the archives, originally published May 27, 2011.

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2 Chronicles 27, 28; Acts 19:1-20

“…the evil spirit talked back: “I know Jesus and I’ve heard of Paul, but who are you?” Acts 19:15 (MSG)

In this season of my life I have been contemplating the question of “who am I?”. In talking with friends, I know that I am not alone in this searching. I think we all go through times in our lives, especially during major changes and seasons where we feel the need to better understand ourselves and our roles and purpose in the world.

There are so many aspects to consider: identity, characteristics, personality, persona, roles, titles…

I am Julie. I am a daughter, a wife, a mother. I am hard-working, loyal, honest. I am a chef, a reader, a missionary. I could go on…but, is that all of who I am!?

When I looked up the word ‘identity,’ I found that one definition is ‘the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known.’ That makes sense. The descriptors above point to characteristics that help others recognize and know me. Each of those things make up parts of who I am.

But another definition that I found is ‘exact sameness.’ This definition really struck me, especially in regards to my identity in Christ.

When I became a believer and asked Christ into my heart, to reside and abide in me, I was given the identity of Christ. I became a new creation, a daughter of the King, a co-heir with Christ. Those things are not necessarily physically evident things. I still look the same to people, and I know that I don’t look like a princess in the ‘Disney’ sense of the word. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I am now one with God; that I now am an ‘exact sameness’ as Christ. When the Father looks at me, He sees me, but He also sees His son, His Beloved in whom He is well please.

The seven sons of Sceva were not recognized by the evil spirit because they had no relationship with Jesus. They were posers, pretending that had something that they didn’t. The evil spirit didn’t see Jesus’ identity in them because it wasn’t there. The evil spirit knew Jesus and knew Paul because of His ‘exact sameness’ in Jesus, and as all believers share that oneness, we are also recognized because of our identity in Him.

Understanding our identity in Christ is essential for knowing the truth of who we really are and giving us the strength to stand against the enemy’s battles against us. If we truly know who we are because of our acceptance of Christ into ourselves, then the enemy will not be successful in egging us on with lies and partial truths of who he wants us to believe we are.

The Bible is full of statements of our identity in Christ. Some of the ones that stand out to me are:

I am a pearl of great price. I am the Lord’s beloved. I am a child of God.

 

What aspects of your identity in Christ stand out to you from the Word? What helps you know that you are recognized in the spirit?

 

Yesappa, I ask you to reveal to each of us our identity in you, especially in this particular season of our lives. What ‘exact sameness’ do we walk in alongside of you each day? Give us the strength to hold on to those truths about who we are and let go of the untruths that the enemy has tried to plant in our hearts about ourselves. Help us live out of our identity in you every day and in every way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

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2 Chronicles 17, 2 Chronicles 18, 2 Corinthians 6

Jehoshaphat…sought God…and walked in His commandments. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. 2 Chronicles 18:4-5

 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:15

 “Come out from among them …And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18

 Read athttp://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2Chron17,18;%202Cor6&version=NKJV

2 Chronicles 17        Jehoshaphat…strengthened himself against Israel…he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God…and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel.

            At this time Israel was not following the Lord God but worshipping false gods.

            Talk about taking a stand! Jehoshaphat didn’t ignore Israel, give platitudes, agreements, or compromises saying ‘your truth works for you, my truth works for me’. – No, Jehoshaphat “strengthened himself against Israel”! Boldly Not being ‘politically correct’!  

            Jehoshaphat was a man of conviction and action! Not only was Jehoshaphat against Israel, but he was against the false gods in his own land AND he taught everyone about the Lord God!! “moreover he removed the high places and wooden images from Judah. So they…had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.”

             Why would Jehoshaphat do this? Because “his heart took delight in the ways of the Lord”. Jehoshaphat’s heart couldn’t be happier because he ‘heard’ the Lord and walked in His Ways. He didn’t need any one else’s approval or relationship. Jehoshaphat’s HEART DELIGHTED in the LORD. The center of Jehoshaphat’s core had delight, joy, peace and the Presence of the Lord God! It is what motivated him to do all he did! 1 

             Aren’t I supposed to be this way too? Of course! Especially since I have tangible blessings from the Lord God: The full Bible. The knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ by His Word. The God’s promises for the end of His story. The revelation of  Who my Atonement is. The indwelling 24/7/365 Presence of the Holy Spirit within me.  Yet I rejoice in Jehoshaphat! What a man for God! May I be at least as much as he is!!  2 

             And what was God’s response?

Faithfulness, loyalty and fruitfulness to Jehoshaphat and his realm of influence.

The Lord established the kingdom in his hand

The Book of the Law of the Lord was taught to all the people.

The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.

Some kingdoms brought Jehoshaphat presents, tribute, and more

Jehoshaphat became increasingly powerful,

Jehoshaphat had much property and mighty men of valor

2 Chronicles 18                   By marriage Jehoshaphat allied himself with Ahab.  After some years he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria;  

             What happened to this valiant man of God? God’s Word tells us, “Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance.” Trading righteousness for pleasure and pride, Jehoshaphat unwittingly subverted his own resolve against Israel “by marriage he allied himself with Ahab”, the king of Israel.

             The effect is heard: Jehoshaphat answered Ahab, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will be with you in the war.”  What? How did this happen? Some years before Jehoshaphat was delighting in God and independent of the powers around him, standing valiant against sin patterns. Now Jehoshaphat has fallen so far that he views himself and his people as being like Israel! 3

             The Lord’s gifts became the source of Jehoshaphat’s joy instead of his heart continually delighting in the Lord God. When I let my physical senses distract me from Fear of the Lord, it causes spiritual blindness, misplaced trust and unholy alliances. 4

2 Corinthians 6            Lord God Almighty, may I never misconstrue blessings to be for my own gratification. You alone are my very Great Reward. You command me: I am blessed to be a blessing. I am to work together with Jesus Christ to plead for others “not to receive the grace of God in vain. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” I will accomplish this through many types of pain, discomfort, by God’s truth, power and more, and within every possible circumstance. 5

            Lord Jesus, You have shown me the deep pain of eternal souls who live for Very temporary pleasures. Hell is for real, just as Heaven is. I take Your advice to heart: You are restricted by your own affections…Do not be unequally yoked…For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. 

            Lord Jesus thank You for calling me to grow more intimate with You daily and go far away from surface pleasure and pride. I desire to Live, exist and have my being in Your Word and Holy Spirit, abiding in Your Love. Lord, have my eyes open to the walking dead around me, my ears attentive to Your Voice of Truth and wisdom, and my heart submitted to Your compassion so You will move through me for Your great work to be done, now and always for Your delight and glory! Amen 6

Dear Reader, God pleads with you and me today:

Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 

1-  Psalm 37:4, 2 Chronicles 17:4, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 1, Psalm 119:16

2-  Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Isaiah 6:8

3 – 1 Kings 18

4- Romans 1; Revelation 2:4; Genesis 15:1; Psalm 37:4; Philippians 2:12

5- 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 12:2; Romans 1:16

6-   1 Peter 2:9; Acts 17:28; John 15:1-17

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Proverbs 10, 11, 12; Acts 1

I read through Proverbs like a checklist check-up. How am I making my way through this world? In categories like godly, wise, fool, wicked … where do I fall? Who am I? I consider the godly and remember that if it isn’t perfection achieved, but a daily focus … I am that. And when I think of God daily, frustration mounts when my anger calls me wicked, or my running mouth a fool.

Who am I?

The answer changes depending on who you ask. I find as I read through the lines, I’m straddling them. I wonder how friends see me, and I wonder how enemies see me. Which one is right? Which one is true? It leaves me confused and discouraged. I find I’m all over the place–a multitasked life.

But the confusion leaves here: He has told me this before and repeatedly this past year. He whispers it again today in Acts 1:24 (NLT) as the disciples look to choose a replacement for Judas, they seek the Lord and pray, “O Lord, you know every heart.” I write the words on the notepad beside me.

O Lord, you know every heart.

Lord, I trust my heart in your hands. You tell me truth, and you pour grace. Make my paths straight–I pray my mind would be fixed on you and not distracted by the opinions of others. Yours is the only one that matters in the end.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Proverbs

Numbers 36; Psalm 80; Isaiah 28; 2 John 1

I didn’t expect to find Jesus in the pages of a book comparing child attachments with peers versus parents pre- and post-World War 2. There was no mention of His name in the chapter discussing the weakness and wounding that takes place when children derive their value and esteem from peers.

In contrast, the parent,

“When the parent is the compass point, it is the messages he or she gives that are relevant. When tragedy and trauma happen, the child looks to the parent for clues whether or not to be concerned. As long as their attachments are safe, the sky could collapse and the world fall apart, but children would be relatively protected from feeling dangerously vulnerable.” Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate.

I saw Jesus there, out of context. When I tie my identity to this world, my job, what others think of me, if I am not tethered to or held up by Christ the Cornerstone, I am dangerously vulnerable to weakness and wounding. When Jesus is my compass point, I find Him completely out of (and within) context. He permeates every part of life.

Isaiah writes of the armies of Assyria and Babylonia, but I see Jesus reflected:

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:    “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Isaiah 28:16 (NIV)

When I wonder what the tune of “The Lilies of the Covenant” sounds like, I halt at His presence:

“17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
revive us, and we will call on your name.

 19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:17-19 (NIV)

Lord, you are the compass point. You are the One who was and is and yet to come–a sure foundation. (I can stand on you.) You are justice and righteousness, the plumb line. (I can discern what is true or false by holding it up to you.) You are the truth that lives in us and will be with us forever. (Sweet salvation.) I find you out of context and in the least expected places … your reminder and reassurance still that you hold it all together.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament