Accepted in Christ

The Father said to me the other day, “The validation that you seek can not be found in a worship-2721716_960_720man, woman or child. Your parents can’t give it you; your children can’t fill that need. Your worth can’t be found in the things you do, the success you’ve had or the places you’ve been. These things can’t validate you. The validation you seek can only be found in Me, only I can do that for you.” Said the LORD.

We tend to look outside of ourselves for our self-worth but our worth could never be found in anything this world has to offer. Our worth dwells on the inside, where God’s Spirit dwells. For the Kingdom of God is with you and in you. What you seek is in your heart, the place where Jesus chose to make His home. “He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Our worth is wrapped up like the perfect gift it is in the body of Jesus Christ. It’s seated in Heavenly places, seated at the right hand of the Father. Simply put you’re Christ workmanship created in Him to do good works Eph. 2:10 better yet as Christ is, so are you on this Earth. His love makes you complete. 1John 4:17

I’ve come to realize that I can’t measure myself by the world’s ever-changing standards nor can I compare my achievements or lack there of with another. All I have, all I am and all I am to become can be found in no other but Jesus. I am the one He laid down His life for; conquered death and the grave for. My name is engraved in the palms of His hands Isaiah 49:16. I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

You may be struggling today with the feeling of not being loved, accepted and appreciated by your friends, colleagues and loved ones. Honestly you may never receive that validation that you desire from them. Nevertheless, you don’t have to live life feeling rejected. According to your Vindicator and Redeemer. There is a great light in you, a love unfailing and unwavering dwelling on the inside of you. There is resurrection power inside of you. Your worth can’t be measured by degrees and scales; your worth can only be measured through the eyes and heart of an Infinite God. For God so loved the world <insert your name> that He gave His only Begotten Son. This is what an infinite God thinks about you, everything else that you heard is a lie.

You are accepted into the Beloved Eph 1:6. Forget the haters/naysayers your Heavenly Father speaks a better word that overrides every negative word or act done to you. You’re accepted in Christ. God’s Beloved pray to the Father and let Him make known to you His heart and thoughts towards you.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

-Amen


 

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Live Fearless

hands-1926414_1280I no longer live in fear of my sins and mistakes! God says, “I will forgive their iniquity and their sins I will remember no more.” Jer 31:34

I’m no longer haunted by my past, my pain and addictions! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2CO 5:17

I don’t live in fear of death because of Jesus Christ who overcame death!  “O death where is your sting?” 1CO 15:55

I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. I am a child of light and Jesus Christ is that Light. A Light the darkness can’t comprehend. He is the Light of the world!

I can live this life fearless ! Forgetting what is behind me and strain toward what is ahead of me. I can press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Phil 3:13-14

God’s beloved, we can live this life without fear because perfect Love drives out fear. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Lord and Savior, and Lover of your soul…He Loved You Perfectly! 1John 4:18


As we like to say in our house, Happy Hallelujah-ween!!! 🙂

The Father’s Plan For You


“For I know the plans I have for you, “ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

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God Has a Great Plan For You.

Many of us know this promise well. It’s our personal hope, our life-preserver. The rock we stand on when life throws its worst at us. Every time you hear this promise your confidence quickens because, this is your promise. God is personally talking to you. If you’re anything like me you’ve studied this verse inside and out. You’ve read other translations. You’ve written it on post-its and stuck it on your wall, computer, fridge, mirror…everywhere! Have you noticed that God says the word “plans” three times? For those of you who’ve studied the Hebrew language the number three is said to represent “completeness”.

This promise has often been the topic of many intimate conversations between the Father and I. What are your plans for me? Am I on the right path? This hope and future you speak of Father God, is it in this life or the eternal one?

The other day I read the verse again and was about to close the book when I heard Him say, “Keep reading, that’s only part of the promise.” So I read verse 12-14 and I had what I could only explain as a jaw-dropping moment. We all know Jeremiah 29:11 but how many of us know/remembers the second half of that promise.

Allow me to share:

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”

When I read this I heard Him say:

I have a plan for you, plans that will touch and enrich every area of your life. Whenever you call on Me and pray to Me, says the LORD, know that I’m listening to you. You have my ear and my full attention. One call from you and I’m right there.

How beautiful is that!

It would be a big deal to some if you were to have a direct line to the Governor, the President, a powerful King or Queen of a wealthy nation but you, child of God, you have the ear of the Creator of ALL. God the Father listens to you! He shows up just for you! That’s our hope and future.

The one who listens says; I don’t make a promise that I can’t keep. I will never leave you or forsake you; I will be with you wherever you go. I am with you in the valley, on the mountaintop and everywhere in between. I fight for you. You are my heir and every promise to you is a ‘yes’. My love for you is unwavering, unfailing and it never gives up.

Your future and hope is in Him that is able. The one who loved you so much that He died on the cross just for you. Got questions about your future, the things you wrestle with at night? Just ask; He’ll give you the answers you seek. Whether you’re a Gideon who needs a little more convincing or a Paul who’s ready to go as soon as the scales have been lifted from your eyes. God will meet you right where you are.

He who began the good work He started in you, He will see it to completion. That’s the plans, hope and future we have to look forward to.

 

 

God’s Divine Exchange

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I have an investment tip for you, one with no risk and huge rewards. Your investment can be as small as a mustard seed but I can assure you that your return will exceed your wildest expectation. Here’s my life investment tip, For God so loved the world {that’s you} that He {willingly} gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16 emphasis mine.

Belief, that’s your investment and God’s Divine Exchange, is your reward. Here’s a quick snapshot of our investors, aka the Believers, portfolio.

Your Sins and Iniquities = For Christ’s Righteousness

Death and Separation = Eternal Life

Ashes and Despair = Beauty and Joy

Your Sorrow and Pain = Jesus’ Peace That Surpasses Understanding

Your Poverty and Lack = God’s Riches and Grace

Your Brokenness = Jesus’ Health and Complete Wholeness

I’m one of these investors and I can testify that this life-changing investment worked for me. I was once lost in this world. A prisoner to my past, mistakes and pain, until I met my Investment Holder, Jesus Christ, the Son of the one and only God. He pulled me out of the miry pit and showed me a Love I didn’t deserve and didn’t think existed. Then I learned that Jesus loved me, even while I was still in sin and invested in me when He laid His life down on the cross. If I were an investor, I wouldn’t have invested in me but from the Father’s view I was worthy. So I sowed my mustard seed of faith believing Yes, Jesus loves me and by His grace I was saved and set free. By His stripes I am healed.

Today I serve as one of Jesus’ partners with an investment tip I hope to share with as many souls He drops into my path. My hope is to find other investors willing to take a leap of faith on God’s Divine Exchange. An investment that is open to all. No experience needed to invest the only requirements are belief and an open heart.


Who Does Jesus Say You Are?

The world is all about labeling you. In some instances you’re just a number or a category. Make a medical appointment and the first thing they ask you for is your date of birth. If you bank by phone they don’t ask for your name they ask you for the last four digits of your social security number. After a few minutes they say, “I found you. What can I do for you today?”

How about those forms where you’re forced to categorize yourself by age, sex, income and race. Then there’s that blank box that says “Other”, that barely gives you enough space to describe yourself. I’m often tempted to write, Wonder Woman. My kids would get a kick out of that. As a believer though, I’ve always wanted to write “Child of God.” I may do that next time. 🙂

The sad truth is we’re guilty of labeling ourselves. I’ve had complete strangers and acquaintances compliment me and even point out my strengths but whenever I look at myself all I could see are my flaws. My husband calls me beautiful and I launch into an argument to try to convince him otherwise. He often accuses me of not being able to take a compliment. Don’t tell him I said this, but he’s right.

One day, while I was verbally beating myself up, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “That’s not who you are.” I stopped and thought, What am I doing? This isn’t how the Father sees me.

If we could see ourselves through Heaven’s lens, imagine what we would see.

Who does Jesus say you are? Jesus says:

You are a Friend of God

A Co-heir with Christ

You’re the light of the world

The salt of the earth

Trees of Righteousness

The Apple of God’s eye

Heirs to the Promise

A Royal Priesthood

Valued by God

Jesus’ Brothers and Sisters

You are as Christ

Blessed

Saved

Redeemed

Forgiven

A Child of God

You are The One God so Loved

The One worth dying for and fighting for

Simply put, You are His!


 

Be That One

I think at some point we’ve all experienced the loss of a loved one. Every time I learn of the passing of someone I know, I replay my conversations with him or her. When it’s someone I loved deeply, I ask myself, when was the last time I said I love you? Did we leave things on a good note? Did they know God, if not did I share Christ with them?

A Greater tragedy has been on my heart lately… suicide. There was a suicide story that made national news that really grabbed me. A teenage girl hung herself. I did an Internet search for her and what I saw broke my heart. There were touching tribute pages to her but what really startled me was the hours of video footage she posted of her crying out for help. How is it that our kids are more willing to bare their souls on the Internet yet unwilling to trust the contents of their heart with the adults in their lives?

A greater burden for me as a believer is this, where were the believers in her life? Was there not one friend, teacher, counselor, coach, neighbor, youth leader, was there not one in her life that knew the Lord. To let her know that she is loved and valued by A Savior whose love is unfailing, unwavering and endures. Was there not one praying for her?

No child or adult should have to end their life or suppress their pain through drugs, sex and alcohol in search of peace. Especially when peace can be found in abundant supply through Christ our Savior. He suffered and died so that we don’t have to. The bible says, “a body I require.” I know God was calling forth Christ to be the sacrificial lamb when He said this but I believe this call is also for the sons and daughters of God.

I think God is calling His children out of our comfort zones and into ministry and Christ has shown us through His own earthly ministry that ministry is not limited to a church building. It can happen anywhere. Jesus ministered by the lakeside, near a well, at the dinner table, on a mountain climb, wherever He went, He brought life and truth. This whole world is a pulpit and there are billions of people crying out for a Savior.  If one man’s prayer can cause a national drought, (See Elijah’s story) imagine what one seed of hope planted for Christ can do when you decide to be that One. Your prayer can save a life.

We  have access to the Father of Hope. Prayer, Testimonies, Sharing Christ written or verbal. These are our weapons. These are the tools we’ve been equipped with to save a life for Christ. Now is not the time to sit and wait for Christ return, now is the time to make sure when He does return we’ve got a whole lot of invites ready to come with us. Are you willing to be that One?

Jesus Is Love

GodisLoveA few years back, I shared with you a revelation God had given me about Love as it’s defined in 1 Corinthians 13 in the NIV. I remember the first time I read it as a new believer, love is patient, love is kind…” After the first few lines I thought, I’m toast! I can’t do all of this, not even on my best days. Then one day God shed His light on the subject. He shared that love is not a thing, Love is a person. God identifies Himself as love and His love was made perfect through Jesus. God challenged me to see His Son in these scriptures, so I did, I let Jesus’ name take the place of Love and what followed was one of those revelations that changed my life and view of love forever. I want to share this picture of Christ with you through the amplified version. I hope you’re blessed by it.

1 Corinthians 13:2-8; 13 AMP Substituting love” for “Jesus”. Please note the changes are mine. Enjoy this portrait of Love.

  If I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but I don’t have Jesus [to reach out to others], I am nothing.  If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but I don’t have Jesus, it does me no good at all.

Jesus endures with patience and serenity, He is kind and thoughtful, He’s not jealous or envious; He does not brag and He’s not proud or arrogant. Jesus is not rude; He’s not self-seeking, He’s not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; He doesn’t take into account a wrong endured.  Jesus doesn’t rejoice at injustice, He rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Jesus bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], He endures all things [without weakening].

Jesus never fails [it never fades nor ends for Him]. But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away.

And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation] and Jesus [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is Love Himself, Jesus Christ.

-Amen. 🙂

Click here to read the original post, Love By Its True Name

 

Falling in Love with Jesus: Renaldo’s Love Story

Wow, when did I fall in love with Jesus Christ! You know I could tell you how I met Christ and I could tell you how dishonest I was before Christ but what you really asked me was when did I fall in love with Him. Jesus came to me in a time when I personally needed a Savior. When I needed someone to believe in me and comfort me. Someone to really assure me that they will always be there for me, and this was the beginning of our Love Story.

I was spending more time in His word and in prayer. Jesus began to reveal the deep things of Himself in the Bible to me. I got to know His character and hear His voice and I grew in Him. I would ask Him for simple things and it would come to me in amazing ways as if He was letting me know it was from Him. Then that day came when the voice I came to trust, the voice I was comfortable with asked me for the one thing I feared the most. I knew it was Him asking, not just because I knew His voice but because only He would know that I wasn’t giving Him all of me. He asked me about something that nobody knew, not my parents, not even my wife. This is what He asked me, “ I want you to love from your heart.”

That may not seem like much to many of you reading this but to me it was the most horrifying thing you could ask of me and Jesus knew it! Let me share something about myself with you. I was a thirty-something year old man, strong, prosperous and confident on the outside but Jesus saw what was broken on the inside. What He saw was a little kid bound by fear. I was a kid who was hurt by the people who were supposed to love me, people I should have been able to be vulnerable with. I’m not talking about physical abuse; this was a verbal abuse that left emotional scars that crushed a little boy’s heart. Jesus saw a kid who placed his heart out there and felt what the world would do to it and swore that he will never experience that pain again. Jesus saw a kid that detached himself from his heart and lived externally. It was as if I placed my heart in a safe and threw away the key.

Jesus knew that the relationships around me were suffering because of it. My relationship with my wife, my kids and others suffered. I want to tell you this about Jesus; He is going to take you into the darkest places inside of you because first, He has to clean the inside of the bowl. So when Jesus asked me to love from my heart, oh yeah, we argued and it sounded like this, “ You can’t ask me to do that, You know this world better than me, they’re going to hurt me Jesus! People are cruel, selfish, vicious and downright mean!” Those were my words to Him.

In the softest most encouraging voice He said to me, “I’m not asking you to trust them, I’m asking you to trust Me.” The voice I’ve come to trust was preparing me to walk down a very dark road. I would still fight back, my reply was, “Lord, I need you to be who you say you are.” And He said, “I Am.” What happened next is when I fell in love with Jesus Christ. He walked me down that dark road. We came upon a tomb made out of bricks. Together we removed the bricks one by one. He would pass each brick to me and I would lay it down. An opening soon appeared, His presence lit up the tomb and there sat a little boy balled up in a corner, rocking back and forth, bound by fear. I watched as Jesus reached in and took the boy by his hand and raised him up. That little boy then leaped into me and an overwhelming sense of peace and joy came over me. I knew that I could love again and that’s when I fell in love with Jesus. I now Love because He first Loved me. Hallelujah!

No More Resolutions part deux

post-itA few years ago I told myself, “no more resolutions!” With every New Year I vowed to do more of this and less of that. You know the list. You start off really strong, by February the momentum tapers off, but its okay, you’ll make it back up next month. March arrives and your resolution is non- existent. You do the walk of resolution shame around your house as you take down all of those colorful post-it notes and pics you stuck up to keep you motivated.

So Instead of resolving to make changes in myself, I asked God to give me a revelation instead. Reveal to me Your will and heart. Teach me more about You Father. Guess what, I saw change, real change in me.

It began with me seeing Christ in the scriptures. I’m not talking about the books where He’s visible or the prophecies that announced Him. I’m not talking about the places where He’s hidden in Symbols, Snapshots and Shadows. I saw Him as Noah’s Ark, an Ark that invited me in and kept me hidden in Him in the midst of the storm.

I saw Jesus in the life of Joseph. Deeply loved by His Father, given a robe that set Him apart, betrayed by His brothers. Falsely accused and imprisoned and then promoted to the right hand of power where He was able to offer salvation to His family and the nations around Him.

I saw Him in Samson who stretched His arms wide in the midst of the enemy and accomplished more in His death than He did in His life. Then I began to see Him in my life. I had favor in areas where I shouldn’t have, confirmations in unlikely places. God would move in my forgotten prayers and unspoken prayers. Whenever I cried and said, Father help me, He’d show up in magnificent and extraordinary ways. He always went above and beyond my prayers.

The more I saw Jesus unveiled in people, symbols and shadows throughout the bible,  the more I saw the extent of His Love and the great lengths He went through just to save me. For God so loved me He gave His only beloved Son. God did all of this just for me. Seeing His Love in action transformed my heart and mind. I found myself in Him. Not broken and defeated but a conqueror made whole. Through this unveiling God taught me what it means to be an image bearer of Christ because that is who we are. The word says as Christ is so are we on this earth therefore if the Spirit of God was upon Him to proclaim liberty and set the captive free then that same Spirit is upon us and we’re called to do the very same thing.

We can take up His cross  and adopt His life because we know the end; we’ve seen the victory.This is how I view it, if trials are my prison, then I know the palace is my outcome. If death can produce more than life, then I can die to myself daily. I can put whatever is going on with me aside for a moment to tell that one God placed before me all about my Jesus and save a life. I’m in the ark of Christ, I’m safe, sound and heaven bound, even on those days  I’m not feeling it. No matter what comes our way, all things will work out for our good. We will be victorious like Christ because we are seated with Him and He sits victoriously on the right hand of the Father.

No more resolutions, let Christ be the change, let Him be revealed in you. Let your life be a snapshot of Him. With this knowledge comes a lasting transformation and a confidence about who you are and where you’re headed. Old to New. Pit to Palace. Death to Life Lived More Abundantly.

Happy New Year God’s Beloved!


 

Confidence in Christ

The Holy Spirit enlightened me recently in such a way that it’s giving me hope during one of the darkest hours of my life. You may know the story well but I want to encourage you to take a moment to hear what Christ is saying to you today.

In the book of Mark Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” So they boarded the vessel with Jesus. Some time later a vicious storm broke out over the boat. Imagine the disciples fright as the wind and waves violently tossed them about. The boat swamped with water. The thunder claps, the lightning strikes, skies so dark and cloudy you could barely see what’s in front of you.

There in the midst of it all laid Jesus, fast asleep on a cushion at the rear of the boat. They must have wondered how can anyone sleep through all of this? Fearing for their lives the disciples woke Him and said, “Teacher don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus got up and stilled the storm. Then He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (See full story Mark 4:35-41)

In all of my studies of this story the focus has always been on Jesus quieting the storm but that’s not the significant part of this story. In my recent study I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Did He not say they were going to the other side?”

Getting Through the Storm

The book of Hebrews defines faith as, “Confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV.

Jesus breaks this down even further for us. He says Have faith in God; our faith in Him can move a mountain. Note that Jesus is calling us not to have faith in ourselves but Confidence in Him who can do all things. It’s Him not you moving the mountain.

Faith is Confidence in Jesus Christ being who He says He is. Confidence in Him being the Alpha and Omega of your life. That nothing in this life is beyond His knowledge, ability and reach. Confidence in Him being the promise keeper. That every word He uttered to you will be fulfilled. That He does have a plan for you one that will take you to great heights and depths in Him. A life filled with meaning and purpose. That He heard every prayer and every cry and because you are His, ALL THINGS will work out for your good. Including the things that don’t make sense to you.

Confidence in His willingness to heal you and your loved ones, grant you your heart’s desire and set you free from the things that have kept you bound. That He will protect and defend you. Still the storm, tear down walls and break chains on your behalf. Confidence in His unfailing, unconditional and unshakeable love for you. A Love that cannot lie. A love so perfect and pure that He laid His life down and shed His blood so that you may live this life and the next victorious.

I believe the Father wants to take us to a place in Him where our confidence in His love for us is so great that when trouble arises, we don’t respond in fear and doubt but in Faith. A centurion type of faith that says, Jesus, just say the word and I know it will be done!

A faith that doesn’t wake Him in the midst of a storm but grabs a pillow and rest with Him. A confidence in Christ that is not shaken when things are falling apart or moved by the fire blazing around. A faith that holds on to Him who is with you and for you and can see you through the storm. You hold on because you trust what His word says about you. Your boat may rock, it may sustain some damage but you know that He who promised is faithful and You Will make it to the other side!

Follow the Promise


What promises did He make to you? I encourage you not to give up on His promise; don’t give in to the doubt. He is faithful, willing and His word is tested and true. Jesus cannot fail you. It may feel like you’re all alone but you’re not – Christ is with you. The gifts and call of God are irrevocable. Things may look dark for you right now. It may seem like you’re not going to make it, but Jesus Christ, God’s Love made perfect, says You Are going to the other side! 🙂


-Amen