Beloved, the more we dwell in the heavenly realm (after all, this is our life now, as children of God), the more grateful we become--very grateful! Thankfulness is a sure sign of growing in God's grace. Our focus has to be on Our Father and His kingdom. Our goal is to get to know Him and to comprehend His love for us. It is in beholding God--our Father, and seeing everything from His perspective that His ways become our ways, His thoughts our thoughts, and His desires our desires. Thankfulness is a by-product of who we are in Jesus Christ. Gratitude overflows. It replaces the complaining, grumbling, and asking "Why? Why? Why?"
Our eyes have to be on Jesus. We should be focused on heavenly goals and rewards, not the earthly rewards. The earthly is only temporal, and is passing away. We have to keep that in mind. We have a big God, and nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for Him. He can change any circumstance in our lives. But above all, He wants to change us. He is making us over in the image of Jesus, and that is more important than changing our temporal circumstance.
In Christ Jesus we are forgiven. God loves us, and He accepted us. We are His treasured ones. How can we be anything but thankful believing it.
True freedom can be found only in Jesus Christ.
What are we free from in Christ Jesus? Good question! The Jews asked the same question, when told by Jesus that the truth will set them free. Their response was that they had never been enslaved to anyone. Jesus explained that everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Sin is what separated people from God, what kept them under the wrath, "for wages of sin is death." The Cross and the Resurrection freed us from sin, from the law of sin and of death.
The sin issue was dealt with on the cross when a righteous and just God condemned disobedience and executed the penalty for sin--death. Jesus died in our place to pay for our sins. He was the perfect and acceptable substitute.
If you are a child of God, you are a new creation. God loves you. You are completely forgiven. You are free! Know it. Rest in it. No guilt, no condemnation--ever. Beloved, ponder these truths. What do they mean? Let the Holy Spirit teach you, for He will guide you into all truth.
Satan's plan from the beginning has been to control and destroy people--God's object of love. We are such easy prey! Satan doesn't know everything God knows. However, he has been around for a long time, so I am sure he knows all there is to know about us and our sinful nature. Ever since Satan deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he has continued with his army of fallen angels--now demons--to wreck havoc in our lives.
We, the believers, have to fully realize the truth that in our lives Satan is already defeated. He was cast out. He was judged, and his work destroyed. Jesus accomplished all this on the cross and through His resurrection. This victory applies to us through our faith in Jesus.
When we obey God and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, Satan looses authority over us. Actually, now the believer has an authority over him.
As we repent of our sin--unbelief in Jesus--and become believers, we pass from darkness to light, from death to life, and from the dominion of Satan to the kingdom of God. When we turn to Jesus, Satan's power over us is completely broken. We must believe it and act upon it!
Satan knows he lost us forever, but he will do whatever it takes to paralyze us. He will lie, he will discourage, he will tempt, he will question our identity, and he will put doubts in our mind through his false prophets and their erroneous teachings. He will try to discredit the Word of God. He will confuse us. He will keep us busy on the surface so we will not discover the treasure we have within us--but only if we let him! Otherwise, he is powerless. We have to see him as such.
The word "baptize" means to be "immersed in," or "totally identified with" someone or something.
At the time we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, spiritual baptism occurred. We were totally identified with Jesus Christ in His death, His burial and His resurrection.
We were placed into the body of Christ--the Church. We, the believers are the body of Christ now. We were baptized by Jesus with the Holy Spirit. Without this spiritual baptism--the born again experience--no one will enter the kingdom of God.
Water baptism is a picture of the spiritual baptism that saves. Just as the water cleanses in the physical realm, the blood of Jesus cleanses in the spiritual realm. A person who receives Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior goes to the depths of death. The blood of Jesus washes him--he receives the forgiveness of sins, and comes out born again--born of the Spirit, born from above, born of God. He is resurrected to a brand new life--life in Christ Jesus. One has to be totally immersed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to enter the kingdom of God.
Before receiving Jesus, we were sinners--lost, separated from God, in darkness, and in the dominion of Satan. However, all that changed when Jesus came to live in us through the Holy Spirit. Now we are called "saints."
We are saints not because of what we do; we are saints because of who we are.
And it is who we are that determines what we do!
Beloved, we must believe it and act upon it! As a man thinks, so he is. If you think of yourself as a sinner, then sinning will be the most natural thing to do . Right? Rather, think of yourself as who you really are--a saint, then sinning will become the furthest thing from your mind.
Begin each day seeing yourself as God sees you, and keep that thought as you go through your day. In Christ Jesus you have been made complete, holy, and blameless, and you are being transformed into the same image of the Lord. Look at yourself through God's eyes. He is looking at your heart, and when He sees Jesus, He is pleased with you. He loves you. You are His treasured one. He accepted you in His beloved Son, and He has forgiven you all your sins! His love and grace will become your motivation for godly living. Next time a temptation comes your way, remember who you are--a saint.
Pride Is in Enmity with Humility
Pride detests humility; it sees it as a weakness. Pride is enraged by humility. Pride will staunch our faith, even if we are believers; it will cause us to stumble. Pride may shut the door of one's heart to the humble Christ--it may keep one from receiving Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior. Jesus is gentle and humble in heart (Matthew 11:29). God's grace is an affront to pride, and an insult. Pride does not want to accept that Jesus and His accomplished work on the cross and His resurrection is sufficient for our salvation. Pride doesn't want to accept that Jesus has done it all. Pride doesn't want to accept that God's forgiveness is complete, that all that is required of us is to believe and put faith in what was done on our behalf, and by faith receive the life of Christ, which He is offering to all as a gift (Romans 6:23).
Pride is of this world; it is natural, fleshly, earthly, and thus demonic. Beloved, we must let God's love replace our pride. The results will be amazing!
I praise God for His great love that He so lavished upon us in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
God predestined--He decreed before the foundation of the world--that in Jesus Christ we should be holy and blameless in His eyes, and that He will call us His sons and daughters. God has chosen that through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in Jesus Christ, we receive salvation. He has also chosen that the believers will be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
In the book of Ephesians we read about predestination and election. The apostle Paul writes about the mystery of Christ which, as he explained, is "the truth that Gentiles as well as the Jews are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Jesus Christ through the gospel (Ephesians 3:6)." God made the two into one new man (Ephesians 2:15).
Predestination--God's plan of salvation for all
DO YOU HAVE THE LIFE OF CHRIST?
If not, we implore you to ask Jesus into your heart and to become your Lord and Savior now.