Monday, January 28, 2013

Truth or Lie #3: I Am Complete in Christ and Accepted



Truth:    I am complete in Christ and accepted.

Lie:         I will never be complete until I have _______________.
                To be accepted by God, I must prove I am worthy.

The world around us has a sad and destructive way of defining worth.

It says if you have a certain status, a certain career, more money in the bank than you know what to do with, and more Facebook friends than a small country . . . you’re somebody. If you can look in the mirror, and say “I like what I see,” then those around you will say the same thing.

I am a real person; I have only arrived if I have what everyone else thinks I should have – the looks, prestige, relationships.

                If I have what the world around me says I should have, I am complete.

We, as Christians, often carry these lies into our relationship with God. If I prove to God I’m somebody of worth, I will be accepted by Him. If I read so many chapters in the Bible a day; if I pray for others; reach out to the lost; avoid sin – only then will God accept me.

If I prove to God I’m worthy, I will be accepted.

The truth is . . .
If we had to use things and relationships and self-esteem to complete what God began when He brought us into this world as tiny, helpless babies, none of us would be whole.

If we had to prove our worth, none of us would be accepted by a holy God.

The truth is . . . You and I are only complete when we find our worth and acceptance in Christ.


Someone once said, “The ground is level at the Cross.”

Christ saved Lydia, a prestigious, successful business woman.
He saved an adulterous woman thrown at His feet in shame.

Christ saved Paul, a well-known Pharisee, a zealous rule-keeper.
He saved a criminal in agony who was breathing his last breath.

Christ loved those accepted by society.
                He also loved the outcasts.

We are accepted by God and complete, not by our works or worth, but because of His love alone.
Because of the Cross.

The rejected and all that is broken in our world, He heals and makes whole through Himself.
               
We are “complete in him” (Col. 2:10) . . . ALONE.

We are “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6) . . . THE ONLY PLACE THAT COUNTS.

When the world speaks lies about your worth, turn to the place of full acceptance and rest content in the completeness found in Christ alone.


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This is Part 3 in a series, called “Truth or Lie,” based on the book, Lies Women Believe: and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

In the final chapter, Nancy highlights 22 freeing truths that are essential to our Christian lives.

Come back each Monday (or subscribe to this blog) as we look together at these 22 truths one-by-one. 

(Feel free to share your own thoughts below! 
If you receive this post by email, please do not reply to the email, as it ends up in never-never-land. If you'd like to comment, please go directly to Capacity Corner and leave a comment there. I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Truth or Lie #2: God Loves Me



Truth:    God loves me.

Lie:         God won’t love me unless I’m perfect.
                When life is free from trials, only then can I be sure God loves me.

 “One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe God loves you
as much as He says He does.” ~ Paul Washer (in a sermon entitled, Prayer as Communion)

I would imagine, if given a written statement that read: “I know God loves me,” most of us would sign our name to it without hesitation.

What if it read: “I believe God loves me as much as He says He does”?



This is how much He says He loves us:
·         He has loved us longer than we’ve been loved by anyone else.
Jesus prayed, “Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me . . . before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:23,24)

·         He loved us when we wanted nothing to do with Him.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son . . . while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (1 John 4:10; Romans 5:8)

·         His love is so unconditional, a holy God placed our sin against Him on His Son, and He laid down His life in our place.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son . . . Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 3:16; 15:13)

·         His love won’t ever change its mind. Nothing we do or anything we go through will cause Him to stop loving us.
“I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Romans 8:38,39)

We may not be able to comprehend this kind of love.

We may not understand how a God as great as He is could love us this much.

But it’s a lie to believe anything else.

The truth is . . .
God is love.
It’s His nature to love, even when nothing about us is loveable.
His love isn’t based on anything we do.
His love has lasted longer than time.
And His love will never stop.

One of the greatest acts of faith is to believe God loves us this much.

To believe it is eternal life.

God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoseoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


For further study on God’s love:  Isaiah 43:4; Zephaniah 3:17; John 15:9, 16:27; Ephesians 2:4-7, 3:17-19, 5:25-27; 1 John 3:1, 4:9, 16

Related Posts:  
The Bible Tells Me So 
His 
Valuable Substance 
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This is Part 2 in a series, called “Truth or Lie,” based on the book, Lies Women Believe: and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

In the final chapter, Nancy highlights 22 freeing truths that are essential to our Christian lives.

Come back each Monday (or subscribe to this blog) as we look together at these 22 truths one-by-one. 

(And feel free to share your own thoughts below!)

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

His Cross Had No Cushions


What did the Cross of Christ feel like?

The Bible simply says, “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree.” (2 Peter 2:24)

Has anyone adequately described the agony that meant?

Amy Carmichael attempted and said simply, “There were no cushions.”

What does our “cross” feel like?

We talk about “taking it up.” But, in reality, we would rather lay it down.

Either that, or we ask for a cushion.

                Christ bore the greatest agony for you and for me on the Cross.

                And we ask for a cushion.

What if our prayers were that of Nehemiah’s?

Faced with the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s “cross” was far from comfortable. He was falsely accused, constantly opposed, tempted to fear, and even to flee.

But Nehemiah never asked for a cushion.

Not once did he ask for a way out, a change in his circumstances, or relief from the trial.

Instead, he prayed, “O God, strengthen my hands.” (Nehemiah 6:9)

                He never asked for comfort.
               
    He asked for strength.

Christ bore the agony of His cross, and sins were atoned.

Nehemiah asked for strength, and the walls were finished.

What if we asked for strength?
               
                And left the cushion up to Him.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Truth or Lie #1: God is Good


Truth:    God is good.

Lie:         God is good to me only when I deserve His goodness.
    His goodness has its limits.

My grandmother will be ninety next week and struggles with Alzheimer’s disease.

In the days following my grandfather’s death, my grandmother would often ask, “Where’s my husband?” 

We’d tell her again: “He’s in heaven with the Lord.”

The tears would well up, but each time, she'd respond, “The Lord is still good.”

I feel honored to own one of her Bibles.  Handwritten on the front inside page are these words: “God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.”

My Grandmother in her 20's

 Sometimes it seems God’s goodness has its limits.

Is He good when I fail Him?
Will He shower His goodness on me, even though I don’t deserve it?
Is He good when life answers the opposite?
When we lose a loved one, ache from broken relationships, watch dreams shatter, and wonder “why?” is God still good?

The truth is . . .
·         Goodness follows us every day of our lives. (Psalm 23:6)
Like a shadow, some days His goodness is invisible. On sunny days, you can’t miss it. But His goodness is always there.

Following behind.

·         “Great” goodness is stored up for us. (Psalm 31:19)
Some of His goodness is on reserve. One day, we’ll enjoy it forever. For now, we trust that it’s there.

Waiting ahead.

·         2013 has been crowned with His goodness. (Psalm 65:11)
That word is literally, “encircle.” When God allows His sun to shine on the good and the evil, He is crowning us with goodness. When the rain falls, He is being good to all. He “crowns” the year with His goodness.

Encircling around.

The truth is . . . we’re hemmed in on every side by His goodness.
All of us.
All the time.

In God’s covenant to Israel for the coming days, He said He rejoices in doing good to His people, with His whole heart and with His whole soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)

God is good with all that is in Him.

Sin entered the world, because we didn’t believe that.

The truth is . . . whether we understand it or not, each one of us is hemmed in on every side by God’s goodness, lavished on us with all of His being.

If I'm ever ninety and don't remember anything else, I pray I will remember one thing:

God is good.


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A friend and I just finished reading Lies Women Believe: and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

In the final chapter, Nancy highlights 22 truths she feels are essential to not only learn, but meditate on, incorporate into our lives, and have constantly ready to combat the corresponding lies that bombard our minds.

Jesus said in John 8:32: “The truth shall make you free.”

Come back each Monday (or subscribe to this blog) as we look together at these 22 truths one-by-one. 

(And feel free to share your own thoughts below!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How to Have Peace in 2013


Since the beginning, our world has been in chaos – at enmity with God and with each other.

We hear of wars and rumors of wars.

We hear about world peace.

We pray for peace in 2013.

The world gives us solutions:
    Turn off your electronic devices for a couple of days.
                Keep a journal.
                Get in touch with nature.

But will these give lasting peace?

Are these enough for the unknown, the untried, and all that’s to come in the year ahead?

The Word of God – living and powerful – gives us 2 effective ways to have peace:
·         Keep a big view of God.

He’s bigger than your problems. He’s able. His arm is not too short. He cares about you and your needs. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows what 2013 holds. And He holds you even tighter.

Keep a big view of God.

And He promises to keep you in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3)

·         Cast your burdens on the Lord.

We weren’t made to carry burdens. They rob our strength. They rob our peace and joy. They aren't made to be carried. They are given to us, only to be cast on Him.

Cast your burdens on the Lord . . . and leave them there.

He promises to give peace in exchange – peace that passes all understanding. (Philippians 4:6,7)

How do we find peace in 2013?

Real, lasting peace is found only in the God of Peace.


Click to listen to the lesson on Jehovah-Shalom.