Is Your Marriage In The Master’s Hands?
People spend a lot of time, energy and money GETTING married, but they don’t spend a lot of time and energy STAYING married. People usually look at the divorce rate as an indicator to how marriages are doing in society. The fact is there are plenty of couples who have physically and emotionally divorced their spouses, but they remain legally married for different reasons.
The adversary has injected unforgiveness, lust, selfishness, envy and greed into the hearts of men and women, non-Christian and Christian alike. Satan has successfully destroyed countless marriages. Remember when Jesus addressed divorce to the Pharisees. He said, "This is not how it was in the beginning, it was because of the hardening of your heart (Matthew 19:8).”
So divorce became a condition of humanity by the hardening of people’s hearts. This happens when we reject God’s word and ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompting on how to BE and STAY happily married. If your marriage was like a small sail boat, then God is like the wind (the force) that pushes it along. The wind takes the sailboat different places and God will take your marriage from where it began to where it needs to go. Without wind the sail boat would have no direction, purpose or destiny. When couples harden their hearts to the Spirit of God, it’s like being on an ocean during a fierce storm, they’re tossed about and threatened to capsize.
Don’t sever your marriage from your creator.
Your marriage is like a rope braided with three cords.
This includes YOU, your SPOUSE and the LORD.
A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
Many couples try to fulfill their marriage dreams through their own strength, power, will and love. God is not at the center of their marriage. He seemed to be at the beginning; after all, most people get married in a church, by a priest or pastor, they made a commitment (a covenant) and vows before God and witnesses. But God wants to be involved in your marriage everyday, not just on the day of your wedding.
Take marriage out of the foundation of the home and our churches and communities will soon crumble. The home will no longer be a refuge from the world, but a place of strife and unrest. This occurs when the husband and the wife are divided in their spirit and in their purpose. With broken, disillusioned church members, the church will not be able to function the way God wants it to. The gifts of the Spirit will not be poured out and active in the church and its members will soon surrender to mediocrity. Can God’s church be rendered useless with no power? No, it cannot! Remember the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church of God (Matthew 16:18). The church is not a building with a church sign out front, the church is a body of believers. Believers are Christians who:
• Stand on the promises of God's word. They believe, memories and speak God's word. They are not deterred by their circumstances. They are not doubters and are not deterred by what they see and hear. They are hopeful and persistent in their faith and in what God wants to accomplish in their lives.
• They're prayer warriors. They know the voice of God when he speaks to them. They spend time in their prayer closet with God and they are completely confident that God hears them and he knows what’s best for them.
• The praises of God are continually on their lips. They know praise is a spiritual weapon and a supernatural shield. Through praise they overcome and defeat the enemy. They know they were created to praise the Lord.
This is the kind of believers and the kind of church that the gates of Hell will not prevail against. These types of believers have THE POWER OF GOD working on the inside of them. They have spiritual authority over the enemy and they’re not afraid to use it. In fact, they’re ready, willing and excited to use it. They have wisdom and revelation from God regarding his mysteries that he shows them. The Holy Spirit has completely engaged their soul to accomplish God’s supernatural objectives. These are the people that call down the power of Heaven into their lives and into their marriages.
Jesus is in the soul repairing business and a marriage consists of two souls that need restoring. Jesus Christ wants to pick up all the shattered pieces of your marriage and create something whole out of it. If you will cry out to him together as husband and wife, he will not only put it back together, but he'll make it stronger than it ever was before. The bible says, “That the two will become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31).” He will give two individual people one united spirit with common desires.
IN THE MASTER’S HANDS
There was a table in the center of the dark cold room.
My spouse and I walked up to the table and saw a
tall glass vase with a candle at the bottom of it.
We both reached down into the opening of the vase
and as we touched the candle, a flame jumped to life.
The entire room was filled with a brilliant light.
After a while a dark shadowy figure came into the room.
He walked around us and then over to the table.
He came very close to the glass vase almost knocking it over.
We cringed as he nearly brushed up against it a second time.
I wanted to run over to the vase and grab it
and protect it from this sinister being.
He started to walk away from the table.
Then he swung his arm back and knocked the vase into the wall.
It shattered into hundreds of pieces.
He left us there in the dark, cold room.
This symbol of our marriage and lives together had been shattered.
With down cast faces we separately left the room.
Why did this have to happen?
I could feel a cold chill flow into my heart.
My love and joy was leaving my spirit.
I wandered around in a dark fog for a long time.
I cried out to God, “I want to love again with passion!
I want a warm heart of flesh that cares and forgives!”
I went back to the room and looked through the door.
A light was coming from the center of the room. IT WAS JESUS!
He had picked up all the pieces that the enemy had shattered.
As he placed each piece back together,
it seemed to glue itself in place.
Jesus looked at me, smiled and said,
“I HEARD YOUR PRAYER AND
I AM THE RESTORER OF YOUR SOUL.”
I came back the next day and peeked into the room.
Jesus’ hands flowed over the vase and a brilliant
fire made the vase glow red hot. Jesus
was not only repairing the glass but he was
tempering it to make it stronger than it was before.
Jesus looked at me and said,
“SEE, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.
YOUR MARRIAGE IS IN MY HANDS NOW!”
At that moment, I felt something leap within my soul.
I left the room thanking and praising God.
The next day I could hardly wait to get there.
I peeked through the door and saw a beautiful sight.
Half of the vase was now tinted with an array of colors.
As Jesus touched the small pieces of newly repaired
glass they changed to a unique color.
Jesus said, “I’m almost done, GO GET THE ONE YOU LOVE.”
I found MY LOVE slumped down in the shadows of life.
I extended my hand out and said,
“Let’s see what can become of our marriage
IN THE MASTER’S HANDS.”
We went back to the room, but Jesus was not there.
The room was very dark again.
I could see an outline of the table and there was the vase.
We walked up to it and then we reached down into the vase together.
When we touched the candle the flame came to life again!
The light got brighter than ever.
The vase was stunning and the colored glass was incredible!
It was even more beautiful than before.
We looked around the room
and the colored lights danced everywhere.
Jesus made something whole out of our broken mess.
In the HANDS of the MASTER our marriage
was a brilliant shimmering rainbow of light,
FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE.
IN THE MASTER’S HANDS was written by Eric Johnson
(See the BOOKMARKER page at the end of this book for additional ministry resources.)
God’s perfect design of marriage is a man and a woman coming together as one flesh. They share their thoughts, ideas, dreams and love. Two separate individuals coming together and uniting with one purpose and mission. That’s why marriages don’t work when people are selfish and self-centered. In a spouse-centered marriage, your thoughts are on your spouse and their needs. If you married someone for what they can do for you, then you got married for the wrong reason. Most people just don’t have the commitment to BE married and to STAY married. Most people don’t understand the amount of love, attention and commitment a marriage requires to thrive.
Jesus came to be a sacrifice. He said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). Love is demonstrated by sacrificing something. If you’re not giving up something, then you’re not sacrificing anything and you’re not loving the way God wants you to. You may have to sacrifice some of your time, energy or money to express love to your spouse. You may have to sacrifice your Saturday afternoon college football time to go on a walk with your spouse. Is your spouse a distraction for you or an attraction to you? Most of the time, expressing love to your spouse will not be so much about what you’re willing to DO, but more about what you’re willing to GIVE UP. You’re going to have to sacrifice (give up) something from yourself, something that’s valuable to you.
Divorce isn’t killing marriages, its lack of forgiveness that’s killing marriages. Selfishness is squeezing the life out of marriages. Spouses are hateful, angry and frustrated because they can’t control the other spouse. The “I LOVE CHOCOLATE CAKE” kind of love, will not sustain your marriage. It takes something much deeper than that. It takes a love that looks out for the welfare of others rather than yourself. Most marriages today have reached a point where they simply tolerate each other. Worldly love does not produce thriving marriages. Most couples don’t have a clue as to the type of love it’s going to take for their marriage to heal, grow, thrive and prosper.
Marriages in today’s society are considered lucky just to be able to exist together. Many married couples live in the same house together, but that’s it. They don’t share anything else together, they live completely separate lives. Living happily ever-after is a story book fantasy. Spouses don’t possess the love that is necessary to serve their spouse. The bible says that a man and his wife need to become ONE FLESH. That means two individual people had to die so they could now live for each other. This is accomplished by serving each other, nurturing each other, loving each other and being patient with each other. Couples need to be SPOUSE-centered rather than SELF-centered. They need to be OTHERS-centered rather than ME-centered. This is the kind of love the Apostle Paul talks about in I Corinthians 13.
When you love your spouse, you enjoy learning about them and responding to their needs. Spouses need to develop
the commitment and patience necessary to learn all
the intricate details of each other.
I framed a picture of a rose for my wife with these words written down the edge of one side of the flower.
Here is a rose for you dear. It's drawn with a crayon.
It may not look like much. But follow me into my heart and
hold my hand as we walk through a bright forest.
At the end of the forest is a valley filled with
millions of roses rolling through the countryside as far as you can see.
This describes my love for you and what is in my heart.
I wish I could fill our home with them.
But here is a picture of one of the millions of roses
picked from the valley of my heart.
THE ROSE was written by Eric Johnson
(See the BOOKMARKER page at the end of this book for additional ministry resources.)
I asked my wife for permission to make THE ROSE into a bookmarker so other spouses could convey to their loved ones how much they love them.
With all the busyness and distractions of this life, we all fall short of the mark when it comes to conveying to our spouses how much we truly love them. Folks we need to shower our spouses with the love that God has placed in our heart. Do things specifically for them simply because they’re special to you. Let them know you’re thinking about them and they are continually on your mind. Tell them and show them you love them everyday. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let them know they’re loved, but you do need to be passionate about what you’re doing. A simple love note for your spouse, purposely placed so they will find it later, is a fantastic reminder of how much you love them.
STORY – Loving Your Spouse…God’s Way
One time I used a lawn mower to tell my wife I love her. In the back yard I mowed a big “I” with a picture of a big heart next to it and then I mowed a “U” next to that. I told my wife to come and see what a great job I did mowing the lawn. When she saw the tall grass she was confused. She said, “This looks awful!” I told her to, “READ WHAT IT SAYS.” Then she got the message. She was so excited that I wrote her a love letter at such a grand scale. It’s been over twenty years since that day and she still tells people that her husband mowed a big I LOVE YOU in the lawn for her. The love of God flowing out of your spirit will show you how to be creative in loving your spouse.
Husbands continually give special honor to your wives. Treasure her, study her and understand her as you live together. She may be weaker than you are physically, but a woman is just as strong as a man in her spirit and in the spiritual realm. She is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. If you don't treat her as you should your prayers will not be heard. I Peter 3:7
Ok spouses, there it is right there in black and white. If you feel distance from God or feel like he doesn’t answer your prayers, you might want to reread I Peter 3:7. Especially that last line.
God designed the marriage between a man and his wife to replicate the reflection of love between Christ and his bride (the church). One time in the bible, when Jesus was talking to a crowd of people he said, “You adulteress generation!” Why did he say that? Had everyone under the sound of his voice committed adultery? No, but they didn’t love the things of God any more, they gave their heart to another. Their heart chased after the world and not the face of God and his truth. They seemed to honor God with their lips (in their words) but their hearts (their passion) was far from him. Matthew 15:8
Wherever your treasure is…there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21
God wants to make something WHOLE out of your broken mess. If you'll just agree together and give God a chance he’ll transform your marriage into something it could have never been under your own power and will.
Just as God has a purpose and destiny for his church,
he also has a purpose and destiny for your marriage.
That purpose will fuse two separate individuals together to become one in spirit. We can either hinder or help the flow of God, it’s that simple. The choice is ours. Let Jesus transform your marriage into a brilliant shimmering rainbow of light for everyone to see.
One snowy afternoon, my daughter
and I were doing a craft that involved
cutting, gluing and drawing.
My daughter looked out the window and said,
"Daddy the snow is so beautiful."
I said to her, "Let me tell you a story about
one of those beautiful snowflakes."
I took a clean white piece of paper and said,
"This is your dad's life." I folded the paper in half,
three times. Then taking the scissors I said,
"Sometimes bad things happen to us in life,
kind of like these cuts I’m making in the paper.”
I began cutting pieces out of the folded
paper and she watched them fall to the floor.
I told her, "When something awful happens in your life
you feel like someone cut a big piece out of you.”
She watched another piece drop to the floor.
"Other days life just seems to make
additional cuts into you.
Bad news seems to come from every direction
and my life certainly looked like a mess
with all those pieces missing.
But you know when you have faith in Jesus Christ,
you are a part of God’s family,
and when you believe the truth of
God's word and do what it says, then
God always protects his children.
As you see when I unfold the paper,
what the world used to harm me,
God used to refine me and turn my life
into a beautiful snowflake.
You see dear each snowflake that falls from Heaven
is a reminder to everyone, that God can
make something beautiful out of your life.”
THE SNOWFLAKE was written by Eric Johnson
See the BOOKMARKER page at the end of this book
for additional ministry resources.
This was the very first message that the Holy Spirit gave me to write. After I told my daughter Erika about it, I began teaching other children and adults the lesson the Holy Spirit gave me. It’s a rather simple object lesson with a clever and memorable message. I hope the next time you see it snowing you’re reminded of this story. No matter how the enemy uses the world or other people to attack you, stand firm on God’s promises.
God will turn your PAIN…into POWER.
God will turn your MESS…into a MIRACLE.
God will turn your PROBLEM…into a PRAISE SONG.
God will turn your TEST…into a TESTIMONY.
Do not fear people or the world system, for I am with you. Do not be down cast and depressed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you with my power and uphold you with my strong hand. Isaiah 41:10
The Lord says, "Because you love me, I will rescue you.
I will make you great because you trust in me.
When you call on me I will answer you. I will be with you in times of trouble
and rescue and honor you. I will satisfy you with a long life
and show you my salvation. Psalm 91:14-16
Count it all joy when you face trials of many kinds.
You know that the testing of your faith develops patience and
patience must finish its work so that you may be mature
and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
My wife and I recently planted a wild flower garden. We put some commercial quality weed guard down to keep the weeds out and keep it nice looking. I was glad that we took the extra time to do it right and cover everything thoroughly with two layers of weed guard. After a few months I noticed a weed had sprouted up. I thought to myself, “How did that weed get through all that weed guard?” I moved the wood chips to see what had happened. A weed had grown straight up through the weed guard we had laid down. A plant had poked a hole right through the material.
I also noticed a similar incident one summer when my daughter and I went bike riding. In this one section of new bike path there were weeds that had actually grown STRAIGHT UP THROUGH THE PAVEMENT! I had never seen anything like that. How did they grow up through three inches of new solid pavement? WOW! I thought that was amazing! If our faith was only as determined as those little plants to reach for the sky.
• The enemy, the world and the flesh will come in and try to keep your faith down.
• They will try to convince you that you can’t grow.
• Why bother putting roots down…look what’s over you.
• Look at the challenges ahead, you can’t make it.
• You’re going to drive yourself crazy trying to follow and understand God.
• You’ve disappointed God too much to be able to please and serve him.
But God has given each of us a measure of faith. It’s like a seed that he himself has planted in us. Many people think, “What could God ever do with my little seed of faith?” Just prepare yourself Christian soldier, read God’s word, pray, seek his face and give God the praise he is due. That’s how we send down our roots. The enemy tries to extinguish your faith before it even has a chance to sprout. But God has planted in you a faith that reaches for the sky. Pavement is very hard and thick and a plant is soft and fragile. Yet those plants managed to grow right up through that hard, black, hot pavement. Never stop reading, praying, changing and growing. Grow in the knowledge and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will cause your faith to blast through any obstacles in life.
God specializes in surprise endings. That way everyone will know that it was him that did the work and he will get the glory for it. God does not want the glory given to someone or something else. That’s why we have to wait on God. Waiting builds up our faith. The more desperate we get the more faith it takes to believe for the impossible. It’s not that God gives us more faith, it’s that we rely more heavily on the faith that he has already given us. God has already given Christians the full measure of faith that they need to live the abundant life that he promised. God wants to radically change us everyday.
Just like the snowflake story:
He is patiently waiting to make something beautiful out of your life.
Love blossoms when an offence is forgiven. Proverbs 17:9
Forgiveness is a very special gift to give to someone. It is always freely given by Christians who truly understand the debt of sin for which they have been forgiven. Forgiveness is a spectacular supernatural event. It’s a huge supernatural opportunity for God to operate in your life and in someone else’s life. Great things are accomplished for the kingdom of God when we forgive. Don’t miss out on those precious opportunities to forgive when they come your way.
Forgiveness is not something that is earned. Trust is earned. You can forgive someone but not trust them. Don’t get these two separate issues confused. Forgiveness is a free gift we should joyfully bestow on others. Forgiveness doesn’t have conditions or regulations attached to it. If you’ve taken years and years to forgive someone because you’re waiting to see some evidence of genuine change in them, then that‘s TRUST not FORGIVENESS. Don’t wait until people met your requirements to forgive them. If you wait until you can trust someone to forgive them, then you’ve missed your opportunity to forgive that person back when they didn’t deserve it. Forgiveness is a gift and it was given to you freely. People, who understand the power of that gift, extend it freely to others. Forgiving others when they don’t deserve it, mimics the forgiveness God gave us when we didn’t deserve it. That person you choose to forgive may for the first time understand God’s love and forgiveness through you.
While Jesus was dying on the cross for all mankind, he said:
Father forgive them…for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
Jesus forgave while hanging on a cruel, shameful and torturous cross that he didn’t deserve. He could have called down twelve legions of angels to fight for him and avenge him of this terrible unjust punishment, but he didn’t. Let the power of the cross live and move in your spirit. Born-again, spirit-filled Christians are attached to that cross of forgiveness. Forgiveness is stuck to us in a way that it cannot be removed. It is a part of us. It’s not just something we do; it’s a character attribute of who we are.
Christian soldiers, we are all connected by the same spirit. We are connected by that forgiveness that happened at the cross of Calvary. I submit to you that it is impossible for a true Christian to live in a state of unforgiveness.
In my college years I went to an architectural school and learned all about wood, concrete and steel. I learned that concrete is made up of four elements, aggregate (gravel), Portland cement, sand and water. Those are the four necessary elements that create a chemical reaction and make concrete hard and strong. In the same way there are four things that happen at the point of salvation and becoming a born-again Christian.
LOVE - CONVICTION - REPENTANCE - FORGIVENESS
The love of God draws us to repentance. Romans 2:4
God loves us, we repent, he forgives and we receive the salvation of the Lord. Do you see the intimate conversation here with the Lord? A conversation is an exchange between two individuals. First, God reveals to us how much he loves us. When we begin to comprehend that type of unconditional love then we understand how bad sin is in the sight of the Lord and how much he hates it. When sinners repent of their sins and turn away from a life of disobedience and rebellion then God will forgive them. He completely erases all their sins, past, present and future. The bible says:
Though your sins be as red as crimson…they shall be as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18
Can you imagine yourself being that clean from sin. It may be difficult to understand that type of forgiveness. God explains his forgiveness to us so we will clearly understand how thoroughly he dealt with sin.
I will separate you from your sin nature as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12
I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12
I will blot out your sins for my own sake and remember your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25
God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing man’s sin against him.
II Corinthians 5:19
A person who chooses to have an unforgiving spirit doesn’t have a clue of the debt of sin that they themselves have been forgiven (Luke 7:41-47). That person has removed themselves from the kindergarten classroom of Christianity 101. They removed themselves from the basic fundamental teaching of God’s plan and Jesus Christ message and mission. The only reason Christians can even call themselves a Christian is because God forgave them, by way of Christ’s obedience, blood and atonement.
I believe there is a general misunderstanding when it comes to forgiving others. Forgiving does not mean forgetting. You may never be able to forget the offence. Christians need to release the pain associated with that offence to God. Surrender that hate, disappointment and anger to him. If you have truly extended that person forgiveness, grace and love; then the next time you see that person the pain from that offence should be completely gone. Will the memory of that incident still be there? Yes! Maybe, it depends on how thoroughly you released the offender. If you’ve only partially forgiven someone, then you don’t understand the magnitude of the price that was paid for you sin on the cross.
Christ had no sin. He was sent to the cross because of your sin. A completely innocent and sinless man was put to death for you and then he forgave you while he was being tortured on the cross where your sin placed him. Jesus took the punishment for our crime and then forgave us for the crime of putting him their. That is mind blowing forgiveness in my book. In Isaiah 52:14 it says that his face was torn and his body was marred more than any other man. That means that Jesus did not even look like a human being when they were done with him. Jesus was Holy, righteous and sinless and his blood was shed for you and me. He thoroughly and completely took care of all the sins of the world. We esteem his sacrifice by extending forgiveness to others as well.
Don’t look at forgiving people as something you have to do, as if it was going to hurt you to extend forgiveness to someone. Don’t grind your teeth in the process of forgiving someone. For a Christian person, the act of forgiveness should feel very natural, comfortable and pleasant. Forgiving people is exciting. It’s a reminder of the grace that God freely extended to us. Forgiveness is a part of that living water that God pours into our vessel so that we can let it flow out of us and into others. If you stop the flow of forgiveness then you’ll stop the flow of God in your life. Forgiving others is extremely beneficial to YOU and THEM. There are monumental benefits for everyone involved.
Repentance and forgiveness should not be frowned upon, THEY SHOULD BE CELEBRATED! WHEN SINNERS REPENT GOD WILL FORGIVE THEM. We need to fully comprehend this valuable, life changing message. The most important message the lost will ever hear is that THEY NEED TO REPENT AND BE FORGIVEN. That’s the foundation of every person’s salvation. Forgiveness is definitely something to celebrate.
Be on the alert for people to forgive. When someone cuts you off in traffic roll down your window and yell, “I FORGIVE YOU!” If you’re a person who is easily offended then God wants to change that about you. Don’t be ready to be offended, instead always be ready to forgive. Those are opportunities to shine the light of God’s love to people. You will totally confuse people with this type of forgiveness and when they ask you about the joy that you have, you’ll be able to point to the cross of Christ.
…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross… Hebrew 12:2
WHAT HAPPENED TO FORGIVENESS?
Why are there many people that say they are Christians and yet won’t forgive? I believe it happens, one sinful drop at a time. One little drop of water multiplied over and over thousands of times will eventually rot a whole house. One drop of offence, a drop of rage, two drops of anger, and a flood of bitterness, will soon lead to an ocean of unforgiveness. The bible says,
Anytime you have bitter envy and strife (anger and divisions in your heart)
then you have confusion and every evil work. James 3:16
(MY INTERPRETATION OF THAT SCRIPTURE IS THIS)
Being mad at someone is a rotten way to end the day.
Being angry at someone is a terrible way to spend the week.
Holding on to resentment is a dysfunctional way to live your life.
If you’ve been angry at a family member, friend or co-worker for a long time or maybe even years; then according to James 3:16 you’ve had evil knocking at your door step all that time. Some days you may have even flung open the doors and invited him right on in. We invite the devil in when we have negative thoughts words and finally actions. This can lead to all kinds of guilt, condemnation, restlessness and no peace. That’s not the life God had in store for you. Anger, resentment and frustration are not fruits of the Holy Spirit. Release those OLD habits, those OLD emotions, your OLD heart and that OLD fruit to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will beat your OLD NATURE to death. He hates it and so should you. He does not want to live in the same vessel along side that.
Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down on your wrath.
Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4: 26 & 27
Be angry and sin not. - There is a righteous anger that is not sin. God wants us to be angry and hate the devil and his evil.
Let not the sun go down on your wrath. - Don’t let your anger ever fall asleep. Keep that anger towards unrighteousness and evil stirred up on the inside of you. If you truly love someone or something then you will have anger and wrath against anything that comes against them or it.
Neither give place to the devil. - Don’t ever become lukewarm (neutral) in your attitude towards the devil, if you do then you will allow him the opportunity to influence your thoughts, philosophies, ideas and inevitably your life.
You have God’s Holy Spirit in you and new fruit (good fruit) is what you’re designed to produce. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit (Matthew 7:18).You have been set free from your OLD DEAD SPIRIT. You need to walk in THE NEW SPIRIT YOU HAVE IN CHRIST. God does not want you to blend your new, born-again life IN CHRIST with your old nature (sin), your old habits (sin) and your old thought patterns (sin). The Apostle Paul said:
I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME.
My new spirit-filled life IN CHRIST, that I now possess, is extraordinary and it was
purchased by Christ’s love and sacrifice for me. Galatians 2:20
As a born-again, Holy Spirit filled, new creation in Christ, we can never be disconnected from God. He’s living on the inside of us. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We can make bad choices and turn from the direction he wants us to go. But he’s still there with us. He will never leave us or forsake us.
Nothing will ever separate us from the love of God.
I used to think that if I didn’t behave a certain way, then God would remove his presence from me and leave me until I started acting better, then he would come back and be with me again. I used to think that if I followed and obeyed the scriptures in the bible, then God would love me and stay close to me. Then I realized that these behavioral scripture are MY DESTINY. This is where I am headed in the future. God loves me and I love him and that’s why I do what it says to do in God’s word. Those who love me will obey my commandments. John 14:15. The truth is: God loves me whether I obey his commandments or not. He loved me even when I was a child of wrath and had an evil sin nature in me. My love for God is expressed to him by obeying his commandments, just as a husband would give flowers to his wife that he loves so very much. Love produces actions because God’s love in us transforms us. If I don’t obey his commandments that does not mean I don’t love God. My spirit was transformed instantly, but my mind has to be renewed everyday (Romans 12:2; II Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10). My thoughts, words and actions are in the process of changing everyday. The commandments that we obey are not rules administered by God so he will accept us, love us and be with us. God’s word reveals his character, his nature and his divine attributes to us. Born-again Christians have those same attributes inside their spirit. I do the things God desires because it pleases me in my new transformed spirit that he gave me. It’s a part of my identity. My OLD WAY doesn’t please me any more. MY NEW HEART gives me new desires. It obviously pleases God because that’s the nature he put inside of us, HIS GOOD, LOVING and PERFECT NATURE.
Have you let the sun go down on your anger? Ephesians 4:26
Have you not forgiven people just as you have been forgiven? Colossians 3:13
Have you loved you neighbor regardless of how they treat you? Colossians 3:14
Have you paid anyone back wrong for wrong? I Thessalonians 5:15
Have you been compassionate, kind and patient with people? Colossians 3:12
Have you let the peace of God rule in your heart? Colossians 3:15
Have you put on love which binds all these other characteristics together? Col. 3:14
Have you let the word of God dwell in you richly? Colossians 3:16
Do you love your spouse like Christ loves the church? Eph. 5:25 &33; Titus 2:4
These are all character traits or actions that we are either walking in today, or will soon be walking in tomorrow or in the near future. As a Christian, your actions are always headed toward your identity. You’re either doing all of these today or you’ll soon be doing them, because it pleases you to do them. You’re not happy unless you’re doing them. These are not conditions of being loved by God. They are attributes of being IN CHRIST. Living from the perspective of our NEW IDENTITY leads to; freedom, growth, fulfillment and peace.
Do not just listen to God’s word and then walk away from the truth and the power of the gospel, but meditate on it daily so that you will experience a profound manifestation of
God’s glory here in this physical world we live in. James 1:22
Some days you may feel like God is far from you…but he isn’t. He’s right there abiding in you. Chances are if you will just turn from the direction you’ve chosen, you’ll find God right there behind you waiting with open arms. Sin tries to rob us of that close connection with God through guilt and condemnation. BUT IT CAN’T! YOU’RE IN CHRIST! You have a blood covering that extends out over you farther than you deserve. Put this book down go before God and say:
I’ve been letting wrong thoughts control me. Lord you have taken care of all my sins at the cross of Christ. I see them at the Cross Of Calvary. Sometimes I go my own way with my thoughts, flesh, attitude and mouth. But I want to align myself with the truth of your word. I want to live the abundant life IN CHRIST and to be directed by your perfect spirit that’s inside of me. Give me a greater hunger for you Lord. I humble myself to your will. In the precious name of Jesus Christ…AMEN.
WOW! AWESOME! Talk about opening the flood gates of Heaven! That kind of sincere prayer causes a shaking to take place in your spirit. It’s that kind of humility that gets God’s IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. God can operate in that type of surrender. That’s a prayer and attitude that God desires from all of us. The bible says that if you’ll humble yourself before the mighty hand of God, then HE WILL LIFT YOU UP. Luke 14:11
FORGIVING AND FORGETTING
I don't know if it is humanly possible to actually forget anything. Some memories we have are so vivid and hurtful, that we will probably never forget them. BUT WE CAN FORGIVE THOSE MEMORIES. Forgiving someone is letting go of the hurt, pain and offence that is connected to that memory. Forgiving is supernaturally forgetting. Forgiving is choosing to not be hurt anymore. One thing that helped me in this challenging area is knowing that while I was a sinner, Christ died for me and God forgave me. A person who does not forgive easily does not completely comprehend the debt of sin that Christ forgave them (Luke 7:41-47). When we understand how great our debt of sin was and the tremendous sacrifice that was made for us, then we will be able to love and forgive the way God designed us to. Remember forgiveness is something that was freely extended to you by God and we should forgive others with the same love, passion and grace.
If someone has offended me, hurt me or gossiped about me, I know that I need to forgive them, and I always do. The next time I see that person, something in my spirit may rise up; like anger or resentment and I know those feelings shouldn’t be in me. Here is something I do that gives me a confident smile on my face and joy in my heart. I envision a big sign across their body or on their forehead with red letters that say, FORGIVEN. The reason I get such joy out of that is because it’s a reminder that those big red letters are FASTENED TO ME AS WELL. God sees the word FORGIVEN on us when he looks at us. I need to see that on the people that I’ve forgiven. Otherwise I can’t wear that message on me. That’s what God showed me one day. I hope you’ll try that and be victorious when it comes to forgiving people GOD’S WAY.