VIDEO Erin’s Story: Little Victories

Oct 19, 2015

Erin felt lingering pain and emptiness after her parents’ divorce, which led to an eating disorder and tendency to cut herself. She eventually learned that God’s love was the only thing that could fill the void in her life and take those broken pieces to create something beautiful. God gave Erin a heart for Haiti, where she is serving as an elementary education teacher. Erin finds little victories every day and says, “I want to bring to them the same healing and hope that I found in Christ.”

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Don’t Touch the Fence! – Substitution

Don’t Touch the Fence!
electric fence
The Lord . . . sent word to them . . . again and again, because he had pity on his people. 2 Chronicles 36:15

As a young girl I went with my parents to visit my great-grandmother, who lived near a farm. Her yard was enclosed by an electric fence, which prevented cows from grazing on her grass. When I asked my parents if I could play outside, they consented, but explained that touching the fence would result in an electric shock.

Unfortunately I ignored their warning, put a finger to the barbed wire, and was zapped by an electrical current strong enough to teach a cow a lesson. I knew then that my parents had warned me because they loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt.

God’s warnings are proof of His #compassion for us.

When God saw the ancient Israelites in Jerusalem crafting and worshiping idols, He “sent word to them . . . again and again, because he had pity on his people” (2 Chron. 36:15). God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, but the people said, “We will continue with our own plans” (Jer. 18:12). Because of this, God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and capture most of its inhabitants.

Maybe God is warning you today about some sin in your life. If so, be encouraged. That is proof of His compassion for us (Heb. 12:5-6). He sees what’s ahead and wants us to avoid the problems that will come.

Lord, give me the ability to hear not just Your words but also Your heart. Help me to learn from the mistakes of those whose stories You have given us. Help me to honor You with my life.

God’s warnings are to protect us, not to punish us.

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
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Substitution
jesus cross ground

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. —2 Corinthians 5:21

The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made…to be sin….” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. In speaking to the world, Jesus Christ never referred to Himself as One who revealed the Father, but He spoke instead of being a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9, where Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was spoken to His disciples.

That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (see Galatians 4:19).

The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Free From Guilt

1 Peter 2:22-25

Guilt can be defined as anxiety in one’s spirit over a deliberate, willful sin. We can trace this emotion all the way back to the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, they felt ashamed of their nakedness and hid themselves.

During Old Testament times, people would bring a special offering to the temple in order to “pay” for their wrong. Today, we no longer have such a tangible way to release our guilt.

Actually, we have something better. The heavenly Father sent His Son Jesus—who was fully God as well as fully man—to live a sinless life. He took upon Himself the penalty for all of our wrongs by dying a criminal’s death through crucifixion. Praise God, Jesus rose to life again, conquering death and sin. Ephesians 1:7 states, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

The truth is, every one of us has sinned and therefore deserves to be separated from God (Rom. 3:23). However, we can be liberated from death and guilt by accepting Jesus’ free gift and committing our lives to Him. Of course, in our imperfect human state, we will continue to sin. But our loving heavenly Father will continue to forgive His children (Luke 11:3-4).

Jesus’ sacrifice gives us freedom from shame and death—plus the promise of eternity with God. But that in no way means we have license to sin knowingly. Though we are promised forgiveness, our gratitude and love for our Savior should spur us on to obey and serve the Lord. And, surely, to live a life free from guilt.

The Circumcision of Christ

“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” (Colossians 2:11)

During the millennia when God was preparing the earth for the coming of the promised Messiah, the sign of relationship was focused on physical purity through the unique nation of Israel. Hence the requirement of male circumcision, a poignant identity that would emphasize the genetic line as well as reinforce the personal commitment.

That dramatic message, amplified throughout the lifetime of Israel in the feasts and liturgical observances, was radically changed when the Messiah came in “the fulness of the time” (Galatians 4:4) to fulfill and complete the promises. Thereafter, the mystery of the grand plan of God was revealed “which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25): “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). Now the message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This “circumcision” of Christ is “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Peter 3:21). This public declaration (not a private ceremony for Jewish families) demonstrates that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The sign of the new relationship is for all who believe in the completed work of the Messiah. This “circumcision” dramatizes the creation of the “new man” (Romans 6:4) and tells the story of salvation in a way that anyone can both participate in and remember. HMM III

Not Measuring Up

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. —1 Corinthians 15:58

It is good to come to the understanding that while God wants us to be holy and Spiritfilled, He does not expect us to look like Abraham or to play the harp like David or to have the same spiritual insight given to Paul.

All of those former heroes of the faith are dead. You are alive in your generation. A Bible proverb says that it is better to be a living dog than a dead lion. You may wish to be Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, but remember that they have been asleep for long centuries, and you are still around! You can witness for your Lord today. You can still pray. You can still give of your substance to help those in need. You can still encourage the depressed.

I hope you have not missed something good from God’s hand because you felt you did not measure up to Gideon or Isaiah. In this your generation, give God all of your attention! Give Him all of your love! Give Him all of your devotion and faithful service! You do not know what holy, happy secret God may want to whisper to your responsive heart.

Father, I commit myself to faithfulness today. You have given me life today; You have given me the gifts You want me to have and use; You have called me by Your grace to serve You. I give it all to You today. Amen.

Is It My Kingdom or God’s Kingdom?

…For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13

How many Christians are there who pray every Sunday in church, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done!” without ever realizing the spiritual implications of such intercession?

What are we praying for? Should we edit that prayer so that it becomes a confrontation: “My kingdom go, Lord; let Thy kingdom come!” Certainly His kingdom can never be realized in my life until my own selfish kingdom is deposed. It is when I resign, when I am no longer king of my domain that Jesus Christ will become king of my life.

This principle does not become practical and thus it does not become operative in the lives of many Christians. That is why I keep saying and teaching and hoping that this principle which is objective truth will become subjective experience in Christian lives. For any professing Christian who dares to say, “Knowing the truth is enough for me; I do not want to mix it up with my day-to-day life and experience,” Christianity has become nothing but a farce and a delusion!

God is constantly calling for decisions among those in whom there is such great potential for displaying the life of Jesus Christ. Peace and power and fruitfulness can only increase according to our willingness to confess, “It is no longer I, but Christ that liveth in me!”

“Top Side of the Soul”

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. ACTS 26:18

It is certainly a reality in our day that too few men and women are willing to keep the “top side” of their souls open to God and to His light from heaven.

You may wonder about such expression as the “top side” of the soul, but I do think it is in line with Bible teaching, and certainly in line with all Christian experience.

The heart and soul are open to God in some people’s lives but certainly not in others.

We should be aware that man’s forgiveness is not always like God’s. When a man makes a mistake and has to be forgiven, the shadow may still hang over him among his fellows.

But when God forgives, He begins the new page right away. Then when the devil runs up and says, “What about his past?” God replies, “What past? He has been forgiven!”

Now, I think that kind of forgiveness and justification and acceptance with God depends upon a person’s willingness to keep the “top side” of the soul open to God and His saving grace!

Dear Lord, there are people at work and in my community whose hearts are not open to Your offer of forgiveness. I pray that each one will open his soul to God to receive His saving grace.