Sunday, December 7, 2014

Loved by God

Many people in the world do not know that they are loved by God.  Believe it or not...There are many believers today within the body of Christ that do not truly know that they are loved by God.

Not too long ago, I completed a Bible study with a group of ladies at my local church.  In one of the video lessons, the Bible teacher wanted everyone to know that they were loved by God.  In fact, she had us to do an exercise where we would tell each other in our small group..."You are loved by God."

The Apostle Paul was one of the most bold, courageous believers in Biblical times.  In some of his letters to different churches, he wrote and spoke about being loved by God.  He also encouraged other believers to know that they were loved by God.

Let's take a look at specific portions of some of those letters to other believers in a few of the churches back then.

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  (Galatians 2:19-20, NIV)

Paul understood that God not only loved him but gave Himself up for him.  Because of that revelation, this apostle knew that he wasn't his own.  He put his faith in Jesus and lived for God.

In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul spoke about the Father's love for them.

"To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be His holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."  (Romans 1:7, NIV)

Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled together throughout the region of Thessalonica.
In their letters to fellow believers, they also spoke about God's love for them. 

"For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, NIV) 

"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."  (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, NIV) 

"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word."  (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)


Do you know that you are loved by God?  Believe and receive the Father's love for you.  You are loved by God!

Repeat after me, "I am loved by God."


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Jesus is Our Righteousness

Some people within the body of Christ try to establish their own righteousness. It’s called self-righteousness which comes from the law---the old covenant. We don't have to try to establish our own righteousness though. It's already been established for us---through God’s son, Jesus Christ.

The prophet, Isaiah, spoke about our own righteous acts.

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." (Isaiah 64:6, NIV)

I previously had been blind to some truth regarding our righteousness. Fortunately, the Lord has revealed more to me regarding our righteousness in recent months though.

It definitely helps us to become more rooted and grounded in the word of God but also in our relationship with Him and His love for us. (Colossians 2:6-7; Ephesians 3:16-19) We gain better understanding and insight into our righteousness which comes from God which is based on our faith in Jesus Christ.

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the people in Philippi, he spoke about knowing the Lord and our righteousness in Christ.

"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:8-9, NIV)

Paul told them that he didn't want to have a righteousness of his own which comes from the law but a righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ. He considered his relationship with the Lord of the utmost importance compared to anything else. He said everything else was worthless or 'garbage'. It is so true. Nothing is more important. Nothing compares to having a close, intimate relationship with Jesus.

He not only wanted to participate in Jesus' sufferings but also attain and know the power of the resurrection from the dead.

"...I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11, NIV)

Can you say the same? Do you want to know Jesus so much that you are willing to participate in His suffering? How about becoming like Him in His death? Lastly, do you want to attain and know the power of the resurrection?

In Paul's letter to Rome, he talked about our righteousness in Christ and the law.

"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." (Romans 3:20, NIV)

He also spoke about those who are righteous through faith and the promise of God.

"It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression." (Romans 4:13-15, NIV)

Our righteousness comes by faith in Christ. Jesus is our righteousness.


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Redeemed From the Curse

The very first man, Adam, and the very first woman, Eve, received the curse from God. They both sinned, because they disobeyed Him in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, He cursed them because of their sin. (Genesis 3)

Many Christians today believe that they are still under the curse. However, that is not true.

Once Jesus Christ came and took our place on the cross, we are no longer under the curse. In fact, He became the curse for us. He redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13-14) We are now under the new covenant of grace.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)

The old covenant of the law was based on works or a person's performance. There are some still trying to live like they are under the law. For those believers, they are still under the curse because they are still trying to rely on the law.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” (Galatians 3:10, NIV) 

The Apostle Paul tells us that the righteous live by faith. "Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God..." (Galatians 3:11, NIV) We aren't made right with God by the law. We are made righteous with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 3:8-9

The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” (Galatians 3:12, NIV) 

Therefore, we must live by faith in the Son of God. (Galatians 2:20) Then, know and remember we are not under the curse. We are redeemed from the curse.


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Agreeing With God

Agreeing with God is powerful.

What has God said to you? What has He said about you?

We get God’s results, when we get into agreement with Him and His Word.

When we trust Him and put our faith in Him, He is faithful. Whatever the situation may be at the time...if you need deliverance from a particular situation...if you need provision...if you need blessings...whatever the case may be...God has already done it. (Isaiah 53) All of your needs have been met according to His riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) Everything you need has already been provided for. It was accomplished at the cross when Jesus took everything upon Himself. He paid for all of it.

Salvation...Forgiveness...Health...Healing...Deliverance...Provision...Blessing...Inheritance. (Psalm 103; Isaiah 53:5; Ephesians 1; 1 Peter 2:24)

How do we get into agreement with God and His word?

First, we renew our minds in His word. (Romans 12:2) Then, we meditate on His word so it will sink down into our hearts. (Joshua 1:8) We also speak out God's word in faith.

When we truly believe God's word, we speak it out. Additionally, we walk it out. We aren't just hearers of the word but doers of the word. (James 1:22-25) We live out God's word in this world.

 

Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jesus is Our Light

What do you do when you are in the dark?  You turn on the light.  If you are entering a dark room, a dark house, or a dark building; then, you turn on a light.

The same is true in our spiritual lives.  If you are in the dark about an issue or situation in your life, you turn on the light---the light of God's word. 

Jesus was in the temple courts teaching a group of people.  The Pharisees and the teachers of the law brought in a woman who had been caught in adultery and placed her before the group.  They told Jesus and asked Him, "...Now what do you say?"  (John 8:5b, NIV)  He calmly responded to their accusation.  "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."  (John 8:7b, NIV)  Each of the woman's accusers left one by one until only Jesus and the woman were left standing there.  Then, He turns to the woman and asks her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  (John 8:10b, NIV)  "No one, sir," she said.  "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."  (John 8:11, NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (John 8:12, NIV)

Another time, Jesus predicted His death before a crowd of people.  He was referring to Himself as the light.

 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going.  Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When He had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid Himself from them.  (John 12:35-36, NIV)

John spoke about God being light. 

"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.  (1 John 5-7, NIV)

In Matthew's account, he talked about the believers in Jesus being the light. 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

When we spend time in God's word (in the presence of Jesus), we are able to shed more light on matters in our lives.  Jesus is our light.  When we spend time with Him, we have more light in ourselves as well as in our lives.  Then, we can truly be light in this dark world. 


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meditating on God's Word

"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8, NIV)

Meditating on God's word may not be something that you are familiar with in your spiritual walk.

The word 'meditate' is defined as to consider, think, ponder, contemplate, reflect.
Meditation on God's word is a spiritual discipline. It is a recommended part of every believer's spiritual development and growth.

Most importantly, it is commanded by God our Father in His word.
Our Father God not only told us in the book of Joshua to meditate on His word but to meditate on it all the time so we can obey everything in it.

How do we meditate on it all the time?
For one, we consider or think on a particular scripture verse. For example, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

We keep thinking about the same scripture verse for a period of time. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
We contemplate and reflect on it until it truly sinks into our heart---until we get a revelation about that specific verse. "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NIV)

Perhaps, we even begin confessing out loud. Make it personal. "And my God will meet all of my needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." My God will meet all of my needs. All means all. He didn't say some. He said all. It's not according to my own riches. It's according to His riches in glory. I am in Christ. Therefore, I have His riches.
That's only one example from scripture in order to get you started with meditating on God's word. Please feel free to also use other scripture verses. Do it frequently throughout the day.  Every day.

In the next part of Joshua 1:8, God then tells us that we will be prosperous and successful.
It's very important to observe this command from God. We cannot be truly prosperous and successful in our lives.

The prosperity and success that is spoken of in the book of Joshua isn't necessarily the kind that you may think of at the moment. It certainly isn't the kind that the world talks about much of the time. However, it is the kind that God wants for us.
He wants us to be prosperous and successful because it honors and glorifies Him. Plus, He is a good God! A loving father who wants to bless His children. What good, loving father would ever want or do anything else? (Matthew 7:9-11) Do you want to be blessed? I know that I sure do.

 
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus often spoke to people in parables. Once, the disciples asked Him the reason for it. He gave a lengthy answer to their question.

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. (Matthew 13:11-17, NIV)

In Matthew's account, there are several of Jesus' parables regarding the kingdom of heaven.

A former minister at my local church described the kingdom of heaven as a different reality which is true. It definitely is a different reality. Once you see something new and different, you cannot unsee it. It's like trying to describe an old black and white television program in color to someone who has never seen the color version of that particular program. It cannot be done very well.

However, we can tell people what we see and know ourselves. We can share our own personal experiences, insights, and knowledge. We can also hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will open their spiritual eyes---give them eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind and heart that's open and receptive to Him and His truth.

Here's a great example of His truth.

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:16-30, NIV)

To much of the world, the kingdom of heaven may sound like an upside down reality. However, in truth, it is a right side up reality.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

When we first seek God, His truth, His ways [of doing and being right]; everything else will also be given to us.

In essence, that is heaven on earth.  (Matthew 6:10)



Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.