Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We Learn What We Live

Children learn what they live.  I am sure that you have heard that one before.  It is actually the title of the written work, Children Learn What They Live, by Dorothy Law Nolte published in 1972.

Recently, I was reminded of specifically the title because it is also a good and true sentence.

I was working on a paper for seminary in the last couple of weeks.  I was having a difficult time finishing it.  It was already late.  I had already missed the deadline for the on-time submission.  However, as I was working on finishing it up, I heard my mother's voice inside of my head saying, "Get it done!  Just get something down on paper, and get it done."

It has been more than 20 years since my mom passed away.  Yet, while growing up and being in school, those kind of words came from my mother to me usually when I was working on a paper or another school assignment.

I have always been somewhat of a perfectionist and, at times, procrastinate until the last minute on projects such as research papers.  My mom on the other hand was not that way.  She was more of the get it done, matter of fact, straight forward, practical type of mother.  Of course, I am also a lot like that in my life. 

But, when it normally came to doing school work, I was not that type.  I believe it helped me having her there with me telling me, "Get it done, Dawn!  Get something down on paper.  Get it done!"

We all need people like that in our lives.  People who will motivate, challenge, and inspire us to be our best selves.  People who will push us to the limits in a good way.

I am glad that I had her there with me at the time.  As I mentioned earlier, I can sometimes still hear her voice after all of these years which brings me to another point.

"Train up a child in the way (s)he should go, and when (s)he is old (s)he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV - emphasis added mine)

By my mother helping me during my earlier years in school, I am able to still hear her voice in the way that she would want me to go in school---specifically during seminary now. 

God is so good and amazing!  He give us our parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and others in our lives.  Everyone has a part to play in God's purpose and plan for us (See Jeremiah 29:11).  They all help lead, guide, and direct us into the path that God has for us. 

Who has influenced you in your life?  Will you take the time to tell them, "Thank you!"?  If they aren't still living in this world, will you then "Thank God!"?  Thank Him for giving you that person, those people, whoever they may be or may have been to you for all the years they have been in your life.  They influenced you.  They helped mold you, make you, and shape you into the person you are today.  God used them whether they acknowledge, realize, know, or understand it.  You are now better for having had that person or those people in your life.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Running the Race

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV)

There is a tendency in this world to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto our natural circumstances.  The devil would like to distract you, hinder you, interrupt you, and shake you up in this world.  He would like to keep you from being and doing all you were created and called to be and do for God's purpose and plan. 

Jesus did not allow the enemy to hinder, distract, interrupt, or shake Him up.  He did not allow the devil to keep Him from being and doing all He was created and called to be and do for His Father's purpose and plan.  We cannot allow the enemy to keep us from being and doing all we were created and called to be and do for our Father's purpose and plan (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

There is also a tendency in this world to compare our spiritual journey and life to the journeys and lives of others in the world, specifically within the body of Christ.  It is another tactic of the enemy though.  None of us have the exact same purpose and calling in God's plan.  None of our paths will look exactly alike.  Sure there may be some similarities, but we are all different.  We all have different purposes and callings in our creator's master plan. 

Let's briefly look at the journeys and lives of the Apostle Paul and Jesus' disciple, Peter.

Paul was called by God to be an apostle (Romans 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2).  He did not just decide for himself that he was an apostle.  God specifically created Paul to have that calling and purpose in His plan.  Therefore, Paul became all that God created him to be and do, but it was not Paul's own doing.  It was God's doing.  Paul said himself that he did not deserve to be an apostle because of his past (1 Corinthians 15:9).  "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them---yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10)."  God worked in and through Paul to accomplish His purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).  Paul went on to do much for God's Kingdom, because he knew who he was created and called to be in God's plan.  He suffered and endured much for the Gospel (Acts 16:16-40).  He boasted in all of his weaknesses and sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).  He boldly spoke and preached throughout the regions and land where God had called him.  He also wrote much of the New Testament. 

Peter was a disciple of Jesus Christ.  He was only one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ back then.  Despite the calling on his life, Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18:15-27).  Jesus did not hold that against him though.  He did not condemn Peter.  God had a great purpose and calling for Peter.  He knew Peter would eventually step up and be the bold and courageous man He had created him to be for His purpose.  God gave Peter more opportunities to prove himself.  Despite his past and previous weaknesses, Peter was used mightily and powerfully for God's purpose.  While with the other 11 disciples, Peter preached the Gospel to a crowd of thousands of people on the day of Pentecost.  Due to Peter's obedience that specific day, nearly three thousand people accepted Jesus and were baptized into the faith of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:14-41). 

Neither one of these men began their journeys or lives well, but they both finished well.  Neither Paul nor Peter had the exact same calling or purpose in God's plan.  Their spiritual journeys and lives did not look the same.  They did not have or take the exact same path.  They did not look at another man's path, calling, or purpose and wish they were in the other person's shoes so to speak.  They concentrated and focused on what God had created and called them to be and do for His purpose and plan.  They kept their eyes on the ultimate goal---running their individual races and winning the prize that God had for each one of them (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  They were both different men with different paths as well as different callings and purposes.  However, God powerfully used both of them to accomplish His purpose in His plan. 


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Confessing God's Word

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  (Proverbs 18:21, NIV)

Whatever you are confessing with your mouth will produce either life or death in your life.  You will either experience life, health, peace, so on or so forth.  Or...you will experience death, disease, destruction, and the like.

We have been given word power by God.  In the same way, He created the universe with His words.  (See Genesis 1.)  We create our world with our words.  Therefore, it's very important that we use our words carefully and wisely. 

What are you confessing?  What are you speaking by faith?

When we confess God's word, it helps all of us---believers in Jesus Christ---to get into agreement and alignment with Him and His word.  

According to Dictionary.com; confess is defined as "to own or admit as true; to acknowledge one's belief or faith in; declare adherence to; to declare or acknowledge"...Confession is defined as "acknowledgment; avowal; admission; acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, especially to a priest to obtain absolution...Also called confession of faith. A formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership."

Therefore, confessing God's word is basically confessing or declaring your faith. 

If you aren't already confessing His word, you can begin now.  It's never too late to start developing a new spiritual discipline or practice.  Confessing God's word is only one of the spiritual practices in the life of a believer.  (See Spiritual Disciplines.)
You can begin confessing His word in a specific area of your life.  For instance, perhaps, you need divine health and healing in your body. 

Well, then, go to the word and find scripture verses to back it up.  To give you an example, see 3 John 1:2.  "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."  (NKJV)

Another scripture reference for healing and health would be 1 Peter 2:24.  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (NIV)

You also can do that kind of topical search in the Bible for other specific areas in your life.  Finances.  Relationships.  Jobs.  Family.  Children.  Grandchildren.

Of course, you can confess God's word for all areas of your life as well.  In general or overall.
What are you confessing for the New Year?  What will you confess during 2015?

Check out my ministry website for a list of confessions from God's word. 

 
Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Breaking All the Rules

Let's break all the rules!

You may be thinking...What? Have you lost it?
Yes! To an extent, I have lost it. The Lord has opened my spiritual eyes of understanding and enlightened me even more in recent months. (See Ephesians1:16-23) I have lost religion, tradition, legalism, and everything else that comes with trying to keep the old covenant of the law---more so, anyway.

First, let me share a little background with you about myself.
I grew up in a Christian home with Christian parents. We all went to church together every Sunday. I was a good Christian girl. I always did what was expected of me. That is, until I was in college...

I was working a seasonal job at an amusement park on a big rollercoaster one summer. I was asked to work Sundays. Normally, it was one of my requested days off from work. However, this particular summer, I decided that I wanted to work on Sundays.
When I talked to my mom about it, she was against me doing it. She eventually gave in and allowed me to work Sundays that summer. 

There have been more recent instances with other believers within the body of Christ where God has personally revealed more to me. Many believers are still trying to keep the old covenant of the law. It's all about their works or my works or someone else's works.
However, that is not true. That is not the case. If you break one point of 'the law', you have broken all of the law. (James 2:9-11) Jesus came to fulfill the law. (Matthew 5:17-18) He is the only one who has ever perfectly kept the law. Therefore, He is the fulfillment of the law.

The only way we can ever hope to perfectly keep 'the law' is to rely on Him to do the work in and through us by His spirit. We no longer approach Him by way of 'the law' though. We approach Him by the new covenant of grace through faith in Him.
Whenever, somebody tries to put you under 'the law', resist it. Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Speak the truth in love to them. (Ephesians 4:15)

I have come to realize there is a lot more tradition out in the world. It has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. A lot of the tradition comes from the church as a whole. There's a lot of tradition in religion. However, Jesus didn't die on the cross for believers to have a religion. He died on the cross for all of us to have a relationship with Him---not just any relationship, but a personal and intimate relationship with Him---the Son of God.
The more we come to personally know Him, the more we will know what is of Him and not from Him.

The Apostle Paul and his spiritual brother, Timothy, wrote to the people in the church at Colossae and explained more about the fullness of Jesus Christ.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:8-10, NIV)

Paul and Timothy continue speaking about all of the human rules and regulations in the world. They wanted to make sure the believers knew of their freedom in Christ.
"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." (Colossians 2:20- 23, NIV)

Lastly, Matthew wrote of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law coming to Jesus and asking Him about breaking tradition. Jesus had asked them for the reason they had broken God's command for the sake of tradition. He told them they nullified God's word for the sake of tradition. Jesus also mentioned that Isaiah was right when he prophesied about them.
"‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules." (Matthew 15:8-9, NIV)

So, are there human rules that you are keeping?  Are there traditions that you honor?
Looking back now, I am glad my mom gave into my request. It worked out for my good. It allowed me to see for myself the importance of regularly attending church.

At the time, I was just going through the motions of going to church.  It had become a habit.  A routine.  A tradition.  It didn’t really mean anything to me.  It was part of my religion then. 
That specific break in tradition, however, allowed me to better understand and know for myself the good of attending church on a regular basis.  The right motivation behind going to church had previously been missing for me. 

Now, it has become part of having a personal relationship with Jesus for me. It's a way that I can personally come to know more of Him and love Him. It's a time of fellowshipping with other believers, learning more about them, and loving them as well.  It’s an outward expression of inward worship.


Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A New Creation

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"  (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Do you realize that you are a new creation?  That is, if you have accepted Jesus into your heart and made Him your Lord, then you are a new creation.  "...The old has gone, the new is here!"

It truly means you are no longer your old self---the old, fleshy, sinful person you were previously.  You are now a new creation.  You have been born again spiritually.  You are a totally new person. 

In one of His letters to the Corinth church, the Apostle Paul spoke about God giving us the ministry of reconciliation.  He wanted all the believers there to know that God had reconciled us to Himself through Christ.  In addition, God was reconciling the entire world to Himself...not counting people's sins against them.  

God gave all believers this ministry---the ministry of reconciliation.  Paul continued on about all believers being Christ's ambassadors and being committed to the message of reconciliation. 

Our Father God no longer sees us as our old or former selves.  Neither should we view ourselves in that way.  He sees us, His children, just like He sees His Son, Jesus. 

Pure.  Blameless.  (Philippians 2:14-16)  Holy.  (1Peter 1:15-16)  Righteous.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)   Above Reproach.  Perfect.  (Matthew 5:48)  Complete. 

We should also view ourselves the way our Father views us.  In light of what Jesus did for us on the cross.  (See Isaiah 53)

To think and/or say otherwise is to say that you don't believe what Jesus did for you.  Or...you don't believe He did enough.  Or...perhaps, you think you have to work for it.  Whatever the reason, it is enough.  It was enough.  You don't have to work for it.  It is finished!  (John 19:30)  Believe it!

When we are in Christ, we are new people.  We are in Christ, and He is in us.  As one Bible teacher has previously said…We are spiritual beings living in a body with a soul.  We are viewed by God as new creations.  We are new creations.  The old has passed away.  The new has come.

 

Copyright 2014 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

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.