by Susan Sampson


All caps is how I wrote this on my lecture notes when Laurie said this because it is so huge! To be able to begin to comprehend the truth of our identity in Christ!  We were sinners, children of wrath and now we are saints, saved by the grace of God!  Truly breathtaking!  Humbling!  Impossible to fully understand the depths of the reality of these truths on this side of heaven and yet we cry out to the Lord to enable us to do so by the power of His Spirit—to know and believe the truth that the old has gone and the new has come!

So I think that I have been starting to see what the Lord has been showing me of how I still bow down to self, but this week, it went to a whole new level.  Not just self–my idol is my “old girl!”

The truths of who I am in Christ are jumping off the pages of Scripture.  It’s all over the New Testament.  The old is gone.  Yet I continue to identify with and act as if I were still my old girl.  She is so familiar.  I read that the old has gone and the new has come, and yet I don’t believe.  My wrong thinking goes, “Well that can’t be true because I still sin.”  The devil’s schemes are so subtle.  Yes, we all will still sin!  We won’t stop sinning until heaven when we will finally be completely delivered from the presence of sin.

But the truth is, for those who are in Christ, our sin has been completely paid for by the shed blood of Jesus.  Sin no longer has the power of death over us.  We have been given new life in Christ.  A new identity!  Our Father has adopted us and given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

Lord, we need your grace to believe the truth of your Word.  We need your grace to put our flesh to death.  To mortify our old girl.  To become who you have made us to be.  Can we ever get tired of hearing Galatians 2:20? “I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

We are in Christ.  We are no longer in Adam.  I don’t want to live the way I used to live before Christ redeemed me.  What Laurie said is painfully true: “when we walk as who we once were, we deny the living God.”  I have been given mercy and grace.  I don’t want to trash that any more.  Lord, help me to renounce the idols in my life.  Grant us all the gift of repentance.  Help us to die to self and live for Christ because He died for us.

Help us, Lord, to choose for ourselves this day to serve Christ and no longer serve self and the old girl.  May you be glorified and may many see and fear and know that you are God!

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 8:22-25 ESV

22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them,  
“Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out,  
23 and as they sailed he fell asleep.  
And a windstorm came down on the lake,  
and they were filling with water and were in danger.  
24 And they went and woke him, saying,  
“Master, Master, we are perishing!”  
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves,  
and they ceased, and there was a calm.  
25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?”  
And they were afraid, and they marveled,  
saying to one another, “Who then is this,  
that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
He rules and reigns over heaven and earth at all times.

Where do we place our faith?

Do we believe in what we see or do we believe in His Word?
Do we rely on what we see or on what we know to be true?

When everything is falling apart around you…
When you feel as though you continually fall short of the mark…
When you are accused, rejected, or forgotten…
He is the great I AM.

He is Lord even in a storm.
He is Lord even in your failure.
He is Lord even in your weakness.

Jesus Christ is Lord of All.

He was Lord in the boat.
He was Lord on the cross.
He was Lord in the tomb.
He is Lord at the Father’s right hand.

He is the great I AM.
He was, He is, and He is to come!


He loves you and gave Himself for you.
His love isn’t dependent upon your love for Him,
because He is the only one who can love perfectly.
His love isn’t dependent upon your ability to hold it all together,
because only He can hold all things together.
His love isn’t dependent upon you being perfect,
because only He is perfect.

He loved you and laid His life down for you.
He isn’t going to let you go now.


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


I confess my temptation to listen to lies,
to doubt, to be tossed by the waves,
and to be frightened by things
I don’t understand.
Lord, help me believe what is true.

Your love is perfect.
Your ways are perfect.
Your glory is forever.

In His hands for His glory,

by Angie Thomas

I am so thankful for this journey the Lord has allowed us to walk this semester as we study Ephesians.  As I was contemplating that I considered how we often talk of a “Bible/discipleship study” or refer to completing our “homework”. There is a risk in using these words to describe what we are doing.  We risk forgetting that in these activities our goal is not to simply to participate or complete them, but to meet with a person…Jesus.

If we are really honest and stop long enough to contemplate this and not just give the “Sunday School” answer, is that how we see our time on Tuesday nights or during our day when we find time to open our study to do our “homework”—seeing it as a time to really meet with Jesus?

I know that I haven’t been.  I had been praying that the Lord would show me when I could “get my homework done.” Having a newborn with an unpredictable sleep pattern makes this challenging.  But the Lord gently said to my heart, “Are you seeking to just check something off your to-do list, or do you really want to meet with Me?”

Ouch. I had relegated my time with Him to a task.  Girls, Jesus is not a task or a “to-do.”  He is a person and He deeply desires to reveal Himself to us.  I love what He told the disciples in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Do you hear His invitation? Come to Me.

Jesus, forgive us when we see participating in a Bible study or doing our homework as something “good” or something to ease our conscience, instead of seeing it as an invitation to meet with you, to learn more about you.  I don’t want to see you as a religion or a belief, but as a person.

So, this is my prayer for all of us this semester.  That we would seek to know more about Jesus as we walk through and learn more about who He is in the book of Ephesians.  May we not seek to merely gain knowledge, or do something “good” but may we seek Him.  Do you know what His promise is to those who choose this route?  He reveals it at the end of Matthew 11, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (v. 29).  Rest for our souls.