by Susan Sampson

Does your Facebook page say you are single?  I don’t have a Facebook page and I am married, but if I examine my life and my actions, I would have to say it sometimes looks like I am single, independent from God, and autonomous.  I had to look that word up again but it means, “self-governing; not subject to control from outside; independent; self-ruling; uncontrolled.”

At Bible study on Thursday mornings, it’s fairly easy to believe God’s Word.  At 4pm the same day, once I’ve picked up my 3 children from the bus, not so much!  At 10pm when all I want to do is fall into bed and go to sleep and I still haven’t done my physical therapy exercises, not so easy to believe.  These are the times my flesh tends to reign.  These are the times I am so easily tempted to allow my feelings to be my shepherd.

Hearing in the recent Who Am I in Christ lecture that it takes work to believe really has helped me see more of how we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  The example of going to the gym is such a valuable visual image.  The more you go to the gym, the more weight you lift, the more your muscles grow.  It takes repetition.  The more I do my physical therapy, the less my shoulder is stiff.

But really, what is it going to take for me to choose painful physical therapy exercises over falling into a nice cozy bed which still has flannel sheets on it?  It’s going to take an act of God.  Praise God, He acted!  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved…” (Eph. 2:1-5) 

The quote Laurie used in the lecture from Horatius Bonar points us directly to the cross – the life giving power of the cross.  “Terror accomplishes no real obedience.  Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness.  No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will.  But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all it’s branches.  Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.”

When is your time when your are weakest and most vulnerable to sin?  What will we choose to believe in the next moment of temptation?  Our feelings are shifting shadows.  The truth of God’s Word is absolute, unchanging and eternal.  It says we are-

  • a saint blessed by God with every spiritual blessing
  • chosen by God
  • holy and blameless in His sight
  • adopted
  • redeemed and forgiven
  • lavished with grace
  • united in Christ
  • sealed with the Holy Spirit
  • recipient of an eternal inheritance and great power1

Here is our instruction for the next “moment” –

  • work to believe and receive the grace of God – choose by faith to believe God’s Word is true and not our feelings and look to Jesus and say, “I know you suffered for me the wrath I deserved, so in view of this great mercy and love I will now choose to put myself to death and believe your words and walk forward by faith!”

May our Facebook status always say “In Christ”!  May we by God’s grace this day put our sinful flesh to death and work to believe the truth of His Word and walk in the truth and light of His grace.

1This list has been slightly adapted from Laurie Aker, lecture, Who Am I in Christ, March 20, 2014. The title of this post is also the title of that lecture.

by Angie Thomas

In a recent Who Am I in Christ lecture, Laurie asked us how we direct our minds, thoughts, and hearts heavenward. How do we think of our present circumstances, in light of eternity?

One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart.Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Light and momentary? That is certainly not how I would describe the trials I often find myself in or the struggles that weigh down my spirit and heart.  But Paul is letting us in on a secret.  In light of eternity, in light of what is to come, our trials and struggles really are light and momentary, regardless of how heavy and prolonged they may perhaps feel to us.

And here is where we are challenged once again girls to choose faith over our feelings.  Let’s be honest…it is a battle.  Moment by moment we must choose to believe God’s promises to us in His Word over the perceived reality. It is so difficult to believe when we cannot always fully understand the trial, but God promises an amazing eternal reward!  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:6-8, that our faith is more precious than gold, but often the genuineness of it has to be tested.  We may profess with our mouths we trust Jesus and have faith in Him, but until the trials come we often do not know the reality of what is in our hearts.  Faith is not manifested merely in verbal assent but in action and trust.

May we rejoice in our trials for in them we are gaining eternal glory and proving authentic, priceless faith!

by Susan Sampson

There are seasons in our lives when the waves are calm.  But many times, the waves are rough and their will always be a “great windstorm” which causes the waves to “break into the boat” (Mark 4:37).  Praise God for there is purpose in the storms.  The Lord always uses the storms for our good and His glory.

These storms can’t be managed or controlled.  They can’t be fought with human wisdom or strength.  Only Jesus can rebuke the wind.  Only Jesus can speak to the waves.  The wind and waves obey Christ alone.

He is our only Hope.  Our Living Hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5). 

I thank the Lord for Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:17-19 that we would know the hope of our call.  That the Lord would give us a Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him having the eyes of our hearts enlightened. We need Christ!  Apart from His grace we cannot see.  Apart from His grace we will continue to believe the lies.  Apart from His grace the lies seem so true and so very comfortable.

When I fell down our stairs and dislocated my shoulder they put my shoulder in a sling to keep it from coming out again.  In a recent Who Am I in Christ lecture, as Laurie was describing how we all put the lies on like clothes and she wrapped her arms around herself, I could suddenly picture my arm in my sling.  It had become my protection.  It was my security.  I was so afraid of the pain I stayed bound to the sling.  And in turn it caused my shoulder to become frozen.

But the Lord graciously intervened and sent me to a second doctor.  He gave me a painful shot in the shoulder and told me to take off the sling and go to physical therapy!  There was one day at PT my therapist looked me in the eyes and said, “Do you trust me?  Do you trust me?”  I could hear the Lord speaking to my heart.  In order to overcome I had to willingly endure the pain.  I needed flesh therapy.

We are called to be free.  Jesus rescued us from the kingdom of darkness.  He doesn’t want us to live there any more!  We are called to live a new life in Christ.  To no longer live bound in chains, slaves to our sin.  To blast through the lies with all the powerful truths of God’s Word.  We can enter into this new reality by faith, knowing the riches of our glorious inheritance and believing in the immeasurable greatness of his power.

We are weak.  We are not strong.  Only Christ is strong.  But He has promised that when we are weak, then He is strong.  So let us confess our weakness and inability and put our faith in Him.  Let us give all our time and effort to search for the pearl of great price.  Let us choose to exalt Christ and not self.  To fix our eyes heavenward, off the wind and waves and onto our beloved Savior.

That we may know….(as the song says), “All [we] have is Christ.  Jesus is [our] life.”