Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I am who God says I am

I was recently watching an episode of Oprah’s Life Class (she is one of my she-roes) that featured pastor Joel Osteen. The lesson was on the power of the I Am

Pastor Osteen’s teaching so inspired me. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in negativity and condemn ourselves. Lately my prayer has been,"Lord, help me to see as you see."  

Proverbs 18:21 says that in the tongue is the power of life and death. I know that I want to speak LIFE. 

I decided to examine the Word to remind myself of what God says about who I am. I hope these confessions will help you on your journey to rediscovering who you are.  (I am intentionally leaving out scriptural references to encourage you to do your own study).

Remember that everything you are is also what your brother is. So let us not forget our calling to bear with each other and forgive one another. . . forgive as the Lord forgave you.

i am

I am designed by God. I am made in His image. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am God's workmanship. I am His masterpiece.
I am chosen. I am called. I have divine destiny. I am predestined to greatness. I have ordered steps.
I am loved. I am rooted and established in love. I am loved with an everlasting love.
I am a child of God. I am marked for an inheritance. I am joint heirs with the sons of God. 
I am royalty.
I am the head. I am the first. 
I am a citizen of heaven.
I am rooted in Spirit. I am a temple of the Holy Spirit. 
I am the light of the world.
I am victorious. 
I am holy. I am blameless. I am unblemished. I am sanctified. I am righteous. 
I am delivered.
I am approved. 
I am established. 
I am redeemed. I am restored. I am renewed. I have eternal life. 
I am forgiven. I am reconciled with God.
I am free.
I am made alive in Him.  I abide in Him.
I am whole. I am complete. 
I am joined with God. I am His friend.
I am confident. I go to God boldly with my requests and He answers me.
I am faithful. I believe.
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I am protected. I am safe.

I am hidden in God.
I am strong.
I am powerful. 
I am an overcomer.
I am blessed.
I am highly favored.
I am humble before Him, yet great in Him.
I am a prophet to the nations.
I am an ambassador of God.
I am full of peace.
I am in His rest.
I am joyful.
I am content. I cast my cares on the Lord. I surrender to Him.
I am satisfied.

I am secure.
I am self-controlled. I am disciplined.
I am a hearer and a doer.
I am a bearer of fruit.
I am used by God.
I am gifted.
I am courageous.
I am a beneficiary of grace and mercy.
I am part of the One Body. I maintain unity.
I am careful with my words. I use my mouth to edify, encourage and serve God.
I am kind. 
I am compassionate.
I am a forgiver.
I am gracious.
I am patient.
I am a giver. 
I am a listener.
I am wise. I am discerning.
I am prosperous. I have abundance.
I am thankful.
I am a visionary.
I am hopeful.
I am expectant.
I am trusting.
I am beautiful.
I am worthy. I value myself and others.
I am His delight.
I am healed. 

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” . . . “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into . . . a land flowing with milk and honey.'  Exodus 3:13-17. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Trusting God with your life

At a certain point, you just have to start trusting God.

· assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

· dependence on something future or contingent; hope 

Losing myself and following God’s will are impossible without a relentless faith that the Universe is divinely operating according to God’s Love for me.

But, oh, how we struggle!

At times it feels like we’re just out there on our own. Like God is not at all hearing us. We ask, when God? How? Who? What?

I want the exact date and time with detailed instructions on how to do it (which should be easy and not require much). I want to know who’s going to be involved. And I want a report on how it’s going to end up.

(Hope that’s not just me!)

Most of the time we’re so focused on what is front of us that we lose sight of the bigger picture.

We can all recite stories from the Bible in which God has actively revealed Himself and made miracles happen. But try this: set aside those stories for a moment and look at your own life. Where and how has God shown up for you? I guarantee you have a testimony. I know without a doubt that He’s present in my life

So let me (let us!) remember that our God is an active God. He hasn’t just left us here to run around in circles until the end comes.

He wants us to enjoy life right now!

To do that, we have to start believing that God will. He will! He will love us. He will never give up on us. He will pursue us. He will invite us to partner with Him. He will reveal to us. He will enable us. He will equip us. He will do all these things at the appointed time.

And, the best part is that even when we don’t believe, we can count on His grace. Read Exodus. God provided miracles, signs and wonders and still the people of Israel doubted; yet, God’s plan was completed. You see, no matter what you’re doing, you just can’t stop the plan of God. He is the ultimate finisher.

So join Him. Get into relationship with Him. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Believe that He will answer. Trust Him.

Have faith! He doesn’t need much. A mustard seed will do. 
trust and faith

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Who's will am I serving?

I had a wake-up call the other day. In Experiencing God, the author writes that when it comes to doing the will of God, we often are asking ourselves the wrong question. We ask, "what is God's will for my life?" But the better question is, "What is God's will?" Note the difference. In the first question, it's really about us. We're viewing the world including God's activity through ourselves. But asking, "what is God's will?" requires you to first get very clear about God's purpose and then to align yourself with what God is doing.

Now we know that God is Love. He created us out of love and yearns for us to be in loving relationship with Him. Everything He has done, is doing, or will ever do starts with Love. We may not always understand what God is doing, but we can be sure that God will never act contrary to His nature. From the beginning, God has always expressed Himself through perfect love.

With this in mind, I began to examine all the aspects of my life. Work, volunteer projects, my relationships, hobbies, habits, church. . . . So often when we examine our lives we are very judgmental. We hold ourselves against some litmus test of rules and regulations we have picked up along the journey of life. But that judgment and condemnation is purely distraction. What a difference it makes when I start using Love as my litmus test and asking myself whether the things in my life are really centered around who God is.

God's will

This is really a shift in thinking. For example, one of the areas of my life I have been struggling with the past two years is my career. Am I having an impact? Is my work effective? Does it have meaning? I keep trying to figure out what I should do and how I should do it. I keep asking what is in the plan, where is this all going? I keep trying to do something and make something happen.

But then who's will am I serving - mine or His?

What If  I just focused on God and what He is doing and let Him lead me? I have been praying for God to tell me what His purpose is for me. But it's not about me! The real question is, God, what is Your purpose?

Knowing God's purpose, requires me to know Him -- to know that God is love and that He only desires a relationship of love with me.  By understanding this to the core of my soul and walking with Him, everything else will flow.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  The truth of the matter is that my own plans could never compare to the plans of God. He has things in store for us that we can't even imagine. God will do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us! He doesn't hold us to the restrictions and limitations we place upon ourselves. He has put His power in us and is desiring for us to walk with Him.

So let my prayer be: Lord, I trust you. I thank you for Who you are. I am so blessed to be able to grow in relationship with You day by day.  I know that You love me and are forever with me.  Let my focus be on you and not on my plans. Lord, I surrender to You: Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go." Amen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's not about you

not about you

Part of our journey is realizing that it's not about us, not individually that is. Pause for one second and breathe that in. It. is. not. about. ME. 

What a shift! Our entire culture is me, me, me, me. Yet, with all the focus on self-satisfaction, have you noticed how no one is all that happy or satisfied? Our very souls are crying out for more.

Have you found yourself in a place where you are asking, what else? Maybe you have finally come to the conclusion that all these efforts to please yourself only result in temporal good feelings. But that emptiness or that yearning is always present.

To lose this notion of the individual I, me, the self, is actually to know that you are more. It is to know that you are a child of God with a power burning brightly within you that is greater than you. But this power is not just for your use, but for All. Many scriptures talk about selflessness and uniting with your spiritual brothers and sisters to be of one heart and mind -- Acts 4:32, Rom 15:6, 2 Cor 13:11, Phil 2:2. The something else you're missing is an understanding of our collective purpose in rebuilding the kingdom of God as One.

Now, please don't confuse what I mean by kingdom-building. This is not another us against them war to be waged. This is about helping each other to see who we really are, the way God sees us. That is Love. See, we have to flip our old understandings on their heads. This is why the Bible talks so much about renewing your mind.  Colossians 3:22 tells us to set our minds on things above not on earthly things. Notice that "set" is an active verb; that means we have a choice of where we allow our mind to go! To set our minds on God means we're not focused on all the junk of this world -- fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, anger -- because we know who God is and that He is in us.

By focusing on Him, we can instead be lead by His Spirit -- walking in love, joy, peace and all the promises of God that are our inheritance. "For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. . . . The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs -- heirs of God and co-heirs with Chirst." (Romans 8:14-17).

It is time for us to reclaim who we really are -- to be made new in the attitude of our minds by letting go of this false notion of self. The truth is that I and you and God are all connected as ONE. When you say no to (the limited) self and yes to God (the all and all; His creation, His will, His purpose), than you are embodying your true identity.  

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?(Matthew 16: 24-26).

Are you ready to lose yourself?