Posts Tagged ‘believer’

We have to understand that God’s way and man’s way of solving problems are different.  If we are not believers then all we have is man’s way.  Man’s way of solving problems includes such things as psychology, philosophies and ungodly theories.  On the other hand the Word of God has been given to believers as the sole source for solving man’s problems.  The Bible is sufficient for problem solving.

What is the biggest difference between man’s way and God’s way:  SELF

We try to please self, comfort self, rely on self, fulfill self, forgive self, exalt self, and to love self.  We are basically selfish people.  It’s all about ME.  That is man’s way.

While God’s way is applying the Word of God to our problems.

The other day I wrote a piece called, Key to Recovery.  In it I stated that the key is developing an intimate relationship with God.  That is so true.

In order to have an intimate relationship with anyone we have to get to know all about them.  It’s the same way with God. 

I’d like to expand on that thought a bit and think about the benefits that believers have been so graciously given by our wonderful Heavenly Father. It will help us to get to know God better as we see how much He loves us and what He had done for us.

When we know God in a personal way He bestows upon us certain benefits.  All true believers have these benefits, but not all true believers enjoy them, or even realize how loving and kind our heavenly Father has been to us.  It would be helpful if we go through some of these benefits and remind ourselves what a marvelous God we serve.

1. We are forgiven of all our sins. Every one of us had a death sentence upon us.  For God said in Rom 6:23 NASB “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We were spiritually dead because of sin.

But, God, in His marvelous grace, made a way for our sin payment to be paid in full.  Jesus Christ hung on the cross on our behalf.  He canceled what we owed to God for sin, and satisfied God’s justice.  Because of His great love for us our sins are forgiven, past, present, and future.  Now that is mind boggling to me.

Col 2:13-14 NASB When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

2. At the time we are born-again we actually become a new creation.

2Co 5:17 LITV So that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!

Sometimes it is hard to understand this new change because we do not look any different on the outside. We have the same bodies and the same physical problems.  So, the new creation has to be on the inside. 

What does it mean that we are a new creation?  We are born again spiritually and we actually become new in the inner man. This is a divine act of God. Our old views of life are passed away and we now have new views.  We see things differently than before. 

I remember when I was young I was arrogant and prideful.  I don’t like to admit it, but I looked down my nose at certain people.  Usually, they were the poor and unlovely people.  In some twisted way I thought those people deserved what they got.  I had no pity for them.  At one point I too became impoverished and the shoe was on the other foot.  Part of that lead me to find the Lord. 

After conversion to Christ my views toward people changed a great deal. Then when I saw poor people I had real sympathy in my heart toward them.  I looked at them as beautiful souls that the Lord created and I wanted to help them if I could.  Sometimes I would see a poor soul on the street and I would pray for them.  My whole attitude changed toward people, and I wanted to tell them all about my precious Savior.  I also began to understand why people acted the way they did.  I could see the selfishness that I couldn’t see before.  It was as if my eyes were opened for the first time. 

Barnes in his commentary talks about the “old things have passed away.”

“…, it is also true that old things pass away. Their former prejudices, opinions, habits, attachments pass away. Their supreme love of self passes away. Their love of sins passes away. Their love of the world passes away. Their supreme attachment to their earthly friends rather than God passes away. Their love of sin, their sensuality, pride, vanity, levity, ambition, passes away. There is a deep and radical change on all these subjects – a change which commences at the new birth; which is carried on by progressive sanctification; and which is consummated at death and in heaven.”

Isn’t it wonderful what God has done for us?  He has allowed us to be changed in a way that we could have never done on our own.  Do you see change in your life?

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In our PD-Overcomer’s group we’ve been talking about some of the road blocks that stand in our way of clear sailing on the road to complete recovery from panic attacks and anxiety. 

Some of the road blocks that we mentioned were:  complacency, past experiences, lack of trust, sin in our hearts, following emotions instead of intellect, lack of assurance, trying to please others, and not being perfect, negative thinking, bitterness, unforgiveness, anxiety, fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief. 

Wow! That is quite a list isn’t it?  And, those are not the only things that can stand in the way.  But, if we take a closer look at all of these things we could boil it all down to sin and disobedience to the Word of God.  So, first, we need to do business with God and get right with Him.

Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.  The more positive side.

As I’ve thought about this, it has become clear to me how much greater we have it then those who do not know Christ as their Lord.  Have you ever thought about that? 

We have the Word of God to stand upon.  We have the Holy Spirit actually living within us.  We have the power of prayer.  We have God Almighty as our Father, and we have Jesus Christ, our Brother, Intercessor, and Lord.  That is only some of what we have in Christ.  Unbelievers don’t have any of that.  Therefore, we can be different in our lives and be overcomers!

The key to becoming an overcomer of fear and anxiety is an intimate relationship with God!  Remember that!  Strive for it!  Make every effort to accomplish it!  It is so very important.  Get your eyes on Jesus and the things in the Word.  Get you eyes off from yourself, your feelings, and things of this world.  Those are strong words, but I am speaking from my heart and truly believe them.

I’d like to recommend a couple of books that have helped me see God more clearly:

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, by Noel Piper.  This book consists of several short bios of Christian women who have really gone suffered and struggled for the sake of Christ.

They are:  Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim, and Helen Roseveare.  I’m not quite finished with the book yet, but I’ve really enjoyed reading about how these women faced the trials and tribulations in their lives.  It makes me feel as though I haven’t gone through anything at all.  🙂

Knowing God, by J.I. Packer:  This is a book that I’ve been reading now for some time.  I’ve read it through once and then hit and miss again.  There is so much in it and if you want to get to know God better I highly recommend this book.  It is also one of John MacArthur’s favorites.  It isn’t really easy reading, but it has helped me lately understand who my God really is.

I’m praying for all of you that you will not settle for less than complete recovery.  I want you tol realize that God does have a purpose for everything that is happening in your lives. And that you will trust Him to walk you through your trials and bring you out on the other side.

Mat 19:26 NASB

26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

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 Wintry Blast of Ice and Snow!

February2008 034

We’ve been looking at the spiritual side of our lives.  We have seen that once we are saved we are a new creation.  God gives us a new heart and the ability to change.  Isn’t that wonderful?  What I like about this is that God makes it possible for us to change.

We have many old habits that tag along with us and keep right on popping up in our lives.  We have to get rid of them.  The Bible tells us that the way to do it is to put-off the old habits and for every one we put off, we are to put-on new habits. It out with the old and in with the new!

As we study the Bible we need to evaluate all that we think, say, and do, and see if it lines up with scripture.  When it doesn’t then need to change.

Romans 6:12-14 NASB Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Isn’t it great that God has made a way for us to change?  We do not have to be a slave to sin again. 

Let’s take a look at some of the “put-offs.”

Ephesians 4:25-31 NASB Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Colossians 3:8 NASB But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

When we notice a habit that we need to change. We must confess our sinful behavior to God.

1 John 1:9 NSAB  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In order to change from our old bad habits, we not only have to put off the old habits, but we must replace them with good habits.

Romans 6:19 NASB  I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Now let’s take a look at some of the “put-ons.”

Colossians 3:10 NASB  and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:28-29 NASB He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

Ephesians 4:32 NASB Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Colossians 3:12 -17 NASB So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

2 Peter 1:5-8 NASB Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Study these lists of put-offs and put-ons.  Then, you could make a list for yourself.  On one side write the “put-offs” and opposite of that write down the thing you need to “put-on” in place of the old bad habit.  When we replace bad habits that are not Biblical with good habits that are Biblical we will see a lot of growth in our Christian life, and God will bless us for it.

Yes, we can live as believers and not as unbelievers.  Our Lord is  gracious in that He gave us His Word so that we can really get down to where the rubber meets the road and make changes that He desires for us.  He made us and knows how we should live.  We came into this world and got caught up in it.  It has influenced all of us in a negative way.  We all have things we need to work on and I pray that is study will help you change your habits.  

Blessings,

Bonnie

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February2008 001

Previously we talked about how different we are in God’s eyes when we are not saved and when we are saved.  We saw from the Word there is a great deal of difference.

Now that we are believers are we living like a believer, or are we still living like an unbeliever?

If you are not living as a believer, then you must examine yourself as the Bible says.  If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not you are truly born again, please write to me privately, and we will go over it together.  This is very important because the things we will learn will not work for the unbeliever. 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

“When you see our situation the same way you would if you were still an unbeliever, you are failing to realize what a great gift God has given you.”  (Wayne Mack, The Fear Factor, Hensley Publishing, pg.18.)  That gift is the Holy Spirit and all the resources God has.

You see we don’t have to live the same as before.  We don’t have to carry all our old baggage with us when we become believers.  Take a look at your own life.  Can you see any changes in your before and after picture?  Did you have panic disorder before you were a Christian?  I did.  When I became a Christian I did not know that God had made a way for me to be rid of fear.  But, it was still true.  It took me many years of Bible study to learn this.  That is why it took me so long to get better. 

When we become a true believer something wonderful happens to us.  God creates in us a new person.  We are not the same.  It is a supernatural work that the Lord does. We don’t look any different in our bodies, it is a spiritual new birth.  God gives us the Holy Spirit to come and live inside us.  Knowing this gives us the hope we need to be overcomers of any situation that comes up in our lives.

The world teaches us that the key to success is to “believe in yourself.”  Have “self-confidence” and good “self-esteem.”  Well, no matter how much you believe in yourself, and feel good about yourself it just won’t hold up.  We are not that powerful.  We cannot stop things from happening in our lives.  God is the only one who can control everything.  Isn’t that true? 

Look at the verse below.  It plainly says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.  The old things passed away and brand new things have come.  Isn’t that amazing?  We are actually new creations in Christ! 

2 Corinthians 5:17 ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

I love that verse because it tells me I am now different.  It is possible for me to change.  It gives me hope.  I want you also to have that hope.  You can change too.  Fear and anxiety, or whatever other thing plagues you, don’t have to dog us all the days of our lives.  We can be victorious.

Here is a story to illustrate this:

Suppose there was a very poor person who had a job but didn’t have any way to get there.  So, everyday, that man had to get up extra early to walk the five miles to work.  Then, after putting in a full-days work he had to walk all the way back home.  He was exhausted, and all he could do was eat some soup and go right to bed to be ready for the next day.  He didn’t have a home life with his wife and children.  All he did was toil and rest.  Sounds like a pretty boring existence doesn’t it?

Then one day along came a rich man who saw this man’s plight and said to him, “Here I will give you this brand new car.  It has a full tank of gas.  Oh, yes, take this, it’s a gas card so that whenever you need a refill you can fill up the tank.”  The poor man was very grateful and carefully parked the car in his driveway.

The next morning he got up and walked to work again and then walked home that evening as had been his habit. He continued on this same way ignoring the wonderful free gift the rich man had given him.  Oh, he would take the car out on Sunday and drive it to church and back but that was it.

What is wrong with this picture?  It is plain to see that the poor man was not taking advantage of the free gift that was given him.

Isn’t that how some of us live the Christian life?  We have been given so much from the Master, but do we really apply it to our lives?  He has made us a brand new creation spiritually in Christ. Not only that, He has given us the fuel to run on, the Holy Spirit.   That is similar to how the gas in the car gives the car power to run on.  The Holy Spirit gives us the power we need to do whatever God asks us to.

But, we too, can be like the man in the story and not use what has been freely given us.  It might be because we don’t realize what we have.  Or, it can also be like the man who was so used to walking to work that he could not change his habit.  We have many old habits that need changing, and God has given us the power and the ability to change them through salvation and the Holy Spirit. 

Sometimes we are like the man in the story and only show our spiritual side on Sundays when we go to church.  We go, sing songs, listen to a message, and go through the motions, but then just leave everything there behind us. When Monday morning comes along we act like we leave our spiritual side at home.  What a waste!  If we do this we need to examine ourselves and see if we really are in the faith. 

Being a Christian is far more than a Sunday habit.  We need to be in the Bible everyday, pray, and meditate on the Word.  Then, we can activate the power in our lives to conquer fear and anxiety.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

That is another amazing and wonderful scripture.

Blessings,

Bonnie

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April2007 020

This pansy started out as an dried up, dead looking, unattractive seed.  Then the Lord made it into this beautiful flower. What a transformation!

Quiet often when people are saved they are left to themselves and no one comes along beside them and explains how they are different and what has just happened.

We will look at ourselves from God’s point of view before and after we were saved.  Below are the actual words of God and not man’s ideas of mankind. 

Before:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,

We were spiritually dead.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We were eternally separated from God because we were all sinners.

James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We were actually enemies of God.  I didn’t realize that myself.

Romans 8:7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

We were not only enemies but were actually hostile toward God, and helpless. 

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

We also were blinded by Satan to the gospel.

2 Timothy 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Satan held us captive to do his will.  We were working for him, but we probably didn’t realize that.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

Everyone has sinned at some time.

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

We were powerless on our own to overcome sin’s hold on us. It owned us.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

We were unable to understand the things of God.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

We were incapable of living a spiritually fruitful and meaningful life.

Ephesians 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

We were without hope.  No hope for the future, and no hope of accomplishing anything on our own in this world. 

God had to reveal himself to us in order that we could be saved. We were hopeless left on our own. He had to open our eyes of understanding and allow us to hear and understand the gospel message.  He gave us the faith we needed to respond and we were saved.  Then he ushered us into his family and gave us eternal blessings.

When I go over this and think about all God has done for me in allowing me to become a believer and all the benefits and blessing that go along with it I am humbled and forever grateful.  I see where I was and what God saved me from.  It is scary to realize that I could have stayed in the “before,” state and my fate would have been eternal hell.  What a Savior! God’s love surpasses any that we know, and his grace is abundantly poured out on us time and again.

After we became a Christian our position in Christ changed dramatically.  Here is how God see us now.

After:

Colossians 2:13 -14 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We were forgiven of all our sins.  Christ bore them on the cross for us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

We became a new creation in Christ.  That is something we need to understand.  We are truly a new creation, and we can live out a new life here and now.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We had a new spiritual birth.  We were born again.  We became babes in Christ.  And, we have a new home in Heaven.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

We were baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. 

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

We were sealed in Jesus Christ, and given the Holy Spirit.

John 10:28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

We were given the gift of eternal life and we cannot lose it.  We are in God’s hands.

Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

We have been adopted into God’s family.  We need not to fear.

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

We are a citizen of Heaven.  We are in this world but we are not of this world.

Romans 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

We are now freed from sin and a slave of God, with many blessings.

Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

We were delivered from darkness to light. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

We can defeat any problem because God will not allow any difficulty that can overwhelm us.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

We can now realize that God uses our problems and trials as opportunities for our spiritual growth.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

God has chosen us and blessed us to be different and special so that we can glorify him for what he has done for us.

These are just some of the blessings we have been given when we came to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  I pray as you read this over and meditate upon it you will see how much God has changed us from what we were before. 

Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

We can be more than conquerors through Christ in anything that comes our way in life.  That includes panic attacks and agoraphobia. 

We need to ponder this question:  Am I living like a believer or an unbeliever?  Stay tuned.

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