Thursday, August 1, 2019

Not the Same person...

In Acts 9, He directed Ananias to heal Saul, a known persecutor of the church whom God had blinded. Ananias was incredulous at receiving this mission, stating that Saul had been rounding up believers in Jesus for persecution and even execution. God told Ananias not to focus on who Saul had been but on who he had become: an evangelist who would bring the good news to all the known world, including to the gentiles (those who weren’t Jews) and to kings (v. 15). Ananias saw Saul the Pharisee and persecutor, but God saw Paul the apostle and evangelist.

We can sometimes view ourselves only as we have been—with all of our failures and shortcomings. But God sees us as new creations, not who we were but who we are in Jesus and who we’re becoming through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Our Daily Bread

Oh, my dear reader, this is one of the greatest weapons used of Satan upon me.  Oh, you too?

Some have heard a variation of the phrase  "They are their own worst enemy".  There's a bit of truth in that plus an element of fact.

We indeed are our own worst enemy.  Just not in the way some may think.   Our sin nature is poked, prodded and cajoled into bringing out the worst things in us.
Sometimes it's as simple as a silky smooth word that leads to another that leads to a thought.  That leads to bigger thoughts that leads us straight to a place we never should have been.

But we who have believed and are born again have a new nature. 

And yes, let's get down to where the rubber meets the road, it's war.

It's a brutal war at times between our sin nature and our new life in Christ.  It can cause sleeplessness.  Can provoke anxiety if the sin isn't confessed.

We live in a world of 'do what you want, believe what you want'. 

We live in a world saturated in temptations.   Subtle temptations that have us very well convinced that what we do is ok.  If we are honest, however, we know that it's not.  It's not a full blown blatant sin but it's wasted time better spent with Jesus.

Remembering who we are in Christ is sometimes the hardest thing to do.  Ananias was stunned!  I can picture his reaction to what the Lord was telling him to do.   But we all read and focus on what happened to Paul in this true story.  What did it do to Ananias?

Ananias certainly was a devout believer.  Certainly had been walking in obedience to his calling.  I have yet to read of a mission of God whereby only the recipient was changed.  Ananias was blessed by this encounter.  He too was changed and challenged by going to Saul.  We don't read about the conversations that these two had after Saul's eyes were healed and his life transformed.  You think that Paul was silent after this?  I highly doubt it.
He was probably needing to talk and Ananias was there.  I really doubt that anything less than a new vibrant friendship began between these two.

Who we are in Christ is what defines us.  If we are not in Christ that too defines us.

In the end of the book of Revelation there's wheat and tares. Those who are written in the Lamb's book of life and those who are not who are self-condemned to Hell.  Self-condemned?  How can that be?  Remember my dear reader that the choice of Salvation is in your hands, not Jesus's hands.  You choose to either accept or reject the free gift.  So yes, self-condemned.

In Christ is our identity. In Christ we have victories.   The part that many don't think to do is record the victories.  Write them down.  We are a forgetful people.  We are quick to forget once the next wave hits us that God's still there.  I am no more immune to that fault as anybody else.

Write down what is on your heart.  Your questions to God.  Your concerns that you have prayed about.  Leave room for the answer.   When you face new challenges and troubles you will have reminders of the truth.  Reminders of the fingerprints of God in your life.  Reminders that He is bigger than your biggest problem.

Our enemy loves to poison us by getting us to look at all of the things we failed God at.  Loves to point it out that we didn't measure up. 

Most reading this have been in a car, let alone have driven one.   How good a driver can a driver be who only is focused on where they have been? 

Think about that.  The windshield is completely open before you as to where you are going.  The rearview mirror is but a spec in comparison.  We tend to blow whatever is behind us out of proportion.

The past fades away as we get farther from it.  Remember who's you are in Christ.  God has so much in store for you if we keep our eyes where we are and not where we were.

Think about that today.  Be with Jesus in this moment.  Not focusing on what is in the past.  Change your priorities if you aren't giving Jesus more than a Sunday morning.  Victory in Jesus is because we spent time with Jesus.  Not when we tell Him see ya later I have more important things to do.  We develop a history of victories when we have spent much time with Jesus. 

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