Motivation

Forget the Past, Remember Jesus

26 September, 2016
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Joshua is most famous for crashing the walls of Jericho. Moses is most famous for parting the Red Sea. But did you know Joshua did it too? Before the walls of Jericho fell, Joshua and Israel needed to cross Jordan River. The children of Israel could not go around the flooded Jordan River, God took them through it. As priests carried the Ark of the Covenant into the Jordan the water parted and God’s children walked through on dry land.

Once all the Israelites crossed, Joshua commanded the leaders of the twelve tribes to take a stone from the centre of the Jordan as a memorial to the Lord. God asked them to make a memorial so they, their children, their children’s children and generations to come would remember the miracle of God.

But in the New Testament things are a little different.

Philippians 3:13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Paul forgot the past. He certainly had a past, but then God got hold of him and he became the greatest preacher to walk the earth aside from Jesus Christ. I don’t know what is in your past but God asks you to forget it.

Jesus commands us to remember something else.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.”

When God remembers the past He recalls Christ’s shed blood and broken body. He remembers the sacrifice of Jesus. And it is what you should see when you think of the past. Not your sin and failings, but the broken body and shed blood of Christ. We take communion – the New Testament memorial – and remember all Jesus accomplished at the Cross.

If Satan has been replaying scenes from your past over in your mind go to your fridge, get bread and grape juice (improvise with whatever you have) and focus on Jesus. Focus on His broken body. Focus on His blood shed for you. Remind yourself this is what God remembers when He sees your past.

As New Testament believers we remember one thing: the shed blood and broken body of God’s Son.

Not the past.

Not the sin.

Not the pain.

Only the Cross.

Forget the past. Remember Jesus. And press forward.

Lifestyle

So Not Authentic

14 September, 2016
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Transparent is not authentic

“Sister, a few years ago you offended me. I would smile but deep down I was so angry. I have forgiven you. It was hard, but I have. I thought I would let you know because I want to be transparent with you, Sister.”

Has this ever happened to you? Where someone has dumped offence on you for the sake of being authentic? Just so you know, authentic and transparent are not the same. 

As I wrote in a previous post, authentic is to be true to the spirit within you. The spirit within is the Spirit of God, which means true authenticity is living according to the spirit. God does not make a big deal out of sin or the fact He has forgiven it. He forgives and moves on. It is the spirit we should mimic.

Over-sharing is not authentic

We live in a world where over sharing is normal. We think we have the right to know everything about someone’s life. But it is normal to not know everything. 

There are plenty of details left out of the Bible. Jesus healed many people who are not named. When the disciples asked why a boy was blind Jesus did not give the reason. There is no written account of the first thirty years of Jesus’ life.

Be transparent with your spouse, family and accountability partner. That’s healthy. But don’t feel the pressure to over share specifics of your life with the whole world in an attempt to be authentic.

Divulging struggles is not authentic

As a leader your job is to encourage others. Personal struggles don’t do that. Instead they give people an excuse to stay on the same level, or worse, move backwards. You can tell people you know how they feel without going into every facet of your personal struggle. 

Allow your testimony to focus on the victory achieved in Christ. Glorify God more than you glorify sin. Then you are being authentic.

Lifestyle

Authentic – Part Two

29 August, 2016
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Romans‬ ‭8:9‬ ‭NLT‬ But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. 

Authentic is being true to one’s spirit. If you are born again, the spirit within is the spirit of God. So you are authentic when your words and actions line up with the spirit of God.

Many seem to believe authentic Christianity is exposing sin and personal struggles. But the spirit of God does not sin. Let me remind you of the type of fruit produced by those who live according to the spirit:

Galatians 5:22-25 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 

You and I are authentic to the spirit within when we exhibit the fruit of the spirit. To exhibit any other fruit is inconsistent with God’s spirit and conforming to the spirit of the world.

Not long ago I was in a particularly trying situation. I work as a substitute teacher from time to time and a few days ago I taught challenging classes in terms of behaviour. As a result of that day my confidence was knocked, not just as a teacher, but in every area.

I was trying to convince God that it was okay for me to feel down and defeated and that He should pat me on the back and comfort my wounded soul.

Instead, He talked tough. There have been plenty of times when my husband used my own sermons against me, but now God? 

1 John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

God gave me a wake up call and reminded me that wallowing in my own pity was not the spirit I had. The spirit I have within is greater than the spirit of the world and if I were to be authentic I had to get in line with His victorious spirit. Satan desired to keep me down and defeated but it was not the spirit I had.

People often discredit “name it and claim it” type Christians – those who are sick as a dog, yet say, “I’m healed and whole in Jesus’ name.”

“It’s not real,” belittle some.

I argue it is authentic because that is the spirit within. The spirit of God is whole and healed. The spirit of God is more than a conqueror. We are not of this world. We are born of the spirit. Honest, authentic living is when you are true to the Spirit of God. 

You have a greater, super-powerful spirit inside you. Don’t conform any longer to the patterns of this world. Live authentic to the Spirit of God.

How can you live authentic to God’s spirit within, today? 

Lifestyle

Authentic – Part One

22 August, 2016
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He had that look. Big shoulders, bulging muscles. Confident. Brave. Perhaps even a little arrogant. He was ruggedly handsome with piercing eyes. He was a warrior and a leader. Imposing and formidable.

He looked like a king.

Even Samuel – the great prophet – thought so.

But Eliab was not the Lord’s choice.

Nor was Abinadab. Or Shimea. Nor Jesse’s four other sons.

They all looked like royalty, but they missed the mark.

“Is there anyone else?” Samuel desperately inquired.

“Only the youngest, David. He is out in the pasture tending the sheep.”

“Send for him at once. We will not eat until he arrives.”

And as they say, the rest is history. David was anointed King of Israel and the Spirit rested on him from that time.

He was chosen, not because he looked like a king but because he had the heart of a king. Man looks at outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

Authentic is a buzz word at the moment, especially among Christians. We desire to be authentic in our faith as we know Timothy was:

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you (2 Timothy 1:5).

According to Merriam Webster, authentic means to be true to one’s spirit.

David was chosen as king because he was authentic. God liked the look of David’s heart. He was true to the spirit within him.
Would God say the same of you?

Sometimes we try to complicate things but being authentic is not difficult. It is being true to the spirit of God within you.

You may not be in the presence of a great prophet or influencer, today you just might be tending the sheep. Regardless of who is watching, be authentic. Be true to the spirit of God within. You never know where a heart like that will take you.