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There’s No Need to Imitate His Life, You Have the Real Thing!

There’s No Need to Imitate His Life, You Have the Real Thing! .jpeg

If you've walked at all in the glory of the grace of God, you have probably been accused of teaching “cheap grace” or “easy believism.” Well, let me tell you something friend, His grace is nothing of the sort! 

When Adam sinned, he believed the lie that he should be his own god, he believed the lie that he could provide his own source of life. Adam, up until this point, had lived in an economy of receiving. He was created halfway through the sixth day, so his first full day of life was the day of rest! He went out to work on day eight, but not to achieve anything. He was working simply because it was the divine ethic - God works. God is working right now holding all things together and if He takes a day off, the universe blows to bits! 

So, Adam worked from a position of rest, he was working from a position of already possessing everything. But now that he's made the choice to be like God, all of that has changed. He's now in an economy of achieving. He thinks, tell me what to do and I’ll do it, or tell me what not to do, and I won’t do that thing - that’s the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

Of course, there's a huge assumption with all of this, which is that man is going to be able to pull it off. This is how every man and every woman lives on this planet, performing for life, performing for love, performing for acceptance, performing for significance, performing for an identity.

The Cross of Jesus Christ has changed all that, beloved! At the Cross we died with Him, we have risen with Him, and we’re placed into union with Him. 

We no longer live for God, but instead, we live from Him.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” 

Colossians 2:6 (NASB)

We’ve received grace, through faith, and so we also walk in grace, through faith. And I'm here to tell you, my friend, there is nothing easy about that! 

One of the most difficult things you will ever do is to deny your own ability and instead, trust His ability; to say no to your resources and lean on the resources of God. In the words of John the Baptist, 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” 

John 3:30 (NASB)

Those are our marching orders for life. God is not impressed with our cheap imitation of His Life. What God made way for in the New Covenant was for us to have His Life in us, and experienced by us and expressed through us by faith. 

There is no such thing as cheap grace, and there is no such thing as easy believism. As we encounter life, we must say no to our resources and yes to His, and that requires diligent confidence and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. May you walk today, in the powerful grace of God. 


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What You Must Unlearn in Order to Live from God

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As we discovered the New Covenant, there’s one thing I think we specifically have to unlearn, and that is that the Christian life is not a code of ethics. It is no longer an external law where we seek to perform and achieve at life. 

We don't live for God, we live from God. 

The issue now has gone from external to internal. As Christ takes up residence in us through the power of His spirit, His Life is in us, and it wants out. The thing that we must understand, however, is that this is not an easy thing to do. People accuse those of us in the New Covenant economy of “easy believism.” But the truth is, 

There is nothing more difficult to do than to set aside your resources and choose instead to live out of the resources of God. 

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” 

Colossians 2:6 (NASB)

How did we receive Him? By grace through faith. So, how are we to walk in Him? By grace through faith. 

We are to live from God because that's the only way you and I can live for God. The life that pleases God is His own Life, which He has placed in us to release through us so we can multiply His Life throughout the world. The church is to function like a kaleidoscope, with varying personalities and expressions of the very same Life. The result is that the unbelieving world can look at the church and say, “Wow, so that's what God is like.” 

You are a part of that, beloved, so play your part. Live a life of faith, trusting God to be all that He is to whatever you need. Bless you now, go shine your light.


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There’s Nothing God Won’t Do to Get to You

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In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus told Nathaniel that he was going to see angels ascending and descending from the throne of God. Basically He was saying that Eden was going to be reversed. You see, man was removed from the tree of life, but men are going to be restored to life - they will gain access to heaven.

When the Lord Jesus Christ died, the temple veil was torn in two when an earthquake hit. But there is something very unique and special about this that I want you to think about. If the rumbling ground of an earthquake tore that veil, wouldn't it have made sense for the veil to have torn from the bottom up? But that’s not what happened! 

When we read the Gospel accounts, they tell us the veil was torn from top to bottom. Beloved, it's almost as if God took that veil and ripped it in two Himself, saying, “Finally you have access to me!” 

But here's the thought I want you to think on today - is it possible that there was more to that veil being torn than just us finally having access to Him? Perhaps Father was also saying, “Finally, I have access to YOU! Finally, I can be all that I've longed to be to YOU, but could never be to you before, because sin separated us.” 

With sin gone, God could finally be all that He is to whatever we need in the moment of faith.

The day that God said, “Finally,” was maybe the day that He tore that veil from top to bottom. 

Oh, how He loves you. He wants to be more to us then you and I can imagine. Let's trust in faith, He who can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think. 


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Why We Can Be Thankful For God's Commands

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Romans 7:4 tells us that in Jesus Christ, we died to the Law. Paul uses an illustration of a husband and a wife, saying, if a man is married to a woman, and the wife goes with another man then she's committing adultery. BUT if the husband dies, the wife is free to remarry and that will not be considered adultery. 

Paul then goes on to use this as an illustration of us. We were married to the Law and that relationship had to end. God couldn't kill the Law because the Law was holy, perfect, and good; it abides forever. So what did He have to kill? He killed us, through our union and in our faith, He placed us on the Cross with Jesus so that we died and our relationship to the Law could end. Because of our resurrection with Jesus, we could be married to Jesus Christ instead.

“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”Romans 7:6 (NASB)

Do you see, beloved? What Jesus did, ended the Law. It's as clear in the New Testament as anyone can make it! 

As you continue to read the New Testament, you'll find a lot of commands: Don't go here, don't go there, don't quench the Spirit, submit to one another, don't gossip, don't let the sun go down on your anger - lots and lots of commands! We need to understand that the New Testament did not remove the imperative verb - we're supposed to live according to who we are, as it’s what would only be natural. 

So, how are we to look at these commands? We are to look at them two ways,

  1. God’s commands are a reminder of who we are. 

When the Bible says don't steal, it's calling you to your true identity. Of course you shouldn't steal, you’re not a thief, you’re a child of God. Don't gossip, well of course I can't gossip, that's not who I am. I speak the truth in love, as Colossians says, because I am a lover. When you see a command, don't look at it as something to do, look at is as something that you are. 

2. God’s commands are promises. 

We have been given the Life of Christ and the Life of Christ is a wonderful Life. And so when you see a command, let it draw you to Jesus Christ. Don't let it be something to do, let it bring you to a someone. When the Bible says don't steal, remember the promise, His Life is not a stealing life. And you’ll find yourself walking in intimate union with Jesus. Don't gossip, well that's a promise from Jesus that His Life is not a gossipy life. His Life speaks wholesome words. 

We can thank Jesus for His commands as they remind us of who we are and who He will be to us as we trust Him by faith. 

Don't fall into the trap of performing and doing, let those commands remind you of your identity, and remind you of the Person who will live that kind of life in and through you, He will fulfill those commands. It's all about Jesus, and it's about you trusting Him. I hope you've been liberated in that glory, my friend!


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The Most Glorious Revelation You Can Enter Into

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It saddens me that Romans 7:1-4 is such a neglected passage of Scripture by the Church, as it’s one of the most glorious revelations you will ever enter into.

There, we’re told that in Jesus Christ we have died to the law. A lot of people think that’s referring to ceremonial law, but if you continue to read you will see that coveting is spoken about, and we know that coveting is one of the big ten, listed in the Ten Commandments. So no, it can’t be ceremonial law. 

We have been delivered from the law, so that we 

might be married to another. 

You see, Adam plunged all of us into a relationship with the law; a relationship we were never intended to be in. Genesis 3:16 calls it the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” If you've ever wondered what that means, it just means the tree of right and wrong. This is the tree Adam was told not to eat from. We were never supposed to even know right and wrong.

When Adam and Eve ate from that tree, they plunged into the law. They went from having a relationship with a Person, to having a relationship with principles. That's why Genesis 3:16 tells us that it brought death. That death, beloved, had to be redeemed by another, we needed to be set free. Jesus did that for us. 

We have been delivered from the law so that we can now have a relationship with a Person and His name is Jesus! 

It’s also important to know that Romans 7:4 says that relationship is the only way to bear fruit. You will never bear fruit in the Christian life by following the law. You only bear fruit in the Christian life through expressing the living Life of Christ. 

“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.”

John 15:5 (NASB)

The Christian life is all about fruit, and you can't have fruit if you don't have Life, and Life is only found in the person of Christ - it is never found in the law, that's why we had to be delivered from it.

Walk with Jesus, beloved, He alone can produce fruit in your life. We've been given a better principle, the principle of life instead of the principle of death. I hope this has encouraged your heart today. 


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Why John 3:16 Is Only Half the Story

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Many of us are familiar with John 3:16. It’s a very prevalent verse, and one that many adults can still recite from back in their Sunday School days! 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

From this verse, we’ve developed the mantra, “Jesus died for my sins.” We conclude that He laid down His life for my sins so that I could go to heaven. And that’s wonderful - but now what do we do? 

The answer is found in a verse that’s not so prevalent in our modern church. 

Corresponding to John 3:16 is a verse found in 1 John 3:16. The verse in 1 John picks up on the thought from the verse in John: that love was manifested to us when He laid His Life down for us. The difference is, John doesn’t stop there! He adds these words, 

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 

1 John 3:16 (NASB)

Again this verse tells us how Jesus laid His life down for us, but in addition, the result and natural byproduct of what that means to us is revealed. He reminds us of what Jesus first did for us and adds, “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Those are our marching orders until He returns, beloved: Just as Jesus laid down His life for us, so we lay our lives down for others. 

We do this so that others can enter into His love and that others can go to heaven. 1 John 4 declares that people have never seen God, but they can see the love that we have and then find God. Paul put it this way, 

We are the living letters from God telling the world how much God loves them. 

Ours is an “others” centered faith; we focus not just on what we receive, but on how God, through us, can allow others to receive as we lay down our lives. 

My friend, you might want to memorize these two verses and put them together. I think it's fascinating that they both carry chapter 3 verse 16, don’t you? It's almost like the Holy Spirit was saying, don't miss this one! 

Jesus dying for your sins is a wonderful message, but complete the message by including that just as Jesus died, we too, are to lay down our lives for others. 


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This One Name Unlocks Your Entire Identity

This One Name Unlocks Your Entire Identity .jpeg

One of the great glories of the New Testament is the revelation that we have been given a new name. The Bible says we’ve been given a brand new identity. 

You see, before Christ, we were known as sinners, the lost, rebels. But the glory of the New Testament reveals our new and wonderful multifaceted identities. 

I believe the name we’re all most familiar with is “saints.” But we're also called ambassadors, we’re called the living letters of God, the children of God, and the sons of God. We're called soldiers and farmers, and the list could go on and on. And while those are all wonderful names by which to identify ourselves, in my heart of hearts, I think there's one name that is above all the other names. 

There is one identity, that I believe, is greater than all the others. 

In Scripture, John calls us “beloved” which is “agapétos” in the Greek and it literally means “those loved by God.” I think it’s so insightful that this name, this great identity, was written about mostly by the Apostle John, because John was known as “the disciple that Jesus loved.” A name given to John, not because Jesus loved him especially, but because John marveled, was stunned by, and never let go of the fact that he was loved by God.  

Being called His “beloved” is the supreme identity that God has given to us.

I call it our supreme identity because all the other identities, or names He calls us by, are birthed firstly out of His love. 

It's because He loved us that He made us saints, it's because He loved us that He made us His ambassadors. It's because He loved us that He adopted us into His family as His own children. 

We are the beloved of God. 

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”  1 John 3:16a (NIV) My friend, He stretched out His arms and He said, I love YOU this much. 

Hold your head high in this dark world, you are the beloved of God!

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What Union With God Really Looks Like

What Union With God Really Looks Like .jpeg

I want to talk to you today about Isaiah 40:30-31 where it says:

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

“Even the vigorous young men stumble and fall.” By the way, “vigorous young men” is the word for athlete in the Hebrew, so the average person trekking around in this world is definitely going to fall! Now notice the contrast with the next part, there’s another reality we need to understand. Those who rest in Him—“those who wait for the Lord” is what it says. I would translate it differently. I would translate it “Those who abide with Him, those who are in union with Him, those who depend upon Him.” When we’re walking through this world and we find ourselves in trouble, we don’t need to be sitting around waiting for God and God doesn’t sit around. He’s ready to move on our behalf. We are in union with Him. That’s what He’s talking about here.

Then the verse says, “shall gain new strength.” That’s not a good translation either. Go check it out for yourself! In the Hebrew, it literally means “exchange.” So as we abide with God, we will exchange our strength for His strength, our mercy for His mercy, our patience for His patience. That’s why we “mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary” because we have exchanged our strength for His strength. That’s the new covenant.

What a glorious new covenant it is! I pray you would know this great exchange. That’s why Hudson Taylor first called it “The Exchanged Life,” and it’s a glorious life. We have become partakers of the divine nature. It doesn’t mean we become God, but it does mean we’re in union with God. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says that “the one who joins himself with the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Which means that we can experience all that He is, all that we need, in the moment of faith. That is a glorious covenant.

Bless you, in Jesus’ name.

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How To Give Thanks When Life Is A Mess

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In the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:18) we’re told, “In everything, give thanks.” Now stop right there. Let’s be honest and let’s not read that casually. That is a startling statement! We live in a world where a lot of nasty things happen. And God didn’t say “in all the good things give thanks,” He said “in everything give thanks.” Let’s notice what else He did not say. He did not say “for everything, give thanks.” There are a lot of things that come into my life that are not good. They come in a fallen world with devastation as their goal and it’s so wonderful that God does not call me to thank Him for the pain that comes into my life. He didn’t say “for everything,” He said “in everything.”

Now what does that mean? It means that I am going to choose to believe that God is going to fulfill His promise. I choose to believe that He is so powerful that all things will work together for good in my life as I trust Him. So what comes into my life as pain I can fight against it. It’s going to cause me emotional turmoil but I can bring it into harmony with what God says He will do and who God is. And when my life is hard I can say, “In this, I’m going to give thanks because this is not the end of the story.” Remember what the Bible says, “God will restore the years that the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25). God will take the ashes and He’ll bring beauty out of them. He’s going to take the sorrow and the suffering and put it around your neck as a garland of praise.

I love what He says to the widow in the book of Isaiah, “You will not remember the bitterness of your widowhood” (54:4). Now, that’s so cool because it’s so honest. He doesn’t say “You’re going to forget your widowhood.” He says, “You won’t remember the bitterness of it. I’m going to bring good out of it.” So we don’t live in a fairytale world where bad things don’t happen. We don’t have to say “Oh, I’m doing great. My mother just died.” That’s stupidity! No, we can say “My mother just died and it broke my heart and the tears are streaming down my cheeks, but that’s not the end of the story.” That’s the key. It’s not the end of the story. We are the people of the good ending. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s good! That’s why in everything we can give thanks and we can live a thankful life today.

Bring to God whatever comes into your life by faith and trust Him that even if it’s bad, it’s going to end good because of who He is. In the Psalms it says “He is good and does only good” (Psalm 119:68).That’s a God I can trust. That’s a God you can trust.

Walk in faith today, my friend, in Jesus’ name.


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God Doesn’t Care Who You Used To Be

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Throughout the book of Ruth, Ruth has been given an established identity. You know the story. Naomi and her husband Elimelech moved during a famine to Moab. Moab was an arch enemy of Israel and in fact, in the Old Testament it said a Moabite is not allowed in the assembly of God. While they were there, Elimelech died and Naomi’s two sons married Moabites. Then her two sons died and Naomi finally came home. And she brought her daughter-in-law, Ruth, a Moabite, home with her to Israel. And so throughout the whole story of her life in Israel, the writer of Ruth calls her “Ruth the Moabitess,” “Ruth the Moabitess,” “Ruth the Moabitess.” He gives her an identity based on her birth—based on her race. You know, the world is always giving us identities. The enemy is always trying to give us an identity based on our behavior, based on things we’ve done. But in the third chapter of Ruth an amazing thing takes place. Boaz one of the princes of Israel marries Ruth. And he stands in the city gates and tells everyone “Ruth the Moabitess...she will be my wife” (Ruth 4:10). She will be my bride. He doesn’t try to hide it. He doesn’t try to cover it. He uses the name of shame and he says, “She will be my bride.” Do you see what’s happening there? Boaz is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and He says to us through Boaz and Ruth, “I don’t care where you’re from. I don’t care what your race, I don’t care what your economic status is, I don’t care what you’ve done, how many times you’ve done it, who you did it with, where you did it. It does not matter what shame you bear. I want you to be My bride.” And the great glory that is in Ephesians chapter five is that He washes us clean. He cleanses us and He makes us beautiful brides (Ephesians 5:26).

I’m a beautiful bride. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in my life—I’m a beautiful bride. And if you’ll put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will become a beautiful bride too. And if you’ve already put your faith in Jesus Christ, you already are a beautiful bride. So stop identifying yourself as a Moabite! Stop identifying yourself by your former way of life. Stand tall in the glory that you are married to the Lord Jesus Christ as His bride, the church.

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What Legacy Are You Leaving?

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Heritage. Legacy. Ponder those words.

Where did King David, beloved King of Israel, author of the Psalms, a man after God’s own heart get his amazing heart?

Let’s start tracing back. Let’s look at where he came from. One of his ancestors was a woman named Ruth. Who was she? She was a Moabitess from a far country, one that was at war with Israel. A woman who, according to Deuteronomy wasn’t even allowed in the assembly of God. In the Book of Ruth Boaz took her as his wife and she was no longer a Moabitess. And where did Boaz get his heart? Well if you trace it back, his daddy was a man named Samon and he loved Rahab the prostitute. Do you begin to get the idea? All these people were touched by grace.

Hearts that have been touched by grace are the only ones that can pass on grace. I believe with all my heart that that’s what made David a man after God’s own heart. He wasn’t born with it. I believe he learned it from others, people who passed it down to him, a man who could unconditionally love a prostitute and a man who could unconditionally love a Moabitess.

It makes you start wondering, what are your kids are learning from you and your heart?

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The One Who Completes Us

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Whatever things you really cling to, whatever you fail to yield to God, whatever you look to as the source of your life will become the supreme issue of your life. Let me give you an example, if I’m going to try to get life out of my kids, then my kids are going to be the supreme issue in my life because that’s where my life source is. See how that works? If I’m taking my life from my finances, then money is going to become the supreme issue of my life. If I’m trying to get identity or life out of a house, that house is going to become the supreme issue of my life.


We only want God as the source of life. All those other things are just various, incomplete expressions of life. The only One who can give us total and complete life is our Father. John 5:26 says, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself” Do you see that? That’s an amazing verse. He has life in Himself. He is life. Life is His nature. Do you realize what that means? If life is your nature, you don’t have need of anyone or anything. And here’s the glory of the new covenant. He takes this life which has life in itself, and He puts it in us to live that life through us and to express it through us. So all those other things cease to be a life source and instead become what they were intended to be—things to enjoy.

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Why Knowing About God Isn’t Enough

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There are two Greek words in the Bible for knowing. First there is the Greek word oida. It means “to know in the mind;” it means “to know the facts.” But there’s a second word for knowing that we really need to understand and it’s gnosco. Gnosco means “to know by experience.”

Let’s explore the difference between these two words. I can’t come to you and say, “I know (gnosco) Abraham Lincoln,”  I don’t know him by experience. I have no relationship with him. The word I would use here would be oida. “I know Abraham Lincoln.” I’ve read the history books and I know the facts about his life. So which word do we find in the New Testament when it talks about us knowing God? It’s not oida—it’s gnosco. This is so very important because so many people live in oida. They know about God, they read the Bible, they know the facts, they study the history, and they know about God but they don’t know Him. Do you realize how sad that is?

Let me illustrate this again. I don’t want to know about a kiss. I don’t want to oida a kiss. Oida is the facts: two mouths coming together, exchanging tongues and saliva fluid. Yuck. I don’t want to know that. I want to experience it! Isn’t that strange, especially after that definition? But you want to experience it too, because that’s the first act of giving yourself to another human being and receiving another human being. And that’s gnosco, my friends, the Lord Jesus Christ came to live inside of us. Why? Well, so He could empower us, so we could experience Him so that we could know Him, not by mind only, but by experiencing His love.

I don’t want to know about love. I want to be loved, don’t you? And that’s why the Holy Spirit came inside of you. So you could experience the love, grace, mercy, faithfulness, kindness, and goodness of God and know Him (gnosco) by experience.

What a great God. Have a great day!

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Who Am I? - The Answer You’ve Been Looking For

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Let’s look at 2 Peter 1:1 where Peter introduces himself as “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ.” So we can look at this casually but please, don’t ever read the Bible casually, dig into it! There are precious jewels here that you might miss if you’re just skimming through. Peter introduces himself not as Peter, but as Simon Peter. Simon was his birth name, the name given to his humanity; Peter was the name given to him by Jesus, his new covenant name, “the Rock” in Jesus Christ. Then he goes further just to make sure we get it. He says he is a bond servant, basically just a slave, and he is an apostle of Jesus Christ, basically a prince in the Kingdom of God. Do you see what Peter is doing in this little verse? He’s saying, I know who I am and I know who I was. I’m just a man, but I’m so much more than a man—I’m a child of God. I’m just a servant but I’m also a child of the king, which means I’m a prince and I rule and reign with Him.

Peter knew who he was. Do you know who you are?

I find that the church doesn’t understand this issue of identity. Here’s how it usually goes. We talk to the unbeliever and we say, “You’re a sinner in need of deliverance.” So they agree and say, “Yes, I put my faith in Jesus.” And we say, “Okay, now you’re a sinner saved by grace.” But don’t you see? In this way of thinking nothing has happened, nothing has changed! Well your sins have been forgiven and you’re going to heaven, but we’ve missed the whole thrust of the New Testament. The whole point is that we get made brand new! We are no longer sinners— that’s what we do—but it’s not who we are. Here’s a new way of saying it; a new way of thinking about it. I was a sinner. Now I am a saint who sins. Sometimes that’s the best definition.

I’m just a man. When you look at me, you look at Frank Friedmann. I’m just a man, but I’m so much more than a man. I’m a container of God. I’m a prince of the Kingdom of God. Just as you are. You are a saint. You’re not a sinner anymore. If you’re a Christian, a sinner is not who you are, it’s what you do sometimes, but it’s not who you are. You are a saint. You are a prince or a princess. And for this, we praise our God in Jesus’ name.

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When God Says “Wait”

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Wait. Did you hear that word? I really don’t like that word. To me it’s kind of a four letter word in the Bible. When my heart gets set on something I’m going to bring into my life or maybe there’s news of a bad thing coming “wait” is a very difficult word. And that’s not only true for us, it was a difficult word for Ruth in the Bible too. In Ruth 3:18 she has expressed her desire to marry Prince Boaz and he has affirmed his desire to marry her. Romance is in the air. There’s only one problem, as so often happens with fairy tale romances, there’s somebody in the way. With Cinderella it was the wicked stepsisters and in the Princess Bride it was that deceitful Prince Humperdinck. Well here there is a kinsman redeemer who’s closer to Ruth than Boaz is and he has the right in the law of God to redeem her first.

So Naomi tells Ruth, “Wait, my daughter, until you know how the matter turns out; for the man will not rest until he has settled it today” (Ruth 3:18). But here’s the other thing I want you to notice. She tells Ruth to wait because another is working to bring about an appointed end. Boaz, as you remember, was a mighty man of valor, a mighty man of influence. My friends, do you see where we’re going with this? I don’t know what you’re having to wait for—maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s a decision to move, maybe you’re single and you’re waiting for a spouse, or you’ve got a sick child and you’re waiting for a diagnosis. Waiting can be very, very difficult. But remember, there is One who is greater than we are who is not going to rest. He is going to settle this matter and as Jeremiah says, “bring us to an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). While you wait, my friends, rest in the knowledge that there’s a greater One who is working on your behalf.

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What to do When You Fall Short

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Today I want to share with you one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament, Proverbs 24:16. This is what it says: “The righteous man falls seven times and gets up again.” Did you hear that? It does NOT say the righteous never fall. That’s the mind of religion. That’s a lie! In that way of thinking the focus is on my behavior and the lie that I don’t sin. 1 John 1:8 says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Romans 2:10 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So it’s very important to understand that a righteous person is not somebody who is righteous by behavior because everyone’s behavior falls short. Isn’t that glorious? The righteous person is one who lives by faith and gets back up again.

There’s another part of this verse that I want you to notice. We don’t want to miss this. “The righteous man falls seven times.” Why didn’t God say four times or five times or twenty times? He said seven because seven is the number of biblical perfection. So what does this mean? It means that a righteous person is a perfect failure—a perfect failure who keeps getting back up. Now that’s a God I can follow! That’s a God I can serve!  In His eyes the issue is not that I fall, but that I keep getting back up and I keep choosing to believe in Him. My identity and my worth and my value and my salvation are not dependent on my behavior, but on the behavior of the Son of God who gave Himself for me on the cross. Isn’t that glorious?

Go tackle the world today with this as your motto; “You can knock me down, but you’ll never knock me out—I’m getting back up again.” Have a victorious day to day in Jesus’ name!

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Want Others To See God In Your Life? Here’s What Not To Do

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In 1 Thessalonians 5:19 there’s a very curious verse. It says, “Do not quench the spirit.” That’s puzzling because “quench” can be used so often in a very positive way, especially when we’re talking about thirst. When I’m thirsty, what do I want to do? I’m going to quench that thirst. When I have a desire, what do I want to do? I want to quench that desire by fulfilling it. But here it’s being used in a very negative fashion. “Don’t quench the spirit.” What does that mean? I think the key to understanding this verse is to realize that throughout both Old and New Testaments, the Holy Spirit is viewed and represented as fire. Fire is a very powerful commodity. Fire purifies everything that it touches. That’s the important part. The Holy Spirit has come into our life as a fire to empower us so He can purify us in our walk. Wonderful! Do not quench that!

Let’s think about this clearly. Fire has one real enemy and that’s water. Water can put out the fire. The Bible talks about water—living water—and so we want to draw a real life from God as living water but by implication there are other kinds of water. There are other things that can temporarily satisfy our soul, never satisfy our spirit, but certainly satisfy our soul. When we take satisfaction from those things, we are quenching the power of the Spirit to completely satisfy all of my needs. So we’ve got to be very careful here, my friends. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will never overpower your life. He will never overtake you, never control you. And also, He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will always be available to you. But in the moment when you quench the spirit, you’re looking to other things than God as a life source, and you’re not allowing His power to transform you into the image of Christ.

Don’t quench the spirit, let Him energize your life in a way that transforms it so that the world will be able to look at you and see you as a letter of God and say, “There goes a man or a woman who knows God. I can see it in the way they live.”

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The Only Thing To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

The Only Thing To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed   .jpeg

Adversity. I don’t like that word, nor any of its synonyms—distress, hardship, struggle, conflict. All those kinds of things can loom very large in our lives. Let’s be honest, when they do, it’s so easy for you and I to fix our eyes on them and not see God. Then God becomes very small in our lives. Sometimes I feel like the disciples when Jesus said to them “Oh you of little faith!” I’m not sharing with you something that I don’t struggle with. Those looming things that pop into our lives can seem so big. What can we do?

Well, I’m always looking for stories of how other people have trusted God. I think of Asaph in Psalm 73. He went horizontal in life and life seemed so harsh. He went vertical and he saw the true reality of life. He saw the world through heaven’s eyes.

Recently I came across the story of the Boxer Rebellion in China. Hudson Taylor was the founder of the China Inland Mission during the Boxer Rebellion and the saints were suffering very badly at this time. So Hudson Taylor, who was now in his late seventies, gathered them together and this is what he said,I cannot see. I cannot think, I cannot even pray.” Have you ever been there? When life seems so overwhelming, you can’t think straight. You can’t see the light in the midst of the darkness and you’re so overwhelmed that you cannot pray. But Hudson Taylor wasn’t done. Listen to all of what he said. “I cannot see. I cannot think, I cannot even pray, but I can trust.” My heart was warmed by those words.

You see, God doesn’t call us to understand why things are happening. God doesn’t call us to muster up our strength and tread through the darkness. He calls us to trust Him that He will be our strength and He will be our guide and He will lead us through the path of darkness into the light of His glorious grace and love.

I hope that encourages your day and bless you in Jesus’ name.


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He Is Faithful, Even When We Wander

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I want to share another one of my favorite verses with you today. It’s found in 1 Thessalonians 5:24  It says, “Faithful is He who calls you.” Stop right there. A lot of times we’ll read this as “Faithful is He who has called you. That’s not what it says! That would imply that God reached out and He called you to Himself, and now He’s not doing anything else. The Greek word is not in the past tense, it’s in the present tense. Let’s translate it correctly and let’s read the Bible carefully. “Faithful is He who calls you.” The present tense means there is an element of continuousness in the action. So God is calling you and calling you and calling you and calling you. Why is that so important? Because like the old hymn writer said, “I’m prone to wander.”

There’s this thing in me called the flesh that is not me. There’s this thing in me called the power of sin that is not me. It’s like having a splinter. I have a piece of wood in my body, but it’s not me. And the flesh and the power of sin that are in me are attracted to the things of the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life (1 John 2:16). As Psalm 23 puts it there’s a lot of different paths out there, and sometimes I can be called to those paths. But God is so faithful. He calls me again and again and again and again. “Don’t go down that path. Don’t go down that path.” And sometimes I do it anyway and He continues to call me to Himself. Remember what God said? “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

We serve a God who calls us to Himself perpetually. That’s how faithful He is. Isn’t that glorious? And for that, we praise you, Father, in Jesus’ name, have a great day my friends, bless you.

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

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I’m going to highlight for you what I believe is one of the most important verses in the New Testament. In the book of Acts 17 the apostle Paul went to Berea and there he taught them the word of God. But here’s what’s so special. After they listened to him the Bereans went home to search the scriptures to see if what he said was really true (Acts 17:11). I hope you understand what a desperate need there is for you to do that and for me to do that today.

You know, years ago when I first began to teach the grace of God, you didn’t need more than your fingers and toes to count the people who were teaching the grace of God. But we’re in a wave of momentum and so many people are jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve read some of the new books that are out, and I’ve listened to some of the new speakers, and I’m greatly concerned that they do not necessarily know the grace they’re talking about. We’ve got to remember, my friends, that there are two fathers in this world. There’s the Father of light, our great God, and there’s the father of lies. And the father of lies is very active in this world. What he does as a strategy is he takes truth and speaks truth and puts just a little bit of lie in it. It’s enough truth to sound good, but there’s enough lie to knock us off course. Remember, Adam and Eve and the serpent? “God said, you shall not touch that tree.” God never said don’t touch the tree. He said, “Don’t eat of the tree.” There was enough truth in what the serpent said to get her to listen to him, but there was enough lie to cause her to stumble in a very bad way.

No matter who you’re listening to, even me, I want you to search the scriptures and see if what that teacher is saying is true. If it’s true, follow them, listen to them, and keep searching and making sure they continue to speak truth. If it’s not true, run as fast as you can. Lies are nothing to play with. Be alert in this world, it’s a dangerous place. Walk close with God.

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