identity

Why We Can Be Thankful For God's 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… the New Testament is full of commands for us. How can that be when Jesus died to set us free from the Law? In today’s short clip, Frank reveals why we can be thankful for God’s commands.


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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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This One Name Unlocks Your Entire Identity

Do you wonder who you are? Or how God sees you? In today’s short video, Frank reveals the supreme new identity God has given us. Discover today, who you are to Father and just how much you mean to Him.


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This One Name Unlocks Your Entire Identity

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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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The Purpose Of Your New Identity

We are saints: we are made new and holy! But have you ever wondered why? In this short video, Frank reveals the beautiful purpose of our new identity. Beloved, God lives in you, you are a radical entity!


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How To Live A Radical New Life

Can you relate to the cycle of trying and then failing, only to try harder again and fail worse than before? In today's short video, Frank reminds us that God doesn’t require us to meet a certain code of conduct through our own resources. Our gracious Father dwells in us and because of Him we can live differently!


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

Many of us struggle with questions about our identity, value, and worth. Do you really know who you are? In this short video, Frank shares the beautiful answers to these questions, answers laid out for us in God’s Word. You are a child of God, beloved, and He wants you to know exactly who He has made you to be.


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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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What to do When You Fall Short

Worrying about what others think of us, and trying to be perfect all the time are exhausting burdens to carry. But what if our identity, worth, and value actually didn’t depend on our behavior at all? In this short clip, Frank invites us into freedom and rest as he shares how our Heavenly Father describes a righteous person.


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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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Identity and Value

A CHILD OF GOD WITH INFINITE VALUE - that is how you should define yourself because that is how God defines you...

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I'm a Former Legalist. And so Are You.

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We are all former legalists... Rom 5 says "the whole world is shut up under the law."

I've been seeing something happening lately that I'd like to talk about.

Mainly, I'm noticing that as some people find freedom and life in the grace of God, they become very cynical and mean to the 'legalists' or 'religionists'. I'm noticing such people almost boasting how they cannot stand such people or their teaching. That they cannot even bear to listen to such teaching, that they would rather not go to church at all rather than sit under such teaching.

Isn't that amazing, when religious and legalistic is exactly what we used to be before finding the New Covenant? Why are we not going back into the legalistic cesspool we came out of to rescue those who are still stuck in there?

Though I understand the zeal, I do not understand the lack of compassion. Jesus, though rejected by the legalistic world never stopped presenting Himself to them, and no Pharisee was ever afraid to go into His presence. How are we going to win the legalistic world if we do not spend time with them?

 We should be so secure in our position, that we can sit under any teaching without it "making us sick." We must remember that many of these dear people who are legalists, do in fact name Jesus as their Lord and Savior, making them our brothers and sisters in Christ. They may be misguided. They may be no small source of discomfort for those of us who are free.

We should be so free that we can sit under their teaching and not have it ruin our day. Paul said, "I become all things to all men that I may win some." The grace of God was never intended to make us isolate and insulate ourselves from the world of religious men and women. That is what the Jews did and in doing so they failed to reach the world with the light that they had been given.

We who secure in our true identity and grounded in our freedom should be able to live in the camp of the religious without their dogma and behavior causing us unrest.

Now that, my friend, is true freedom.

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Placed Into His Being

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We must have a proper view of God. How we view God is ultimately how we will view ourselves in relationship to Him, so it is very important to study Who God is. In I Timothy 6, we are told that God is blessed. That is a strange thought, isn’t it? Most times as believers, our focus is on how blessed we are because we know Him. But here, Paul states that God Himself is blessed. The word is makairos and it means happy, content or fulfilled. Think about that! Our God is a happy God, a content God, a fulfilled God. He does not know unhappiness, frustration anxiousness or fear.

Now certainly there are “things” that please Him, and there are absolutely “things” that displease and even grieve Him, like when we sin! However, NOTHING ever alters His deep sense of inner contentment. He doesn’t have a bad day when we sin. In fact, God NEVER has a bad day! Every moment of every day is a good day for God!

Why is it so important that we understand that? Because in the New Testament, when we place our faith in Jesus, we are told that we are placed “in Him, and He in us.” Therefore, that means that when we got placed in Him, we also got placed into Who He is!

We got placed into His contentment,
His rest, His fulfillment, His calm.

Jesus stated this plainly in Mt. 11 when He said for us to come to Him, that we might find His yoke which is easy and experience His rest! I love how the Psalmist put this, “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 2:12) Take refuge from all the calamity, anxiety, fear, and unrest this world offers by resting by faith in Him, Who is blessed – so that – you too will experience His blessed rest and calm!

Wow!!!

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A Man

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Interesting...

When the gospel writers Mark and Luke wrote their gospel, they tell the story of the call of Levi (Matthew).  They detail that Jesus saw a tax collector.  When Matthew wrote his gospel, he wrote NOT that Jesus saw a tax collector, but that Jesus saw "a man".

Isn't that glorious!  Matthew did not define himself by what he did, but by who he was... a man, made in the image of God.

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Commandments Function?

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The grace of God in the establishment of the New Covenant did not eradicate the imperative mood in the Greek New Testament. To the one who has really come to understand and is abiding in Christ, these commands function merely as reminders of what their true identity is and who they are in Christ. All that believer need do is abide and they will be expressing obedience to those commands as the Christ Life is lived through them. To the believer who is in process of their understanding, these commandments function as promises, reminders to the believer that what God is calling them to do, He will do through them as they trust Him by faith.

Obedience is simply the by-product of abiding in Christ.

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Who Are We?

And who are we?  Well, we were so fantastically created and intended for such incredible purpose, that it takes multiple descriptions to fully define ourselves.

And who are we? Well, we were so fantastically created and intended for such incredible purpose, that it takes multiple descriptions to fully define ourselves.

It has become quite popular with the internet age to research one's genealogy. In doing so, we learn who we are in terms of our race and culture. This is an absolutely essential thing to do when it comes to understanding our spiritual genealogy. If we do not know our source, our beginnings in God, then we will be lost when it comes to truly understanding who we are. God created us and designed us to function in intimate relationship with Him. Because of the finished work of Christ which enables us to be restored to God, we now have the opportunity to be restored to who we truly are.

And who are we? Well, we were so fantastically created and intended for such incredible purpose, that it takes multiple descriptions to fully define ourselves. The New Testament tells us that we are:

Saints - holy ones of God. 
Soldiers - those involved in a great conflict between God and evil.
Farmers - who sow seed and reap the harvest of life as we lead others into relationship with Jesus.
Fellow workers - an amazing thought to be sure, that God has considered us worthy of participating in His kingdom work.
Joint heirs with Christ - a mind-blowing statement that we share in the inheritance of God's own precious son.

We could go on and on with declaring our multi-faceted identity that we have been restored to through faith in Christ, but I want to stress what I believe to be the supreme aspect of who we are. In the New Testament, we are told that we are now a child of God. Why do I say that is the supreme statement of our identity? Because it is the only aspect of our identity that comes with "THE RIGHT" to say it is so. John 1 says, "when we receive Jesus, we have the "RIGHT" to be called a child of God!"  Ponder the glory of that --- by faith, I am a child of the Sovereign Mighty God of the universe! He calls me son... and I get to call Him "papa". This is my RIGHT because He said it is so.

WOW!

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Grace is Jesus

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Grace is not a word we define.
Grace is not a doctrine we agree with.
Grace is a Person we are to experience.
Grace is Jesus (Tit 2:11-12). 

Therefore, Grace is NOT the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to be who we are --- containers of God who have the privilege of God expressing Himself through our humanity as we trust Him by faith.

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This is No Time for Wimpy Christians

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Christianity is anything but an ethereal float through this world. It is a battle, that we must actively contend in. I am not so sure that we shouldn't call it "conflictianity".

In I Corinthians 16, there is a very concise but powerful call put forth by the Apostle Paul. "Be alert"... The phrase occurs some 22x in the New Testament. It means to be aware (of the danger), to be on guard (taking every thought captive), to watch (for he lurks around every corner.)

We are the light of the world which instantly puts us into a struggle with him who is the prince of the darkness. He travels the world like a ravening and roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is the tempter, laying snares that can trap us, sowing lies in the hopes of leading us to make choices that will have devastating consequences.

I love the glory of our new identity in Christ, that we no longer sinners, but saints. We must realize though, that ours is a multi-faceted identity. Father's Word also says that we are soldiers and that because we are in an epic battle. Embrace who you are and whose you are, and fight this good fight of faith with the courage that the Lion of Judah places inside us with His presence. This is no time for wimpy Christians.

I raised my kids on a mantra, I share it now with you...

TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!

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Father Is A Name of Summation

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent that no one name can adequately describe Him.

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent that no one name can adequately describe Him.

On the final night of His life, Jesus prayed what has been called His “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. It is one of the most incredible possessions we have because it takes us into the “dialogue of God”. In it, we are afforded the privilege of listening in to “God talk” between the Father and the Son. Amazing! 

In that prayer, Jesus declares that He has finished the work that He was sent to do. He states that “Father, I gave unto them (us) your name!” Now think about that! Throughout the Old Testament God manifested Himself through a multiplicity of names. El Shaddai, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah Rapha and so on. This is as it should be, because really, how do you describe God?

He is so grand, glorious, and magnificent
that no one name can adequately describe Him.

There was one name however, that was not used in the Old Testament that Jesus used throughout the Gospels. In fact, in His communication with God, the religious world was scandalized at how freely and intimately Jesus used this name - - - Father! I believe with all my heart that this is the name that Jesus was referring to in John 17.

All those other names, though they contain wonderful truth about the nature of the Father, are limited in their scope. Father is a name of summation. It wraps up in one word all that He is and longs to be to us. A father is strong, a father is a provider, a father is a protector, a father loves his children and desires and implements the best for his children, and we could go on and on. It really is, the name above all the other names for God, the name that He desperately wanted us to know, the name He sent Jesus to herald to us.

This is so important to understand because most people get their view of the Father from distorted sources. They view our heavenly Father through the lens of their own earthly father. That is so potentially destructive because so many earthly fathers are horrible fathers. Please understand, even the best earthly father is a hideous distortion of what our heavenly Father is really like. Others get their understanding of the Father from religious leaders, renaissance art, and a faulty understanding of the Scriptures and end up with a heavenly Father that they are desperately afraid of in His awesome glory. No, my friends. The Father is love. That is what it says in I John. And our Father wants to be known for who and what He is really like. Maybe I could put it this way if I could be so bold? He is tired of so many others telling what He is like in their own distorted views, so He sent His Son to herald once and for all what He is all about. “I am your heavenly Father, and so you could know Me and how much I love and care for you, I sent you My Son to provide you with a visual so that once and for all you would know what I am really like!"

Who is God? Oh, He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes. But He is above all else, My Father, which means that He is omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign, and omniscient and all those other glorious attributes to me personally as my Abba (Papa) God!

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