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PLACED INTO CHRIST

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 16
 
Galatians 2:20 
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me
 
All unbelievers have an old nature which is characterized by sin. Before you came to Christ you were one of those individuals. You were a sinner because it was your nature to sin. This “natural man” cannot accept or understand the things of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).
 
What happened to the old you at salvation? You died–not the physical you, of course, but that old inner self which was empowered by the old nature you inherited from Adam (Romans 6:2-6; Colossians 3:3). What was the method of execution? Crucifixion with Christ. Paul announced in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ.” And in Galatians 6:14, Paul disclaimed any right to boast “except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” At salvation you were placed into Christ, the one who died on the cross for your sin. Being in Christ, your old self died with Him there.
 
Notice the remarkable difference. In Adam you had an old self; in Christ you have a new self. In Adam you had a sin nature (Ephesians 2:1-3); in Christ you are a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). In Adam you were in the flesh (Romans 8:8); in Christ you are in the Spirit (Romans 8:9). In Adam you could only walk after the flesh; in Christ you may choose to walk after the Spirit or after the flesh.
 
Aren’t you glad to be a new creature in Christ?
 
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, that You have set me free from my old sin nature and that I can choose to walk after the Spirit today.


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IN CHRIST

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 2
 
John 3:3 
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
 
Being in Christ, and all that it means to Christian maturity and freedom, is the overwhelming theme of the New Testament. For example, in the six chapters of the Book of Ephesians alone there are 40 references to being in Christ and having Christ in you. For every reference to Christ being in you, there are 10 to you being in Christ. Being in Christ is the most critical element of our identity.
 
But we weren’t born in Christ. We were born in sin, thanks to the first Adam. What is God’s plan for transforming us from being in Adam to being in Christ? We must be born again (John 3:3). Physical birth only gains us physical life. Spiritual life, the eternal life Christ promises to those who come to Him, is only gained through spiritual birth (John 3:36).
 
What does it mean to be spiritually alive in Christ? The moment you were born again your soul came into union with God in the same way Adam was in union with God before the Fall. Your spiritual union with God is complete and eternal because it is provided by Christ, the last Adam. As long as Christ remains alive spiritually, you will remain alive spiritually–and that’s for eternity.
 
Contrary to what many Christians believe, eternal life is not something you get when you die. You are spiritually alive in Christ right now. That’s how you got to be in union with God, by being born again spiritually. You’ll never be more spiritually alive than you are right now. The only thing that will change when you die physically is that you will exchange your old earthbound body for a new one. But your spiritual life in Christ, which began when you personally trusted Him, will merely continue on.
 
Salvation is not a future addition; it’s a present transformation. And that transformation occurs at spiritual birth, not physical death. God’s Word promises, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12). Eternal life is something you possess right now because you’re in Christ. Believe it. Rejoice in it.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that my eternal salvation is a present-day reality. I rejoice in this wonderful security and assurance.


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Forgiveness and Humility

ImageMatthew 5:25: Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

 

Just as pride comes before the fall, humility comes before honor. There is no honor without humility first. Humility dictates that a person demands to be judged and reckoned by others. If outward humility is not the result of inward humility, it is very dangerous because it becomes an outward display of deception. To put it another way: the outward expression of humility must always be a result of inward grace at work. Humility is the direct nature of God therefore we are advised to take advantage of every opportunity of humility.

Jesus was humility made manifest in the earth. We all know that if we are accused of something for which we are guilty, we must confess, apologize and make it right – and that’s difficult enough! If we are wrongfully accused, what then? Do we have the right to jump into a debate with someone, yelling (or calmly stating) how wrong they are about us? Absolutely not! Rather, instead of arguing, we should respond by apologizing to them for having given them the impression that we did or said what they think we did or said. Ask how we can make it right. When your opponent is faced with your humility, how can they successfully come against you? This is walking in a perpetual condition of forgiveness before someone offends.

We need to get it in our spirit-man that our Defender is far greater than the offender (Satan). We are never to defend ourselves. Walk away if you must, but don’t get into a showdown of words trying to convince someone they are wrong. When has that ever accomplished anything good? When someone thinks something in their heart, no amount of words you speak can turn them away from their opinion. Only God can change a heart. Don’t waste time and energy, and for heaven’s sake, don’t jeopardize your personal walk with God because someone thinks something incorrectly about you. It isn’t worth it.

God will prove them wrong in time; you needn’t concern yourself with such petty matters because truth will always surface in due season. Keep integrity intact and it will protect you in the long run.

 

Peace and blessings,

 Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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RELATIONSHIP, NOT REGIMEN

By Neil Anderson

Neil Anderson

February 23
 
Romans 8:2 
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death
 
Walking according to the Spirit is more a relationship than a regimen. Think about your marriage as an illustration. You may have started out relying on some rules for effective communication, meeting each other’s sexual needs, etc. But if after several years you can’t even talk to each other or make love without following an outline or list of steps, your marriage is still in infancy. The goal of a marriage is to develop a relationship which supersedes rules.
 
Or think about prayer. Perhaps you learned to pray using the simple acrostic ACTS: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. But if you have been a Christian for a few years and your prayer life is no deeper than an acrostic, you’ve missed the point of prayer. Prayer is not a formula; it’s the language of your relationship with God. Similarly, walking in the Spirit is essentially a relationship with the indwelling Spirit which defies quantification.
 
Even though Scripture doesn’t give us a formula, it does help us see what the Spirit-filled walk is and what it is not . Helpful parameters are found in Galatians 5:16-18: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
 
So how do you walk by the Spirit? If I answered by giving you a rigid formula, I would be putting you back under the law. The Spirit is not an “it”; the Holy Spirit is a “He”–a person. Walking by the Spirit is a relationship issue, not a legal issue or ritualistic exercise. It is a walk with God.
 
Over the next several days we will examine what the Spirit-walk is and what it is not.
 
Prayer: Father, thank You that my life in You is a relationship, not a set of rules.


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AN ENTIRELY NEW SELF

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

February 4
 
Ephesians 5:8 
You were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light
 
Ephesians 5:8 describes the essential change of nature which occurs at salvation. It doesn’t say you were in darkness; it says you were darkness. Darkness was your nature, your very essence, as an unbeliever. Nor does it say you are now in the light; it says you are light. God changed your basic nature from darkness to light. The issue in this passage is not improving your nature. Your new nature is already determined. The issue is learning to walk in harmony with your new nature.
 
Why do you need the nature of Christ within you? So you can be like Christ, not just act like Him. God has not given us the power to imitate Him. He has made us partakers of His nature so that we can actually be like Him. You don’t become a Christian by acting like one. We are not on a performance basis with God. He doesn’t say, “Here are My standards, now you measure up.” He knows you can’t solve the problem of an old sinful self by simply improving your behavior. He must change your nature, give you an entirely new self–the life of Christ in you–which is the grace you need to measure up to His standards.
 
That was the point of His message in the Sermon on the Mount: “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The scribes and Pharisees were the religious perfectionists of their day. They had external behavior down to a science, but their hearts were like the insides of a tomb: reeking of death. Jesus is only interested in creating new persons from the inside out by infusing in them a brand-new nature and creating in them a new self. Only after He changes your identity and makes you a partaker of His nature will you be able to change your behavior.
 
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for rescuing me from the kingdom of darkness and transferring me into Your marvelous light. I choose to walk as a child of light today.


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Christ the Lowly, Part V

“…thus says the Lord God, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high (Ezekiel 21:26, NAS).”

 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls (Matthew 11:29, KJV).”

 “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit… (Isaiah 57:15, NAS).”

 “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar (Psalm 138:6, NAS).”

 

We who are within the Body of Christ are not here to be served, but to serve. Those who desire to be great will be brought down. Christ states that those who serve are the greatest among His people. Those who purpose in the name of Christ Jesus to serve the Body will be highly exalted in due season. Many misunderstand, but there is a huge difference between a slave and a servant. A slave is in bondage to his master and has no choice, therefore becomes easily embittered. A servant, on the other hand, is employed by choice by his superior. He serves with diligence because his payment is eminent.

A bondservant is a person who is released from slavery by their master, yet chooses to stay from a heart of dedication and love. Therefore this person is willing to do anything they are asked without hesitation or grudge. God’s bondservants who serve with a grateful heart will be rewarded by the Kingdom of heaven. The lower we humble ourselves before Christ and His people, the higher we are moved toward Christ. We lend more service as time goes by, not less. This honors God.

Our only purpose in this life is to glorify the Father. When we are focused on ourselves, we take the focus from God. Pride can be very subtle. Remember what I said about those most at risk? It is very easy to find ourselves out of spiritual sync with God because we forget whom we serve and the One who gives all ability to do what we do. We can easily allow the praises we receive from those around us to puff us internally.

When we are in a place of servitude, we must remember that there is no good but God, as. Therefore, if there is good coming from us, it is not us. We can tend to look down in judgment on those not doing what we are or how we are. To be judgmental comes from a spirit of pride. We all pass judgment. The key is being so aware of it that we don’t allow it to remain and take root. We must be quick to repent of a judgmental spirit and remove that foothold of the enemy. Keep in mind that we as the Body of Christ are to judge things according to the Spirit of God; this is righteous judgment – discernment. That differs greatly from being judgmental (viewing ourselves as better than another).

We, God’s holy people, also need to be careful about starting a testimony wanting to exalt God yet talk endlessly about ourselves and what we did or said in a certain situation. Human nature is to glorify self and get people to be in awe over how humble and selfless we seem to be.

Obviously, according to the Word, pride is an issue everyone somehow, somewhere, needs to deal with. Pride takes constant pruning. It grows like weeds and spreads itself as fast and as far as it can. It is unrelenting! It cannot be assumed that, once we have dealt with pride, it is never to be faced again. Our hearts require constant supervision. The fleshly nature is driven by pride; therefore, we all need to be alert to it on a regular basis.

 

I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Can I Get a Little Love for Valerie Harper?

Dancing through life

I practically live for inspiring moments—nuggets of motivation that propel me forward each day.  In fact, I just concluded my lunch hour, in which I wrapped up an episode of The Biggest Loser.  I save episodes such as this for moments requiring a pseudo Red Bull, providing a little extra “oomph” of momentum to carry me through the remainder of an exhausting day. Of course, I cried like a baby (which is typical) … but boy was I ready to jump back into my work when it was over.  After all, if those contestants can push themselves through grueling weeks of physical turmoil, I can certainly mark some items off my to-do list.

There isn’t a science to inspiration.  I think we all hope to inspire or be inspired in some way, but may not have a clear route toward the execution.  In an attempt to provide a little extra jolt of encouragement for you today, I’d like to share a short video of our treasured Valerie Harper (actress legendary for the Mary Tyler Moore Show, among other things).

Valerie, a recent contestant on Dancing with the Stars, shared thoughts on video of her brain cancer diagnosis and her decision to join this year’s DWTS cast:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQs71f9FYJc

Valerie asked herself upon receiving her prognosis (given an “expiration date” from doctors):  “’Why this?  Why me?’  And then I said, ‘Why not you?  You’re 73.  You’ve had a great life.  Look at the career you’ve had.  The husband you’ve had.  The daughter.  Stop complaining and let’s attack it.’”

I know there have been instances in my life where I’ve asked, “Why me?”  But what makes me so special that it can’t be me?  And if not me, then who?  None of us are perfect.  No one is above another simply because of who they are or what they have accomplished.  So why would anyone else deserve to be faced with a hurdle and not me?

It’s not a question of whether or not we will each be presented with a struggle or whether or not that struggle is deserved.  It’s His will that matters, not our own.  Battles are inevitable.  But it’s how we “attack it.”  It’s how we renew our minds.  It’s what we make of ourselves.

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do.

It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

~ Rikki Rogers

Valerie is a perfect example of life’s circumstances controlling our conditions, but not our attitude.  Not our faith.  Not our persistence.  So why let our situation determine the outcome?  How we live each day is still within our realm of control.

Cheers to Valerie!  And cheers to you, for having the courage and determination to continue to dance through life, pummeling your road-blocks, while striving toward a positive mind-set.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

HAPPY EARLY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Twitter:  @AliciaMSmith7


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Only Praising

I was reading through Numbers the other day and came upon these verses:

“If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel. (Numbers 14:8-10 ESV)

The Lord only asked of two things from the Israelites. He asked,

  1. 1.      Do not rebel
  2. 2.      Do not fear

Why was it so hard for them? I think it was because they were tired. They were tired slaves begging for relief. It took forever for Pharaoh to finally let them go. Then he chased them. Then they crossed over into a new land. They had no food. They had no water. They were exposed to the elements. And they were tired so they complained.

It didn’t stop there. If they wanted the land God had promised, they had to fight. One battle after another they entered against some pretty fierce competition. Can you hear the groans? They were tired. They were sick of fighting for what was promised to them. Their reaction was one of grumbling and complaining.

Life can be tiring. Every day we wake up and essentially fight the same battles. We fight our way through traffic to get to work. Then there is a situation or a person who grates on us all day long. We come home only to be hurried out the door to this or that activity with the kids. It’s endless and we get tired.

If we are born again, we have heaven to look forward to. One day, we will meet our Savior face to face. We will live in glory praising our Savior. But until then, we are on this journey called life. It can be overwhelming at times. It can be frustrating. And it can be scary. But we are never alone. We have the Lord who goes with us. He rides along in the traffic. Talk to Him. He knows our frustrations at work. Ask for guidance. He knows how busy the kids are. Use those opportunities to share Christ with other parents.

This life can be more pleasant if we simply focus on God rather than the negative. He walks with us through thick and thin. We can be filled with joy even during the mundane events of our day. Ask God to give you opportunities to serve someone else or share His love. There won’t be any more room for complaining; only praising.


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How Many Fans Do You Have?

Memphis Zoo-with Kenya

Alicia Smith:  I swear this giraffe was trying to eat us.

Like * Comment * Share

Have you done any of these recently?

  • Checked to see how many “likes” you received on a picture, comment, or article?
  • Tuned into Facebook, Twitter, or another social media to see how many friends/followers you’ve acquired?
  • How about doing analysis on your website/blog to see how many new visitors/subscribers you’ve obtained?
  • Then there are sites like Klout.com, providing a number for how much online “influence” we have.  Ever taken a peek?

I’m not going to pretend I haven’t done one or more of these.

Many of us are passionate about our careers and aspirations.  In our evolving world of technology, social media, and advanced/accelerated communication, gaining supporters and clients becomes more accessible than it ever has before.  Building a platform, brand, or fan-base, can literally be at our fingertips.  The internet has the possibility of not only extending the reach of our work/passions, but validating them all in the same swoop.

Sharing ourselves with others can be exciting.  We want to help others.  We want to share our knowledge.  We want to hear a client’s feedback.  And we appreciate the same in return.  Unfortunately, this can be consuming, though, we may do our darndest to avoid it.

 

The Risks

Finding your voice, your creativity, your “influence” takes risks.  It can be intimidating, scary, and ultimately, silencing.  We’re putting ourselves out there for the world to judge.  Even if our internet influence is strictly social, that doesn’t mean it lacks vulnerability.  After all, every time actress Amanda Seyfried posts a photo of her dog with a duck perched on his head or reading the newspaper with his morning coffee (http://www.buzzfeed.com/lyapalater/amanda-seyfrieds-dog-is-americas-hidden-treasure), she’s inviting others to love it or leave it.  (I’m loving it, by the way.)

As a by-product, there is this possible trap—falling into the landslide of life revolving around gaining “likes,” “friends,” “followers,” and the like.  Those numbers that pop up on our phones (indicating a message, “like,” etc.) can sometimes taunt us until we finally bite, pressing our finger upon the shouting app to take a look.

Or what about beyond the internet and social media—those moments when we worry about what others may think before we move forward with what we believe is right?  Again, there is value in the validation of others appreciating a part of us that takes courage to share.  However, what happens when validation crosses over into a tad-bit obsessive?

 

The Answer

Then one day it hit me.  The answer was so simple.  I only need one fan.  I mean that with one hundred percent of my being.  We only need one fan.  We need our Lord to be a fan of our actions, our work, our pictures, and our posts.  And here’s the beauty of it:  if He’s a fan, there’ll be thousands more where that came from. ;)

 

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? 

If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31

(NIV)


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The Word of the Lord

jesus-christ

Originally appeared on Vine of Life News

 

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”