Category Archives: true identity

living in the dusk

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Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a sunset.  Watching as the bright of day closes and darkness is waiting on the peripheral . . . waiting to snuff out the light.  Dusk, that moment in time of partial darkness between day and night. 

It’s a moment in time I want to briefly stop and appreciate His handiwork in the sky, but dusk is not a place I want to live in, but it seems to be a place I can wander in.  It’s not that place of Light, and it’s not that place of Dark.  

Dusk, where the shadows provide
                places to hide.
to escape.
                to avoid.
to divide.
                to decay.

Dusk is that place where the empty words of my enemy wants to woo me back into Darkness.

Words that want to come back to haunt me.

You are not loved.  You are not valued.
You are not worthy.  You are not pleasing.
You can’t do anything right.   Guilty.
 

Those are empty words, fruitless works of darkness.  E.M.P.T.Y.

I have to take those things of the darkness and expose them to the Light.  His Light.  Jesus changes who I am.

My life in the Light is full.

My life in the darkness is empty.

Living in the dusk is simply waiting for the darkness to come.  It will steal the Light away.

Are you living in dusk?

 

 


stay alert

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“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

It happens when I least expect it.

The room is filled with smiles and laughter as friends come together. Each one brings uniqueness to the mix. Lively chatter is flowing around. Yet, there’s something unsure looming in the air. And then it happens.

Or maybe it is a smaller gathering, just a few people around. Someone says something that strikes a chord, uses a similar tone, or a personality quirk continually surfaces. And then it happens.

Or maybe it’s in a personal conversation. A friend or a loved one is sharing a hurtful experience, asking for wise counsel. And then it happens.

What happened . . . ?

Minutes before, my heart was full of joy, and then I seem to be swallowed up by a torrent of hurt, painful reminders, a raging sea of confused emotions. Sometimes anger seems to well up and simmer inside me.  And when I see this happening in my life, I ask, how do these things happen to me?

So I pray.

On the surface, I’m sure these thoughts seem silly to others, and yes, at times, even ridiculous to me. I ask, am I allowing these outside coincidences to inflict such emotion in me?

And so I pray. I pray and I wait. I go to the One who knows my heart. I go to One who knows me better than I know myself.

In that place, I am reminded there is someone else who waits. Someone else lying in wait, hiding around the corner, prowling around looking for those places in my heart where there has been hurt and rejection. My great enemy, the devil, is waiting. Waiting for the chance to swoop in and hijack my emotions. He is looking for any opportunity to trip me up, to cause me to stumble, to fall back into the emotional wreck of the past.

The enemy scouts around like a roaring lion, prowling, looking for the perfect opportunity

  • To resurface hurts caused by another through the personality of someone who crosses my path.
  • To remind me of past mistakes.
  • To rub me wrong causing division or discontent.

holding back nothing to get into my mind and my heart.

So I pray to be alert, asking for supernatural protection of those places when I see those red flags, detection of the enemy.

Alert. I can only be alert when I daily pour myself into the Truth that I am loved and adored and pursued by The One who loves me. I must trust Him to be the cushion, to be the distance, to be His Perfect Love in my heart.

So when the enemy comes with rejection or hurts or disappointments {which I know are going to come}, my heart and my mind will be less vulnerable to the sea of offense.

 


the light and dark side

brennan manning shadow side.001

 

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.

In admitting my shadow side . . . I learn who I am . . .

and what God’s grace means.

Brennan Manning


the palms of His hands

your-name

What a great reminder this quote was the other day when I ran across it.  This summer I was blessed to be part of a women’s Bible study time focusing on True Identity – knowing who I am in Christ.

And knowing the more I agree with God about my identity, the more my life will reflect Him.  The more I wholeheartedly live in my True Identity, the less opportunity I give the enemy to steal my Identity away from me.  

So when the accuser whispers out the lies he crafts to deceive my heart~

You’re not good enough, you’re not loved, you’re not respected, you have no real purpose

Just look at them – their life is much more exciting, they have more than you, they’re so much better than you.

Really. . . you can’t compete with her!   You’re not pretty enough, or skinny enough, or talented enough, or smart enough .

And you call yourself spiritual? – God doesn’t care about you.

You’re a bad mother, a lacking wife, a disappointment – you have no legacy. 

Remember that time you ______ (fill in the blank with any sin).  You think He’d forgive you for that??? You’ll never change. 

. . .  and as you know with lies, there is truth mixed in with the deceit.

I don’t have to live in that place of failure, of defeat, of deceit.  Because I was worth dying for!  And His word tells us that there is now therefore no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

My Abba Father calls my name, Daughter.  I am love unconditionally, and I am redeemed by His blood, and am no longer a failure.

The Truth is found in the palms of the One who died for me.

The Truth lives in my heart.  And my life is in the palms of His Hands.

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See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
Isaiah 49:16 


GODISNOWHERE

GODISNOWHERE:BW.001

Ever feel that way?  Ever find yourself crying out, “GOD IS NOWHERE!”?

The conversation that goes on in my head can typically sound sort of like this . . .
Obviously HE is not here, just look at what’s going on around me!  If God were right here with me, surely I wouldn’t feel so alone, and all these problems coming at me from all directions, drowning my life, would certainly go away.  And those people . . . listen to what I hear them saying about me! Look how they’re ignoring me.  God is no where around me.  He has deserted me.  I’m not valued by others, so obviously God sees me that same way. 

God built us with a deep need for relationships.  So many times, we find ourselves relying on others, depending on other people to give us our value and our worth. We look for another person, other people to be all things for us hoping to win their approval, meeting their expectations.  Problem is, we can’t be all things to all people. Opinions from people are typically either subjective, emotional, inconsistent, or any combination of all 3. Trusting and relying on these opinions, and throwing in them with our own perceived notions about our identity and worth is a formula to make us insecure.   It’s a vicious cycle we throw ourselves into, throwing life out-of-order. 

And no matter how good or positive any relationship or activity appears to be, if it takes priority over my intimacy with God I set myself up for a life on the spinning wheel in the hamster’s cage.  Putting people, even our circumstances, ahead of the One who created us for a deep relationship, deprives us of sharing in His Ultimate Intimate Relationship .

When I let pleasing people become my priority, and when I put their opinions first, I ultimately end up feeling even more insecure. Insecure in who I really am.  I lose my sense of worth of who I am in Christ and I end up isolating myself from people and from the intimacy with the One who truly desires me.

Just read Psalm 139 and know that no onenot one person, not one group of peopleis qualified to give us our identity.

No one except THE ONE who created you . . . THE only ONE who truly knows you and your heart.

So look again . . .  GOD IS NOW HERE!

GODISNOWHERE:BW.001

 


know your enemy

cartoon devilImage

Was at a lunch earlier this week after meeting for a Bible study called Identity Thief (written by Laurie Dodds).  There was the usual conversations about the kids, summer vacations, the hot temperatures here in Texas.  But it didn’t take too long for our talk to turn back to the day’s topic of our study ~ “Strategies of the Thief”  ~ with lots of talk of how the topic of our enemy seems to often elude many of the pulpits, and amazingly many of us grew up knowing about the devil but not really ‘knowing’ him or his game plan.

One of my favorite comments of the gathering was, “You know, one of Satan’s best schemes was to get himself drawn as a cartoon character!”  That statement really got me to thinking . . .

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language for he is a liar and the father of lies – John 8:44

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy – John 10:10a

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light – 2 Corinthians 11:14

Now that doesn’t sound like a cartoon character does it?!?

That cartoon character sure makes our enemy look pretty harmless, nothing to really fear.  What a genius scheme to make sin and temptation look fun, exciting, enticing, not such a big deal.  Remember the cartoons that showed some guy with the “good guy/angel” sitting on one shoulder and the “bad guy/devil” sitting on the other?   Well, just like in the cartoons, Satan has the world at his disposal to convince us that darkness is light.  

Satan is the master magician.  He pretends he is the bearer of fun, excitement, and beauty – light.  He changes dark into light, and if we fall into his dark pit, our true identity as a child of God is stolen.  He makes it easy for us to choose the wrong path.  He entices us to give in to sin, insinuating that it’s not a big deal (Dodds).  But it IS costly.

His is an extremely shrewd, well-planned scheme.  He knows every one of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  He flaunts our flaws and failures and limitations until we begin to question his strategies and fight back.  We can’t have one foot in the Kingdom of Light and the other in the Kingdom of Darkness. And just like in a physical battle, in this spiritual battle we have to know our enemy and his strategies.

  • He robs.  Just like we hear on the nightly news, thieves look for opportunity, for vulnerability, and the right moment to strike.  Get in, grab what looks valuable, and get out as quick as possible without getting caught.  The enemy does the exact same thing.  He looks for our vulnerabilities, weaknesses, any and every opportunity he can do damage to our Identity.
  • He lies.  The enemy masterfully twists the truth.  From the Garden of Eden to the lies he whispers into the minds and hearts of us all, Satan deceives with lies masquerading as truth.  His intention is to get our focus off of God and onto self and man.  If we believe the lies of the enemy, we will become desensitized to honesty.  This numbness triggers our human’s natural tendency to dishonesty.  We may exaggerate or embellish the truth.  If we aren’t aware of the enemy’s lies, we can become liars too.
  • He misrepresents.  You’re all that matters” are the words we are deceived with to distort our view of how our Creator made us.  We begin to believe God is withholding something from us, just like Eve did in the Garden.  God is never going to withhold anything from us that He knows will benefit us and is good for His children.  The fundamental purpose of the enemy is to destroy.  He never tells us he is going to destroy us, but he subtly tries to cause us to doubt the truth and the truth of God.  He tempts us to believe his way is better.  The enemy portrays sin as easy, fun, and necessary.
  • He accuses.  I can hear that accusing voice and see the pointing finger in my face.  Day and night he stands accusing us.  The accusations can come at any time of the day or night –  awakened in the middle of the night, getting ready for the day, even in the middle of trying to make a decision.  You’ve messed up again; you’re a liability to God.  You’re so selfish (or fill in the blank with any other attitude); you’re never going to change.  Why bother to spend time with God? You’re just going to wander away again, anyway.  After what you just did, do you really believe God still accepts and loves you?  Are you kidding me?  You, fearfully and wonderfully made?  Just remember, Satan’s voice will ALWAYS pull you away from your fellowship with God.  Know the voice of the enemy.
  • He seduces.  Satan does not have a relationship with The Creator and he doesn’t want us to have one either.  He seduces and entices our souls to doubt God.  We are now in a downward spiral and the more we go down this path, the less we walk in our True Identity.  Fear invades our life and we lose fellowship with the One who truly loves us.  We run and hide from our Abba Father.

Know your enemy.  Unlike your favorite sports team, Satan doesn’t have an extensive playbook.  He uses the exact same game plan each and every time he goes out for the attack.  From the fall of man in the Garden, the same schemes and tactics used on Eve are used on you and me. And unlike most of us, Satan never goes on vacation!

Know your enemy.  Know his name.  Know his character.  Know his voice. He is not a cartoon character.  He is real and he is full of the raw, dirty, evil things of this world.  He wants to normalize what we know is not for our ultimate good.  And know that he wants to steal you away from your Father. 

He comes to Steal.  Kill.  Destroy.

Yet, you also know the One who gives you Life – Abundant Life.   Run to Him.  It’s in His Presence and Righteousness we are equipped and empowered to refuse to be the enemy’s victim.  The enemy has been defeated by the Cross!


who am i? [part 2]

Here’s My Heart – David Crowder [Passion 2013]

I am found

I am Yours

I am loved

I’m made pure

I have life

I can breathe

I am healed

I am free 

B E C A U S E

YOU are strong

YOU are sure

YOU are life

YOU endure

YOU  are good, always true

YOU are light breaking through

YOU are more than enough

YOU are here

YOU are love

YOU are hope

YOU are grace

YOU‘RE all i have

YOU‘RE everything

HERE’S MY HEART, LORD
SPEAK. WHAT. IS. TRUE.


who am i?

passport

Who am I?

When I travel, this little blue book identifies me.  It shows who I am, what my physical characteristics are to anyone who needs to know.  Without it, I have a pretty difficult time proving my identity.  If somehow I lost this personal identity, perhaps if it were stolen from me, I would have to report it.   And then I’d have to go through all kinds of “red-tape” to prove and reclaim my identity.   And sadly, in today’s world I would probably have to go through all kinds of damage control because of my stolen identity.

There’s an enemy that is out there, a thief just waiting every moment of every single day to steal, kill, and destroy.  waiting for any and every opportunity he can find to steal my true identity – the reality of who I am in Christ.

So who am I?

I am Redeemed.  My identity has been bought by Christ on the cross.  Not only did He buy my identity back from the thief, but He gave it back to me.  I am a new creation.

I am Righteous.  It’s part of my restored identity, but not because of anything that I do.  God sees me through His righteousness He lavishes on me.  I am in right standing with Him.

I am Restored.  I’m no longer living with the fallen identity I was born with. in fact, I’m just like the antique pieces of furniture we have.  Most were discovered in pretty bad condition – scarred and beaten up by the world, broken parts, missing pieces, too many coats of paint and varnish trying to cover up the years.  But with proper restoration, the pieces have been carefully and gently sanded and smoothed out.  Loving attention has been lavished on each piece, stripping away the old and repairing the damaged parts.  Each has been restored to a beautiful piece.  And so have I.  He has breathed new life into me.

I am Responsive.  I continue to be amazed at the transformation, of how God continues to work in my life and reveals Himself to me.  The more I know of Him, the more I want to know Him. I thirst to be filled by the Spirit as I read the Word, as I hear His Word, as I sing His praises.  I want my ears, my mind, my heart to be open to His Word, so that He can breathe His life into me. 

I am Refocused.  If I am not intentional in my focus, then my mind is going to be fueled by thoughts that are not of Him.  He has healed the lies I have believed. But I can’t let my guard down because those lies can creep right back in with the voices of the enemy.  I am being intentional to listen for His voice, His Truths.

For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you.  
We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,
so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work
and growing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might,
for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
Colossians 1:9-12


grains of sand

wailea-beach-maui-sunset

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the grains of sand;

when I awake, I am still with You.
Psalm 139: 17-18

From the time we are very young children, we are continually looking for approval. We desire to be valued.  We want to be considered worthy.  So we look to find a source of approval, a sense of worthiness.

It starts with children looking to their parents ~ “mommy, do you like my coloring? is it pretty?” And then it continues as we grow up and even after we’re supposed to be all grown up.  We look for approval from friends and sometimes even strangers, from family, from teachers, from neighbors, from our jobs, even from the different roles we have in our lives.  But none, absolutely none of these sources provide real value.

For many years I had the head knowledge of “knowing the Word.” but it wasn’t until I finally grabbed hold of the belief of the heart knowledge and actually began walking out in steps of faith did I come to realize that as I continued to allow these sources define me then I had become a slave to trying to keep up the appearances, the perceptions, the opinions.  I had become trapped in the game of fluctuating feelings.

Opinions are subjective – they can change like the weather.  Emotions are like a roller coaster – they go up, down, and all around.  Sometimes even upside-down.  Perceptions can fluctuate – depending on whose doing the looking.  Appearances change – need I say more?   If I try to get worth, my value from these sources, I am going to end up being anxious about everything, apprehensive at every turn, uncomfortable in every situation, unsettled in every corner of my life, confused about who I am and why I am here.

My true identity reflects its source.  all I have to do is look to my Creator.  And when I doubt my worthiness, my value,  when I doubt my identity, I am reminded that I am infinitely valuable.  The infinite mind of God thinks about me,  yes, unworthy me.

The thoughts of God toward me are altogether innumerable, just like the grains of sand on the beach at our wedding ceremony.   Nothing can surpass the number of grains of sand.  If I were to even try counting God’s thoughts of love towards me, the task would never end.  And you know, even if I could count the sands on the seashore, I still would not be able to number God’s thoughts about me, because they are ‘more in number than the grains of sand’!

Some days this truth seems distant.  And some days the harsh realities of life have made this difficult to believe.  But all I have to do is look in the mirror and know He created me in His image.  He loves me.  He accepts me as I am.  His Word is Truth. 

So no matter what my circumstances, no matter where I am, no matter what season I may be walking through I know God values me and I am worthy because of Him. 


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