ONE VOICE WORSHIP
Artistry. Discipleship. Worship.
by One Voice Worship on April 7th, 2015


I never cease to be amazed by my God Who is both a resplendent Creator and a personal Savior. His love for me is so great, yet so intimate, that His Spirit ministers to me in abundant proportion to my specific need. This morning, He woke me up (again) with Romans 12:2 which says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
 
While this passage is a treasured favorite and is significant for numerous reasons, the Lord refreshed my sprit with it anew.
 
Biblically, the word “transformation” is translated “to change into another form; the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision.” The dictionary defines the word as “to (undergo a) change in form, appearance, character or structure. Metamorphose. To increase or decrease by means of a transformer. To change into another form of energy.”
 
The word “renewing” is translated as “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better; to cause to grow up; to receive new strength and vigor. To be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former one. In the midst, among and between. A new kind, unprecedented, uncommon.” The dictionary says “to take up again. Restore or replenish. To revive. To make as new again.”
 
What does this practically mean for me? First, I am called to live a life of transformation. I’ve already undergone an internal, spiritual metamorphasis through my acceptance of Jesus as my Lord and Savior. So, my structure has already been changed…but what about my external appearance? My character? My attitude? And if Jesus is my “Transformer”, I have to honestly evaluate my present condition and acknowledge whether or not He is increasing or decreasing in my life. His internal proportion will be reflected through my words, actions, and attitude which are directly rooted in my mind. All that said, if I want to be transformed, I need to saturate my mind with the truths of God so that I’m thinking on that which is good and pure and lovely. I must take every thought captive unto Christ, align it to truth, and cast out that which is contrary to it. Everything I take in to my mind’s eye will determine my thought processes and that which I choose to meditate on.
 
And renewing? My mind could use a little of that, too. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my thought life could use a little maturing or “growing up.” And my entire being could use new strength and vigor. Oh yes, I desperately need to continually be changed into new life from my former one on a daily basis. I desperately want to be revived from the inside out. The irony? Renewal occurs amidst my circumstances, discouragement, frustrations, struggles and trials – not outside of them.  It’s not necessarily deliverance from them that I need; rather, it’s renewal in spite of them. It’s within the fire and the flood that faith is forged. And praise God, His mercies are new every morning! So I have hope that even when yesterday was a crazy hot mess, I can take up renewal again today and live an unprecedented, uncommon life.
 
My journey has been anything but easy and common. My path has been crooked and the terrain scarring and treacherous. I’ve wearily traveled through life using the tattered and worn map of yesterday, expecting it to guide me into the hope of today and promises of tomorrow. And I’ve fixed my mind on former things instead of the new things God is doing in and through my life.
 
For far too long, I’ve assumed the position of a destitute beggar dining on the scraps of life instead of claiming my birthright as a daughter of the King of Kings, a princess who has been afforded a seat of royalty at my King’s table; an heir who has been called to live the uncommon life.
 
It’s time to live the life of transformation for which I was created. (Click Here to Tweet quote!)

And it's time for you to claim it and live it out, too!
 
Promise:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:2

Reflection:
Friend, what life are you choosing to live? My prayer is that you would embrace the possibility of transformation and the hope of renewal. Where to start? With your mind. What you read, what you watch, what music you listen to, what conversations you engage in, and what thoughts you meditate on. If you pour truth into your mind, you will live out truth through your life. And there’s more than enough grace and mercy for you start again, and again, and again. His mercies are new every morning, and every moment! Don’t settle for less than you are in Christ. Live a life of transformation!

In what area of your life can you choose to start living a life of transformation today in a practical way?

Worship: 
“Good Fight” by Unspoken:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0M3X3_pFD4

“Outta My Mind” by Anthem Lights:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rrP3cy5_3U

“Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jwj6-QmmMA


* If you would like to know more about how to have a personal relationship with God, or if this post has encouraged you in your faith, would you let us know? We would love to pray with you, encourage you, and hear how God is at work in your life. Email us (greg@ovworship.com or heather@ovworship.com) or leave a comment on this blog post. And feel free to share this post with others to further the reach of our ministry.  Thank you!

by One Voice Worship on March 5th, 2015

* original post date 3/5/13

Tuesday was the day – March 5, 2013 -
and my one-year MRI appointment.  A flurry of emotions carried us into the day, and even more ushered us out of it and into the peace of today.

To cut to the chase, the MRI results came back early Tuesday evening, revealing no change in the pineal cyst in my brain.  Same size, same characteristics.  Not exactly what this expectant heart was hoping to hear.  Yet wasn’t the desire of my heart for God’s will above my own desires?  Didn’t I profess that I would celebrate results showing stability, devoid of sizeable growth, and praise God regardless of the test results?

It was time to put feet to my faith.

Waiting 7 ½ hours for the results felt like an eternity.  Heaven bless the office staff at the imaging center for their willingness to place a rush on the results, and for releasing the preliminary report before the final transcription was complete.  With much anticipation, I picked up the report after work, called Greg from the parking lot, and together we reviewed the results.  Waiting to read them together in person once I was home simply wasn’t an option!
The drive home was long.  And slow.  And tearful.  And ridiculously thoughtful.  It was as if a mental cyclone suddenly appeared, destroying everything in its path, especially that which I knew in my spirit to be truth.  And the devastation from the storm didn’t stop there; it manifested itself in a hysterical meltdown that made the dog tuck her tail and hide…and I’m fairly confident that Greg would have been right behind her, had I not buried my soggy face in his chest.  If Jesus could sweat drops of blood while wrestling with God’s will for Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, then surely I had permission to wrestle with my own circumstances in my own daunting garden of life, right?

The moments that followed weren’t very attractive, but they were real, and my God is more than big enough to handle whatever is thrown His way, as ugly as it may be.  Oh, how I’m thankful for the constancy and faithfulness of His love for me, even when I’m so unlovable!  Without fail, the Lord began to calm the emotional turbulence and gently remind me of His unwavering presence.  A Scripture verse here, a text there, an email or Facebook message offering the peace of Christ, the soothing balm of the perfect song at just the right time.  God is so very, very good.

Admittedly, it was difficult not to set up camp in the enemy’s territory where tent stakes are planted in the soil of discouragement and doubt, and stories told around the campfire are largely exaggerated and steeped in false truths and fear.  You see, the testimony that Greg and I share has consistently been written through painful and challenging circumstances and extended seasons of trial, yet at the same time these experiences have afforded us the blessing of knowing the peace, provision, and perfection of God’s will in an incredibly intimate way.  And while we tried to remain optimistic for the possibility of a miracle, we couldn’t deny our acquaintance with everything but a miraculous outcome based on our life experiences, especially when it comes to physical healing.  Maintaining both reverent expectation and shrewd reality is a very delicate balance.  Slowly, I’m discovering that miracles aren’t necessarily defined by their outcome, but instead by the transformation of our attitude, character, and our willingness to delight ourselves in the Lord and His will above our own for the sake of His glory and impacting the lives of others for Christ.  Perhaps the miracle we’re fervently seeking lies within our spiritual growth and increasing resemblance to Christ as a result of pursuing Him with reckless abandon within our present circumstances, not in deliverance from them.

As I began to reflect on the day’s events and outcomes, I started asking myself probing questions, such as, “What’s different from yesterday to today?  What if my MRI hadn’t occurred today but was scheduled months from now?  Haven’t I been feeling better, and experiencing fewer symptoms?  Isn’t our calling to ministry the same today as it was yesterday?  Isn’t God accomplishing amazing things in our ministry and bringing a decade’s worth of dreams to fruition?  Isn’t God’s love the same today as it was yesterday?  Is His sovereignty not the same?  Are His provisions now suddenly lacking?”

What followed were the most poignant questions and convicting realizations: “Isn’t my cyst the same today as it was yesterday?  Hasn’t God been faithful in answering our prayers by blessing us with its stability as opposed to its pattern of growth?  So really, if my circumstances haven’t changed and God hasn’t changed, what has changed?”  The answer was glaringly simple.  The variable that had changed was me.

Although my motives for desiring that the cyst be smaller or completely gone were well intentioned, they were out of focus.  I yearned for my husband and two daughters to know the mystery of God manifested through physical healing after enduring years of suffering alongside of their precious Tara, Greg’s first wife and our girls’ first Mom, who passed away from brain cancer in 2001.  My heart aches at the thought of them walking a similar, yet different, path with me due to my current health issues and potential surgery.  It’s simply too familiar for them and I want to spare them from having to somewhat relive their past.  I wanted to spare Greg from any financial burdens associated with surgery, not to mention the responsibility of caring for me during my recovery.  He has beautifully fulfilled his marriage vows “in sickness and in health” as a husband once already in his lifetime and I prayed that God would refrain from allowing him to do so again with such familiarity.  And, I longed for God to reveal His wondrous power through my healing to the people in my life who have never accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.  What glory He could be given through a testimony of healing!  While these reasons are good, they aren’t focused on what is best – delighting myself in the Lord.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  But what exactly does that mean?

Quite simply, it means to delight in Him alone.  To find pleasure in His heart, rather than in His hand.  As the Matthew Henry Commentary says it, to delight in the Lord means “to know, and love, and live (for) God; to please Him and be pleased in Him” and that with this command to delight in Him comes a gloriously rich reward – that in return for our obedience, including the “hardest services” unto Him, the Lord will “satisfy the cravings of our renewed soul.”

The Message translation of this verse is mind-blowing:  “Keep company with God, get in on the best.”  Stop for just a moment and let that rest upon your heart and sink into your mind.  “…Get in on the best.”  God’s best!  When we delight in God alone, in Who He is and trust His heart, we no longer have to worry or analyze or manipulate that which comes from His hand, because we can confidently lean into the promise that it is His best!  God’s ways are certainly not my ways, nor His thoughts my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  But I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that His plans for me are good and bursting forth with hope (Jeremiah 29:11-13) and that if I refuse to look backward and press on towards the goal – Jesus – my heavenly prize awaits me (Philippians 3:14).  And although here on earth I’m guaranteed to encounter obstacles and challenges, trials and sorrows, I can find hope to persevere through them because Christ has already overcome the world (John 16:33).  And….He promises that nothing we experience in life is wasted, for He works them all together for good to fulfill the purposes we have been called to, prepared in advance for us to do (Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 2:10)!
Somebody please join me in shouting a hearty “AMEN!!!!!!!!”

Did the Lord turn a deaf ear to my cry?  Quite the contrary – He promises to perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8).  Did He not answer my prayers?  Of course He didn’t – He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84: 11).  Does God not love me enough to give me physical healing?  The opposite couldn’t be more true – God’s love for me is boundless, limitless, and beyond human comprehension (Ephesians 3:14-19).  Was the source of my disappointment a lack of faith, or too little expectation in God’s unlimited capabilities to bring healing?  Simply put, no.  Disappointment came because I wasn’t delighting in His will above my own.  My sights were set on my circumstances from my limited, human perspective and not God’s omniscient view.  My hope began to sink on Tuesday because my expectations were just that – mine – and not God’s for me.  Though the desires of my flesh were good and had they been brought to fruition, the Lord would have been glorified, but they weren’t keeping company with God’s best for me.  Only God and His love will never disappoint or fail!

Yesterday a dear friend told me that she spent much of her lunch hour praying over me and Greg; what a privilege to be on the receiving side of her sweet fellowship with the Lord!  In her email, she said that she was so thankful to God for answering our prayers by holding back the cyst from growing any larger, and that He was “just getting started” in His work in this situation.  Countless others have poured this same truth into our lives over the last two days, celebrating a victory and imparting a heavenly point of view to what we’ve seen as a dismal outlook.  And our oldest daughter, having no idea about what God has been speaking to my heart, just sent words of encouragement that will forever be cherished in my Mommy heart: “I know you might be feeling a little disappointed about your results… I know you already know this but I feel like saying it helps me too…God has a plan and purpose with this situation and for all the pain and suffering you are experiencing you will receive blessing and rewards someday (whether here on earth or in heaven or both) that will be much greater.  Keep up the good work!”  Whew!  I could have reached through this computer and squeezed the life out of her (although my grandbaby she’s carrying might not have appreciated that hug from Gigi!)  Oh, how thankful we are for each one of you who have chosen to walk this journey with us (Philippians 1:3).

Tonight I’ll be preparing my new patient paperwork, MRI films and reports to send to the Skull Base Institute for evaluation.  God not only blessed us with the cyst’s stability, but He also has provided direction that this is the next step in our journey since there wasn’t any reduction in size.  A double blessing from God’s perspective since He answered two of our prayers!  Only He knows what the days, weeks and months ahead have in store for us, but we have the choice to set our eyes on what is seen, or on that which is unseen and embrace each new day with the strength and peace found in this passage:  “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34, MSG).  Perhaps there are doctors and nurses who need to hear about the Great Physician and God has chosen us to be the ones to share Him with them on this next phase of our journey.  Or maybe He is preparing a grand audience to witness and testify to healing that is yet to come in the days ahead.

One thing remains constant, however – His love never fails!

"One Thing Remains" by Kristian Stanfill:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY7OtDJLWlg

by One Voice Worship on January 8th, 2015

Overwhelmed.  Yes, that’s a ridiculously accurate description of where we are right now…
 
Audaciously, intentionally, and prayerfully chasing down our best yes decision for God’s next steps in our process of transitioning out of business ownership and corporate America and into vocational ministry.  Frantically balancing present obligations with future preparations and doing our best to maintain God’s pace and timing without rushing ahead or lagging behind.  Work weeks easily exceeding 70 hours, stringing multiple days together over the early hours of the morning, many of which are spent in the harsh elements doing physical labor.  Overflowing meeting notices, email inboxes, text messages and voicemails from customers, vendors, family, friends, and potential ministry partners (please don’t worry…we’re still alive, we’re not ignoring you, and we promise to respond as soon as we can…and we appreciate your grace and prayers more than you know!)  Christmas decorations begging to be taken down and put away until next season.  Dirty clothes and dirty dishes needing some attention.  Colds, flus, and other physical ailments lingering and nagging our bodies, unwilling to let go and offer us relief.  Rest is elusive and more nap-like in duration than an actual night’s sleep.  Each day is nothing short of miraculous because we’re carrying impossible loads that well exceed human capacity and demand supernatural intervention from our all-things-are-possible God.
 
We’re overwhelmed indeed.
 
And while we’re overwhelmed, we’re also insanely blessed and grateful.  God continues to speak truth, bring clarity, offer wisdom and impart inspiration to us on an almost daily basis.  He sovereignly orders our ginormous to-do lists and overlapping appointments so that what is accomplished is what He has ordained for the day, even if it’s vastly different than what we had planned.  Ongoing work generates incoming revenue which sustains the business, and God always, ALWAYS blows our minds by providing the exact resources needed to complete every job.  He infuses us with the measure of health needed to function and complete the tasks set before us each day, offering respites when we’re in dire need.  We’ve enjoyed almost three fabulous weeks with our grandchildren, our daughters and son-in-laws, and extended family and friends over the holidays.  Dirty clothes and dishes display the abundance of God’s material provision in our lives through clothing and food, two basic needs that many people go without.  And we have shelter, and a warm, comfy bed where we can rest, even if only for a few hours each night.
 
We’re blessed indeed, for every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights (James 1:17).
 
This morning as I was talking to the Lord about how overwhelmed we are, my spirit was convicted as God lifted my gaze off of myself and our circumstances and onto the magnitude of Who He is.  How beautiful, merciful, forgiving, glorious, sufficient, provisional, sovereign, peaceful, miraculous, and steadfast He is.  Oh, how overwhelming He is! 
 
And if I’m going to choose to be overwhelmed, I’d certainly rather choose to be overwhelmed by delighting myself in the Lord than by submerging myself in the depths of my circumstances. (Click here to Tweet this quote!)
 
PROMISE:
“From the end of the earth I will cry to you.  When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2
 
REFLECTION:
What is overwhelming you today?  Perhaps it’s the weight of grief, the strain of finances, the stress of single-parenting, the fear of ongoing health issues, or discontentment with your present circumstances.  Precious child of God, would you consider taking on His easy yoke and light burden by choosing to be overwhelmed by our awesome, indescribable God?  Will you cry out to Him from the ends of the earth and the depths of your circumstances so that your heart can be lifted to the Rock that is higher, mightier and stronger than you?
 
Oh God, may we be overwhelmed by nothing other than Who you are.
 
- lyric excerpt from “Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave
 
I delight myself in You,
Captivated by Your beauty,
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You!
 
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You!
 
You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful!
 
You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful,
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful,
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful!
 
You are Glorious, You are Glorious,
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious,
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious!
 
WORSHIP:
 
“Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave (Official Music Video) -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiGb14tTaH4

by One Voice Worship on January 5th, 2015

Whew.  When I sought the Lord to give me some encouragement this morning, a “word” if you will, after a much-needed 13-day break from the plow I tend during the day, I should have known He would not only deliver but do so in ridiculous proportion.  It’s almost comical!  This morning’s devotional from Lysa TerKeurst was titled “Dealing With Daily Frustrations”.  Ha!  Not only was I encouraged, but I was also convicted.  Here’s a recap:

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop.”  (Luke 8:15, NIV).

My sprit was pricked with these questions:
  • Do my reactions to daily frustrations display Godly character and reflect a heart that loves Him?  Is my life running at an unhealthy pace that doesn’t allow me to stop and consider my reactions?
  • Am I willing to honor God and obediently serve Him where I am on the trajectory of pursuing my future?
  • How much frustration with the present will it take to truly motivate me to make the necessary decisions for changing my future? 
Ouch.  Yeah, that hurts a little.  Ok, a LOT.  Let’s be honest; my responses to daily frustrations (and obligations) could use a LOT of work, especially in seasons of discontent and transition.  Enough said.

And I don’t always choose to honor God where I am in the present.  My spirit hungers for something different, something more.  Longing for that which I was created to do; for the materialization of that to which I was called when I was 16 years old.  It’s been a long journey of preparation ever since that spring revival call, and at the age of 38, my spirit is restless.  I’m easily distracted from obedience in the present by aspirations of the future.  It’s easy to strive for what’s to come, neglecting responsibilities and obligations in the present that require attention and resolution in order to transition into the next season of life.  Yet I’m called to honor God where I am today on the journey of preparation just as much as I am once I reach my destination.  Obedience isn’t exclusive to the future over the present….

Rather, obedience is a daily choice, both now AND in the future.  With God’s help, I CAN be obedient to bring Him glory in the daily grind, in spite of daily frustrations, in spite of discontent, while I actively pursue my life’s calling.  And discontent and frustration therein can be worked for good when they are viewed as a catalyst and motivator towards making the future a reality.  They can be valuable indicators of the depth of my passion and commitment to my calling.  And, they can drive me to God’s Word for the inpouring of wisdom and strength for daily living, and for the outpouring of creativity and inspiration through the use of my gifts and talents.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop.”  (Luke 8:15, NIV).

It’s all comes down to choosing what seeds to sow.  Choosing how to respond. Choosing to be obedient where I am. Choosing my perspective. Choosing to reflect His character. Choosing how to manage my time. Choosing how to steward my resources.  Choosing God over myself every time.

What will YOU choose to sow today? 

Leave a comment and share what God is calling you to sow for His glory through your life!

by One Voice Worship on November 7th, 2014

Identity: Part 2
 
Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post and invested a little time to begin creating your Post-It Note Timeline, or at least a short list of people, events and circumstances that have shaped your life. You’ll want to keep it handy, and I promise that this exercise will be worth your while, and could quite possibly prove to be life-changing!
 
In “Identity: Part 2”, we will discover how the Bible defines our identity. Today’s post is a bit longer than usual, but it’s necessary, so stay with me! Oh, and we’re going to get a little messy, and a lot honest. It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but God’s Word will be the healing salve to our wounds on the other side.
 
Identity is a mysterious thing. Too often, we define ourselves by our profession, our skills, and our accomplishments.
 
All the while, our spiritual adversary creeps into our minds, whispering lies that prompt conversation with ourselves based on false identities rooted in our mistakes, strongholds, perceived failures, and circumstances…

“I’m a recovering addict (again). I’m living in a broken home. I’m a failed entrepreneur. I’m an unfaithful spouse. I’m a victim and a statistic. I’m an unfulfilled dream.  I’m unwanted and unimportant. I’m a widow or widower. I’m a single parent. I’m in insurmountable debt. I’m a hopeless gambler. I’m a liar and a fraud. I’m unemployed. I’m terminally ill. I’m a hypocrite.”

 As if defining who we are isn’t difficult enough, the soul-reaching ache deep inside of each one of us complicates the matter by constantly reminding us of life’s cruelest blows, poorest choices and deepest regrets.
 
At a young age, I began to sense the greater purpose that God had called me to. And while I sought that purpose, I also allowed distractions into my life, subjected myself to the consequences of bad decisions, and permitted circumstances to lead me astray from the path I knew I was meant to walk.
 
At the age of 23, I found myself at rock bottom, scarcely weighing 90 pounds yet heavily registering zero on the strength scale for climbing out of the valley I’d slowly climbed into. The compounding of events in the preceding years: a bad romantic relationship, the heartbreak of having to leave college due to lack of financial provision, working a high-pressure management job while pursuing vocational ministry, the responsibility of caring for my Father during his cancer treatment and his unexpected home-going, and the subsequent responsibility of caring for my Mother after his passing eventually moved my focus away from God and onto the people, events and circumstances of my life. My self-perception, or identity, looked something like this:

“I’m an overweight, socially awkward little girl who was made fun of at the bus stop in grade school. I’m an insecure girl who befriends everyone ( even though they never stay around) because she knows what it’s like to be rejected and alone. I’m not wanted by anyone. I’m a failed perfectionist who’s fueled by affirmation and driven by approval. I’m a scammed ex-fiancé. I’m a college dropout. I’m an irrational dreamer who’s tired of chasing what I can never seem to catch. I’m fatherless. I’m a spiritual fraud and a hypocrite. I’m a depression, anorexia and bulimia statistic. I’m a failed suicide attempt because self-harm didn’t work in my favor that night. I’m hopeless, and a fool to think that I was created for something greater than this deserved pit I’m in. I’m a disgrace to my church, a disappointment to God, and a defeated Christian. I am nothing.”

The moment that I allowed my gaze to be shifted off of the truth was the moment I gave myself permission to be deceived. (Click here to Tweet quote.)
 
As I’ve said before, how easily I had forgotten who I truly am and what on earth I was created for.
 
Perhaps that description is uncomfortably familiar. Oh dear one, I understand and you’re not alone! Maybe your self-perception isn’t as in-your-face or dramatic as mine. Or possibly, yours makes mine sound like a children’s bedtime story.
 
Regardless, I know this: You and I share the same God-given identity that has been defined and sealed by the blood of Jesus! (Click here to Tweet quote.)
 
It’s ok; go ahead and grab a tissue. Or a few. Oh, and some chocolate. Yes, definitely grab some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better, right?! Heaven as my witness, I’ve drowned today’s tears from writing this post with a few scavenged Butterfinger bites.
 
Ok, deep breath. Now exhale. We’re in this together, and I’m not asking you to do anything I’ve not already done while writing this. You ok? Good! Now, wipe those tears (and your chocolate-stained hands), blow your nose, and grab your bootstraps and pull ‘em tight, friend. God’s Word has much to say regarding our true identity, and it’s liberating and life-changing. Chin up!
 
The word identity is defined as follows:
  • the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions
  • condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
  • exact likeness in nature or qualities
  • the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another

The Word of God must be our firm foundation for our identity. It’s essential that we understand Who created us and why we were created. We can’t reclaim our God-given identity if we don’t have an understanding of what that is.
 
Let’s build upon two simple, yet profound pillars of truth:

1. We are intimately known by our Creator who embraces us with an incomprehensible love.

“God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in! Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—    you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!  At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!  God, I’ll never comprehend them!  I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea.” – Psalm 139:1-22 (MSG)

2. We were created for relationship with God, through Jesus, with a divine purpose and role to play in God’s Kingdom agenda manifested on earth.

“…God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:4-10 (NLT)

If we revisit the definition of identity, we’ll see that these truths beautifully illustrate its meaning:

  •  the state or fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions

TRUTH: God’s love for us is constant and inescapable, and is independent of our feelings, circumstances, or spiritual proximity to Him.

  • condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is
  • exact likeness in nature or qualities
  • the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another

TRUTH: God infused us with His DNA at the very moment He thought us into existence, before we had even lived one day of physical life. Jesus’ death and resurrection raises us from our spiritual death into new life, saving us from the eternal consequences of our sin nature.Not only are we a divine creation, but we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

TRUTH: God sculpted us from “nothing” into “something” - His unique masterpiece – carefully shaping us to fulfill a magnificent destiny before the beginning of time. We are God’s handiwork, a Kingdom ambassador purposed to tell our story of His grace and kindness through the good things He has empowered and entrusted us to accomplish for His namesake.

Reading these truths, I am absolutely wrecked and consumed by the magnitude of God’s love for me.  (Click here to Tweet this quote.)
 
Dear one, embrace who you really are: known, loved, wanted, and purposed by God.
 
Promises – (see above)
Psalm 139:1-22
Ephesians 2:4-10
 
Prayer – "Identity"
Lord God, I am humbled and overwhelmed by Who you are, and who I am in you. I am wrecked and consumed by the magnitude of Your love for me. There is no need to fear You, for You are my Creator. You thought of me. You love me. You have forgiven me. You created only one me. You fashioned every fiber of my being with Your love and set me on earth for such a time as this to accomplish marvelous and wondrous things that I could never fulfill on my own, nor could anyone else on my behalf. You have entrusted and empowered me with a unique, personalized assignment for Your namesake. Oh Father, I acknowledge that I am not my own, but that I wholly belong to You, my Creator. I confess that apart from You, I am nothing, and can accomplish nothing. I place my life back into Your hands in this very moment. I embrace Your definition of who I really am, for only the Creator can define the workmanship of his hands. Your Word says that I am known, I am loved, I was created for relationship with you, and purposed to do great things. This, sovereign God, is who I am: known, loved, wanted, and purposed. In Jesus’ name, amen.
 
Worship
“I Can Just Be Me” by Laura Story (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zeoqkwsmph0)
“Greater” by Mercy Me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98hWI6T4Qqk)






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