Life in the Kingdom – From Sinner to Saint

We Were Sinners

Almost all of us would agree that before Christ comes into our lives, we as a human race are sinners.  Because of the fall of man (seen in Genesis chapter 3) we are all born with a sinful nature.  It’s part of our nature now and we cannot help but to be influenced by the world, the flesh, or the devil because at birth, we are not automatically committed to Christ.  Only when we submit to Him and turn our lives over to Him do we have Christ’s influence on our lives.  

We are Cleansed if…

1 John 1:9 states:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (NASB)

And 1 Corinthians 5:21 tells us:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NASB)

This verse really spoke to me.  God made it clear to me through this verse that He not only forgave my sin, but he also removed all unrighteousness (wickedness) from me.  We are saved by grace when we believe in Christ. And through faith, believing in Him, we are forgiven, cleansed, made righteous.  He took our old nature upon Himself and gave us His nature.  Making us a new creation.  All old things have passed and the new has come.  His grace is defined as ‘divine influence upon the heart and it’s reflection in our life.’

New nature in a Sinful World     

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Now that we are Christians, we are righteous and filled with His grace giving us the desire and ability to do His will.  But we still have to guard our hearts.  The bible states this several times.  Guard your hearts, or humble ourselves, or resist the devil.  There are many influences in this life and in this world.  We must remain ready, on guard.  We must read the bible and set our mind on God and His Kingdom.  

We must also know who we are:

I am a child of God. I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.  I am a new creation. I have the power of God living in me.

We must live according to who we are:

The bible tells us to put off the old nature and put on the new nature.  

Ephesians 4:21-24 New Living Translation (NLT) 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

Live according to who we are–righteous and holy. 

Read here to find out what it means to be holy.

We are Saints

We are no longer sinners by nature once we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior because he changes our nature.  We are a new creation.   The wickedness has been removed.  All sin has been erased, forgiven.  We are now children of Godthe bride of Christ, prepared for a future in Heaven.  

Being a saint is not reserved for a special few who have reached a certain level of Christianity.  Saints are all who believe in Jesus and follow Him as their Lord, submitting to Him in all they do.  In many books of the New Testament the apostle addresses the churches as saints.  “To the Saints who are in Ephesus” for example.  For more information here is a link for The bible definition of Saint.

 

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Life In The Kingdom – Our Forever Home

A new Existence

My mother-in-law passed away this past week; and as my husband and I prepare to travel out of state to the funeral, I have been thinking a lot about the transition into eternity.  That, after all, is what death is.  It is not really the end.  It is the beginning of a new life in a new place.  It is a new state of existence in the spiritual realm.  All that may sound spooky or maybe almost science fiction to some people; but that is really what life is all about. Our life on this earth is temporary and in preparation for our permanent, eternal home.  And, for those of us who know Jesus Christ personally as our Lord and Savior, that eternal home is Heaven.  The Bible states:

life-is-a-journey-to-heaven

 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:18 (NIV)

 

This is the third in a series on Life in the Kingdom.  We have learned that we are part of God’s family adopted as children. We then learned that we as a church are the bride of Christ.  Today I want to share a more personal experience as I learn to deal with the death of my mother-in-law.  

I was running an errand today and as I was driving, I turned on my CD player in the car.  The song that happened to play was The Revelation Song.  I thought about the scripture to which this song is referring:  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come,” the living creatures proclaim. They do not rest day or night and never cease to proclaim the holiness of God.  And since we are preparing for the funeral for my mother-in-law, I thought of her and how she is present with the Lord at this very moment.  2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us that: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (NKJV)  

At that moment, while Kari Jobe was singing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. Holy, holy is He,” I actually was envious of my mother-in-law.  You see, at funerals, we are sad because we will miss those who die.  031116_1918_TheHalfWasn20But Christians who die are with the Lord and are no longer sad.  There is no more death in Heaven.  No more crying.  No pain.  No sickness.  No sorrow.  No arguing or complaining.  So when we cry at a funeral, it should not be for those who have gone to Heaven.  We cry for us.  We are the ones grieving, but those who have died are rejoicing in the presence of God.  And that, my friend, is something that I certainly look forward to.  That is what I eagerly await–meeting my Savior and Lord face to face.

So now, my friend, let me encourage you to trust in the Lord.  Give your life to Him.  Know for certainty that when your body wears out and you leave this earthly existence, you will find yourself in the presence of the Lord.  

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

 

Retirement

I may be a minority here but I feel this way a lot here lately.

Retirement

Beginning of life: all is exciting and new.  Experiences mostly intriguing.

On into your teenage and young adult careers, we are focused on building and achieving.

Reaching into the middle aged or life comes to a high as we are about to reach are goal.

Into our older years, once our goal is reached, we slow down and take a look back

Now at the peak of our career, we no longer climb or move upward, we no longer grow.

Going nowhere!! Existing until our final day.

Our Problems Disappear

where-all-problems-go-away-true-story-⚽👌-7856435We all need a place to escape sometimes.  For some of us it is a soccer game, as in this picture here.  For others it is something a little (or a lot) more destructive, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, and the list goes on.  

What are we escaping from?

We escape from  work, family problems, financial problems, heartache, health problems, etc.  Problems are many times the focus of our attention because we are drawn to what hurts at the moment.  It’s like when we stub out little toe; we grab our toe and moan until the pain subsides.  Likewise, most of us focus on our problems or pain until it goes away.

What is the real problem?

The real problem is not work, the family, finances, heartache, or heath, etc.  It is our focus.  What is our focus.  I have found that the more I focus on myself, the more problems I seem to have.  I am always concerned about what I want, how I feel; and I complain about what is not perfect and who is not doing what I want.  

Change of focus

So where should our focus be?  Many times in my life I have felt my focus being pulled away from my own problems when I see another bigger problem out there somewhere.  Out in the world, in my community, or among my friends.  When I see a catastrophe like war, tsunamis, or poverty  or when I see a friend get evicted from their home or someone I know loses a family member, that is when my problems seem to disappear.  In the light of major catastrophes or serious problems all around me, my problems seems to be a trivial matter.  So the problem is not my situation.  It is my focus.  It is my response to my problems.  Do I sit and sulk?  Do I worry and complain?  Do I have a pity party and wonder when I will get my way, when my kids will finally behave, when my bills will ever get paid?  If so, I end up worrying and becoming depressed.  However….

 Focus on Jesus

If I focus on Jesus, first of all, I know He has the answer and with Him I can get through the problem.  My problem may not actually disappear, but I do not worry about it because “Papa” will take care of it and see me through it.

Focus on others

Prayer is a wonderful thing.  When I pray for myself, I can focus on Jesus and know he has my problems in His hands and will fix everything until I feel okay again. When I pray for others, I get my focus off of myself and realize that I am not alone in my battles, pain, and heartaches.  

When I see what is happening in the world I still know that God is sovereign and is not up there wringing his hands wondering what to do.  He has it all under control. Sure, He gave some authority to us and commanded us to take charge of things on Earth, but He is there to help us if we ask Him.  

JOY

I once heard the definition of Joy as Jesus Others Yourself.  That is what our focus should be.  Jesus first, others second, and ourselves last.  We are here to Worship God.  That is our primary focus.  Then we are also here to love others.  Sometimes our focus should be on them more than ourselves.  Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”  We should thing of others needs.  Although we should not neglect ourselves, we should just realize that when we put others first at times, our problems seem smaller or even non existent as we focus on something else.

Continue reading “Our Problems Disappear”

Changes in Life

Something exciting is available around the bend.  I know it.  It has to be.  Because otherwise I would not be here.Kinkade, Life's Journey

There are many changes in life.  One of them is retirement.  I wouldn’t say I really retired in the classical sense.  I just quit my job for several reasons that I need not go into in this blog.  Having done that, however, I’m finding myself at home with not much to do.  I realized that I have a lot of potential in me.  There is talent in there somewhere.  We all have gifts and abilities that should be used.  Otherwise, why are we here?  I have sat in my home and contemplated this for a few days.  Watching TV, reading books, playing video games, and surfing the internet is fun, but is is not useful.  There is no purpose in that for me.  Who am I helping?  So, I think it is time to start blogging seriously again.  There may be some nuggets of truth, some encouraging words, or some happy, funny stories and poems that I can write that will improve someone’s day, make them feel better, or maybe even change their life for the better.  Therefore, after 3 years, I am beginning my WordPress blog once again.  I am looking forward to what God has in store for me around the bend.  I am excited about life in general and how technology has made it so easy for us to influence a multitude of people on a daily basis.  So be looking for my blogs.  Let me know what you would like me to write about.  Hopefully, you can comment on my posts to let me know if I have somehow encouraged you, or helped you discover new truths of life and God.  Retirement will be fun now.  I have a goal, a passion, a mission, and that is writing!!