Lots of Christian women think to get God’s favor they must be good. You know, follow the Ten Commandments, read the Bible and pray daily, attend church weekly, and do nice things like feed the homeless.
The truth: Every genuine Christian has God’s favor now. You need not “get” it because you’ve “got” it. The word favor nearly synonymous with blessing?
Ephesians 1:3 says this:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Did you catch the phrase “every spiritual blessing”? If you have every spiritual blessing now, can you get more?
Choose to Believe God
The way, then, to receive God’s favor — his blessing! — is simple and profound: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31)
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. What do you need to believe? If you are not a Christian you need to believe you need help. Self-effort isn’t enough. Relying on a self-improvement book keeps you chained to a hamster wheel, running and running and going nowhere.
Instead, trust that Christ has done for you what you are cannot do: live a perfectly holy life.
If you are a Christian who has lost her way, then I invite you to read, even memorize, a biblical truth we at Biblical Counseling Center have framed in our offices and typed on our counseling materials:
Faith is believing the Word of God
and acting upon it,
no matter how I feel,
knowing God promises a good result.
Often the women, couples and families I counsel are Christians but are thinking and acting like unbelievers.
Many have let the world’s belief systems infiltrate their thinking, beliefs and motivations. They’re hurting and want relief. God gives them something better: peace and contentment in Christ in all circumstances. Here are two pictures of women who believed.
Rahab the Harlot and Favor
A prostitute in Jericho hid spies under flax on rooftop. Brave, this woman, this harlot. Brave, this believer in the one true God. A scarlet cord danging from her window attested to her belief and saved her life and the lives of her family when the Jericho walls fell in.
Do you think God can love sex-tainted women? Or women with a past, whatever the past? Perhaps abortion, adultery, promiscuity or pornography?
Isn’t it wonderful that God is bigger than the mistakes you’ve made?
The Rejected Samaritan Woman and Favor
Many times married and living with a guy, this woman was an outcast among outcasts. Fetching water midday, scorching sun high, she met Jesus at Jacob’s well and became an evangelist. This Jesus, he spoke truth, he showed compassion, and she was changed. A new creation, embraced by God Most High. She told the townsfolk who had shunned her.
Do you know the sting of disappointment and rejection? Remember middle school? The insecurity?
When you believe Jesus, you experience peace and contentment now. Sure, you still make bad choices and bad things happen will upend you. Yet you and I can rest in knowing God loves you . . .
more than wildflowers
because He Is Love.
COUNSELING HOPE: I encourage you to contact me and we can chat briefly by phone or email and see how biblical counseling might help you and give you hope. Stop by my counseling page for answers to questions you may have.
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
Write where you hurt! Wouldn’t you like a valuable tool to help you heal? A tool that helps you uncover truths and connect dots?
Don’t like journaling? No problem. Draw or doodle bits of your story. I’ll give you a prompt in a sec.
Did you know writing and drawing are healing? All you need is a pen or pencils and paper. Remember you’re writing only for yourself, your healing.
A couple decades ago, when I sought counseling for a childhood emotional wound, journaling gave me an outlet, a way to put my pain on paper, to write where I hurt. Through writing my real I discovered the lies I told myself — such as, “You’re defective” — and began replacing them with the truth: God values me. I used a journal method like this one.
Once I made three-dimensional art: first a drawing, then I singed the edges of the paper, and finally put it int a Ziplock baggie. Each step of this artsy journaling had meaning and helped me understand my anger and the thoughts fueling it.
Are you ready to try writing/drawimg to heal?
The writing/drawing prompt: What is your “God Chose Me” story? This chosen story describes your experience of saying, “Yes, God. I will serve your Son.”
He snagged me at the library. Where did God first meet you?
A life problem–it could be anything–may bump you hard, tempting you to doubt your own salvation. You may think, Am I really saved? By putting your chosen story on paper, you have a physical reminder that God is with you. You can review your story at any time, bubbling up joy in your heart.
1. Decide if you’ll write or draw your story. If writing, use lined paper or a journal. If drawing, use a plain paper without lines. The size is your choice.
2. Your chosen story has three main parts: before Jesus was your Savior, when Jesus became your Savior, after Jesus became your Savior. Just think: Before, When, After.
Pray and ask Jesus what He wants you to say in word or picture. Don’t worry if it’s good enough. Let him take over the process. And write where it hurts.
Counseling Hope to Your Heart,
NEW IDENTITY: Today’s guest writer is pastor-teacher Stephen J. Moll, my husband and a church planter in greater Chicago. You can read his original post here. Steve has preached extensively on the believer’s new identity in Christ, including these 7 truths you need to know. Free download below.
If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’ve received an amazing new identity.You’re a new person! The moment you were saved you became a radically different person from the one you were before you were saved! In his writings, the Apostle Paul details the wonderful new identity all believers have in Christ.
Our new identity in Christ is designed by God to empower us, lead us, encourage us, and motivate us to live fruitful and victorious Christian lives. Therefore, it is vital that we know what the Word of God tells us about who we really are in Christ.
Here are the amazing truths about our new identity in Christ that we focus on and teach at Grace Life Church in greater Chicago:
1. Totally Forgiven!
In Christ you are totally forgiven of ALL your sins (Eph. 1:7, 4:32; Col. 1:13-14, 2:13, 3:13; Heb. 9:26-28, 10:13-14). As believers, all of our sins–past, present, and future sins–have been forgiven through Christ’s death at the cross. We don’t need to ask him to forgive us over and over again. Tragically, some Christians continually ask God to forgive them for the sins they commit when he’s already done that for them at the cross. Be assured that God completely dealt with the sin issue once and for all. All of believers’ sins have been totally forgiven and our fellowship with God is secure because we are in Christ. God now wants us to get on with letting Christ live His life in us and through us.
2. Perfectly Righteous!
In Christ you have the perfect righteousness of the Son of God (Rom. 3:21-24). All of our good works will not make us any more righteous than we became at the moment we were saved, when God gave us the perfect righteousness of his Son. We were declared totally righteous by God, the act of God the Bible calls “our justification” (Rom. 4:25).
Because we are in Christ, God sees us as just as perfectly righteous as his Son! We need to accept and embrace what God says is true about our perfect standing before Him and not base our standing on how we may feel from moment to moment and day to day.
3. Child of God!
In Christ you are a child of God (John 1:12-13). This is the wonderful reality of our intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Unfortunately, some Christians want to keep distant form God because of bad teaching or a refusal to believe this truth. The great news is that God wants us to grow close to him in a warm and loving personal relationship (Rom 8:15-16).
As God’s children we can approach him freely and confidently.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Eph. 3:12)
God wants you to rest in and enjoy a close personal relationship with him. He wants you to know that you can turn to him and talk to Him anytime. He’s with you all the time as he’s loving you perfectly all the time. In addition, you are unconditionally accepted by God (Rom. 15:7). Many believers struggle with this truth. It’s difficult to believe, isn’t it? Despite your faults and failures, God still accepts you.
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You have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3). You don’t have to pray for more spiritual blessings! The truth is that believers already possess every spiritual blessing in Christ, and we received them all at the moment we were saved.
You are complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10). When God says that you’re complete in His Son, then you are complete! God has given us everything we need in order to enjoy a close and growing relationship with Him. At the moment of salvation, we received everything we need in order to live a victorious Christian life.
Jesus Christ has set you free (John 8:36). He has freed believers from sin and the law (Gal. 5:1). In our freedom we are now free to live as the Holy Spirit guides and leads us.
The Bible teaches that as a child of God you are not to live your Christian life by following the Mosaic Law, which God gave to the nation Israel, or any other works-based systems devised by men. Living that way does not produce victory over sin. It only produces confusion, frustration, bondage, and defeat as a believer eventually realizes, often painfully, that that way doesn’t work.
God’s Word is clear:
For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom. 6:14)
Tragically, legalism has been a primary problem in Christ’s church ever since it started nearly 2000 years ago. Legalism mixes law and grace (or all law and no grace!), resulting in all kinds of errors and false teaching. It was the main problem the Apostle Paul vigorously confronted throughout his ministry. Today countless believers live under the heavy yoke of legalism. They’re missing out on the life of peace and joy that Jesus Christ has already given them. We thank God that he has given us the Bible, our sole source book of truth. It brings correction and teaches us His way for us to live as his children.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)
7. Eternally Secure!
You are eternally secure in Christ.
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Believers cannot lose salvation (Rom. 8:31-39). All of our sins were forgiven and we were declared righteous at the moment we were saved. Jesus dealt with the sin issue once and for all at the cross when He paid the penalty for our sins. Because He paid the penalty, we don’t have to.
Furthermore, we’ve been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). Once we’ve been born again of the Spirit we can’t become unborn! The Bible says that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). We are eternally secure in his perfect love!
You see, Jesus Christ has done it all for us! That’s the beauty of grace. It makes it all about him, not about us. He now invites us to rest in him (Matt. 11:28-30) and the work he’s done for us. We honor him and obey him when we rest in him. As we trust in Christ living in us and rest in him, we give him the freedom to work in us and through us, producing good works that flow out of the “fruit of the spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). These are real good works that have eternal value in God’s sight (1 Cor. 3:11-14).
DOWNLOAD: Would you like a free download on more new identity truths? Ask Lucy for the New Identity download today.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
“A-to-Z Identity List” is this month’s Tuesday tool.
When you tell yourself the truth of who you are in Christ, your life undergoes a beautiful transformation.
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“I am Chosen by God”…”I am Made to worship”…”I am Victorious over sin” — these A-to-Z truths and others come from the Word of God. And they will encourage you to stop false beliefs and start seeing through the lens of scripture. Then as you embrace them, healing follows.
Get the Most from the A-to-Z List
Here are two excellent ways to delve into your God-given identity and get the most out of the A-to-Z list.
1) Once daily look up the scriptures for one of the words, until you’ve completed all 26.
2) Read through the entire list of words. Circle 3 to 5 that are meaningful to you. Then in a journal, personalize the verses. Example: For Lamentations 3:22-23, you might personalize it by jotting down,
God loves me and has great compassion for me.
I don’t have to let trials rock me because God is always faithful to me.
Journaling God’s truth is among the best helps for my counselees and for me.
Accepted–John 15:15; Ephesians 1:6
Born Again–John 3:5-7
Chosen, conﬁdent–Ephesians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 3:3-4
Direct Access to God–Ephesians 2:18, 3:12; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 2:5
Established by God–Genesis 1:27; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Forgiven—Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 32:1; Isaiah 43:25-26!
God’s Child—John 1:12; 1 John 3:1
Heir with Christ–Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29
Immersed in Jesus Christ–Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4
Justiﬁed—1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-8
Kept for eternity–John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6
Loved–John 3:16, 15:13; Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 3:12
Made to worship–Ecclesiastes 3:10-11; John 4:24
New creation in Christ–2 Corinthians 5:17
Optimistic–Joshua 1:9; Romans 8:28-29
Peace—John 14:27; Philippians 4:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Quietness of Soul–Psalm 46:10, 62:5, 131:2
Rescued from Satan’s domain–Colossians 1:13
Secure, sealed – 1 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9
Temple of God–1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:1
Unique–Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:14
Victorious over sin–1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4
Whole, no longer incomplete–James 1:2-4, 1 John 4:12
Xtra valued by God–Psalm 17:8, Deuteronomy 32:10
Yoked with Jesus–Matthew 11:28-29
Zealous for the things of God–Revelation 3:19; Titus 2:14
A Freebie for You
Would you like an attactive handout of the A-toZ Identity in Christ list? Simply ask for it. Contact me now and type “Send me A-to-Z Identity List in the subject line. This list was inspired by my fellow counselors at Biblical Counseling Center.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Who likes trials? Only masochists, right?
Yet in Jesus Christ’s flip-the-world-upside-down gospel — where the weak are strong, and the poor are rich, and the messed up are cleaned up — trials are the wild path to joy, to true happiness. And here’s a key:
Blessing of Trials
Sucky trials get your attention.
Then you feel a need to deal.
Did you know he wants you to think like he thinks? Did you know you can — what a mind-boggling thought! — because he empowers you to do so? It’s all Jesus.
‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinshtians 2:16, ESV
With Jesus, trials help you and me see, really see. They help us gain a new perspective, God’s perspective, as long as we’re open to listen to him. But Satan tries to interfere.
As Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp say in How People Change:
Nothing is subtle about the ongoing war that rages throughout the Christian life. Trials and temptations abound, but we respond to them from a new vantage point.
New Perspective of Trials
We can change our perspective of trials. Here are just three ideas.
1. Remember that God continually blesses you. He is for you. You belong to him, and he wants you to experience the abundant life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10.
2. Decide to want what God wants: a close relationship with Jesus. Let go of lesser pleasures that entice. Seek the greatest pleasure and spend your life enjoying God.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
3. Embrace the truth that God uses sucky trials to increase your desire for the highest dream.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that you belong to God? That you can spend the rest of your life enjoying him? That trials have a goal?
And what is this goal? To become more and more Christlike as you love God and love your neighbor.
Invitation for YOU
Friends, we have one hope: Christ.
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But sometimes life beats us down. This is where biblical counseling can help. If you’re facing trials and want God’s best for you, I invite you to consider biblical counseling.
I’m a trained biblical counselor pursuing a doctorate in biblical counseling. I also am certified by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and by the Association of Biblical Counselors.
I meet with counselees (women, teen girls, and couples) in person and by Skype. (Skype-to-Skype calls are free.)
May our great God bless you, as I know he will. Ephesians 1:3
Sharing Hope for Your Heart,