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Family Tree Tangles

17 Feb

I get a kick out of all those ancestry sites on television lately—people finding out more about their extended family tree. It reminded me of some humor I saw last year:

I sent that “Ancestry” site some information on my family tree. They sent me back a packet of seeds and suggested I just start over!*

There’s a real truth in the midst of that humor!

newseeds_lolwithgod_diyseedpacketgraphic_adapted_almostmakesperfect-com

For many years, I tried to grow something beautiful out of my life with a lot of self-effort. I read oodles of self-help books and listened to self-improvement tapes.

There was a lot of insight in those resources, the problem was, it’s really hard to grow something beautiful from bad seed.

I was still, as the scriptures say, “in Adam,” and that made beautiful growth hopeless (1 Corinthians 15:22a; Romans 5:19a)

Adam brought sin into the world with his disobedience to the Lord’s command. His sin resulted in condemnation and spiritual death. Because of Adam, all humanity is born in sin. Adam was the “federal head” of the human race, and with his sin, all of humanity was separated from God, deserving only spiritual death. 

Like the self-righteous Pharisees (John 8:44), I could make some progress, but even then, it was often with wrong motives. Like the Pharisees, I was inwardly a rebel against the Lord—just like proud, self-focused Satan (Isaiah 14:13-14).

I had to face the fact that I was addicted to sin. I was in bondage to it.

I had to come to the point where I realized an important truth:

I didn’t need self-help. I needed God-help!

I needed the life and power to change that only comes in Jesus Christ.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19)

My desire for never-ending self-help ended for me on September 7, 1971, when I received the gift of life in Christ.

In Christ, I am a new creation. When I received His grace, I was made righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:4-6; John 1:12-13).

To be in Christ, means I was “with Him” in his death, burial and resurrection—the payment for my sin. Now I am a “joint heir” with Him, and I am placed into “the body of Christ”. I am forgiven, no longer separated from God, and free from bondage to sin. (Romans 6:3-5; 8:17; Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:14: Ephesians 2:12-13; John 8:36; Romans 8:2)

Although I still want to grow and change, I know I cannot make choices for eternity without the Lord. I know I am made “the righteousness of God in Him.” I am set apart and made holy for His use and complete in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:9-10)

It’s a totally different perspective. The old seed was destroyed and the Lord planted “new seed” in my heart.

This new seed grows, strengthens, empowers, makes change possible, and encourages me to love, bless and serve others (Ephesians 1:16-21; 3:16; Romans 6:4, 14; Ephesians 5:8).

The Lord works in me “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

I can cooperate with faith and obedience, but I know it is only God who cultivates His new seed within me.

Are you operating from bad seed? Are you still caught up in self-help? Is it time for some new seed?

 – Dawn

 * Cybersalt Digest, Issue 4027, 2/12/15, Oneliner #0984

Graphic adapted, used with permission: DIY Seed packet (http://almostmakesperfect.com/2015/05/12/diy-seed-packets-with-free-printable/)

 

The Christian’s True Dress Code

22 Apr

Employed by the human development center of a corporation in the Midwest, a woman trains employees inClothesOnHangers proper dress codes and etiquette.

One day, as she stepped onto the elevator, a man casually dressed in jeans and a golf shirt got on with her.

Thinking of her responsibilities, she scolded, “Dressed a little casually today, aren’t we?”

The man replied, “That’s one benefit of owning the company!” *

LOL!

In recent decades, there’s been a lot of chatter about workplace dress codes. While some disagree about these codes, clothes do impact how we feel, our confidence level and even how we interact in our relationships. Dress codes can create certain work environments (casual, stuffy, professional, artistic, etc.).

Did you know Christians have a dress code? I’m not talking about the modesty issue here (although that would be a much needed topic for another post), but rather, the special “garment” we’re to wear every day.

I love a passage in Isaiah that talks about how God “decks us out” when we are His own:

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness….” (Isaiah 61:10a).

If you are a biblical Christian, you are draped in a robe of righteousness, and you can rejoice in that garment of praise! At one time, you would not submit to the righteousness of God, and kept trying to establish your own righteousness (Romans 10:3-4). But all your good works were like filthy garments before the Lord (Isaiah 64:6a).

But in Christ, that all changed. There was a great exchange!

“God made him who had no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

“But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin]” (1 Corinthians 1:30, Amplified).

We could never stand before a holy, perfectly righteous God with our filthy garments.

Righteous robes are something we cannot provide for ourselves. But in Christ, we are acceptable because when the Father sees us, He first sees His righteous Son who died for us and redeemed us to God. What God requires (purity), Jesus provides.

“… you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NIV).

We are covered, enveloped by Him. Positionally, we are righteous. That’s how the Father sees us. Practically, we get dirty spots on our robes and need to confess and forsake sin. We need to live out the righteousness that is ours.

But in the future, NO spots!

When we fast forward to the end of the ages and pull back the curtain of eternity, we see the people of God forever clothed in fine linen, pure and bright, representing the “righteous deeds” of God’s holy people (Revelation 19:8).

Remember, our deeds are only righteous because we are purified and made holy through Jesus’ work to save us and make us “a people that are His very own” (Titus 2:14).

So we might say the Christian’s daily dress code is “the righteousness of Christ.”

Are you a Christ-follower, redeemed and walking in that righteous robe today? 

– *Cybersalt Digest’s Clean Laugh, Issue #3965, 9-18-13

-Dawn

 

The Fruit of God’s Love

26 Mar

Sorry. There’s really nothing funny about Resurrection Day. Oh there are lots of jokes about bunnies and Easter eggs, like:

  • Question: How many Easter eggs can you put in an empty basket
    • Answer: One. (After that, it’s not empty anymore!)
  • Question: How does the Easter bunny stay in shape?
    • Answer: Hareobics.
  • Question: What does the Easter Bunny have on his I-Pod?
    • Answer: Hip-Hop!

But jokes about Jesus who died on the cross for our sins and then rose to give us new life?

No. That’s not a joking matter.

But it IS a time for celebration. I can laugh out loud with joy that Jesus overcame death and the evil one and now calls people to new life.

About four weeks ago, I saw a sign at Hobby Lobby that was a play on the old Trix cereal commercial. The sign read:

Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus.

SillyRabbit_EasterIsForJesus_SignSeenAtHobbyLobbyWhile funny—and I did laugh—the sign isn’t completely accurate.

Easter is a secular holiday to celebrate spring; Resurrection Day is “for Jesus.”

(In truth, for the Christian every day is supposed to be for Jesus, but I’m making a point here.)

There are at least two days most Christians hold as sacred and celebrate: Christmas and Resurrection Day (which many still call Easter). They both commemorate something special about the Lord we love. 

It’s been my choice through the years to keep these days special, because in the midst of all the “fun stuff,” I want to honor Him.

Thomas Cotterill wrote these words that remind me why I love this day:

On this auspicious morn The Lord of Life arose;

He burst the bars of death, And vanquished all our foes:

And now He pleads our cause above,

And reaps the fruits of all His love.*

When I read that I suddenly thought: Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am a “fruit of all His love!”

Today, my prayer is,

“Thank you, Jesus, for this and every Resurrection Day that reminds us what You did for us! Thank you that I am the fruit of Your love.”

Jesus, God’s Son:

CrossOnBlue_ChristIsRisen_HCTSaves and redeems us (Ephesians 1:7-10; Colossians 1:13-14).

Forgives us (1 John 1:8-10; Luke 24:47; Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Makes us holy (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Hebrews 10:10; Romans 6:18; 12:1-2).

Gives us life with Him now and forever (John 3:16; 11:25-26; 17:3; 1 John 2:25).

Understanding God’s way of salvation isn’t hard, but people are free to believe or not.

The Lord made the way of salvation plain

Do you know Jesus—not just do you know about Him, but are you living in a relationship with Him? If you know the Lord, celebrate this Resurrection Day with joy and peace in your heart!

 – * Hymn: “Awake, Ye Saints, Awake” by Thomas Cotterill.

 – Dawn

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