Identity

Equipping People To Embrace Their Destiny

{Shout} Your Victory! Monday, October 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 10:47 am

Each one of us has an area(s) in our lives where we are waiting to see God work and move on our behalf.  Whether it be financial, relational, marital, in the area of business, or our hearts there is a place in each of our lives we are desperately needing a touch or word from our Savior.

As we begin this new month and change in seasons in the natural, I’m convinced God is doing a new work in our families, hearts, and lives –  the breakthrough we’ve been searching for.  Over the last few weeks and even months, it’s been the same story from many friends and family members that breakthrough is needed.  Areas that have been blocked, shut down, or seem unchanging are about to be shaken and transformed.

This morning as I read Joshua 6 and the story of Joshua as he trusted God in the victory of conquering Jericho, it is no different for us.  The beauty is our God is constant; always the same and unchanging.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  The same God that gave victory to an impossible situation then for Joshua and His people with the walls of Jericho is ready and working to do the same for you and me.

The Word says that Jericho “a fenced town with high walls was tightly closed…no one went out or came in” (Joshua 6:1).  Does this similarly describe the area you are needing breakthrough?  Does it seem like there is no movement or change in certain areas of your life?  I love the next sentence, “But the Lord said… (6:2)” And how true this is!  When God speaks to you and me, things change.  They have to.  God proceeded to tell Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors.”  And He speaks the same to you and me today, “Son/Daughter, I have given you (you fill in the blank here)…”  It’s already done.

There was one command that God told Joshua.  Joshua and the Israelites were to walk around the walls of Jericho for 6 days and not say a word.  Then on the seventh day, they were to shout as loud as they can and the walls of the town would collapse and the people can charge straight into the town (Joshua 6:5).  And that’s exactly what happened.  In the natural I’m sure the city of Jericho was watching the Israelites march for seven days around the city thinking they were crazy.  And of course I’m sure it looked a little weird that nothing happened for that week.  You may feel like you’ve been marching for days, weeks, months, or even years around an issue or area in your life and continue to see no change.  BUT God says today to SHOUT your victory and you will see complete collapse and breakthrough.

Yesterday morning as I was in the Word, the Lord took me to Psalm 21:13 “Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.  With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.”  It’s time for us to make music and sing as we celebrate His mighty works in our lives and situations.  Shout and sing a song of victory today.  And you will see the hand of the Lord show Himself strong on your behalf.  And it will happen quickly.  It’s a season of change…a season of the impossible bowing to the mighty acts and voice of the Lord.  Sing, dance, and make music before your King.  And watch your victory unfold.

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“Ryan’s Mom”… Sunday, January 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 4:06 pm

There are those moments as a mom that I get a glimpse of truly the magnitude of God’s love for me.  Yes, people told me that before I became a mom, but it sometimes doesn’t always sink in until it becomes revelation and experience on a personal level.  Let me explain.

As a new mom, I often would simply look at my Ryan Elizabeth and think to myself, “How can I love someone so much?”  And yet, there was something birthed inside of me when she was born that exploded with love and care for her on a level I had yet to experience prior to her arrival.  As she has grown into an independent two-year old I continue to fall more in more in love with her in new ways, almost daily.  But it was two weeks ago that I had a deeper truth revealed to me by my best friend, the Holy Spirit.

We arrived at church (with some dear friends visiting with us from out of state) and as we sat down and greeted those around us a voice a few rows ahead said, “Oh, you’re Ryan’s mom.  How are you doing?”  And that was it!  My heart about came out of my chest!!  “I’m known as Ryan’s mom!”  I love it!  That is the sweetest and most treasured compliment I could have received and to be identified with as “Ryan’s mom” was just radiant!  I’m Ryan’s mom!  My heart smiled and my face was beaming with pride.  Then what came next was even more earth shattering.  As I sat back in my seat, I heard the Holy Spirit say in my heart, “That’s how the Father feels about you!  He loves to be identified as your Daddy.”  Wow!  You mean the same joy, pleasure, and excitement that welled up in me is the same as He feels about me?

I sat in my seat for the next few minutes quiet and soaking in these thoughts; simple yet profound.  “My Heavenly Father takes pleasure, delight, and joy in being known as my Daddy.”  And to think that this brings Him the greatest pleasure and satisfaction was a big truth to wrap my head around.  Immediately the passage in Zephaniah 4:17(NLT) came to mind, “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.   He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  And another translation says, “He will rejoice over you with gladness…” (NKJ).  How beautiful!  In Hebrews 12 we are told that Jesus endured the cross and shame that came with it for the “joy set before Him”…that joy is you and me!  And Jesus told us before that He only did the work of His Father in heaven and that if we have seen Him (Jesus) we have seen the Father (John 14).  So not only were we the joy of Jesus, but of His Father too!  If only we could grasp this truth.  What transformation we would have in our lives, relationships, home, work, and everywhere we walked.

Paul, in my opinion, had one of the deepest revelations of God’s love.  In Ephesians he is writing to the church at Ephesus (which was full of men and women of God doing His work and expanding the Kingdom) and shares the following truth about God’s love in Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT) “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”  Did you get that last part?  As we experience the love of Christ we will be made complete with ALL the fullness of LIFE and POWER that comes from God our Father!  As you and I walk daily in the knowledge and revelation of God’s love for us we become complete; full of life and power.  Not just any life and power, but the Life and Power that comes from God.

My friend, today rest in this truth:  Your Heavenly Father is beaming and taking delight, joy, gladness, and great pleasure in you!  Not because of what you do, but simply because of whose you are, His!

That morning in church, Ryan Elizabeth had no idea how delighted and full of joy I was to be known as her mommy.  And yet, there is nothing she has done that brings me that joy, but simply because she is mine.  And on a limited scale, I experienced the Love of the Father toward me.  Thank you Heavenly Father for giving us an earthly example of how loved and treasured we are!

 

After the “One”… Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 2:17 pm

I’m reminded this morning of the tender pursuit of the Lord in our lives.  What a beautiful reminder that He is always after the “one”.  That one person who feels alone, hopeless, defeated, shameful, abandoned, or fearful that feels like no one knows of their existence.  He hears those cries of the heart that seem to be so faint, yet so inwardly loud and consistent.  Perhaps it’s brokenness or hurt, but our Heavenly Father hears them as prayers; prayers of the heart.  These cries are prayers with no formal request or even possibly words expressed yet they are perhaps the deepest and most intimate prayers that can be offered.  He hears these prayers.  He sees the tears.  He answers.  He comes.

This week has been a journey of seeing again the divine direction of God in my daily life.  Just yesterday I ran an errand and happened to be in the store at the same time as another mother.  I was feeling a little behind since we left the house 20 minutes later than planned, but God was lining up my path to meet this young lady.  As we began chatting about crafting and other related projects we are doing, weight began lifting from her countenance.  Perhaps it was shame, burdens of being a mother of kids, the day-in-day-out responsibilities and duties that seem to be never-ending and at times the most mundane of tasks yet crucial for keeping house and family.  But whatever “it” was that began leaving.  Her face shared a beautiful smile and laughter was freed and expressed.  Perhaps hope was again restored or simply feeling like she was understood.  I don’t know fully what she has going on in her life, but she was alone and overwhelmed with life.  As we continued talking, I knew that Jesus in me was ministering to her, even in just the simplest of ways from a smile and friendly “hello” to eye-contact and stopping to talk with her about her a bit and taking those few minutes to interact.  Of course, I was in a race to run in the store buy some fabric and then meet a friend for a play date, but God had orchestrated other interim plans.  And for that I’m thankful.  I’m continually amazed at how simple it is to love on those around us, even if complete strangers.  From our smiles, to words of encouragement, we have no way of knowing exactly how powerful His presence is in our lives as we go out and about.  Don’t underestimate your steps…for God maybe aligning you to show kindness and share Him with that “one” individual feeling down and out. 

I love how God sees that “one” person who is feeling alone, isolated, or insignificant.  He reaches out continually seeking to love on us and bring all His goodness into our lives.  God sees you!  God desires to heal the cries of your heart and meet the desires of your heart.  You are not forgotten, abandoned, or insignificant, but are truly His joy and delight.  He rejoices and delights over you.  He loves to sing His song of deliverance, healing, restoration, and love to you.  He has not abandoned or forgotten you!  Dear one, He loves you so much.  Hear Him speak to your heart.

 

Joy! Monday, September 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 8:55 pm

Joy!  One of my favorite words…I recently purchased some dish soap and specifically got the “Joy” brand as a reminder of this beautiful gift of joy that He has given each one of us. Silly I know, but each time I use it am reminded of the beauty that He brings into our lives.   The Word tells us that it’s the joy of the Lord that is our strength and He gives us the victory in every situation and circumstance in our life as we trust and rest in Him and His Word.   

Psalm 21:1 (NLT) “How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!  He shouts with joy because you give him victory.”

What a great reminder to rejoice and rest in His strength.   To know that our God is for us!  With this joy our lives will be an expression of thanksgiving and gratitude.  And often times our joy and thanksgiving comes before the victory is seen with our natural eye.  That’s faith…trusting that God will do what He says. 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) “The Lord is my strength and shield.  I trust him with all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

Be encouraged today that He is your Help, ever present and more than able!  He desires to walk every day of your life alongside you, guiding and directing you, giving you counsel and encouragement.  You are truly loved and He finds great delight in you!  You are the joy set before Him and the reason Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  Oh how He loves you!

 

Perception of Self Monday, July 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 8:01 am

How do you perceive yourself?  What thoughts do you have about yourself and your identity?  God tells us in His word that our thoughts are powerful and we live out the very thoughts we focus on and believe.  For you and I to live a life of victory and influence, we’ve got to line our thoughts up with who God says we are and not what we feel, the circumstances of our lives, or what others say. 

Growing up we probably have all heard the statement, “If your friends jumped off a cliff would you do the same?”  It’s been either a parent, grandparent, or mentor who has echoed these words in our ears to ring in the truth that our identity and what we do should not be based on what others are doing or who they say we are.  How do you perceive yourself?  What thoughts and inner dialogue are you having continually regarding who you are?  Our perception of ourselves will be the life we live and drive the decisions we make. 

David, king of Israel, was said to be a man after God’s own heart.  And yet we read his story as king and can walk away with a list of actions he took that were not the most glorious.  Yes, he was a great shepherd, slew a lion and a bear with his hands, killed a giant with a stone and slingshot, and was a great king over God’s people.  But it wasn’t overnight that all these accomplishments took place.  Along the way he had some bumps in the road and made a few poor decisions having to learn some hard lessons.  Committing adultery with Bathsheba and then having her husband killed on the front lines of battle to cover up his sin was just one thing David did that wasn’t the best decision.  Not many of us have gone to this extent like David, but David also sought to please people instead of looking to God for direction.  I Chronicles 13:1-2 “David consulted with all his officials, including the generals and captains of his army.  Then he addressed the entire assembly of Israel as follows: “If you approve…”  David was looking to the people and his officials for instructions and guidance on how to go and fight his enemies in battle and neglecting to ask God how He wanted it to be done.  He wanted to please those around him.  I think all of us have been in this same boat, maybe we aren’t going into battle, but perhaps there have been crossroads of decision or you’ve needed direction in a certain area instead of seeking the Lord’s direction and answer you’ve depended on those around you to tell you what to do. 

One thing David did well was once he realized his fault and sin; he always repented to the Lord.  He didn’t continue down the road of wrongdoing, but rested in his covenant and relationship with the Lord knowing that God’s goodness and forgiveness was at his disposal.  We read in the next chapter, “And David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.” (I Chronicles 14:2 KJV).  David perceived (knew or realized) that he was king and that the Lord had confirmed or established him not man!  After this truth came alive to David he then went on to win many battles doing it God’s way and following the directions that God gave him not what those around him were saying. 

It is vital that you and I perceive, know, and realize who we are.  Not what we feel we are or even what those around us are saying about us and who we are, but we need to dwell and focus our thoughts on who God says we are.  In meditating on these truths we will begin to see victory after victory in our lives in both big and small ways.  You and I live our lives and make every decision based on our perception and realization of who we are; our thought life.  Begin the transformation by choosing to focus on who God says you are and what your identity is in Him.  This will overflow into victory in every area of your life.

 

Where are your accusers? Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 8:55 pm

It’s so refreshing to be reminded of how much Jesus loves us even when we mess up; and not just the little mistakes we make, but the big mishaps in our lives where we feel defeated and a complete failure.  This week I was reading the story of the woman caught in adultery that was brought before Jesus.  The religious teachers found her and were trying to trick Jesus into saying something they could use against him.  They kept demanding an answer from Jesus regarding her fate.  The Law of Moses says to stone her, but they wanted to see what Jesus said to do.  Jesus says, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”  Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.   When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.  Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”   “No, Lord,” she said.   And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:7-11 NLT)

Jesus is so kind!  I’ve often wondered why Jesus stooped to the ground and wrote in the dust.  Perhaps he was writing the Ten Commandments as a reminder to the religious leaders that they have failed in their lives too.  Or maybe he was trying to take the attention of the crowd and religious leaders off of the woman caught in the act of adultery (who was probably half clothed and so embarrassed) and to focus on him instead.  Either way, I love how Jesus responds to the leaders.  Whoever is perfect can throw the first stone.  I’m sure one by one they walked away frustrated and convicted of their actions and the revealing of their true hearts.  But it is the response that Jesus gave the woman that is so tender and true for us today.  He says, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”   “No, Lord,” she said.   And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

This woman received no condemnation!  First those who were trying to condemn her couldn’t and secondly Jesus himself didn’t condemn her either.  It is after she finds no condemnation that Jesus tells her to go and sin no more!  The manner in which Jesus responds to the woman is purposeful and freeing for us.  We often think that in order to receive no condemnation we have to be perfect and our lives in order.  However this is not what Jesus told the woman.  Jesus said that he doesn’t condemn her and because of that she can then go and sin no more!  How beautiful to know that we are free from condemnation (guilt, shame, reproach, expectation of punishment, or disapproval).  And because of this truth we are able to go and conquer sin in our lives. 

Perhaps our thinking has been backyards in telling believers to go and sin no more which leads to no condemnation.  And as we continue to go and mess up time and time again we beat ourselves up which leads to the endless cycle of messing up over and over again.  We feel guilty, think badly of ourselves, and work ever so hard to not do it again, however in our own effort and this cycle of condemnation we will inevitably repeat that which we desire to stop doing.  Do you think this woman went out and committed adultery again?  With the forgiveness of Jesus and loving way he responded to her I highly doubt she went out continuing to live that lifestyle.  The Word tell us in Romans 2:4 that the kindness or goodness of the Lord leads one to repentance.  Rest in this truth for your life today that regardless of what you’ve done or where you’ve been, Jesus is extending his kindness and love toward you.  He doesn’t hold it against you!  He desires the best for you.  His love alone satisfies our deepest needs.

 

Head to Heart Thursday, June 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennj @ 2:04 pm

We’ve often heard the statement of making something transfer from “head-knowledge” to “heart-knowledge”.  But what exactly does this mean?  And how does it look in our lives when this transfer does takes place?  After being asked this question by a friend I took some time to search out the answer.  How does something we know move from our head to our heart? 

Each one of us has things that we have head-knowledge in however for that truth and its fruit to begin being seen in our lives feels like eternity and a lost cause.  Perhaps there’s an area in your life that you continue to see no fruit in and yet you know that there should be fruit in that part of your life.  Maybe it’s a relationship, career, finances, or simply a breakthrough in your perspective of God or life.  Whatever head-knowledge you are possessing it’s time to start seeing this transfer into your daily living.

What is heart-knowledge?  Heart-knowledge is when something is a part of you.  The way that we think, act, respond, and speak all overflows from the heart.  It’s natural and part of who a person is.  We don’t have to think twice or hesitate when something happens or transpires.  I think that to have head-knowledge or understanding in an area of our lives it to understand the concepts and reasoning behind something, but when it takes root in our hearts this knowledge becomes part of us and there is a revelation or awe-ha moment makes what we once thought in our heads become real in our hearts. 

The secret to seeing this transfer is rather simple; spending time in His presence.  If my desire is to live my life full of joy, possess peace, direction for my next step, and to be stress-free from the cares and concerns that come my way then time with the Lord is the only way that I’ll get His perspective, receive His guidance, and hear His voice.  It’s one thing for me to know in my head that He offers peace and guides my every step, but it is quite different for me to live in His peace and direction finding rest and refreshment in my thoughts and heart. 

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.  The way we live is a direct reflection of our thought life.  It is impossible to live a life contrary to the way we think.  If there is a behavior we want to see changed in our lives it begins with changing our thoughts.  As we seek after the Lord and His Word this will begin to wash over us and change our thinking.  God’s Word is like water that washes over us and renews us (Ephesians 5:26).  If there is anything that is dirty or not from Him it is washed away as we spend time in His Word. 

The beautiful thing about the Lord is as we spend time with Him and in His Word this transfer and change in our thinking takes place effortlessly and without our awareness!  Have you ever been around an older couple that has been married for 50 years or more?  What do you notice?  The way they look seems to be similar, their actions, responses, and even knowing the thoughts and predictions of their mate is second nature.  As they have spent many years together they have become ever so similiar.  The same is true in our lives.  Our time spent with the Lord is changing us into His image affecting our thoughts which overflow in our actions through the Holy Spirit and His work in us. 

I’m reminded of the story of Peter in Matthew 16 when “Jesus asked them, “But who do you say I am?  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.”  Head knowledge is man’s way of thinking.  Heart-knowledge comes from the Lord.  There are many things we can seem to understand and grasp, but it is only God who can truly reveal and transform our lives making what we know in our heads about Him become heart truths resulting in life transformation and change. 

As you seek Him, spend time in His presence, and His Word may you begin seeing victory in areas of your life where once there was defeat.  May your Heavenly Father open the eyes of your heart to see and experience Him no longer from shallow head-knowledge but from a heart ready and eager to trust Him in every area of your life.  Receive His love today and may it overflow into your life.