My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

My Identity in Christ (Part 1)

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

John 15:15 “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

When I was a little girl, I remember having an overall sense of happiness and freedom to be a child. But as I grew older and began to develop the awareness of my identity within my family unit and became the victim of verbal and physical abuse, my perspective on who I was began to change.

In my mind’s eye, I was ugly, stupid, and overall, a pathetic girl that no one loved or wanted to be with. I can remember my father saying over and over, “Why can’t you be like your brother or why can’t you be like your sister?” He was referring to the older siblings that had gone on and became successful, in his eyes. Out of his frustration and unchecked anger, he lashed out and made us feel unwanted as he put us down by abusing us verbally. My mother was a quiet, submissive woman with multiple (total of 15) kids to care for. She wasn’t involved in our lives except to care for our physical needs. And the brothers that were still in the home, treated me with great contempt and regularly beat up on me. At age 11, I was being molested by two of my older brothers and by the age of 12, I lost my virginity to a drug-addicted man that was 14 years older, who lived in the neighborhood. He literally took advantage of my desperate need for love and affection and convinced me to cooperate with his selfish intentions. I told no one as I thought they would blame me; I believed in my young heart that it was my fault.

I felt like such a failure, that by the time I was a young teen, I began to medicate with wine and beer, and at one point, I felt so hopeless, I attempted to take my own life! Obviously, I wasn’t successful, but at the time, I believed that I was a failure even at that! I not only felt unworthy to be loved but I also felt dirty and had a great sense of shame that covered me like a thick cloud.

As I grew into my teens, I continued to abuse alcohol, adding hard liquor and was introduced to all sorts or illegal drugs, which I experimented with daily. I lived a destructive life of substance abuse and promiscuity. And at age 24, I committed what I thought was the unforgivable offense by having an abortion, essentially ending the life of what would turn out to be my only biological child. This event plunged me deeper into a sense of self-loathing and emptiness that I had yet to experience. By the time I was 25, my sense of self-worth was in the pit; I had no hope and no purpose for my future.

Then it happened! The Lord Jesus, who had been pursuing me for years through the witness of other Christ followers, opened my eyes to His amazing acceptance, love and mercy for me. And I can remember the sense of hope and love that flowed through me like a rushing river! It was incredible! My self-perspective changed that day. I dared to believe that I could be something more than I had settled into. And I embarked on a lifelong mission to get to know the God who would be willing to die for me, a pathetic, sinful, ugly and stupid girl. It took years of Bible reading, support from other believers in Jesus and some Biblical counseling, for me to accept my new identity as I embraced 2 Corinthians 5:17, which tells us, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Today, after walking with the Lord for over 37 years, having His amazing Holy Spirit living in me, I embrace the truth that I am God’s precious daughter, loved and cherished beyond my wildest dreams! He has given me dignity, self-worth and a future hope. I no longer condemn myself because according to Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I no longer accept the attempt of others to manipulate or put me down. I have come to understand that I can have boundaries and stay in control, by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Luci

Freedom in Christ

Freedom in Christ

John 8: 31-32, 34-36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him. “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Quote from Ravi Zaccharias, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

We were all born with a sin nature, because of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden, when Eve took the fruit and ate it and gave it to her husband to eat also, that’s when sin entered into the world. Sin is destructive and we are all servants to sin. Because of our sin nature we are proud, selfish, liars, disobedient, drunkards, and murderers, etc. We do not have the ability to stop this destructive cycle until we meet the only one who has never sinned, His name is Jesus our Savior and Redeemer.

What does freedom in Christ mean? Freedom in Christ means I no longer belong to Satan and I am no longer a slave to sin, doing things that are ungodly. I have a new nature, the Bible says when I confess and repent (turn) of my sins and believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God, that I am born again. I am now born of the Spirit of God. I am adopted into God’s family. When I become born again the Holy Spirit now indwells me. I now have the ability with the help of the Holy Spirit to make good God glorifying decisions.

Jesus’s death on the cross paid my sin debt, He was my propitiation, my substitute, He paid the penalty for all my sins and the sins of the whole world when He died on the cross 2000 years ago. Because of His death for me, I am now blameless before God, my sins have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, all God sees is Christ righteousness. God rescued me from the clutches of the devil, who once held me captive, and placed me in the palm of His hand. I now belong to God.

As a believer in Jesus I have freedom from the Great White Throne judgment, which is for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior. There is a literal place called hell that was created for the devil and his angels. It grieves the Father that any one will be in hell. This is the reason I am sharing this with you today, it is God’s desire that no one should perish but all have eternal life, I am giving you this information now so if you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus now is the time to get that secured. I am available to talk, please email me at arwsg4u2@gmail.com, and we will discuss this further so you can know for sure you have eternal life and that when you die you will be in heaven with Jesus.

If you are a believer you stand before the judgement seat of Christ, the Bema Seat, you are judged based upon things done on earth good or bad. You will receive rewards or you will have rewards taken away. You are guaranteed a home in heaven forever. A place where there is no more sorrow or death or crying, where God will wipe away the tears from our eyes.

I have freedom to live my life in a new way. Instead of being selfish and prideful I am a servant of God, I am His hands and feet in this world, to minister His love, grace, and compassion to all around me. I am now more concerned for others needs than my own. The least I can do is serve Him for what He has done for me. I have a new life, a new purpose, a new family and a home in heaven when I die. I also we see my sweet Joseph my son who I aborted 40 years ago. What a sweet day that will be, I can’t wait to kiss my son’s cheek and to hug his neck.

 

Discussion Questions

Have you ever confessed and repented (turned away) from your sins to God and do you believe that Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God that died on the cross for your sins?

If you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus, please email me so we can talk in greater detail.

 

God Bless you,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Less Control & More Trust

Less Control & More Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Who or what are you trusting in: yourself, another person, an institution, or God?

I learned at a very young age to take control of every area of my life, that unfortunately was not a good thing. A 12-year-old is not mature enough to take on such a responsibility. I controlled my voice, I did not use it, I controlled how I performed in school, sports, and in anything I set my mind to do by practicing until I could do something perfectly. When I was older, I controlled my weight by taking speed and diet pills and exercising excessively. I controlled what others perceived about me by wearing a mask to hide my true feeling and identity.

Relinquishing control was not a comfortable thing for me, because I didn’t trust others not to hurt me. I became very self-sufficient and proficient in all I did. I had a huge wall around my heart that no one was going to penetrate, not even God. I grew up with a distorted view of God; He was angry and He would punish me if I was out of line, this is what I heard and saw as a child. Church was dark, they spoke in another language, it was not warm and welcoming. So, I attributed these attributes to God. I felt He was dark and harsh and unloving; nothing could be further from the truth.

I had everything under control so I thought, until my life and health started spiraling out of control, I couldn’t stuff anymore and my health was failing, my marriage was on the brink of divorce, and I didn’t know what to do. I was plagued with suicidal thoughts because I just couldn’t deal with my depression and self-loathing anymore. This was not a life it was a prison; I was just surviving I needed someone to take my pain away, someone I could trust to love and accept me for who I was. Did such a person exist?

Dear One I want you to know that there is such a person, His name is Jesus, He is the only one who will love you right where you are, He will never hurt you or force you to do something against your will. He is kind, loving, dependable, faithful, merciful, forgiving, and He is your Savior and friend. Why not relinquish control of your life to God, honestly what do you have to lose at this point?

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Fear vs Faith

Fear vs Faith

John 16:33, John 14:27, and 2nd Timothy 1:7

When I was a little girl, I feared so much in my life, especially in my home where I should have felt safe. I can remember fear always being with me. At a very young age, while laying in my crib my older brother would come in and silently hover over my face, to frighten me. For years he tormented me in so many ways, including sexual molestation when I was an adolescent but no one came to my rescue. My parents were mostly present but unaware; they were not able to care for us individually since there were so many of us; I had 14 brothers & sisters. They were busy working, training us to do household chores, taking care of the home and keeping us afloat. My mom was not a communicator and didn’t engage in individual conversation with us. And my father was a very angry man who took his frustration out on us kids, so in fear I hid from him when he came home from work. But that was not always an option.

Over the years, I learned that if others saw my fear, they would take advantage of and sometimes prey on me. Eventually I learned to mask my fear with a false persona of self-confidence to prevent anyone from getting too close and hurting me emotionally. I worked really hard to provide for myself and created a perception that I could overcome any threat that came into my life; I was convinced, I could protect myself. This worked as long as I was able to control my environment. But that is not reality. We know there are many situations we can’t control, including our relationships with others!

Into my early teens my life spiraled out of control with promiscuity, broken relationships, drug and alcohol abuse until I came to the point that I lost what sliver of hope I had and felt an overwhelming sense of despair. Fear ruled my thoughts and no matter how hard I tried to bury it; it was always present in my heart. I continued on this destructive path, trying to bury the pain, until one day I found myself pregnant and this situation stopped me in my tracks! I feared that my lifestyle would be exposed, I was ashamed and feared what others would think of me. I was single, in my 20’s and didn’t really know the father, so I had an abortion. That is when I found myself unable to cope with my decisions, especially the one that took the life of my child. This choice brought me to a point of extreme crisis. I couldn’t move past this decision which was always in my thoughts and defined who I had become.

During the time span of my disfunction, from the age of 14, I can remember followers of Jesus telling me about Him, but I was afraid of getting involved in what I thought was the rigid religion I grew up in that had nothing to offer me except judgement. For 11 years Jesus sought me out and one day, ironically, 9 months after my abortion, He opened my eyes to see His truth and, on that day, I asked forgiveness for all my sins and invited Him to be my Lord and Savior. As I began to walk with Him and explore the bible, I read that He would care for me and that I could exchange my fear for faith in Him, and in His promises!

As a new Christian, just learning about the ways of God and who I was in Him, I continued to operate out of fear. But over time, I came to understand that fear and faith cannot co-exist. One will always negate the other. This was a life changing truth for me!

For the past two or so weeks we’ve been listening to the world and experts tell us to, “Be afraid, fear for our health, the health of our family members, the economy, losing our jobs, not having enough to sustain us, to avoid all social contact, that things are going to get much worse, that there is a silent killer among us!”

The government entities have closed down the parks, schools, restaurants, businesses and more. The stock market is plummeting and the world is reacting in panic, wondering what the future holds for them and their children. Many are selfishly hoarding goods in the event they have to be quarantined. There is uncertainty all around us. While I’m very aware of what’s happening and that we have good cause to experience this fear and concern, I want to share 2 perspectives that I hope will help us put things into perspective.

And I heard Satan Say, “I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil. I will isolate them so I can more easily attack and cause great fear, so they will lose all hope.”

Then, Jesus said: “I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table, I will help people slow down and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rest and rely upon me and not the world, their money, or possessions. I will provide for all their needs.”

What are you fearful of?

How do you respond when you cannot control your environment?

The Lord has given us His Word to show us how we can be encouraged through difficult times and not to react in fear.

We read in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; not as the world gives do, I give to you. let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

2 Tim 1:7, “For God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

 

In Christ’s love,

Luci

Read more of Luci’s blog posts here!