Your Identity in Christ

The major strategy of Satan is to distort the character of God and the truth of who we are. He can't change God and he can't do anything to change our identity and position in Christ. If, however, he can get us to believe a lie, we will live as though our identity in Christ isn't true. Neil T. Anderson.

Many people are having an identity crisis. There are people who have told us what we can't do or can't have. Also, people may have have tried to put you in box, label you and tried to make you conform to their standards and not God's standards. Also, many of us have settled for less than God's best for us because of some of the things we have been told by people. As a result, many people are not doing God's will because we do not know who we are in Christ.

The message that I have for you today is to be who God has called you to be and don't let people try to make you conform to less than God's best for you. In other words, know who you are in Christ.

The bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope". This is one of my favorite verses in the bible. God did not call us to live a life of defeat, poverty, sin, sickness and disease. God did not call you to live a life of mediocrity. God has a great and awesome plan for you.

Jeremiah 1:5 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Isn't that amazing! God knew you before you were born. God has called many us to be prophets, teachers, leaders, pastors, business people, doctors, lawyers, singers, etc even before we were born. God has given each of us unique gifts before we were born. God has intended for out gifts to be used for his glory and purpose. Each of us are unique. God knows every piece of hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30). Everyone has a different footprint and fingerprint. You can't be like anyone else nor can anyone be like you. It makes me cringe when I hear people say you should be like this person or that person. Don't they know that it will never happen. You will never be anyone else but what God has created you to be. Accept who you are.

Also, stop trying to conform to other people's opinion of you. Be a non-conformist. Jesus was the perfect example of a non-conformist. Jesus refused to conform to the rules and regulations of the Pharisees. Jesus knew who he was and he knew why God had placed him on this earth. Because Jesus knew who he was he was not intimidated by the rules and regulations of the Pharisees. Jesus walked in authority and power because he was the son of God. He healed people on the Sabbath. He walked on water. He talked to sinners. All of these things intimidated the Pharisees.

In conclusion, I challenge you today to know your identity in Christ. Listed below are some of the things that will help you know your identity in Christ.

1. Know how God sees you.- God does not hate you nor are you a filthy rag in his sight. God loves you. God sees you through the eyes of Christ.

2. Ask God what is his will and purpose for you?

3. Don't try to conform to the opinions of others. Be yourself. Learn to like yourself and to be comfortable with who you are.

4. Don't let persecution bother you. Because Jesus would not conform to the Pharisees religious rules, he was persecuted. Some people are not going to like the fact that you refuse to conform or be placed in a box. Like I said before, outlive your critics and haters.

Reading Ellen White - Book Report

The following is a book report I wrote for the book Reading Ellen White by George Knight. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes to read Ellen White's books.

Reading Ellen White is by far one the most priceless books I have ever read. This book has laid out in a simple manner the keys to effectively and accurately interpreting the writings of Ellen White. What makes this book so powerful is the fact that the author - George Knight - does not seek to establish his own method of interpretation, but rather present's to the reader how Ellen White herself related to - and interpreted her own writings. It is interesting to see how some of Ellen White's quotations dealing on the same issue can at first glance appear to contradict one another. However, this is the same way the Bible can appear. A comprehensive study on the topic in question would allow one to reach a balanced conclusion that would spare the sincere reader all of the drama associated with extremes.

In Reading Ellen White, George Knight presents several warnings as well. One of those warnings I found especially helpful to myself. The warning is found in the chapter titled, 'Focus on the Central Issues'. Here George Knight presents what he refers to as, 'the theology of the center'. This theology invites the reader to focus on the central themes of a passage instead of looking for side issues that don't matter. In the chapter that followed, George Knight gave an example of a movement in Ellen White's day calling the remnant church to abandon shaving. According to them shaving was 'the god of this age' and should not be practiced by those claiming to be God's children. They quoted Matthew 10:30 which says that God has numbered all of the hairs on our head. According to them, cutting off what God had cared enough to count was arrogance. However, the central issue of the text is not that God doesn't want us to shave but that He loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves. By focusing on the central themes we can avoid falling into fanatical snares such as this one.

Another chapter that I found very powerful was the chapter titled, 'Use Common Sense'. George Knight gave some great advise and also showed how not following this counsel can be deadly. He told the story of a group of seven missionaries who wanted to be so faithful to the letter of the law that they ended up dying. In this scenario a disease had stricken the region where they worked and drugs were administered to prevent sickness and death. However, six of the seven missionaries did not accept the drug because Ellen White had counseled against the use of that drug among others. All six of them died. The one that lived was the one who used common sense and took the drug. Was he unfaithful? According to Ellen White, he was not. A man who had lost his son due to a similar scenario asked Ellen if it would have been sin for him to give his son the drug. She replied 'No, we are expected to do the best we can.'

In conclusion, if you want to learn how to read Ellen White without becoming a sour faced extremist that nobody likes ( a description of the vast majority of EGW readers) then read this book. In it George Knight shows how balanced Ellen White truly was and how misused her writings actually are. You will walk away from this read with a new appreciation for her gift and a better understanding on how to read and apply her counsels.

Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper

Here's the question we must answer:

Do you feel more loved by God simply because He makes such a-do over you... because God, at great cost to His Son, frees you to enjoy making much of Him forever? Honestly, what's your answer.

Deep within the core of your existence, how do you answer it?

The aim of the question is not to deny the fact that God do make much of us. I am so thankful he does. The goal of the question is to get your thoughts in queue with hopes you will easily source of your joy - the decisive foundation of their joy - from self to God.

As John Piper notes in his book titled, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, the biggest concern faced: nominal hell-bound Christians who feel loved by God.

John Piper (as we all should) feels a "special burden for the millions of nominal Christians who are not born again and who believe God loves them and yet are on their way to hell. And the difference between them and a born-again believer is this: What's the bottom, the decisive foundation, of their happiness? As you penetrate down deeper and deeper to the core, or the bottom, of what makes you happy?

Millions of nominal Christians have never experienced a fundamental alteration of that foundation of happiness. Instead, they have absorbed the notion that becoming Christian means turning to Jesus to get what you always wanted before you were born again. So, if you wanted wealth, you stop depending on yourself for it, and by prayer and faith and obedience you depend on Jesus for wealth. If you wanted to be healthy, you turn from mere human cures to Jesus as the source of your health. If you wanted to escape the pain of hell, you turn to Jesus for the escape. If you wanted to have a happy marriage, you come to Jesus for help. If you wanted peace of conscience and freedom from guilt feelings, you turn to Jesus for these things.

In other words, to become a Christian, in this way of seeing things, is to have all the same desires you had as an unregenerate person-only you get them from a new source, Jesus. And He feels so loving when you do. But there's no change at the bottom of your heart and your cravings. No change at the bottom of what makes you happy. There's no change in the decisive foundation of your joy. You just shop at a new store. The dinner is still the same, you just have a new butler. The bags in the hotel room are still the same; just a new bellhop." excerpt from Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper

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