Bible Study Broken

I am Broken: I Have a Redeemer

When My son Jack was born. He was the most frail and beautiful thing I had ever seen. I remember the pride and terror that I had when I realized this tiny boy was mine. dependent on me for everything.

He was amazing.

He was tiny.

He was mine.

I was now a mom.

As an unmarried mother, I wrestled with the idea of God’s love for me and an actual belief in God’s love for me.

A positive pregnancy test months earlier had set off a string of new realities in my life, one of which was a strong feeling of my own lack of worth. I had messed up. I had disappointed people I loved. I was on my way to being a mom when I was barely able to take care of myself.

I was no longer the “good girl”.

And I wondered, sometimes out loud, if God still loved me.

Pain mixed with a little shock, a ton of remorse, and lots of uncertainty left me feeling unlovable, nonredeemable, and out of God’s good graces. It felt as if I had traveled to the ends of the earth and was there alone, in the dark, and in the cold. While I had always believed that God loved me during those days of new motherhood, sometimes I didn’t feel it.

But apparently during one of those lonely, dark, cold moments, I reached for my Bible and searched for reassurance of God’s love for me. All of my life I had been taught to believe that He loved me no matter what. I just wanted proof. I needed a reminder that I could rest in and rehearse so that I wouldn’t forget or doubt the reality of His love in my life.

I found one verse of assurance and wrote it down on a sheet of notebook paper. That one verse became two, then five, then over time became two pages of Scriptures that reminded me that God loved me. I kept those pieces of notebook paper with me at all times – folded up in my pocket or in my purse or in my diaper bag.

Recently, I thought about those pieces of paper and dug them out of an old drawer. They were still intact even though they’d yellowed with time. I remember how difficult it was to accept God’s love for me when I felt that I didn’t deserve it.

But here’s what I was reminded of as I allowed God’s Word to remind me of the truth — God gave Himself for me to redeem me from every lawless deed.

The little ones.

The big ones.

Every single one.

I now know that whether we are a new Christian or even if we’ve been a Christian for awhile, we need his redeeming love every single day. But we must accept that love and live in light of Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Sometimes that means walking with Him in daily obedience in small ways. Other times, that means accepting His love and forgiveness as we seek to recover from the consequences of our sin.

In either case, God’s work in us is a work of sanctification. He teaches us as we walk with Him and as we study the truth in His Word.

John 17:16-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

What it means to be holy, set apart as sacred, and consecrated to His purposes.

We just have to choose to believe that His redeeming work is still at work in us — no matter how far we think we may have fallen. And as we believe and act out that belief, He changes us.

The key is to believe.

Believe that you are loved — because you are.

1 John 3:1 New Living Translation (NLT)

3 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.

Believe that God redeems — because He does.

Galatians 3:13 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Believe that God will produce good works in you — because He can. 

Philippians 1:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

And regardless of what is in your past or facing you now in your present, believe that God is never ceasing in His grace, mercy, and compassion. The redeeming work of the cross is available to you and me each and every day.

Years later, that Son is now 18 and graduated high school. While I remember the struggle of his younger years, it doesn’t define my life — the redeeming work of God does. My life is marked by His goodness, His kindness, His mercy, and His never-ending love. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that He makes beautiful the broken because I’ve seen Him do that for me.

Search out the truth of God’s Word. Choose to believe what it says over how you feel. Then act as if you really do believe His Word is true.

Bible Study Freedom Joy Living in the Spirit

Living in the Spirit

In today’s world of social media and selfies, our lives have become more and more about me. How can this benefit me? What do I get out of this? It’s not my problem. Raising a teenager and working with youth, I hear these quite frequently. To live in the spirit you have to realize it is not your life. It is God’s story told through your life. Luke 9:23 says, “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Jesus said put yourself to the side and pick up your cross daily. He didn’t say on Sundays and Wednesday night. He said “DAILY” If you want to live in the spirit, this is the first step.

Ephesians 5:18-33

18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Verse 19 says ” speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” I love this! My son is always getting on to me because I will randomly burst into song at any given moment. I tell him, “How sad it must be not to live in a musical.”

When everything is right in the life of a Christian, the Spirit of God gives love, joy, and peace which in turn give a song in the heart. The Christian is supposed to be one with a singing heart. Have you met a new Christian and seen the joy of the Lord on his face? Freedom from sin, a sense of God’s presence and a bright future ahead are all to be a part of the life of the Christian.

Today there are many who are suggesting all sorts of things as signs of being filled with the Spirit, but here in Ephesians 5 we have one of the three major signs declared to be evidences.

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

In verse 20 we have the second evidence of a Spirit-filled Christian and that is ” always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.” When Jesus is Lord we can expect God’s blessing and know that Romans 8:28 comes true:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy, but the Christian doesn’t look at the present but at the end result.

The story of Paul and Silas in prison is a good illustration of this, as is also the story of Joseph.

Verse 21 gives us the third evidence of one who is Spirit filled. It says, ”
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ .” When we are self-centered instead of Christ-centered, we won’t want to be submitting ourselves to God or to anyone else. This verse says “in the fear of God.” We want to live in the right relationship to God so that we can expect His blessing on our lives. We put others first instead of ourselves. This is why it is a joy to be with truly Spirit-filled Christians, because they are “others-first” minded.

Show me someone with a melody in the heart, giving thanks for all things and submitting one toward another, and I’ll show you a Spirit-filled Christian. If we are not experiencing this, we need to go back and examine our hearts; are they filled with a lack of joy, unthankfulness or lack of submission? God brings His blessings, not so much because of what we know, but rather what we do with what we know.

In Ephesians 5:22 it says,” Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.” In Ephesians 5:25 it says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Today we have many broken homes and divorces. Many reasons are given, but without exception you will find husbands have not done what Ephesians 5:25 says, or wives have not done what Ephesians 5:22 says. If husbands would love as they should, wives would submit as they should, there could be a beautiful relationship instead of the other kind.

Many times husbands will say, “If my wife were more submissive I would be more loving,” and wives will say, “If my husband were more loving I would be more submissive.” Maybe we need to mind our own business. Do what we should do and let the Spirit of God show the other what they should do. What a beautiful thing it is to see a loving husband and a submissive wife.

God can do it if we put our self off the throne and let Jesus Christ have His rightful place.

Next we see another area that will be much better if Jesus Christ is Lord. It is the child-parent relationship. In Ephesians 6:1 it says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.” In verse 4 it says, “And you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.”

It seems that apart from the Lordship of Christ and the Spirit-filled life, there is a natural tendency for children to be disobedient to their parents. And parents, through their self-will, provoke children to wrath. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the relationship between parents and children were consistently pleasant? It can be if we consistently practice the Spirit-filled life.

Again, if we are children we should concentrate on being obedient; and if we are parents, we should concentrate on not provoking, but bringing “them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (vs. 4)

One other area of improved relationships when we are Spirit filled is that of the employer/ employee. In Ephesians 6:5 we read, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters…” And in verses 7-9 it suggests that masters should do good things for the servants.

Without Christ it is everyone for himself. Thus, in this world we have a great deal of employer/employee unrest. The servant would like to get as much pay for as little work as possible, and the master would like to get as much work for as little pay as possible.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. The first three things are what God gives the saved. We concentrate on outer love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control, but the Spirit of God wants to give us a well of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. In other words it is inside, and what you see on the outside is just the overflow.

The world says, “Put on a happy face.” The Spirit-filled Christian will have a happy heart.

Look at the fruit of the Spirit. This has to do with our conduct towards others. It isn’t any wonder that all Christians seem to wish they had the fruit of the Spirit, because they are wonderful things. If we are filled with the Spirit, we will not only have a beautiful spirit within but will also be showing the fruit to others around us.

The fruits of the Spirit also have to do with character. A Spirit-filled Christian will be seen as a person of faith. Others looking at him will put this down as a character description. He is a person of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. .

We all would like to change our world, but are we willing to take the steps necessary in order to accomplish this. God gave you the fruit of the Spirit. All you have to do is use it and grow it.

Have you ever been in a true revival? I had often heard of revival being like a forest fire (burning at will, where the wind drove it.) Some years ago in revival I’ve seen the Holy Spirit moving like a forest fire from Christian to Christian convicting of sin. People repented of sin and their self-will, then the Spirit of God filled them. No one could tell where He was going to work next. In fact He often worked in several Christians at the same time. The Holy Spirit was at work and His power and working were awesome.

During that time there was tremendous honesty and tremendous love. So often we have little honesty and little love. All true Christians say that this is their part of their doctrine, but in everyday situations there often is very little evidence.

Do you see these in yourself; stubbornness, rebellion, arguing, etc.? When we repent of these things and learn to rest in the Lord, the exciting thing is that He forgives and begins a change in you.