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April 2022

emptyJesus is Risen! During these tumultuous times, let us praise God for the example that the people of Ukraine are setting for us as believers while standing strong against the wiles of the devil.

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” 1

A Welcome Response…

Kenneth wrote from Tennessee, saying: “I hope this letter finds you doing well.”

“I’m writing to let you know how happy I am to find out you found God, and to be able to help others through the trials and tribulations you have lived while on your journey on this earth. Everyone has done good and bad in their lives. The bad seems to be what everyone remembers for us, but the good is forgotten. This is not true of the people you have touched and helped seek salvation.

“People don’t always forgive, but God does. I have also sinned plenty against man, and feel I have a scarlet letter stamped upon my forehead. So, I felt a need to reach out to you, and ask for any advice on how to better serve God, and forget about the eyes of my fellow man whom I feel judge me every day of my life. I know only God can judge me, but my faith can be a fragile thing. When my self-esteem gets low, I tend to live in my own head, and not let go and let God.

“I have been sober now for nine years, and believe through faith in God’s grace I’m building a stronger foundation. I would love to hear how you are doing, and some of the scriptures that help you to make it through the day. I can always read John 3:16, and my grandmother’s favorite 23rd Psalm and they always give me peace and comfort. God is good, all the time. Blessings, Kenneth, TN.”

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” 2

Living in My Own Head…

Can you identify with Kenneth? He mentioned, “…living in his own head” when his self-esteem gets low, especially when judged by others. In the eyes of God, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” 3 Who took our judgment for sin upon Himself at the cross. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” 4

Unlike those who judge us, Jesus doesn’t look at our past in judgment, rather He sees us through His blood with a purposeful future. He looks out of a wide-open windshield instead of a rearview mirror. Likewise, we’re to have a clear view of our identity in Christ, then His purpose will freely flow through our lives, “…always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 5

Self-Esteem vs. Christ-Esteem…

In so many words, Kenneth said that his self-esteem dwindles through the daily judgment of his fellow man. I’ve learned that self-esteem will only take us so far in life. I believe the scripture teaches us more properly Christ-esteem, like Jesus told the crowd, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” 6

For my esteem, I deny myself by focusing on the blood and resurrection of Jesus for salvation, freeing the Holy Spirit to flow out daily through my life. Kenneth requested one of my favorite scriptures. I often quote Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” As a result, the anointing of God drives me forward in power to humbly touch others.

Remember, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” 7

Focus on God’s Mercy…

The best advice I can give to better serve God is to focus on His mercy for experiencing God’s love. I have many regrets, But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” 8

Lastly, I focus on God’s love daily by meditating on the scripture, that I often share with you. One of my favorites is 1 John 4:7-21 in the New Living Translation (NLT) for easy understanding. For instance, verses 8-12 read, “anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” Remember, “We love each other because he loved us first.” (v. 19)

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” 9

A Prayer for You…

Father, thank You for forgiving my sins and saving me from eternal separation from You. By faith in Jesus, I accept His finished work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. I rejoice that His resurrection from the dead shows His complete victory over sin, death, the grave and the devil – making me holy and acceptable in Your sight. Thank You for providing the way for me to have a relationship with You and for eternal life. Thank You for hearing my prayer and for sending the Holy Spirit to regenerate my dead spirit, thereby making me a new creation – the righteousness of God in Christ. Thank You for the strength and wisdom to walk in the center of Your will now and forevermore. In the precious name of Jesus, I pray, Amen!

Scripture References (NKJV):

1) Heb. 13:14,15 NLT
2) Eph. 1:7
3) Rom. 8:1
4) Col. 2:14, NLT
5) 2 Cor. 4:10
6) Lk. 9:23, KJV
7) Acts 10:38
8) Eph. 2:4-6, NLT
9) Titus 3:45