January 2012

Welcome! "May God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ."

Are You Happy?

I receive letters from those who have worked hard all their lives, and when asked if they are happy, they reluctantly say "no." They seem to think that I am happier in prison. They say, "You are freer than many I know outside." They are speaking of those bound in sin with emotional pain, living defeated lives.

For me, happiness doesn't come from the location we live, what we do, or from our possessions. These things do not define who we are. True happiness is a gift from God. It is birthed in our hearts when we receive forgiveness for sin and the gift of righteousness through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Forgiveness brings happiness...

Many of us have failed miserably. I took lives which cannot be replaced, and I hurt many others. So what can we do about guilt? King David was guilty of serious sin -- adultery, deceit, and murder -- yet he acknowledged his guilt, confessed his sins to God, experienced God's forgiveness, and he found joy.

The Apostle Paul told about David's forgiveness and new found joy when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:

"Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, 
whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin."1

I still have appropriate guilt for the pain I have caused so many, but I am no longer condemned by God. He makes it clear that we have been declared "not guilty" in His court of justice, if we have trusted Christ.2

Who We Are...

It is most important for us to not let our past define our present and future. This happens as we remind ourselves daily of who we are, what we have, and what we can do in Christ. See The Believer's Identity link.

We are not only forgiven because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, but as a result, we become new creations in Christ.

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ
has become a new person. The old life is gone; 
a new life has begun!"3

This fact should bring forth great joy, as we continue to remind ourselves that we have been made right with God.

"For God made Christ, who never sinned, 
to be the offering for our sin, so that we 
could be made right with God through Christ."4

Throughout the day, let us remind ourselves that we are loved, accepted, and secure. These are some of my favorite Scriptures:

"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."5

"To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us
accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through 
His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of
His grace."6

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from
God's love, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow --
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love."7

Our Home in Heaven...

God has promised to give us a special home in heaven with our name on it. There is no need for us to do anything but accept His free gift of blessings and joy. Listen and meditate on the words of Jesus, when He said:

"Don't let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God, and trust also in Me.
There is more than enough room in my 
Father's home. If this were not so,
would I have told you that I am going
to prepare a place for you? When 
everything is ready, I will come and 
get you, so that you will always be with
Me where I am. And you know the way
to where I am going."8

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except 
through me."9

For you to experience the joy of salvation, the Lord must open your heart to receive Him (Jesus Christ) as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. 10 Won't you receive Him today?

A Prayer For You...

Heavenly Father, it's hard for me to believe that You would love me, but I want to believe You. I need Your help to know Your love and for the willingness to receive Your love through abounding love ministries. My life is a mess, but I believe that Your love in Christ Jesus is the ultimate affirming love that heals human wounds and patiently awaits my graced response. I come to you now in faith, believing that You raised Jesus from the dead for my salvation. I invite Jesus into my heart, so that I may be cleansed from sin, to receive a new spirit and a new heart with right desires. Thank You, Father, for setting me free to experience Your healing and affirming Your love, in Jesus name. Amen.

Scripture References:

1) Eph. 1:2, 3
2) Rom. 4:7, 8; Psa. 32:1, 2 
3) 2 Cor. 5:17
4) 2 Cor. 5:21
5) 1 Jn. 4:10
6) Eph. 1:6, 7
7) Rom. 8:38
8) John 14:1-4
9) John 14:6
10) Acts 16:14, 15

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!

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