New, not improved

recycle-57136_640

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2012, Americans generated approximately 251 million tons of trash, and recycled about 87million tons of that waste.  While the Reduce Reuse, Recycle concept, is beneficial in managing our eco system, it’s impractical to the spiritual walk of a believer.  Jesus death on the cross was to save us, not to salvage parts of us.

The pre- regenerated nature of man is anti-God (Romans 8:7) therefore it’s only through  the born again experience, that the life of Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19). How often have we prayed and asked God to change/fix the defective aspects of our character?  But Christ in us means instead of striving to manufacture godliness, we can now simply let the life of Christ manifest through us.  The Bible instructs us to cloth ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14) and to walk by the Spirit, that we may not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

We cannot walk in freedom and victory if we’re constantly fearful that our old nature and its sinful ways will revive again. Paul declares in Galatians 2:20 that the old nature has been crucified with Christ: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…” .  Even as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too are walking in newness of life; the old is gone!

 

In Him,

Aline

In His authority

In His authorityMoses stands as one of the greatest leaders in Bible times. Being raised among the elite class of the house of Pharaoh, Moses was accustomed to operating in man’s system of power and authority. It’s not surprising therefore, to see Moses taking justice in his own hands and killing an Egyptian. As long as Moses saw himself as “ruler and judge” (Exodus 2:14), he wasn’t ready to be a part of God’s plan to deliver Israel; he needed to go through God’s process of submission.

40 years exile in the wilderness of Midian, transformed Moses self-will into surrender; No longer is he going out on the mission on his own, but he’s being sent in the authority of God: “This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”(Exodus 3:14).  No longer is Moses operating in his own abilities, but henceforth, the very words and works of God will be made manifest through Him. No longer is Moses the administrator of punishment, but rather an intercessor pleading, and willing to risk his own salvation on behalf of the guilty (Exodus 32:32). In Numbers 12:3, we read of the testimony God gave of Moses; that he was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth.

When we find ourselves defeated, disillusioned and discouraged, it’s because we have substituted our call as servants for a position of savior. The vision may have been revealed, but the worker is not ready, until he or she submits to the process of God’s discipline, and emptying of the self. As the song goes, “we have nothing to bring but empty hands.”

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Hope in darkness

dove-2486513_1280

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”Isaiah 35:10

Once again, we were confronted with the reality of evil after the horrific event that claimed the lives of many in Las Vegas earlier this week. With broken hearts, we were driven to our knees in prayer, mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), and seeking refuge in the arms of the One “who comforts us in all our afflictions” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

While we may not have the answers we seek to explain these tragedies, our pain reminds us of the hope that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

This hope is not passive, but rather, it’s an active hope that compels to 1) look up to God, through prayer and intercession, calling on the Lord for His presence, His power and His grace. He says in Isaiah 45:22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Our hope also moves us 2) to reach out to others, sharing the love of Christ and pleading with the lost, to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Finally, our hope compels us 3) to look in, and purify ourselves, that we may be ready to possess the promise to come (2 Corinthians 7: 11 John 3:3).

When darkness falls, God does not want us to be overwhelmed, feeling hopeless or helpless. Through His Son Jesus Christ, He has revealed His plan for us, so that we may have understanding, and have peace in His promises.

 

In Him,

Aline

 

Poured out

poured out

“But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17.

The world’s system of reward and recognition is built to promote self-realization.  In his 1943 original theory of human motivation, Abraham Maslow identified the highest level of human need as “self-actualization”, which he described as a person’s desire for self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, etc. While we should endeavor to achieve the full potential of our lives, we come to a fork in the road when it comes to the motivation of our pursuits.  Oswald Chambers contrasts the life of self-expenditure that Jesus calls for, to the life driven by self-realization. He writes:

“If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.”

The function of a vessel is not just to retain what it contains, but to pour our its content for the benefit of others. We must guard ourselves from hoarding and using the gifts and talents that God has deposited in us for personal satisfaction. When Paul answered God’s call to preach the gospel, He was all in. He did not put a cap on how much of himself he was willing to expend for the mission. In expression of his dedication for the sake of the body of Christ, he wrote:  “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” 2Corinthians 12:15.

Your life is not your own. When you say yes to God, it’s no longer about your personal agenda but His. Present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and let God pour you out, for the refreshing of a great many.

In Him,

Aline

Mission not Impossible

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.Luke 10:19

Since the first movie was released in 1996, The Mission Impossible films have been Paramount Pictures’ most successful ventures, grossing over 2 billion dollars at the box office worldwide. The movie keeps its audience on the edge of their seat, as the lead character, secret agent Ethan Hunt played by Tom Cruise goes on perilous missions against identified enemies, equipped with fancy gadgets and commando skills. And who doesn’t love the Mission Impossible theme song?

Believers are God’s agents, chosen as part of a His special force to carry out a mission that will require facing obstacles, perils and even risking our lives. In Luke 10, Jesus appoints and sends out 72 workers to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.(Luke 10:3).

God commissions us to preach the Gospel, equipped with the instructions of His Word, and empowered with the full authority of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we have an adversary, the devil, who opposes us every step of the way but we do not need to fear; the call of God comes with a fully backed assurance of His provision, His protection and His presence. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-20).