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All: Applying ‘In Jesus’ Name’ to Every Part of Our Lives

As new creatures in Christ, we must turn over all areas of our life to the Lord. When we do this–in ways large and small–He becomes our All in All.



And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:8, KJV

“In Jesus’ name. Amen.” We hear these words so often. Typically at the end of a spoken prayer in church, at a Bible study, or around the dinner table. But what about in the rest of our day to day life?

What if we, as believers, were to apply these words to our entire lives? After the thoughts we think about ourselves and others? After the words we speak? When choosing the music we’re going to listen to or the movie we want to watch? When we’re considering whether to marry someone or start a family? How might our lives change if we were to apply these three words: “in Jesus’ name” to all that we think, say, and do?

As new creatures in Christ, we must turn over every area of our lives to the Lord. When we do this--in ways large and small--He becomes our All in All. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #addiction #freedom #HolySpirit #new #sin #salvation

All Means All…

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV

I looked up the definition of the word “all,” and guess what it means? All! Everything. The totality of a person or thing. The whole shebang! So if we are to trust the Lord with all of our heart and acknowledge Him in all of our ways, then every single aspect of our lives should reflect who He is. If we were to truly give Him our all, wouldn’t the choices we make look like His best for us in every situation?

Sometimes our choices feel small and of very little consequence. Other times, we face big situations that require very difficult decisions. But, as we commit to inviting the Lord into every choice–small or large–we make, we begin to see how His good and perfect will applies to all that concerns us. And, we don’t have to fret about the choices before us or worry whether we’ll make the right decision. If we’ll ask Him, the Holy Spirit inside of us helps us know the right thing to do at all times.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

John 16:13, ESV

Small…

Here’s a small example…

My husband and I have always loved watching movies together. Pre-kids, that meant late date nights at the movie theater in comfy reclining seats, replete with an entire barrel of popcorn doused with “movie butter.” Don’t ask me what was in that stuff, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t actually butter, and I’m also positive that it tasted delicious!

These days, movie nights look a lot different. Showtime is at 8:30 p.m., in our living room, in our pj’s, on our non-reclining couch. A movie requires a full, strong cup of coffee after dinner just to stay awake, and the popcorn is a slightly healthier version.

But the setting and the movie butter aren’t all that’s changed. The content we regard as entertainment has shifted dramatically. So much of what used to captivate and thrill us now disgusts and saddens us. If a film is full of foul language, gratuitous nudity, violence, and empty, nonredemptive plots, we just won’t watch it. In other words, if I can’t say “in Jesus’ name” to my choice, I can’t press play.

The check in my spirit simply won’t allow me to sit through two hours of anything that doesn’t somehow uplift, inspire, or motivate us to live a more full, joyful life. Friends, we have to be careful about the choices we make, even in things as seemingly small as entertainment choices. Because if we aren’t careful, we can allow in “little foxes” of sin and doubt that seek to spoil our faith.

Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

Solomon 2:15, KJV

Big…

Now, choosing our entertainment is a relatively easy area to distinguish between dark and downright unholy and offerings that are good and wholesome. But there are other, bigger areas of our lives that hold much greater significance–like whom to marry, which job to take, whether to have children, how to respond to a health crisis, how to overcome an addiction, and such. In these areas, the “in Jesus’ name” litmus test applies to an even greater extent.

A number of years ago, I was struggling with a problem that falls into the big category. A drug addiction. As a relatively new believer, I had become a new creature in Christ, yet I hadn’t fully allowed all of my old, sinful habits to die. In other words, I wasn’t all in for the Lord.

Throughout high school, college, and through my 20’s, I smoked marijuana. I had wrapped so much of my identity as an artist into my identity as a pot smoker that I feared I couldn’t create anything good unless I was high as a kite. I recall many a late-night spoken word poetry and songwriting session punctuated by bong hits and coughing fits.

For years, I used this drug recreationally and never suffered a guilty conscience from inhaling ungodly amounts of smoke. Much less from flouting the law of the land! But once I asked Christ to come into my heart, I began to understand that what I was doing was wrong.

I knew that I was, in fact, sinning. Both by breaking the law and also by altering the chemical state of my brain–which was supposed to be a holy temple for the Holy Spirit. But for years, the pull and the desire to smoke weed held a very strong grip on me.

A Realization…

One day I was driving down the highway on a long road trip by myself. As I was singing the words of a new song the Lord was giving me, for some reason, my thoughts turned to the drug paraphernalia in my glove compartment.

Part of me really wanted me to do what I’d always done on road trips–pull out my trusty pipe and take a toke. But an even bigger part of me felt repulsed by the very notion. The Spirit inside of me was warring against the sinful choice I was about to make.

And in that moment, I had a realization. I wasn’t high, yet I was coming up with a new song! And in fact, I had a bunch of new songs that hadn’t come to me while I was smoking. Like a lightning bolt, the epiphany struck me: the source of the creativity inside of me was not the pot I was smoking. My creative gifts came straight from the Creator Himself. Buzzing from the excitement of this new realization, the Holy Spirit inside of me rose up, and I began to praise God.

Eventually, I did reach into the glove compartment. But it wasn’t to smoke a bowl. Instead, I grabbed the little embroidered bag that held my pipe, lighter, and weed, and I chucked it out the window. And I have never looked back. In retrospect, I guess I committed another sin that day–breaking the littering law. But I hope the Lord won’t judge me for that….or for my marijuana addiction!

Become New…

Beloved, when we allow all of the old things–our old sins, old ways, and our old choices–to pass away, we can begin to truly live a life where “all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV). Earnestly trying to apply “in Jesus’ name” to all that we do, clears the smoke in our vision. It allows us to see that so many of the things that used to please us were really chains that bound us.

Before I quit smoking pot, I thought that life wouldn’t be any fun without it. Like the ashes from my bowl, I pictured my creativity just drying up and blowing away. But I can tell you today, I feel better than ever. I’m having much more fun and I feel more creative than I ever did during those years when my entire life was shrouded in a smoky haze!

All in All…

The enemy wants us to believe that the Lord is a divine killjoy who wants us to live boring, mundane holier-than-thou kinds of lives. But friends, nothing could be further from the truth! When we walk away from all the old, sinful counterfeits, we are able to see that we serve a good God who wants to give us all things for a full, joyful, abundant life in Him.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.

2 Peter 1:3, KJV

Beloved, if we’ll let Him–just like the old hymn says–He truly will be our “All in All.” In Jesus’ name. Amen!

Is there a small choice–“a little fox”–in your life that won’t allow you to say “in Jesus’ name” afterward? Maybe a big area of your life where you need the Lord to make all things new for you? Is He your All in All?

Earnestly trying to apply 'in Jesus' name' to all that we do, clears the smoke in our vision. It allows us to see that so many of the things that used to please us were really chains that bound us. Click To Tweet

As new creatures in Christ, we must turn over every area of our lives to the Lord. When we do this--in ways large and small--He becomes our All in All. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #addiction #freedom #HolySpirit #new #sin #salvation

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Newness: Learning to Live As New Creatures in Jesus Christ

As born again believers, we leave behind our old, sinful nature to live in the newness of Jesus Christ. This is a choice we can make with the newness of each day.



As a new year is upon us, I imagine that many people are eagerly anticipating something new. But as with any transition, I suspect that many others are actually dreading the prospect of a new year. Perhaps there’s pressure to create lofty New Year’s resolutions. Many of the same problems that have plagued us for years linger still. It’s just the same old, same old. Same old stressful job. Family problems. Same old debt. Weight to lose. Same old bad habits to break.

Seems as if there’s nothing new to look forward to. Nothing to feel excited about. Nothing new under the sun. It won’t be the simple turning of a page on the calendar that miraculously makes all things new. Beloved, when we believe in Jesus Christ, no matter the date on the calendar, there is always something new in store. And that is good news! So let’s explore this notion of newness. What does it really mean to be made new? Is this a one time deal at the point of salvation, or are there new things we can anticipate each and every day?

A simple turning of a page on the calendar won't miraculously make all things new. Beloved, when we believe in Jesus Christ, there is always something new in store. And that is good news! Click To Tweet

As born again believers, we leave behind our old, sinful nature to live in the newness of Jesus Christ. This is a choice we can make with each new each day. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #new #salvation #beloved #resolution

Passed Away…

First off, we need to understand that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, there is a death that takes place. Our old, sinful nature must die in order for our spirit to come alive in Christ.

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

When we are saved, we leave behind our old nature. Old things pass away. People often use the phrase ‘pass away’ as a euphemism for death. And indeed, our old self dies at the point of salvation.

As we move through each new day, and each new year, it’s critical to recognize that the Lord offers us His newness. He has made us new in Him. We are no longer reliant on our own strength as we navigate this life. Born again, we now have the power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us. And when that’s the case, anything is possible!

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26

Man’s Newness…

What once seemed impossible to our old nature, is now possible in Christ. We are capable of doing new things, acting in new ways, and pursuing new dreams because we are new creatures. Leaving behind our old shortcomings and weaknesses, we get to trade in our old nature for a fresh identity: Jesus Christ. And when we make that trade, we receive all of who He is.

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24

Much of this rebirth–from the old carnal man to the new spirit man–happens in our minds. This is why is it so vital to learn who the Bible says we truly are in Jesus. It’s only when we renew our mind to His truth, that we can begin to operate from a place of true righteousness and holiness. Those old ties that bound–lust, corruption, sin–no longer have a hold on us.

A New Thing…

In order to live from this place of newness, we must also resist the temptation to return to our old ways. We can’t let past regrets, old lusts, or painful memories continue to haunt us. When we dwell on those old things–which pertain to our old nature–we can miss the new things the Lord is doing in our lives.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Leaving behind the former things, we are actually able to see new blessings from the Lord. When the Lord removes our blinders, and those old scales fall off of our eyes, we can clearly see the good that He is up to in our lives. This is the same God who led the Israelites through the desert, and who made rivers in that desert. These were new things indeed! When we keep our mind stayed on His truth and set our gaze on Him, we will see Him do completely unexpected things on our behalf.

New Mercies…

Beloved, if we blow it one day–or have been blowing it for quite some time–the good news is that we can always turn back to the newness of the Lord. That’s what repent means. Turning back to Him. Asking Him to forgive our sins. Praying for Him to help us completely leave our old man behind. Thanking Him for giving us a new nature. His nature. Praising Him for re-making us in His image.

He is merciful and kind, faithful to forgive us. To give us new mercies. To give us a new, clean slate. Not just on New Year’s Day, but every day. Because each new day is an opportunity to do a new thing when we are living as new creatures in Christ Jesus.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Have you left your old behind? What new thing will you do today as a new creature in Christ?

As born again believers, we leave behind our old, sinful nature to live in the newness of Jesus Christ. This is a choice we can make with each new each day. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #scripture #new #salvation #resolution

All scripture references are from The King James Version of The Bible.
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Forgetting: Leaving the Past Behind and Pressing On

Forgetting the past and pressing on towards the future can feel unobtainable. But the Lord calls us to witness the new things He is doing in our lives. 



Ah, a new year is upon us yet again. (It will likely take me six months to remember to write 2019!) A new year can mean different things to different people – a fresh start, a renewed exercise/diet plan, or beginning the latest Bible Study. Forgetting the former year’s mistakes or blunders may also be part of a new year agenda.

Have you been making resolutions? Thinking about resolutions? Breaking them already? I gave up New Year’s resolutions several years ago because it was too discouraging when I didn’t keep them…year after year after year! Finally, I accepted who I am: someone who doesn’t keep resolutions! Or…more honestly, is not going to stick to a diet or exercise program, which is, unfortunately, what they usually pertained to.

Forgetting the past and pressing on towards the future can feel unobtainable. But the Lord calls us to witness the new things He is doing in our lives. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #resolution #past

Upheaval

2018 was a turbulent year for me. As many of you know, my mom died in December of 2017, after a long and demoralizing battle with dementia. Following a five-year struggle against lung cancer, my only sibling died in June of 2018. In addition, my husband retired in August and we hauled our lives from our home state to another state to be closer to our grandchildren. In doing so, we left our oldest son and daughter-in-love, dearest friends, our church, and beloved neighborhood.

With so many upheavals occurring in my life within one year, chronic migraines assailing me, the latter part of 2018 found me hiding in a dark place, spiritually and emotionally spent. My prayers went something like this:

Leave me alone, God. I’m tired and sad and lonely. Tell me again why we moved? These migraines are disabling me – I’m useless to You now…and I’ve gained weight!

Arrested

But my Heavenly Father would have none of it. He waited patiently…and loved me through all the mess and self-pity. During the last few days of 2018, He arrested me with a challenge for 2019. Through His Word, the Spirit of God challenged me with a passage from Isaiah.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

I also love the wording of another translation:

Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,…”Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19, ESV

As someone trained in the field of counseling, and as a veteran of therapy myself, I have spent a great deal of time looking back. Remembering former things is what you could call my specialty. Learning from the past, delving into family-of-origin dysfunction, which impinges on current daily life, old wounds which have never healed – studying these areas can lead to emotional health.

Drowning in them can lead to emotional sickness and death.

Forgetting

There are several instances in Scripture when God invokes His people to remember: Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 7:17-18; I Chronicles 16:12, 15; Luke 22:19; 2 Timothy 2:8 – to name a few.

There are also times when His people chose to remember God’s works to strengthen themselves in difficult situations: Psalm 45:17; Psalm 77:11; Psalm 78:35.

Remembering isn’t a bad thing, especially when we remember in light of Jesus and how He has worked in our lives. Remembering can become quicksand when we glorify the past or make it an idol, as though God can’t work like that, again. I know; I’ve committed that sin. It was subconscious, at first, but the message to my Father was the same: “You can’t top what you did in my life back there!”

Loss is Gain

If anyone had a license to point back boastfully to what God had done in his life, we all know it was the apostle Paul. Who among us was blinded by a dazzling light, clearly spoken to, and commissioned by the Lord Jesus Himself?! I won’t even go into his immense apostle resume, but he gives a rundown of his Pharisee vitae in Philippians 3. Nevertheless, Paul stated that his intellectual and religious past was, in his own words, rubbish.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…

Philippians 3:7-8, NKJV

Pressing On

Can you imagine? In his day, essentially, Paul had gained the whole world. He was revered as a Jewish scholar among scholars. After Jesus captivated him, he became the apostle of apostles, if you will allow me license here. He preached to masses, healed many, cast out evil spirits, (Acts 19:11-20). He even corrected Peter before the Church council (Galatians 2:11-14)- Peter! the rock upon whom the Church was built! In addition, Paul wrote most of the New Testament. Yet, the accolades to which many of us would cling with tenacity meant nothing to him.

Not that I have already obtained this, or am already perfect; but I press on, to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14, ESV

Forgetting

Forgetting what lies behind – the failures AND the victories. For some of us, it’s easier to forget the victories than the failures. They eat at us and gradually the enemy sees that they become our identity. The failures become little foxes that spoil the vineyards of our lives, (Song of Solomon 2:15), eviscerating us and leaving us powerless.

For others of us, the victories are clutched to our chests and we refuse to release them. They define us. Whether they are spiritual, religious, or business successes, we believe we would be naked, vulnerable…nothing without them. Perhaps our identity is wrapped up in them, so how can we forget those bouquets of victory?

Oh, Beloved, forget the former things; don’t dwell on the past. If we will lay down the past, our mighty God will do a new thing this year. He longs to. He will make a way in the wilderness of our lives and rivers in the desert that was once our dreams.

Press on, sisters.

Beloved, forget the former things; don't dwell on the past. If we will lay down the past, our mighty God will do a new thing this year. He longs to. He will make a way in the wilderness of our lives. Click To Tweet

Forgetting the past and pressing on towards the future can feel unobtainable. But the Lord calls us to witness the new things He is doing in our lives. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #past #resolution #scripture

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Perspective: Resolving to Center Our Minds and Goals On God

Setting goals looks very different for each one of us. Igniting ferocity to seek God and centering our minds on Him, can change our perspective on setting goals.



“My New Year’s resolution is…”

Everyone is saying it. I loathe this saying. This probably comes from a place of inability to set goals. I often feel like “goals” place me in a box. I understand the importance of setting goals and seeing them through, but I also understand that life is life. Goals don’t always work out quite like we think they should, so why bother?

Worldly Perspective

I am sure your social media is buzzing with fad diets and burst workouts, pushing you to succeed in losing some fluffiness you gained over the holidays. Ads on day planners, bullet journals, meditation routines; OH MY! You can’t escape the optimistic posts supplied by all your friends’ new found love for being life coaches.

Please, do not get me wrong. I completely understand (and practice) the importance of planning. I see how fun it can be to check things off a list and watch a scale drop numbers. However, the over all feeling inside is failure and guilt. This resolution thing was a “following the masses” decision. For social’s sake, we’ve gone and done it… we’ve made a beginning of the year promise to change, like we’ve done year in and year out.

Personal Perspective

Okay, okay. I might just be speaking for myself. I should probably just speak for myself. What’s the percentage of pessimists in the world? I’ll speak for us. But seriously, I can’t be the only one that feels this way. I want to know what makes us roll our eyes. Not only that, why is it so difficult to succeed? It has to be that our hearts aren’t in it, right? Maybe we just lack the focus and optimism?

A friend and I were chatting about goal setting and how it’s extremely important in her life. My perspective is different and I wondered how I could gain her enthusiasm for setting my eyes to the future. She offered up some advice… change the word “goal” to “wish” or “dream”. The free spirit side of me rejoiced. Seriously, much rejoicing.

A new line of thinking. That has to be the answer.

Failing Perspective

It is helping, but over all I still feel leery of setting “wishes”. Maybe instead of a pessimist, I’m a realist. Realistically, I understand that life has a mind of it’s own. I know that the year will, without a doubt, bring a hurdle or obstacle. Thus, catching my dreams ablaze. Okay, I’m a pessimist.

I often worry that my dreams are not what the Lord has called for my life. I worry that I’m not seeking Him enough to even know that I’m heading toward the correct wish. So, here I go, thinking ahead on something that hasn’t happened and may never happened. I focus on my future failure instead of God’s success.

This comes from a place of past failure. I’ve had complete and utter failures in my life. They all stemmed from wishes that weren’t meant for me yet. I ran after them, centered my thoughts around them. Centered my life around them. I fell flat on my face. I lacked a heart to follow God’s desires for my life. Lacked trust in His plan.

Setting goals looks different for each one of us. Igniting ferocity to seek God and centering our minds on Him, can change our perspective on setting goals.

Spiritual Perspective

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 

Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV

Yes. That is the usual scripture that goes along with this subject matter…but nothing about this scripture is cliche to me. In fact, the later part of scripture is often left out. God of the entire universe (omnisciencent, omnipotent, omnipresent) listens to us. He is the fabric of everything we know and don’t know. The vastness of this existence, is held in God’s mighty hands. Yet, He bends down to listen to our hearts.

“…Am I not a God near at hand” God’s Decree. “and not a God far off? Can anyone hide out in a corner where I can’t see him?” God’s Decree. “Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?” God’s Decree.

Jeremiah 23:17-18, MSG

Pause from reading and really let that sink in.

Setting goals looks different for each one of us. Igniting ferocity to seek God and centering our minds on Him, can change our perspective on setting goals.

When we seek our mighty God with ferocity, our ways align with His. His hopes are our hopes. When we center our whole being on God, we can’t get enough of learning Him; His commands, His character, His wisdom. Suddenly, our “goals” fade away and there is only God.

… teach me your ways [God] so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.

Exodus 33:13, NIV

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Psalm 24:4

I’m joining in. The resounding chorus is flowing from my tongue…

My New Year’s resolution is to seek after God. Wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and passionately learning His heart! 

Will you join with me?


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 Setting goals looks different for each one of us. Igniting ferocity to seek God and centering our minds on Him, can change our perspective on setting goals.

Matthew Bedford


Are you ready to seek God’s truth?

but God… Where the Story Changes, a six-week study on replacing lies with God’s truth. This study can be done on your own, with a friend, or with a group.

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