Tag Archives: love

Who Am I?

Your Secret Identity in Christ

Written by Dan Lee on 17/10/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: IdentityFriendship


For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Colossians 3:3-4

Literature is full of secret or hidden identities. Many superheroes, such as Superman or Spiderman, spend most of their time disguised as a regular person. In the old fable of Beauty and the Beast, a prince is trapped in the body of an ugly, scary monster. At the end, when all hope seems lost, he is magically transformed back into a handsome prince.

It’s only a fairy tale, right? Yes, but every good story is a a small picture of the great Story, written by our Creator. And for those who know Him, this Story ends with a glorious revealing of our true self, more wonderful by far than the old.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Until that great day of revealing, we don’t look different from anyone else. Yet we are new inside.

Here are a few more important identities of a true follower of Christ:

Identity #1: We are his children

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1a)

American President John F. Kennedy famously allowed his young children to roam around the White House and come to him at almost any time. While civilians and even powerful people often could not approach the president, Caroline and John, Jr. had access to him — not because of anything they did, but just because they were his children.

Having rich and powerful parents is great. But the Bible tells us that we are far more blessed than that. We are beloved children of God, the Creator and Owner of all, with unlimited access to His throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). And we are heirs, not just of money and possessions, but of God’s eternal, unshakable kingdom (Hebrews 12:28).

Identity #2: We are a chosen race

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

God’s original chosen people were the Israelites — descendants of Jacob. But now in Christ, we are also the chosen people, adopted by God into His family. Note that this is not for our benefit only, but so that we can tell others about God’s greatness and excellence.

Identity #3: We are God’s friends

Being God’s servant would be a great honor, but Jesus goes beyond that, telling us, “You are my friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his Master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15).

This statement comes with a condition: “if you do what I command you.” That does not mean we are perfect, but it refers to a lifestyle, a pattern, of seeking to know and obey God’s will. A person who doesn't know or care what God wants him to do is probably not even a true believer.

And the result of friendship in this verse is that Christ shares with us, through the Holy Spirit, what He hears from the Father. So the more we obey Him, the more He will reveal to us, and the deeper our friendship can grow.

If you ever struggle with feelings of unworthiness or unimportance, spend some time re-reading and meditating on the passages in this article. Let God’s word renew your mind (Romans 12:2), and ask Him to give you a greater understanding of your great worth — your infinite value — in the eyes of God, the Creator of the Universe. And remember that for those who know and follow Jesus, “happily ever after” is not a dream from a fairy tale, but a solid promise from God.


Pray this week:

Thank You, Father, that because of Jesus, I now have infinite worth and am completely loved by You — as your child and Your friend. Help me by Your Holy Spirit to know and believe this truth more and more, and to live with confidence as a Child of the King, proclaiming Your excellence to others and bringing You glory.


Need more encouragement about your identity in Christ? Connect with one of our caring volunteers to learn more.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Who Is On the Throne of Your Heart?

God owns our life, not us.

Written by Susan on 08/01/2019

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ThroneLordObedienceLoveGod


My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.

John 10:27

Did you realize that God owns all life? He also holds us accountable for what we do with ours. (Romans 14:12)

If I, a child of God, believe this, then I will believe God is sovereign. He is high and lifted up on the throne of my life. He is Lord. However, If I own my life, then I am on the throne, instead of bowing before God. If I am on the throne, then I am my own God.

We are his sheep

Jesus said He is the Good Shepherd. We, the redeemed, are the beloved sheep of His pasture. In love He makes himself responsible for us to feed and clothe us, to protect our heart, to grow our faith, and to lead us, watching over us all of the time. We are to be totally dependent upon the Shepherd for everything.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep.”(John 10:14-15)

In order to make us His sheep, we were purchased by Him in love and agony with a high, high price. Because of this, we are no longer our own.

Your will, not mine

In coming to Jesus, we sheep have bowed our heart, asking Him to be our Savior and Lord – our Shepherd. This surrender places Him on throne of our life. We give up our rights, learning to live as He lived – not our will, but Yours be done.

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we will live and will do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

We will be tempted to strike out in our own will, forgetting our Shepherd and His loving, wise will for us. We will be tempted to sin, to forget prayer, obedience, and asking for guidance. We will be in danger of forgetting to thank our Lord for all He provides to us, or to even worship Him in the giving of tithes. If we fall into these temptations, we are usurping the throne, beginning to live by our will again.

What must I do?

So what must you do? Return to Christ. Repent and confess in truth. He loves you and has come calling for you. He will forgive a truly repentant heart. Run home little lamb. Only in the Shepherd is safety for your soul.

Draw a faith line in the sand and refuse to cross back over it! Cling to Jesus with all your strength to obey and trust Him. Run after Jesus instead of running away down the road of life as if it is your own. Follow the one who owns your life. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11)

In love we choose to do what pleases Jesus, accepting His Lordship. He, in return, gives to us joy in pleasing Him as well as the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13). In love, cooperation, and gratitude, we put our will under His will. We look to Jesus waiting upon Him and his will for us in faith that He loves us and is with us. This is our love for Him.


Pray this week:

Lord, you own my life. I do not. I want to be the sheep of your pasture and I will hear your voice. I need you and your forgiveness. Please be my Lord and Shepherd. I will follow you. Amen.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God is Holy God is Love

Can God be both Holy and loving?

Written by Joy on 17/01/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GodHolinessLove


Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?

God’s Holiness

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Holiness (pictured here as light) is God’s nature. It unifies all his other characteristics. He is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, perfectly merciful, perfectly faithful, etc. All of his actions are determined by this purity that sets him apart from all others. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3)

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

God’s Purity

It is in the presence of God’s pure, holy light that we become aware of our sin. Isaiah said, “I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips…” (Isaiah 6:5) Even our good deeds are filthy compared to the purity of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6Romans 3:23) God does not judge sin out of cruelty: “…His eyes are too pure to look on evil or tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13) Yet, the holy mercy and love of God provided a way for Isaiah to be purified (Isaiah 6:6-7) and he does the same for us.

God’s Holy Love

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).

Selfish motives and wrong thinking limit human love. Real love doesn’t tolerate selfish, hurtful behavior. God is pure love! (1John 4:10,161 Corinthians 13:4-7) He desires holiness for his children: He wants us to be completely set apart for Him. What parent does not wish for a “perfect” life for their child? We lack the understanding and power to give that, but God does not. God wants to give us a new life, free from sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

God’s holiness does not limit or oppose his love; it defines it! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) Are you experiencing this perfect, holy love?


Pray this week:

God, please help me experience the reality of your Holiness and understand my need for your Perfect Love. Please purify me.


How can I, a constant sinner, be accepted by a Holy, perfect God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Source of Our Strength

Who do you lean on?

Written by GodLife on 23/10/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FaithSubmissionTrustGod


And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.

2 Kings 18:7

How often does this happen to you? You go through a difficult time – maybe a health problem or family struggles – and you attempt to solve the problem all on your own. After a while, you find yourself exhausted and ready to give up on the problem and nothing you have done has seemed to helped at all!

It’s in our sinful nature to want to rely on ourselves, but the Bible shows us a great example of what happens when we fully rely on God instead of ourselves.

Hezekiah’s example

Hezekiah was one of the best kings of Judah in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 31:20 says, “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.” In 2 Kings 18:5, it says, “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.”

He showed his love toward God by trusting in Him fully. That’s not all he did, though.

“For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.” (2 Kings 18:6-7)

What made Hezekiah such a faithful king to God? It was his unrelenting reliance on God throughout all circumstances. He showed that He was faithful to God by the way he kept His commandments. 

And his life wasn’t easy! He was the king of Judah after a very difficult time in its history. He had to lead the nation as they were being challenged by the biggest world power at the time – the Assyrians. It would have been easy for him to be overwhelmed by everything happening in his life, but instead he trusted God.

What did Hezekiah do when the kingdom was threatened by Assyria? He went into God's temple and spread an intimidating letter from the king of Assyria out before the Lord and asked for deliverance. And God decimated the Assyrian army in one night! Hezekiah didn't have to lift a finger, and the victory was the Lord's. 

Hezekiah held fast to the Lord, and he did not stop following him. For that, he was called one of the best kings in the history of his nation.

We have access to God

You might be thinking, “Well, Hezekiah was a king! I’m nothing like him.” It’s true that we all have different roles on earth, and some of us have more earthly power than others, but we all have access to the same power that Hezekiah had access to – the power of God. Hezekiah accessed that power by staying close to the Lord all throughout his life and staying faithful to Him.

Do not think you need to handle things on your own. You can’t. But by His Spirit, we can handle anything life throws at us. As believers after Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, we have access to the Holy Spirit living within us (Ephesians 1:13-14). 
The Holy Spirit is God! To know that God lives within us and empowers us in tough situations (and when life is going well), should be extremely comforting. As you go forth today, and as you come across difficult situations, remember that the Lord is with you, and He is reliable, faithful and trustworthy.


Pray this week:

Lord God, give me the ability to fully trust you with absolutely everything in my life. Allow me to release whatever I’m holding back from you, because you alone can ultimately bear my burdens. Thank you for loving me and not abandoning me in times of need. I love you, Lord. Amen.


Where have you failed to rely on the Lord this week? Let your caring Christian friend know, and they can pray with you today!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How To Share Your Faith With Your Friends

Do you really love your friends if you don’t tell them about Jesus?

Written by GodLife on 12/04/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Heaven, Hell, Hope, Jesus
So I tell you today that I am not guilty if any of you don’t believe. I haven’t let anyone keep me from telling you everything God wants you to do.

Acts 20:26-27
My little daughter’s friend was playing at our home one day. Suddenly, I shouted “no!” and she burst into tears. Why? She was about to put a fork into a nearby electrical outlet. I hated to upset her, but her little life was too precious to risk, and her parents trusted me to protect her.

Are your friends precious to you? Do you know that God holds us responsible for one another? He tells us, “If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.” (Ezekiel 3:18) If worries are keeping you from sharing your faith with your friends, these simple ideas can help overcome those fears:

Be Prepared
Think about how a discussion might go. You can’t expect to agree on everything, can you? A former U.S. President said, “If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.” Don't be afraid to disagree sometimes, especially about important things. Be ready to share hope with others. (1 Peter 3:15) God tells us to make a stand, “having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace;” (Ephesians 6:15). Valuing friends means even more than this…

Be Compelling
It is good to memorize a gospel presentation, so that you include all the main points. But don't just repeat the words. Tell your friend that this news is too good to keep to yourself. Jesus said, “go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23). Don’t give up easily – and don’t be afraid to let your urgency show.

Be Creative
A standard approach may help with a stranger. But if you know someone well, share in a way that will relate best to them. “And have mercy on those who are wavering—save them by snatching them out of the fire; but on others have mercy with fear—hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” (Jude 1:22-23). Starting gently works best for some, while a warning about judgment works better for others.

Sharing Jesus with your friends can bring discomfort for a moment. But don’t let it keep you from telling them about God's love for them. Imagine the joy of seeing them embrace Jesus – or the regret of knowing you kept your hope a secret, locked behind silent lips.

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, the love that sent you to the cross for my friend is the only hope he or she has. Please prepare me to bring that message, and prepare him or her to hear and receive it.

If a building was on fire, would anything keep you from warning those within? If a cure for a deadly disease was available, would you keep it secret? What keeps you from speaking to others about Jesus? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Jesus calls us to be different from the world while making a difference in the world

Jesus calls us to be different from the world, while making a difference in the world.

Written by Joy on 15/08/2015
Series: Weekly Devotional
“(Jesus praying) My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one….As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.’” John 17:15,18

How can we make a difference in our culture today? Jesus says He is sending us into the world, as He himself was sent. What are we being sent to do? What was Jesus’ mission?

To Seek and Save the Lost (Luke 19:10)
Jesus came for one reason: to provide salvation through His death and resurrection. He did not come to give political freedom and rights, but spiritual freedom from sin. He came to give us spiritual victory over death and the treasure of Eternal Life with God, not to give financial success or health in this life. He did not come for only those religious people who follow the rules, but he was known for spending time with "sinners." “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13).

This means we too must go out looking for sinners (Ecclesiastes 7:20) who need to hear about the love and mercy of Jesus.

To Save, Not to Condemn (John 3:17)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we boast, we make ourselves seem superior because of our morals. Unbelievers only see someone who is acting holy and judging them; caring only about rules and details. They don't see Jesus. Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel, (Mark 16:15, Romans 1:16-17) not just to get sinners to change their moral behavior.

To Show God’s Love (John 3:16)
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:9, 11).

This is the only message that has the power to change our culture: Love. Our prophecy, teaching and good works are worthless without love (1 Corinthians 13). “True love Is patient, and kind, not boastful, proud or rude…not rejoicing in wrong-doing, but rejoicing in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Beware, of the world's definition of love: extreme tolerance. “Instead, we speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15)

Pray this week:
God, help me stay on your mission of love and salvation through Jesus Christ; help me to change my culture by changing lives through the Gospel. Give me chances to share your truth in love.

What kind of freedom does God wnat you to have?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

While I Kept Partying My Parents Kept Praying – Part 2: Something Was Missing

There was something that relationships, drugs and wild parties just couldn't fill.

Tags: Partying, Testimony
This article was written by Andrew Palau.

By the time I attended the University of Oregon, I blended right in with my fraternity buddies. On the outside it seemed like I was a happy guy and could juggle classes, work, and the party life. But on the inside I was miserable.

I felt guilty about so many of the poor choices I had made because they were diametrically opposed to the way that I had been brought up. It seemed like there was a void in my life- that something was missing. Something that relationships, and drugs, and wild parties just couldn’t fill.

A sense of emptiness continued, even after I graduated from college and began working in Boston. I kept partying, felt no peace, and drank to hide the pain inside. I felt like I was sinking into the depths of despair. I would look into a mirror and ask myself, What really matters? Where can I go?

At that point, it was as though God tapped me on the shoulder and said, Andrew, look at your parents’ example. What does your dad care about most?

I couldn’t get away from the answer. The center of Dad’s life is the Gospel. He had preached about it around the world, and had written dozens of books. Books I had never read, even though I was an English literature major.

Finally, not knowing where to turn, I pulled Dad’s book, “Say Yes! How to Renew Your Spiritual Passion” off of the shelf and actually read it. Although I was convinced that what Dad wrote about Jesus Christ was true, my heart was still not convicted.

If you've been far away from God sometime in your life, how did God begin to gently draw you to Himself? What advice would you give someone who is related to a person living far from God? S.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Last Words Spoken by Steve Jobs Before He Died – Inspirational

 

The Greatest

Published on Nov 25, 2016

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-Last Words Of Steve Jobs. Moments Before He Died. -Wise and Inspirational Words Of Steve Jobs Just Before Death. -Please listen all the way through and take what wisdom you can from these words. -Take them in deeply and let them inspire you to live your life to the fullest! -This video was put together to share with more people these inspirational and wise words of Steve Jobs just before he died so they may benefit from them in any way they can. -This is the written transcript: These were Steve jobs last word before he passed away… I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to. At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of god of death drawing closer… Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth… Should be something that is more important: Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days Non­stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love. That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands. What is the most expensive bed in the world? Sick bed… You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – Life. When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – Book of Healthy Life. Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.

WATCH THIS VIDEO"  https://youtu.be/6TeZtII7maM

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member