My Identity in Christ

As women, we have many identities; we identify ourselves by our roles, our careers and by our physical attributes. Some might say I am a mother, a single parent, a grandmother. Others might say I am a wife, or a widow. Some will identify as being a banker, a social worker or a teacher. Some identities are based on race and how we look, i.e. short, tall, plump etc. Even the government gives us an identity when we apply for a SSN, a Driver’s license and passport. Each of these identities comes with benefits some good, some not so good.

So too God’s Word tells us that we have an identity in Him. This new identity began when we asked Jesus Christ for forgiveness. Our first identity is that we are a new creation in Christ; 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

This new identity is life changing. His word says we are His favorite daughters because he calls us the apple of his eye ( Zec. 2:8, Psalm 17:8).We have been forgiven of all our sins Eph 1:7b. We were chosen in Christ Eph 1:4. We have been adopted into God’s family Eph 1:5. We are His workmanship Eph. 2:10. We are loved with an everlasting love. Jer. 31:3 We are daughters of a King , Psalm 45:9, 13-15.

Yet Satan tries to steal our identity because the enemy knows that we have within us the ability to share God’s everlasting life to those around us. We are Christ’s fragrance for life or death to the world 2 Corinthians 2:15-16.

So dear sisters in Christ, find your true identity, not as the world describes women, but as Christ describes you. Dig into His word and seek out who God has created you to be.

Elsa D.

Investing In Friendship

There are precious few people in our lives that we can truly call friend. It is a word that the world has expanded to include new acquaintances and co-workers. A friend is someone you know and want to know better and would drop everything to be by their side in a time of need. You can tell each other things without expecting judgment, when understanding or just an ear to listen is really needed. Friends feel the pain that the other is suffering in times of trial and is someone you can count on to pray for you.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. In a time of personal trial, your true friends will boil to the surface. Sacrifices are made of time and effort to be by your side, drop a note or make a call to check up on you. I have read that most people will have six to twelve very close friends in their lifetime. Of those, only two or three will make up an inner circle at one time. It may seem sad that there are so few, but close friends are like diamonds on black velvet as they reflect the love of Jesus in the dark struggles of our lives. It is, in part, their rarity that makes them so valuable.

One true measure of a friend is seen when trials come. Another way to know who is a real friend is to find the person who will look you in the eye and tell you that you are wrong about something important. Someone who will make excuses for you when it really counts, is not being a faithful friend. Jesus pointed His finger in Peter’s face as He said “get behind Me, Satan…” How that must have stung to get publicly called on the carpet. Peter was being selfish where the salvation of the world was at stake. Though Peter was wrong, Jesus stuck by him. Within days, Peter was an eyewitness to the transfiguration of Jesus. The rebuke was properly taken to heart and the friendship was restored and deepened.
To have and be a friend means we must invest time and invest ourselves. To invest ourselves, we become vulnerable developing trust through confidences shared and kept, sharing the wounds to our hearts. Because we are human, we will make mistakes that will cause hurt. Sharing trials and talking through our hurts, giving space when it is needed, being honest with each other are all a part of friendship. Careful investment and a willingness to weather the storms that will come will bring blessings that are too many to count. There are few things in life that are worth doing that do not have a cost and a learning curve associated with them. The most precious of these take a lifetime to achieve. May we be thankful for Jesus being that friend that sticks closer than a brother. May our lives imitate Him.

Patti S.

Draw Out Wise Counsel

Our lives are filled with complexity so it is not surprising that we need counsel from time to time. It would seem that we have more help than ever before with all of the information that is available at our fingertips. We have instant access to virtually unlimited research, opinions, statistics and online data. And now we can ask friends and family for immediate insight no matter where in the world they are.

Add up all of this and you might think that we can easily solve any problem. And yet many problems remain. We know that God has the answers we need, so we should turn to Him. We also know that He uses wise people in our lives to help us, so we should seek their counsel.

Proverbs 20:5, Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out.

This proverb helps us understand how we should approach God and the people around us for counsel. This is a picture of water that is deep below the surface. It will take some time and effort to get that water. In the same way, when you turn to God to get answers, solutions, or direction for your life, you must draw out His counsel. You must invest some time in His Word and put forth effort to seek Him in prayer. You should allow time for Him to speak.

This same picture applies when we go to other people for counsel. Of course you want things resolved quickly, but the quickest answer may not be the wisest one. When you seek counsel from someone you should plan to spend some time with them. It will take time for them to get a good understanding of your situation. When you hear the answer of a wise person, ask them questions so that you can also hear their heart. With each question you ask you pull that bucket of wisdom closer to you.

God has wise counsel for you in His Word and in His people. Spend time with both and draw out the abundant life He has promised you.

-Jerry & Kim S.

The Measuring Stick

“…The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

In Paul’s letter to Titus he directs Titus to “set in order the things that are lacking.” Paul gives specific instructions about what is needed to establish and maintain a healthy, God-centered church. The behaviors Paul describes, although directed toward leadership, are a good measuring stick for anyone who desires a life that reflects a deep relationship with Jesus.

Paul instructs the older woman to conduct herself in such a manner that she will be a positive example for younger women. She is to demonstrate holy living by: not engaging in gossip, being sober, loving her husband and children, exercising self-control, exhibiting modesty and purity, taking care of her home, being a good person, and respecting and honoring her husband. By modeling these behaviors, the “Titus Woman” as she is often called, is used by God to teach the younger women. You see, possession of these qualities is intended for all women, young or old, but the woman whose life has been forged by the trials of growing into a Titus Woman is marked by God-given wisdom gained through her journey. By God’s design she is to be a “teacher of good things” and encourage the younger, less experienced woman. In that way everyone’s behavior will glorify God so that “the Word of God may not be blasphemed.”

It can feel a bit overwhelming to use the Titus Woman as a measuring stick to gauge our lives, however, 2 Peter 1:3 assures us that “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” and verse 4 tells us that we can be partakers of the divine nature through His exceedingly great and precious promises. We have this confidence, “that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 Becoming a Titus Woman is not done in our own strength, but in His.

Clearly, the Christians in Crete were carnal and “lacking” the godly behaviors needed to be spiritually healthy and to thrive. According to Wiersbe, “set in order” is a medical term; it was applied to the setting of a crooked limb. It is encouraging to remember that God doesn’t cast us away when we fall short; He desires to make the crooked straight. When we measure ourselves by His Word and find that we fall short, we can stand on His many promises. Not least of which is the promise that Scripture is given to us by God and it will correct and instruct us so we can be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work; even the good work of a Titus Woman.

-Jacque B.

Will You Answer The Call?

Upon coming to CCLW, the leadership would ask me where did God call me to serve. The women’s ministry leader began inviting me to come to the Prayer ministry. Honestly it wasn’t something that appealed to me but I said I would pray about it. That unfortunately has become the customary answer when we don’t know how to say no to things. After continual invitations, finally, I had an excuse; I got sick and couldn’t go. That didn’t stop her asking, she said, “Come in pajamas and I’ll pick you up!” No way was that going to happen. Shortly after that I went. Among the women there, were 3 pastor’s wives and other ministry leaders. As they began to pray, I started to freak out. I thought, Oh man I can’t pray like them! What do I say, I’m going to sound dumb. I felt so inadequate. It wasn’t them that made me feel like that, it was my insecurities, and wrong focus. I’ll come back to what happened but I want to ask you now, “Where do you think God is calling you to serve?” Chuck Smith stated, “We often excuse ourselves from serving the Lord from our inadequacies. We leave the battle because we know that others are more qualified or more talented and could do a better job. He is not always looking for ability, just availability.”

The name of the Lord is Yahweh or Jehovah, meaning, “to be” or literally “the becoming one” It is the name by which God chose to reveal Himself to us, the I AM, the Becoming One, as God becomes to you whatever you might need. That is a comfort to me, as I abide in Christ, He will equip me for any work He calls me to do, as I trust Him to do it through me. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13. Is He calling you to a certain ministry or work? Is it something you don’t want to do, or feel unqualified to do? Do you make excuses why you can’t?

Back to my story, I started going to prayer and being around these women, I learned from them. I began in faith to trust and rely on the Holy Spirit to help me. As I continued to go I began to enjoy it and it became easier as I submitted. We saw God answer prayer and I saw the need, as well as the importance of it .Years later there was no leader and the ministry stopped. God allowed me to start it again serving as the overseer. That was God! We all have been given different gifts/ skills to use for His glory.1 Tim. 4:14 , “Do not neglect the gift that is in you.” Trust and allow Him be your “I AM”. God will never call you to do anything that He will not enable you to do. Answer the call.

-Zelda D.