A New Identity

Children develop their sense of self from the environment in which they live. The family plays a large role in shaping the identity of children.

I am by no means an expert in identity formation but I can speak from personal experiences when I say that a parents’ opinion of their children and the ways they choose to communicate those opinions will either cultivate a positive, confident view of oneself or have a devastating effect upon a child’s sense of self.

In my case, the latter was true.

James 3:6 “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

James 3:9 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.”

As a child I believed I was who they said I was. I was told that I would never amount to anything; that I was stupid and dumb. I was told to stay out of their sight. I was often locked in closets or confined to the basement and was severely punished for infractions. Their words and actions cut to the core of my being. I was depressed, anxious and withdrawn.

Here is where I have to stop and say: but God! He had plans for me that were yet to be unveiled.

As Joseph stated in Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant it as evil against me, but God meant it for good…”

When I was saved in 1989, along with the gift of faith came hope. Hope that, with God’s help, I would overcome the past and begin anew.

Second Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

I clung to that verse as a new believer and began to see that truth manifest in my life. God began to give me a new identity. An identity that He was familiar with from before the foundation of the world. An identity that He created; unique and wrought by His love. He began to tell me who I am.

Recanting this now has the power to bring me to my knees, overwhelmed by His grace.

He spoke the words I longed to hear as a child. That I was loved and valuable. That I was the daughter of the King. I had been lied to for all those years. His words entered that place of my heart that had been cut by evil words and experiences and gradually healing came and then joy, abundant joy! As my Heavenly Father began to reveal truth, His truth, I was transformed into a new creature in Christ. The former pain and rejection were loosening it’s grip on my soul and I soared on eagles wings. Delivered and set free!

This is my story. It can become your story too! The following Old Testament prophesy is being fulfilled by Jesus Himself. He is near to those who mourn; who cry out to Him with a sincere heart. Now is the year of the Lord’s favor.

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

I was bound up with self condemnation. But…

Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

We get to wear Jesus Christ’s robe of righteousness. Continually until we draw our last breath, leave this body, and enter into the eternity He has planned for us.

There is a miracle that can change your life. That miracle is Jesus!

~Bonnie Roerdink

Peace in Times of Trouble

As I write this, the United States is in the midst of the corona virus pandemic. We have more cases today than any other country in the world. Many of us are under a “stay at home” order issued by our state governors. These are trying times indeed and for some, the future may be uncertain or even fearful.

There is a promise we can hold onto. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

This is a promise for believers. True believers. Those who love God and are motivated by that love to live for Him.

Does that describe you? Think about it. Do you know the One who created the universe and everything in it? Do you know the One who knows the beginning and the end? Do you know the One who knows everything about you and formed you in your mother’s womb and watched you grow?

Today God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ say: “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.

It is a tender call of intimacy with Jesus to those who are weary and burdened. Weary of trying to work things out in your own strength only to be disappointed and discouraged. Weary of self doubt and self condemnation. Weary of searching for your identity. Weary of comparing yourself to others. Weary from broken relationships, weary from worry, from stress, from sickness! You name it. The burdens of life are endless!

Jesus calls: Come with all your burdens and I will give you rest.

It’s an invitation from the One who experienced the trials and temptations of life and having done so perfectly, experienced the wrath of God when our sins were laid upon Him. He is the spotless lamb of God who offered His life to pay for our sins. He died a terrible death on a Roman cross to set us free from sin and death and to reconcile us to God.

You see, sin separates us from God. It all started with the first man Adam and the first woman Eve and their rebellion towards God in the garden as recorded in Genesis chapter 3.

Sin and death entered the human experience and life was never the same. The Bible teaches that we are the offspring of Adam and by birth inherit his sin nature. (Romans 5:12)

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.” This means that through the work of sin within us, we have earned, and deserve, physical and spiritual death. That’s very serious indeed! However, Romans 6:23 doesn’t end there. It continues with the very best news ever! And here it is: “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Eternal life? How is that possible when we all know that we will eventually die? The apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” (Romans 1:29) Paul’s life, once he was converted, was to live for God, but speaking of his death, he considered it far better to be out of the body and present with the Lord Jesus.

We all possess a spirit, soul and body. 1Thessalonians 5:23. Our spirit was made to connect with God but suffered corruption when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. It needs to be reborn or made alive to connect with God and walk in fellowship with Him as Adam and Eve did before they rebelled in the garden. Only God can accomplish this miracle as He recreates our inner man and calls to us.

Come to Me…

Our soul is the essence of who we are as an individual. It is often referred to as the heart and the mind of a person. It is the soul that departs from the body upon death. The destination of your soul is determined by who you are joined to in this life. The soul that is joined to Satan, also known as the devil and the enemy of our souls, enters a place of darkness and torment. This is hell and there is no escape.

The soul that has been joined to Jesus, through faith in His sacrificial death, immediately enters heaven and into the presence of Jesus and our great God.

Yes, I know. It is a lot to take in but this is of great importance especially in view of the perilous times we live in. Be reconciled to God and respond to His voice in the stillness of your heart as He offers the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, who died so you can live!

You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3

We can have peace in the times of trouble.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3