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October 2018 - Your Identification in Christ

Identification: to consider or treat as the same, the condition or fact of being the same in all qualities under consideration.              
-Webster’s Dictionary

These words are all connected to each other: Identification, Identity, Identical, identified.

Many people live and die and never really find their true identity.  There are those who identify with someone on television or try to talk, dress, walk, or do their hair like some movie star.  Others pick a sports figure, singer, cowboy, or gangster.  Some identify with their jobs so strongly that if they were to lose their job, they would lose their identity.  Many identify with their race or nationality.  They say, “I am Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, African, or Indian.”  There are extensive websites designed to trace your ancestry.  Although there is some validity to natural identification, there is a stronger identification than your nationality. 

People identify with a problem they have had and call themselves by that name, such as divorced, alcoholic, or bankrupt.  Today many even identify with another gender. But, there is a stronger identification than what has happened to you naturally.  Those events may have had a great impact on your life, but what happened to Jesus is greater than anything that has happened to you. When we see what God has done for us in Christ, the reality of redemption will swallow up all our former identities.

WHO YOU REALLY ARE

Just because something has happened to you does not mean that is who you are.  However, you can never rise above your own understanding of who you are, so it becomes vital for you to see who God says you are and what God says you have.  Your identity in Christ Jesus is stronger than any other identification you can embrace in your life.  God identified you with Christ in His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and seating.  If you can see yourself in Christ, it will alter every other identity.

IN CHRIST DETERMINISM

Psychology teaches there are three factors that determine what kind of person you are:  1. Genetic Determinism - I am what I am because of my parents or what runs in my family.  2. Psychic Determinism - I am what I am because of what I think or my experience.  3. Environmental Determinism - I am what I am because of my surroundings or the influences around me.

All of these things are true, but God brings another factor I call In Christ Determinism.  “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new,” (2 Cor. 5:17).  This means you have been regenerated, “re-gened,” or born of God.  God has done some new genetic engineering in Christ.   A person with In Christ Determinism thinks God’s thoughts and sees himself in Christ.  In Christ Determinism is stronger than any other factor which tries to shape you.  There are 130 “in Christ, in Him, in Whom, in the Lord” scriptures showing your new identity.

CARRY OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION

When you check-in for a flight you will be asked for proof of identification.  You can say, “Here I am.  Can’t you see this is me? Just look.”  But the authorities want to see a passport or driver’s license.  You cannot legally prove who you are without official identification.  Even when I played baseball in elementary school, they wanted to see my birth certificate.  I could have said, “Look, I can prove I was born. Here I am.” But that was not enough; I needed some official proof that I was who I said I was. To transact business in this natural world we must also have legal identification.

Spiritually speaking, we must all carry legal identification to do business in the spiritual realm.  The Bible contains our official, legal identification.  To become aware of who we are in Christ, the Word of God must be engrafted into our inner man through meditation.  The anointing of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we are who God says we are and we have what God says we have. 

Even the devil knows who we are when we have been born again.  Acts 19 tells the story of the seven sons of Sceva who tried to cast out the devil “in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.”  The demons said, “Jesus we know and Paul we know, but who are you?”  Jesus had official identification in heaven and in hell.  So did Paul. 

We, too, must know our identity and the authority we have in Christ.  It is not found in being religious or using religious words.  Your spiritual identification is official, legal, and authentically recorded in your own heart, as well as in heaven and in hell.  We carry the Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit as our official identification.

CHANGE YOUR NAME, CHANGE YOUR IDENTITY

In our society, many people have an identity crisis.  From the time we are born, different voices try to tell us who we are and what we are.  However, since God is our Creator, He reserves the right to tell us who we are!  Through the Bible, we can see God changing people’s identities.  Sometimes these people didn't even recognize who God said they were because there was no evidence that it existed.  We, too, may have heard so many negative things about ourselves and believed them, that when God tells us who we are, we’re surprised.

For example, God called Gideon “a mighty man of valor” when he was defeated and hiding from the enemy.  Many times God calls us things that there is no physical evidence to support.  Since He is God, He reserves the right as Creator to reveal to us how He sees us and what He sees in us.  He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means father of many, when he had no children.  He changed Abraham’s identity and his destiny.  Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah, which means “the princess.” Jacob’s name was changed from deceiver to Israel, which means “prince of God.”  These are all examples of people who had to have an identity change to carry the spiritual inheritance God wanted them to carry.  In the same way, we must have an identity change to fulfill the destiny and dream God has for us.

We also see Jesus changing peoples’ identities. Simon’s name which means “a reed” was changed to Peter, which means “a piece of the Rock.”  This new name revealed who Peter was and his relationship to Christ.  The moment we see who Jesus is, He tells us who we are.  Saul of Tarsus’ name was changed to Paul, and he became the apostle who wrote over half of the New Testament.  These are radical changes in identities and destinies.  God is the original “people person.”  He actually holds the copyright for humanity.  He is the original manufacturer and He can re-manufacture, re-make, or reveal who He says you are.  Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are.  Only God has the right to determine your true identity.

FIND YOURSELF IN THE BIBLE

The Bible is more than theology and history. It is inspired by God.  God’s Word is alive and through revelation knowledge, you can find yourself in it.  The first time I saw this was in Luke’s gospel, when Jesus preached His first message in His hometown of Nazareth.

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.     -Luke 4:17-21

Jesus found the place where it was written.  We know that Jesus was deity, God manifested in the flesh.  But Philippians 2 says that He laid aside His deity powers and functioned as a man.  I don’t believe He was born quoting scripture, but Jesus studied the scriptures.  He had to grow up as a child, as a teenager and a young man.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God,” (Luke 2:52).

Jesus found the place where it was written about Him.  He found Isaiah 61 and recognized Himself in the Word of God.  His first message said, “This is me.  Isaiah 61 is talking about me.”  The Holy Spirit in Him and on Him increased dramatically as he identified with the scriptures.  Although Isaiah had written it about 700 years before, Jesus acknowledged, “This is me…This is who I am…This is what I have…Today this scripture is fulfilled!”  We, too, must find ourselves in the Word of God. 

CHANGED IDENTITIES AND CHANGED LIVES

John the Baptist found himself in Isaiah and declared it. “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” (Luke 3:4).  When he read Isaiah 40, he must have said, “I am that voice!  This is talking about me!”  His true identity was in the Word of God.  This is the law of Revelation Knowledge.

Paul says something similar in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him…”  Paul, speaking of his relationship and fellowship with Jesus after 30 years of world-changing ministry, simply says, “I want to be found in Him.”  Paul found his true identity in Christ. If you have lost your identity or destiny, it can be found only in Christ.  These profound truths are recorded in Paul’s letters. He wrote, In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3). “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him…. (Colossians 2:9,10).

Since Jesus is called “The Word” in John 1, you can find Him all through the Word.  To find yourself in Him, you have to find yourself in the Word, too.  Jesus will walk off the pages of the Word of God into your life.  When you see who Jesus is, He will tell you who you are.  This revelation exploded in Peter when he declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Peter did not get that from his five senses. Only God could have revealed it to him.

Jesus is never finished revealing who He is.  He will always say something more to you.  He has more revelation for you, about who you are and what He has planned for you.  Jesus said, “Thou art Peter…” and Peter was radically changed by this experience.  He must have thought about it every day after that.  He discovered his true identity.

Later, Peter’s identity was challenged by his own failure when he denied Jesus.  Likewise, God’s revelation to you will always be challenged.  But the Word is still true and it will bring you through every challenge victoriously.  Peter’s identification was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost.  When Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he never mentioned his failures, but stood up and preached boldly.  So, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, He will make you forget your failure and give you confidence. He will glorify Jesus through your life!

MHM MISSIONS * FAITH-BUILDING OFFER * PARTNERSHIP BLESSING

This Gospel changes people, churches and nations!  With your partnership we’ve reached five nations, translated our books into four new languages this year and will finish 2018 missions in Italy, Colombia and the Navajo nation, here in the U.S.  Your prayer and financial partnership help us to go further. For a gift of only $25 we will send you our book, The Power of Identification and the new cd set, Your Identity and Destiny in Christ.  We declare this blessing over you: And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs,” Phil. 4:19 (GNT).

In Christ,
Mark and Trina

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in Joy

September 2018 - Joy: The Serious Business of Heaven!

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. - Romans 14:17

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis, a respected author who had some great things to say about joy. He said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” In other words, Heaven conducts its most serious business in an atmosphere of joy. In the Kingdom of God, there is some business being taken care of!  While you rejoice, transactions are made and prayers are answered. People may warn, “You better take this situation seriously!” When you apply the blood of Jesus and then rejoice, you can tell them, “I am taking this extremely serious!”

My mother used to “take care of business” by shouting and running around the church. My dad would comment as she ran, “It’s not necessary unless it’s necessary!” Is it necessary? Yes! If God sits in the Heavens and laughs until He sees all His enemies under His feet, then we the Church, citizens of His Kingdom, should take our place in Christ and conduct Kingdom business with Him in an atmosphere of victory, knowing the good work God has begun, He will finish!

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh....Psalm 2:4

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:6

When the Body of Christ meets together, it is for the purpose of worshipping God and “taking care of business.”  I like what William Barclay says about the church. 

The Greek word for Church is ecclesia and was originally used to describe a gathering of the citizens of Athens. Its decisions conformed to the laws of the state and its powers were to all intents and purposes unlimited. It declared war, made peace, contracted treaties and arranged alliances. It was ultimately responsible for the conduct of all military operations. It raised and allocated funds.  It comes from the Hebrew root word which means “to summon.” In the Hebrew sense it means God’s people being called together to listen to or act for God.

William Barclay, New Testament Words

The book of Acts emphasizes the place where they were assembled was shaken. There is always “some assembly required” for the power of God to shake the earth. (Acts 4:31). There was a corporate prayer meeting and a corporate faith as they lifted their voices together.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us what we’ll find at the throne of grace when we come boldly by the blood. We can obtain mercy and find grace to help us in the time of need. Then we take our place in a great assembly of the Body of Christ in Heaven and earth and participate in Heaven’s business carried out in the earth. but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels…” (Hebrews 12:22 – 24).

What is the business that Heaven, earth, angels, God, and Jesus are taking care of? The business of the kingdom is to enforce all that Jesus bought for the Church at the cross. God is using the Church to display His wisdom to principalities and powers. Paul called that wisdom foolishness to the world (1 Corinthians 1:21). Remember, Heaven conducts its most serious business in an atmosphere of joy. The atmosphere of joy releases power to do miracles. It will destroy the works of darkness until that day when the God of Peace forever crushes Satan underneath our feet (Romans 16:20). We live in the consciousness of the triumph of Christ. We are the triumphant Church!

My dad’s church knew how to take care of business.  A prophecy or message from God would be declared and then, there would be great joy in the Holy Ghost! I used to wonder what was going on! Now I know that needs were being met, bodies were being healed, and the joy of the Lord was mending broken hearts! That’s what happens when the church comes together. There can be a song, prophecy, tongue or revelation. When people believe the Word of God that comes forth, they can receive it with joy unspeakable and full of glory! I call that “gathering the spoil.” It is the Kingdom culture.

A MESSAGE TO OUR PARTNERS

Feed your faith and “gather your spoil” with this month’s offer: 2 CD sets - Faith Laughs at Impossibilities and Joy the Serious Business of Heaven and the book, The Secret Power of Joy for your offering of $30 or more.

The Lord spoke to our heart at the beginning of 2018 that this is the YEAR OF THE NEW!  With your help, we are touching a new part of the Body of Christ in Brazil! The Holy Spirit works with us to minister and bless hundreds of pastors and leaders!  Your prayers and financial partnership have helped to translate two of our books into Portuguese.  There’s no telling where the blessing will end!   Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take YOUR gifts to those who need them, THEY will thank God,” 2 Cor. 9:11 (NLT).

In Christ,
Mark and Trina

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