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Your Identity in Christ

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I think that most of us have battled with the fear of man more than once in our lives. It’s a tough issue especially for us girls. We like to look pretty and be pleasing to everyone, but that doesn’t always work out as well as we’d like.
     I personally have had a desperate struggle with the fear of man, especially over the past couple of years. The enemy has been trying to tear down my standards by sending me thoughts like, “Well, everybody else is doing it!” But I’ve found that doing something just because it is the “in” thing is a terrible way to live. Just because a lot of people do it doesn’t make it right.
     So much these days, we as Christian girls are swept along with the world, doing the “in” thing because it’s “cool” and will make us popular and feel accepted. But just fitting in with the crowd doesn’t make us stand out as daughters of the King. Doing what everyone else is doing doesn’t give the world a refreshing picture of a pure and joyful young woman who is living for her Savior and not concerned about what the world thinks.
     So how do we get out of the rut of doing what everyone else is doing? How do we step out of the level of superficial comfort, where we are accepted because we look and act like everyone else? How do we stretch beyond what the world is doing, and instead live our lives for Jesus and Him alone?
     These are some of the questions that I have been struggling with. I am a person who likes to blend in. I don’t like to stand out or be considered “weird”. So if I am with others and they start to talk about something that is rude or uncalled for, I tend to laugh and joke along with them. Or if they start picking on someone, I tend to just go with the flow. Is that the way God wants me to act? Of course not!
     So I can see that my struggle is with the fear of man versus the fear of God. Do I want to please people and do what they are doing and try to “fit in” with the crowd? Or do I want to please God, go down the less-traveled path, and stand for Him?
     The Lord has been showing me how to overcome the fear of man by finding my identity in Jesus Christ. “Identity” means uniqueness, personality, character, and individuality. We have all been made different – after all, no two fingerprints are the same. We have all been created by God with our own uniqueness. When we try to pattern ourselves after other people, it is like telling God, “I don’t like the way that You’ve made me; I want to look just like someone else.” Finding your identity in Christ means finding your uniqueness in the Kingdom of God. God has created each one of us with different talents and personalities, and He wants us to use them, not to cover them up and try to be like everyone else.
     If we are close to Jesus, and we are studying His Word and doing what we believe in our hearts He wants us to do, then we don’t have to worry about what people think of us. As we become increasingly consumed with Jesus Christ, the fear of man will disappear. We are no longer interested in pleasing people; we are only focused on Jesus and we want to please Him. What everyone else thinks falls way behind. Jesus is the only One who matters anymore.
     When your focus is on what people think, then your focus is off God. That’s a scary thought! How many times have we made God’s thoughts less important to us than what people think? How many times have we put the fear of man before the fear of God? The awesome thing is that God is always there to forgive us, no matter what we’ve done. (See 1 John 1:9.)
     Do not waste the precious time of your youth worrying about what people think of you. Focus on God, and place Him at the center of your life once again. ©

 ~ Written by Melody Dornink, used with permission from http://www.thekingsdaughtermag.com

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Choose God’s Peace

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This article by Jennifer Steele re-used with permission from thekingsdaughtermag.com

I have been pondering much lately over God’s timing and how we are to wait on Him. We can pine away, wishing for what is not. We can push through the fog, demanding that something happen now, creating a counterfeit of what God had intended. We can drown ourselves out in the plague of “What if’s”. Or, we can rest. We can accept the unknown, and choose God’s peace. This has been my challenge of late as I have been waiting on the Lord for direction for this next year. What is so amazing and comforting is that He has never failed me yet. Do I think that He is going to “let go” now?
     As much as I want His will and His best, I have often wondered, “How do I practically ‘choose God’s peace’?” Do I assume an attitude of prayerful meditation, humming hymns like “Trust and Obey” while soberly acting the martyr? Or maybe I should just bounce right along through my days, answering questions like, “What will you be doing now?” with “Congratulations! You’ve just asked the question of the hour! You know, I have no clue, but please call my prayer support hotline in 24 hours for an update.”
     Hmm… J. Actually, I think our proper response to God is beautifully summed up in the following account by Corrie ten Boom. She tells of a time when she and her father were on a train, headed back home from Amsterdam:
     …he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
     “Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said.
     I stood up and tugged it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.

     “It’s too heavy,” I said.
     “Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”
     And I was satisfied. More than satisfied – wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions – for now I was content to leave them in my father’s keeping.
     Later on…
     Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”
     “Why, just before we get on the train.”
     “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we are going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie.”

     Whenever we are worrying or fearful in some way, it is so important to take those things straight to our Father, and tell Him that we cannot hold it. He will gladly lift it from us. Fear and worry are burdens that the Lord never intended for us to have. In fact, He commands us not to cling to these things, for the burden of it will pull us down. The practical application of choosing God’s peace for me has been just this. He has given (and will give!) the grace to recognize the enemy coming in my thought life, and to refuse anything that does not line up with His commands and promises in Scripture. The choice is ours!
     “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” – Isaiah 41:10.
     “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.” – Matthew 14:27-32.
     It was when Peter began to fear that he began to sink. Whatever the cause of your fear, have you considered that the Lord has a reason for allowing the circumstances just as they are? Be of good cheer! It is the Lord!
     “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you….  How blessed are all those who long [literally wait] for Him.” – Isaiah 30:18. Waiting for God is not an easy assignment. It is, however, worth it. He will bring your answer, and you can rest assured that it will be incredible.
     In closing, I would like to share with you a poem called “Make Me Thy Fuel” by Amy Carmichael.

From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of soft’ning things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified.
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod,
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.