Friday, December 14, 2012

The Year in Review


Holiday greetings to all of our friends and family~

            This year has been a busy and interesting year for our family, so we would like to share some highlights with you.  We hope this letter finds you thankful, contented, and blessed.

            Our family has much to be thankful for this Christmas.  We started out this year by taking a trip to Florida in February.  We celebrated Liliahna’s birthday with Winnie the Pooh and Friends on Feb. 4th.  We visited Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, St. Augustine(oldest city in the US), and Kennedy space center.  The kids had a blast, Disney’s Magic Kingdom was their favorite, Epcot was our favorite.

            We added a few animals to our menagerie this year – and got rid of a few last year.  We no longer have any cows, but we did buy a couple goats to try milking next year(this will be Ondrea’s project).  We picked up a free miniature horse that Savannah is trying(unsuccessfully so far) to tame.  We participated in 4-H this year. 4-H created a very busy season running around the fair-grounds in August.  We had a great time seeing Chad’s brother Clyde and his family at Thanksgiving.  Their kids are sure cute!   We have continued homeschooling, and this has been our best year ever – the kids are doing quite well(most of the time)!  We have taken a few field trips with a homeschool co-op this fall, and a couple of our own.  We studied Idaho History this fall, so took a trip to the Coeur D’ Alene museum and a trip out to Wallace/Murray to learn some mining history.

Chad had a knee surgery this fall, and is recovering well.  He enjoys spending time with his family, writing in our blog(http://bigkiddfamily.blogspot.com), and working around the mini-farm.

Ondrea had two shoulder surgeries this year, and is also recovering well.  Chad and Ondrea both had opportunities to serve and take care of one another during this season.  Even though recovery had its challenges, it was actually a wonderful time to slow down, be more relational, and learn how to delegate some responsibilities.  Ondrea is still homeschooling all of the children and loving it(even though it is challenging).  She really enjoys gardening.  We had a successful garden this year, in spite of the shoulder and even branched out to some more flower gardening.  We are still digging carrots and picking kale out of our garden as well as growing herbs and lettuce inside.
           
Silas (14) has continued to grow in responsibility, and is doing great in his homeschooling.  He is getting straight A’s so far this year(we are trying out a new grading system).  Silas raised 2 turkeys this year(we ate one for thanksgiving, it was great) and he and Savannah each raised a lamb(also very yummy).  He is continuing to excel at the piano and will be starting an internationally recognized program through Carnegy Hall next month.  He likes to garden, play guitar, take care of his goat(Jimmy), and is excitedly looking forward to “the Hobbit” movie this month.  Silas did archery in 4-H this year, and likes to golf when he can get time.  He and Savannah plan to raise a bottle-calf next year, and sell it the following year for some profit.  Silas also likes to cook – we have had many wonderful meals and desserts prepared by him this year.  Since he also likes to eat(a lot), this is a logical thing for him to do.  “Hmm… I’m hungry, Mom, can I make a batch of cookies this afternoon”? Silas will be taking Driver’s Ed this spring, and will do well I’m sure.  He has had a lot of practice driving the riding Lawn-mower around the farm.
           
Savannah (12) is becoming quite the young woman.  She loves working with animals, singing, listening to music, and photography.  She took riding lessons this year, and has become quite competent with a horse.  She got a Grand champion prize for her Pet Rabbit 4-H project this year at fair.  Savannah also has a very unique sense of humor.  Savannah is doing well in her music lessons, playing the piano and singing.  She has a beautiful voice, is quite talented and loves to perform.  She is also doing very well in her school this year and has beautiful handwriting (her favorite subject).  She is incredibly talented and creative.  She is also a big Lord of the Rings fan and looking forward to The Hobbit
           
Liliahna (9) loves to help and is quite the encourager and gift giver.  She enjoys doing crafts, sewing, cooking, and helping with the little ones.  She has a very sweet and caring spirit.  Liliahna did “Cake decorating” in 4-H this year, the rest of the family did a good job eating the cakes she made each month.  Liliahna has quite the imagination, and she comes up with some great little plays and skits that she and the other children act out for us.  She is also doing great in her music lessons and continuing to improve at the Piano.  Liliahna has a passion for China and dreams of adopting children from there someday.  She is excited to begin learning Chinese next year as well as study about it.  She also loves to garden too and talks about starting a plant nursery someday.
           
Elijah (7) – Is a very passionate and expressive young man.  His middle name is “David”, and we see a lot of similarities between him and David in the Bible.  He is a worshiper, and very emotional.  Elijah likes to play with Legos and likes to play with his “Lord of the Rings” action figures with his brothers and sisters.  He is quite acrobatic, so to keep him from bouncing off the walls too much, we put him in a gymnastics program for a few months this fall.  We also bought a trampoline this fall, and he has learned quite a few flips and bounces on it.  Elijah learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels this summer!
           
Evangelina (5) is a very interesting and imaginative person.  She can sit and play with her toys, read, or color for hours.  She loves to play with her ponies, dolls, read books with mom and dad, and also loves to play with her brothers and sisters. She participated in a princess ballet class this summer, and was adorable!  She loves to play dress-up, do anything involving imagination, and has quite the sense of humor.  She is doing wonderfully in school and would go through weeks of curriculum in a single sitting if she could.  She also has learned to read this year.
           
Peter (3) is very energetic and joyful, truly a “people” person.  He likes to interact with people and play with his siblings when he gets the chance.  He likes to play with Thomas the train and toy cars.  He got glasses at the beginning of the year since he is near-sighted and has one eye that wanders.  He called them “Blasses” at first, and the name stuck.  “Petesey, where’s your blasses?”.  We are patching one eye to attempt to correct the wandering eye now.  This doesn’t seem to slow him down much though!  Peter is also quite smart, and studies his toys intently to figure out how they work.  One morning, as Ondrea was getting him out of his crib, he announced quite passionately, “Mom, there’s a genius in my bed!” He also likes to say, “that’s Brilliant”.

Looking forward to 2013, we plan to do 4-H again.  Also, Ondrea got an idea to start a small business, which we are moving forward with a little at a time(Riverbend Spice Company).  We have some ideas to write some children’s books(with the children participating in the writing process), and a book about rethinking Church/Life/God from the perspective of God’s Love rather than the perspective of Rules/Religion/Tradition. We have no more surgeries planned(thank God), and we are looking forward to growing in our relationship with God, our family, and the other special people God is bringing into our life.  God is so good, he is everything to us, our healer, creator, helper, encourager, forgiver, loving Father, closest friend, Savior, and center of our world!

Love & Blessings,
Chad, Ondrea, Silas, Savannah, Liliahna, Elijah, Evangelina, and Peter Kidd

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

God is everything you need

I was meditating on and praying about who God is to me a couple days ago.  Personalizing and meditating upon who God is to us is one of the most important things we can do.  What we think about God is the most important thing in life.  What he is for us and who he wants to be for us personally.  God loves us, he enjoys us, he is deeply personal, as well as being mighty on our behalf.  If we have a distant, impersonal view of God, our picture of God needs to be re-drawn.  How you see God determines how you view yourself and how you view others.  The more you have a wrong view of God, the more religious and legalistic you will become.  The Pharisees are people who lost sight of what God is really like, so they couldn't receive Jesus when he came, even though he did great signs and wonders.

We must answer the same question that Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am".  Our having the right picture of him is critical.  In fact, so critical, that it was upon this revelation that Jesus said he would build his church.  The picture of God that we have is our bedrock, he builds the church on the image of himself that we have in our heart.  With the right image of God, hell cannot prevail against us.

Here is a list of things that God is to me that I received while meditating on this the other day.

God, You are my peace, my righteousness, my provider, my love, my strength, my life, my shelter, my strength, my best friend, my savior, my maker, my redeemer, my healer, my light, my truth, my shepherd, my bread, my water, my sustainer, my king, my comforter, my guide, my greatest encourager, my example, my teacher, my father, my standard, my holiness, my breath of life, my center, my hero, my champion, my caregiver, my rock, my fortress, my refuge, my strong tower, my defender, my fear-vanquisher, my storm calmer, my liberator, the patient gardener of my soul, my foundation, my master-builder, my priest, my perfect sacrifice, my older brother, my fire, my desire, my exceedingly great reward, my rewarder, my master, my grace for every situation, my everything, my gate to life and the Kingdom, my heaven, my hope, my reason for living, my welcoming arms of love, lifter of my head, my judge, discerner and revealer of the secrets of my heart, my Head, author and finisher of my faith, my completer, my wholeness, binder of my brokenness, object of my worship, my forgiver, you hide me from my enemies, you are the lover of my enemies, my seed sower, my gift giver, and my miracle worker.

God loves you so much and desires to reveal himself to you in all these ways. He wants to be everything you need, for every situation.  I am finding that if I allow God to be these things to me at different times, my picture of him enlarges and I become more aware of his love and his presence.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankfulness



This week, our family has been pondering the things we are thankful for.  My wife acted upon a great idea she had last week.  She painted a large, leafless tree on a  mirror in our house. Then, everyone in our family was given leaves to write down the things we are thankful for.  We then taped all the leaves onto the "Thankful Tree".   The tree ended up with about a hundred leaves on it.  Most of the things people write are about God, the blessings we have, and the people in our lives.  The tree has been a reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for and the tremendous amount of blessings we have in our family.

Ondrea and I have been increasingly understanding what a key role thankfulness has in our lives.  It enables us overcome negativity, doubt, and bad attitudes.  I guess that is why Paul tells us to give thanks in all things in Eph. 4:20. "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

As I was praying a couple days ago, I decided to read Hebrews 10.  I began to get insight into some  things we as Christians can ponder and be truly thankful for. As a result, I felt led to incorporate a time of communion during our family's upcoming thanksgiving day celebration.

Hebrews 10
v.1-4
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

v.11-14
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
#1:  Christ has paid for our sin completely!
We don't have to offer animal sacrifices for our sins any more! Jesus has done away with the need for any further sacrifice for sin.  This may seem very elementary, but if you ponder it - think about how amazing and revolutionary this must have been for the Jewish People of the 1st century!  If you have ever owned Goats, Sheep, or Cows - you will also see the significance of Jesus Sacrifice!  I am thankful that I don't need to offer any of our goats at the temple to pay for my sins this year.  Our family has 3 goats, Gracie, Jimmy, and Promise.  They have become like Pets to us - how sad it would be(especially for our children) if we had to slaughter one of them in order to be forgiven for our sins!!  And then, on top of that, it wouldn't even fully erase the guilt, it would only serve to cover our sin until the next time of sacrifice.  Animal sacrifices didn't really pay the price for sin, they just pointed to the one who actually could take away the sins - Jesus!  The animal sacrifices were a costly reminder of the consequences and terribleness of sin. 
v. 17-18
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

#2:  Since God doesn't remember our sins any more, neither should we!
We have been cleansed from sin - we are no longer sinners, we are saints!  The sacrifice of Jesus has taken all our sins as far away as the east is from the west.  ALL OUR SINS - PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE! 
How amazing that we don't need to be reminded of our sin any longer.  In fact, this passage(along with v. 2,3) seems to be alluding to the truth that because of what Jesus did, we don't need to be pondering, replaying, or beating ourselves up about our sinfulness any more!  If the point of the sacrificial system was to remind people of their sins - the point of Jesus' sacrifice was to cleanse us of guilt so we can move on from and forget about our sins!  Of course, we will remember our sins in our minds at times, but the guilt and condemnation attached to them can be be erased!!
As our family celebrates communion this week - we see it as a celebration of Jesus' sacrifice in taking away our sins and guilt. It is not a time to grimly reflect on our sinfulness and awfulness - it is a time to reflect on God's goodness and be thankful for all Christ has done! We remember that the blood he shed was costly, we remember that his broken body paid the price for our freedom.  However, we do not reflect on our guilt and awfulness, trying to dredge up feelings of guilt and remorse.  We are not guilty any more!  We are cleansed, purified, righteous, holy, new creations.

v 19-22
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

#3:  We are now children of God!
We can boldly and confidently be in God's presence because of the precious blood of Jesus!  Hallelujah!  We have access to God's presence at all times, in fact, God lives in us!  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We can draw near to God in faith, believing that we are pure and right with God.  There is no place for guilt or shame because we have been cleansed and purified once and for all.  It is finished!  This is the most exciting aspect of salvation to me - being his child.  We are "brothers and sisters", we are members of the family of God!  I have a relationship with God, he is my friend!

Conclusion:
 I am so thankful that my life is becoming "Christ-centric", instead of "Sin-centric".  There is such freedom in a confident relationship with God - believing that he sees me as pure, Holy, and "in" Christ.  There is no need to grovel or make up for my mistakes.  He loves me and accepts me as I am because I am in Christ, who is righteous and perfect.  Therefore I am righteous and perfect.  I am confident that my name is written in heaven, and I have an incredible inheritance that will last for all eternity.  Now that is something to be thankful about!!

Luke 10:20
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Hebrews 12:23
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Husbands love your Wives



Eph. 6:25
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

How are we husbands to love our wives?  I have been on a journey to discover this over the last couple years.  I realized how much I had really failed to love my wife in the years before.  I think there were 2 main problems.

1st problem - unhealed wounds
I needed healing for many lies I had believed from my past.  I took many of the things she would say to me as personal rejection.  Many of the patterns of conflict we encountered were due to the grid I viewed life through.  Therefore, any appeal from her that even hinted at the fact that I wasn't meeting her needs in some way was immediately taken personally and defensive walls would go up.  Over the last couple years, with my wife's unconditional love and healing prayer, God has healed me and set me free from many childish ideas and ways of reacting.  I have also been learning to feel.  We men have a difficult time with emotion, and this was a big one for me.  I still have far to go, but God has done more than I could ever imagine!

2nd problem - wrong view of authority
I covered much of this in my post about the husband as the priest of the Home. 
http://bigkiddfamily.blogspot.com/2011/11/man-as-priest-of-home.html

I wanted to add some stuff here about this issue as it relates to how a husband learns to love his wife.  Of course, it also applies to wives loving their husbands.

We learned through some teaching videos we watched last year that there are basically 3 types of relationships that many husbands and wives will find themselves in. My wife and I disagree with some of the psychological pidgeon-holing on some of the videos, but we did take some very valuable things from it.
http://lovingonpurpose.com/

1.  I matter, you don't - (The controller)  This occurs when one partner dominates the relationship.  Their vision, decisions, dreams are all that matter.  The weaker partner never has much to say and they just always go along with the stronger partner.  This is because the stronger partner forces their way(always wins) and does not have enough respect for the thoughts, feelings, and wisdom of the weaker partner.

2. You matter, I don't - (The doormat) In this type of relationship, the dominating person is not the problem. The problem lies in a wrong view believed by the person who is weaker.  This type of person lives to only serve and meet the needs of the other.  They will never speak up or let their needs, thoughts, or feelings be known.  This may sound holy, submissive, and very Christian-like, however, this person will typically breed hidden resentments and feelings of being un-cared for.  They never make their thoughts known because they believe they don't matter and they probably won't be listened to anyways.  These people will many times be nice to you to your face, but the moment your back is turned will spew out all kinds of anger and resentment.

3. You matter, and so do I -  (Healthy relationship).  Both partners have a high respect for one another's thoughts, feelings, and needs.  This may not always be possible in all marriage relationships because sometimes, 1 partner is un-cooperative. This is the type of relationship we all desire and long for.  In this type of relationship, both partners are free to express their thoughts, feelings, and needs without fear of backlash.  Unconditional love and a high respect for each other is paramount.  Decisions are made together, without one partner needing to force their way.  Both people can be seen as equally able to hear from God and make wise decisions.

Typically, in the church circles my wife and I were a part of over the past few years, the first two ways of relating were the only ones we ever saw. We unfortunately fell into these faulty ways of relating to each other as well.  In these types of churches, the only person who really matters in the family is the Husband.  The wife and children only live to serve him.  The husband believes "I matter, you don't" subconsciously, even though he would never say it out loud.  In the church, the same way of thinking is practiced.  Lip-service is given to the importance of women, but they are allowed to participate very little if at all in the actual church meeting.

The wife believes "You matter, I don't".  The wife many times will be unable to really communicate how she really thinks or feels since she subconsciously believes, "I don't matter".  She begins to believe that she was only created to keep the clothes washed, put food on the table, have babies, teach the children, and maybe become an herbal expert :)  Her identity is squashed by this mindset.  She does not believe she can hear from God or play a major role in any decision-making.  Her thoughts, dreams, desires are minimized since the husband's thoughts, dreams, desires are all that matter. 

Some churches will not even allow a woman to speak because they believe that a man is the only one who can really handle theological questions and biblical truth.  Women are only qualified to teach other women and children.  Do you see how damaging this mindset can become when applied in the home?  This means that the woman can never take any viewpoint contrary to her husband and can never disagree with him on spiritual, theological, or practical issues.  This mindset takes a low view of and has no respect for the humanity and intelligence of women.  Bible verses are thrown around and pulled out of context to support this viewpoint.  Any time the bible is used to dominate or control other people, love has just been cast out and the Spirit of Fear has been let in.  There is no fear in love, perfect love casts out fear.  If we men will learn to really love, then our wives can be truly freed from fear.  On the flip-side, the reason people want to stay in control is out of fear.  I remember fearing that my wife might disagree with my decisions, so I didn't even ask her opinion.  I just went right ahead and did them because I was the authority in the house. 

Like I said in my article about Man as priest of the Home, if I would have taken my wife seriously, I would not have blundered into so many mistakes and bad decisions.  We men need to be humble enough to listen to our wives and make decisions together with them.  Any time a decision comes to the point of a power struggle, the quality of the relationship has to be sacrificed. These wrong beliefs will always hinder good communication and good decision making.

Oh, and by the way - these concepts also apply to how we view our children as well. Many a controlling, authoritarian parent has abused their children because they were "unsubmissive". We need to heed well the command to not exasperate our children with bullying and controlling intimidation tactics. They also have feelings and thoughts that need to be respected. If they become disrespectful, there are certainly consequences - but we don't need to bully them into submission.

Paul says we men are to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.  How well are we loving our wives as Christ loves the church?  How well are we giving up ourselves and laying down our lives for our wives?  Jesus lowered himself and became a servant to humanity.  In laying down his life for us, we see the ultimate example of love.  Christ humbled himself and elevated others.  He had a very high view of humanity.  His purpose was not to be served, but to serve.  We men need to learn to serve our wives!  Get this! They do not exist to serve me and meet my needs!  Yes, in a godly relationship, our wives will desire to serve us and meet our needs, but that will never be forced upon them as their "role".

Ephesians also tells us to "submit to one another". Yes, husbands, this implies that there are times where we will need to submit to our wives!  Since our wives do have the spirit of Christ living in them, we are in fact submitting to Christ when we choose to listen to and submit ourselves to what they have to say. Ouch!  see Gen. 21:12 - http://bible.cc/genesis/21-12.htm

Submission/Authority is a minor issue when compared with Love.  Love is the major issue.  Love always wins.  Love does not seek to have it's own way(1 cor 13:5).  Submission/Authority is a lesser form of relationship that at times has to be resorted to when one person isn't in right relationship with God.  However, if true love is present and both people are submitted to God and hearing from him, there will rarely be a need for the Submission/Authority issue to come up.

For example:  Look for a second at how we relate with God.  Do we always relate to God as slave to master?  No, we relate to him as son to father, bride to bridegroom, brothers, family, etc.  I believe the slave to master relationship is a lesser form of relationship that has no place when our primary motivation is love!  Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments".  He didn't say, "Since I am your master and Lord, keep my commandments! 

Unfortunately, many husbands are communicating this type of relational message to their wives.  "Since I am your authority, do what I say!"  "Since I am your head, you have no say in the decisions around here."  "Your feelings and thoughts don't matter since I am the master".  That isn't love.  That isn't 1 Cor. 13:5.

Love is communicated when the relational message that both husband and wife are conveying to each other is "You matter, and so do I".  Since "I matter", when I disagree with you I will speak up and be honest about it in a respectful way.  On the flip-side, it also means I will not insist on my own way, because "you matter" and I respect you.  We have high levels of respect for each other, and we have a high level of respect for our selves.  Since I have a high level of respect for myself, I will not allow another to control or dominate me since I am accountable to God and I will not violate my own conscience.  It also means that since I love you, I will pray for you and even speak up and tell you about it when I see you about to walk over a cliff.  This type of relationship is the only one in which we can be free to be honest with each another and be free to give/receive true love.  True love is not coerced, it is freely given.  In this type of relationship, we are self-controlled, spirit-controlled, and accountable to God.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cessationism is heresy


Liked this post by Steve Crosby about the errors of Cessationism.  He goes so far as to call it Heresy, I wholeheartedly agree!

http://swordofthekingdom.com/2012/06/02/cessationism-undermines-the-gospel/

The power to do miracles and live a spirit-filled, fruitful, overcoming life is proof that Jesus really rose from the dead.  The power to do miracles by the Holy Spirit validated Jesus' message, it validated the early disciples' message, and it validates our message.

If we don't serve a risen lord who can still do the very same things through our lives today, our message and preaching is in vain!  1 Cor 15:14

Jesus promise was that we would do the very same things he did, and even greater works!
John 14:12
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

It is ridiculous to think that miracles ceased with the death of the last Apostle, and it is foolish to believe that God no longer speaks to his people today through Spiritual Gifts, discernment, dreams, visions, etc.  If gifts were given to the church for edification and to build up the early Church, why would God pull them away with the death of the last apostle?  What makes us think we no longer need these gifts today?

God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. The same roadblocks of religious thinking that kept the Pharisees of old from receiving the person of Jesus when he came 2000 years ago are the same roadblocks that keep modern Pharisees from believing in the power and work of the Holy Spirit today.
 
Cessationists hinge most of their beliefs on one passage of scripture that I believe is easily refutable.  They believe that spiritual gifts ceased when the perfect came as described in 1 Cor. 13:8-10
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

Cessationists believe that "the perfect" is referring to the completion of the canon of scripture.  I believe this is an incorrect interpretation for 3 main reasons.
1.  Paul had no idea that there was such a thing as a "canon" of scripture at the time of this writing.
2.  "if there is knowledge, it will be done away". Did knowledge pass away also with the completion of the Canon? No.
3.  verse 12 implies a time when we are face to face with Jesus and have reached a state of complete knowledge.  Even with the completion of the scriptures, none of us can claim to have complete knowledge.
1 Cor. 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

"Face to face", then, can only refer to when we see Jesus face to face at His coming. John says we will see Him face to face (Rev 22:4), and that when he appears we shall see him as he is (1Jn 3:2).

The time when we will "know fully" has nothing to do with the completion of the canon of scripture.  It is talking about the time when we will see Christ face to face and are literally dwelling in his presence continually.

Spiritual gifts and miracles are necessary until the end of the age when Jesus returns and wraps up history. When we see him face to face and are living in his presence continually, spiritual gifts will no longer be necessary.

Also see:
http://apologetica.us/2012/02/06/why-1-corinthians-138-10-is-not-a-good-text-for-cessationism/

http://www.prophecyeducation.com/cessationism.htm

http://www.amazon.com/2000-Years-Charismatic-Christianity-pentecostal/dp/0884198723
2000 years of charismatic History is a good book that gives first-hand accounts of miracles and spiritual gifts throughout the last 2,000 years.  This book offers undeniable proof that miracles and gifts have never ceased.  Literally hundreds of eyewitness and first-hand accounts of miracles have been recorded after the completion of the Canon of Scripture.  While reading this book, I was amazed at the number of references to spiritual gifts and miracles in the writings of the early church fathers 100-300 AD.


There are many well documented reports of healing miracles. This video in 2 parts is one of them.



Monday, May 14, 2012

The power of a focused Heart

Last year, Ondrea received a prophetic picture while praying for me. In it, she saw my heart like a White horn - when I blew the horn, it had tremendous power to change things.  This means that when my heart is turned and focused intensely toward the Lord, there is great power and anything can happen!  The power of intercession and prayer are magnified when my heart is turned towards the Lord.  Prophetic words and energy can flow from my spirit when my heart is turned towards the Lord.  Just like a horn produces a sound, the energy that is produced from a focused heart is in harmony with the Lord's voice and purposes.  The horn also represents the multiplication of sound that occurs.  God multiplies power and energy when I pray or act in accordance with his desires and heart.  Even if I don't feel anything tangible, I can expect fruit and change when my heart is focused towards God. I love this prophetic picture because it is so clearly portrays a heart that is in union with the Lord's Heart.

I found it to be true that when I am able to keep my heart turned towards the Lord, my faith level soars.  I find it easier to avoid distractions and am full of anticipation for what the Lord is going to do.  When my heart is divided or distracted regarding earthly concerns, my faith level plummets and I find myself faithless, discouraged, and disheartened.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

When we inwardly turn our hearts toward the Lord, the veil is taken away.  We are able to see clearly and receive truth from God.  Conversely, when our hearts are turned away from the Lord, there is a veil keeping us from seeing clearly.  The veil keeps the light of his love and truth from our hearts.

Matthew 13:22
The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

It is impossible to have a passionate, burning heart for the Lord when our lives are filled with distractions and wordly cares.  A heart that is focused on the Lord is in love with him and his words are meaningful to us.  We will hang on his every word and listen intently to his voice.  Similarly, when my heart is focused on my wife and I push out all distractions, my love for her intensifies.

Proverbs 4:23
Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

This scripture is a basic principle of how life works that contains great truth. It is an ancient path, so listen carefully.  The eternal principle is this:  "Our hearts contain life, and that life is going to flow into something, so be careful what you let that life flow into."  If we allow the life in our hearts to flow out into things that God does not intend it to - we will have nothing left over to give to the things that are important.  It is imperative to "Watch over your heart", guarding diligently what you allow the life of your heart to flow into.  If we give our hearts over to our jobs, we will have nothing left to give to God or our families.  If we give our heart to making as much money as possible, the spring of life will run dry eventually.  If the life-flow of our hearts is not rooted in God and aligned with God's heart, that life in our heart will eventually run dry.

Matthew 6:21
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This scripture contains another, similar basic principle of life:  The flow of life from our hearts will be directed toward whatever we treasure.

This is why Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.  We will find it increasingly difficult when the flow of life from our heart is divided up into two separate streams.  One stream flowing into the things of the world, and the other stream flowing into the things of God.  We will find that when our hearts are intensely focused on the things of God, the worldly stream dries up.  Conversely, when our hearts are intensely focused on worldly things, the God stream dries up.  We cannot maintain two streams flowing in opposite directions!  It is pride and foolishness to think we can!  Believe me, I have tried it and failed from experience!

When we are united with God and our heart is turned towards him; when we have surrendered to him, his spirit can flow through us. Then, rivers of living water can flow through us as John 7:38 says  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

On the practical side (help for when our heart isn't focused on the Lord):
I have found that is quite difficult to turn my heart toward God when I am believing lies about him.  Like the prodigal son, I believe the Father might be angry with me so that lie keeps me from turning to him and receiving the love and rest I so desperately need.  We need to renounce lies about God and receive the truth about his true nature and our true nature before we can have an open, honest heart that is turned towards him.  When we are believing lies or we are bound in sin, we will continue to hide and run from him.  We will build up walls of self-protection from him and from others.  It is important when we are in this place to call out to him for help.  I have also found it helpful to renounce lies and speak truth out loud and/or bring them to another person.  If there is sin, confess it to God and if necessary to anothe believer. When you do this, it breaks the hold of the lies and then you can be free to behold him with an unveiled face again.  I have found it helpful to ask my wife for prayer when I start to fall into the performance trap and feel my relationship with God beginning to slip.  Not only does it break the cycle in my head, it lets her know I have needs and weaknesses that she can be praying and encouraging me in.

I love in the movie "Seven days in Utopia", the main character is a golfer who had lived for nothing but Golf since he was a child.  Pushed hard by a Father driven to make him succeed, he finally breaks down and sees God's truth.  Here are the lies he wrote down and buried:

  1. My golf scores are a reflection of my self-worth.
  2. Failure in golf is failure in life.
  3. Success in golf will bring the fulfillment that I long for.
  4. My calling in life is to play golf.
  5. The opinions of others are paramount in the choices I make.
  6. God is a crutch for the weak.
  7. Tradition is sacred and never to be challenged
I have also found it helpful to prayerfully make a list of lies, then make another list of God's truth.  Here is a sample list that I wrote up about a year ago.

1. Lie - God is only available to me if I have been good enough today.  If I have prayed this morning, been nice to people and basically been perfect.
Truth - God is near to me, will flow through me, and is available to me at all times, whether I have been perfect or not.  In fact, I need him even more when I have failed.  Look at the Joy of the father when his prodigal son came home!

2. Lie - Tomorrow will be a better day.  Even though today is really screwed up, a good night's sleep and some time will fix things.  I can't approach God today so I must resign myself to failure and misery today.
Truth - God works Today!  If I turn my heart and repent now, God will meet me now!  I don't have to wait until tomorrow.  I can have a soft heart again now!  No day is too screwed up for God to redeem now!  Hebrews 3:7,8 - "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts"

3. Lie - I have screwed up too badly for God to save me. In fact, I am a screwed up person. I am a lost cause.  Who am I to enter God's presence and draw near to him.  He probably wants nothing to do with me now.
Truth - I am God's Son!  I am cleansed, forgiven, perfect, righteous, holy.  I can go boldly to God because I am in Christ!

4. Lie - I am a failure and will never rise above the mistakes I have made.  Things will continue the way they always have.  I am destined for defeat and failure all my days.  I will not succeed or accomplish anything of worth.
Truth - I can do all things through Christ.  I am more than a conqueror.  There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.  No failure is too great for God to redeem and change.  No cycle of defeat too deep for him to break.  I can and will move mountains and defeat giants by Faith.

5. Lie - I don't have what it takes to do what God is asking.  I'm not gifted enough, don't hear from God well enough, am not smart enough.  I'm too selfish and don't have the right personality or enough charisma.  I'm not a very good leader.
Truth - Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  The same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me!  I am complete in him.  I have all I need in him!  Galatians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, Having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
I choose to receive from God everything I need to be a blessing to others.  God has blessed me and will continue to pour out his love, gifts, wisdom, strength, provision, and care so I can pour out to the people around me!

I also created another similar list of lies/truth towards the end of this article.
http://roadofkingdom.blogspot.com/2012/02/living-by-faith.html

Monday, May 7, 2012

Forever Yours

These are the words to a song that Ondrea got in prayer this morning.  We would like to set it to music.

Forever Yours
Let us consider carefully how we listen
Spirit speak
Open our hearts, leave nothing hidden
Spirit speak
As we listen You’ll make us to be your…

Lamp on a stand,
Lifeline to the lost,
Beacon in the storm,
Welcome to the house on the hill

Let us consider carefully how we listen
Consume us
Set our hearts on fire, burn away the chaff
Consume us
We long to glorify you Lord, make us your…

Lamp on a stand,
Lifeline to the lost,
Beacon in the storm,
Welcome to the house on the hill

We are forever yours,
Our life is forever yours

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dangerous!



If you are a Christian who has been outside the fold of mainstream, institutional Christianity for any length of time, you have probably realized that some Christians consider you to be dangerous.

The other day, my wife was emailing a woman to ask about a local homeschool co-op limited membership.  The limited membership would allow us to go on field trips with the group. My wife asked if we should send our twenty dollars before or after we are approved for membership.  The woman e-mailed back and said we would have no problem getting in as long as we attend a "mainstream" Christian church and agree to their statement of faith.

Since we don't attend a mainstream Church,  we realized in the minds of many Christians, we are considered "dangerous".  They believe we will have some sort of influence on people and lead them astray from the established truth.

If you are considered "dangerous", that might actually be a good thing, because that may mean that you are being "effective".  Jesus was considered to be "dangerous" and was sent to his death. He rocked the boat,  ruffled some feathers, and caused a stir!  When we actually listen to the Father's voice and obey him, it is the religious, institutional people who get offended most, not the world!

John 12:9-11
 9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

Unbelievable! They wanted to kill Jesus for raising Lazarus from the dead?  Furthermore, they wanted to kill Lazarus because he was telling people his testimony!  Jesus was a very "effective" man, but to the chief priests he was "dangerous".  He was upsetting their control over the people, and that's what religious institutions are usually all about - control!

Who actually persecuted the early disciples first?  Was it the Romans?  No, it was the Jewish religious leaders.  Yes, the Romans persecuted them later, but it was the Religious leaders who were the first to persecute real Christians.  Why? because Christianity upset their positions of authority, and it drew the people into a real relationship with God that skirted around the prescribed rules and methods they had set up.  They couldn't control that!

When Jesus died, the veil that separates us from God was torn in two.  We have free and bold access to the presence of God; no more priestly mediators, no more "order of Worship" is necessary.  However, it is ironic that Religious systems have been trying for the last 2000 years to sew the veil back up and put it between us and God again! 

It is considered "dangerous" thinking to believe that you can hear God's voice for yourself and worship him wherever you are.  It is considered "dangerous" to interpret the bible with only the Holy Spirit to guide you.  It is considered "dangerous" to learn from God outside the guidance of a seminary or religious institution.  It is considered "dangerous" to question a leader's decisions or actions.  It is considered "dangerous" to question doctrine or traditions.  It is considered "dangerous" to heal, cast out demons, or do miracles.  It is considered "dangerous" to say you had a dream, vision, or revelation from God.  It is considered "dangerous" to exercise spiritual gifts, expecially the gift of tongues.  It is considered "dangerous" to do what God tells you to do, even if it looks foolish.  You get the point, these are all things that can't be controlled!

John 7:15 - 17
The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” 16 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.17If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Jesus learned from the Father, not just by going to a religious school.  He may have attended school when he was young, and he most certainly celebrated the Sabbath and went to the Synagogue.  He learned from those who were wise, but most of all - he had a relationship with the Father, and he was taught by him!

I am not saying that seminaries and churches are never helpful, but I am saying that we need to be able to hear from God for ourselves.  Do we need to receive wisdom from others?  Absolutely, but we also need to learn to question authority(without rebelling), and get our direction from God first.  He will tell us to do things that are abnormal and seem absurd to some, but we need to do them anyway. 

The most effective Christians are the ones who are not afraid to be different, labeled as "dangerous", and who will step out in faith.  We need to be able to go against the grain, break the mold, rock the boat, and swim upstream without fear of Man.

Galatians 1:10
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Please hear my heart.  I am in no way condoning rebellion, lack of accountability, or disparaging leadership.  What I am saying is, you can still be a follower of Christ outside of traditional, institutional Christianity.  In fact, you will probably be a more effective Christian :)

God may call our family to join a Church or even start a Church at some point.  But it will be for a purpose, it will be led by His voice, and it will be different than we or others would expect. We are determined to do nothing out of a desire to meet our own selfish needs or be part of a good church club.  It would be nice to get rid of that feeling that we are "dangerous", but at what cost?

John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sinner or Saint?



Is a Christian still a wretched sinner?   What does the bible actually say about this?  Do we still have an old nature or do we have a new nature?  If you really have a new nature, what is that new nature like?  Can someone have two natures?

A post on the blog Modern reject states the following in very bold words:
We’ve all heard Christians say it and we’ve most likely said it ourselves: “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
We tell unbelievers that we are sinners just like them, only difference is, we’ve met Jesus, accepted His gift of salvation, and been saved.
And let me just say, this is completely false.
That’s right. We are lying when we speak these words. We are not sinners. We are something quite different…
You see, somewhere along the way Christians got the idea in their minds that they need to refer to themselves as “sinners” and not saints. Yet, the Bible, more specifically, the New Testament, does not refer to followers of Christ as sinners in the present tense.

The world seems to know that there is a sharp distinction between a sinner and a saint, but why don't most Christians understand this?  This is a serious case of mistaken and confused identity.

If you are a Christian, and have always believed you are just a sinner saved by Grace, you are in for a real treat. Get ready to be set free and released into a completely new and radical way of seeing yourself as God sees you!

A Sinner is not a Saint, and a Saint is not a Sinner!

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Paul reminds us that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. (Rom. 5:8) Catch that? Paul did not write that Christ died for us while we were still sinners so that we could remain sinners.  Look at Romans 5:19 - we are made Righteous through the obedience of Christ.  Also, notice the contrast between the words "sinners" and "righteous".  You are either a "sinner", or you are "righteous".  You cannot be both.  You must stop seeing yourself as a sinner, and see yourself as God sees you, as a righteous saint.

Romans 5:19
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Good Heart, Bad Heart 

It is very common to hear Christians quoting Jeremiah 17:9 -  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Many take this to mean that all men's hearts are deceitful and wicked, including Christians.  But is this really true of the new covenant Christian?  No, a Christian is one who has a good heart, whose heart has been changed through the new birth, the soil of this kind of heart is fertile and fruit-bearing. This kind of heart hear's God's truth and lives it out.

Luke 8:15
But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

Did you catch that?  "a noble and good heart" So it is possible to have a good heart!  And here's how it happens - God gives us a new heart the moment we are born again and surrender our life to him!

Ezekiel 36:26
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Hebrews 8:10
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Matthew 23:26
Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Matthew 12:35
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Matthew 23:26 shows us that is possible to have a cleansed heart that is pure.  How wonderful and freeing is that?  Matthew 12:35 also shows us that it is possible to be "good" and have "good treasure" stored up in our heart with "good things" coming out of it.  Amazing!

John 7:38
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Matthew 7:18
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.


Jesus said that two types of water can't flow from the same source.  Jesus also said a bad tree can't bear good fruit!  I'm telling you loud and clear - if you are a Christian - you are a good tree! You are not a bad tree!  The scriptures are so clear - I could go on and on with scripture after scripture!  You cannot have two natures - one good, the other bad!  Any object or being cannot have two natures. For example, Wood is wood, that is it's nature!  Gold is Gold, that is it's nature!  Your nature is either sinner or saint  it cannot be both!  You are a born again new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! 

The Struggle between Flesh and Spirit

Yes, we will still struggle with the Flesh, but I can prove that many reference where some translations say "sinful nature", the actual greek word used in many instances is "sarx", the word most often translated to "flesh".  It is more accurate to translate that word in these cases as "flesh", not "sinful nature".  For example, in Romans 7:18, the NIV translates "sarx" as "sinful nature", but the New King James more accurately translates it as "Flesh". Yes, we still struggle with the "flesh", but the flesh is simply our old patterns of behavior and ways of behaving.  The flesh is not our nature.  "Sinner" is not our nature.  Wicked and Deceitful are not our nature. 

Sin is an invader to be fought against and removed, like a speck of dust that gets in your eye or a sickness that invades your body.  If we have a speck of dust in our eye, we take it out.  If we have sickness, we seek healing from it.  It shouldn't become part of who we are!  If we have sin, we need to confess it, repent of it, and then have nothing to do with it!  We are not to identify ourselves with the sin.  Sin is not a part of us, it is something to get rid of!  Since we are "in" Christ, when God looks at us, he sees the righteousness of Jesus, he sees the new creation.  He doesn't see our faults, sins, and failures.  Isn't this amazing!  If God doesn't identify us with our sin any longer, why should we!

Here is an example: If we get angry, the enemy is the one who brings shame and condemnation, saying things like "you're just an angry person, you'll never overcome this, you are an evil sinner!  We must not receive that curse to our identity, instead we must declare the truth like this.   "I am a saint, I am righteous, I am holy, sin has no place in me!  Jesus, cleanse me from this sin, remove its effects from me, and fill me with the Holy Spirit so I can walk free from this sin!"  This type of response sows to the Spirit, and you will reap a harvest of righteousness because you are drawing near to God.  The first type of response pushes you away from God because you believe yourself to be unclean, dirty, and unable to go to God for the grace you so desperately need.  Here is the lie we begin to believe.  "If God hates sin, and I am a sinner, he must detest me."  But, if we are able to separate our identity from the act of Sin, we can partner with the Holy Spirit to war with it and overcome it.  We will hate the sin,  but not hate ourselves.  This mindset will empower us and fill us with the desire to be free from the sin. This mindset will then enable us to turn to God, drawing on his love and grace to overcome it.

Example:  Two men are walking through a dirty, muddy parking lot.  One is dressed in a new, clean, white Tuxedo.  The other is dressed in old, dirty, oily overalls.  Which one of these men is going to want to stay out of the mud more?  You guessed it, the clean one.  When we see ourselves as clean, we will have no desire to partake in sin.  We will desire to remain pure and undefiled.  This is a much more powerful motivator than the lie that we are dirty, rotten, filthy sinners!  Of course, we must never forget that the only reason why we are clean and pure is through the love, grace, forgiveness, and power of God!  We are completely dependent on him! 

It's time to start believing the truth, rejecting the lies and shame.  We are saints, born again new creations, sons and daughters of God, full of boldness and confidence regarding our identity "in" Christ!  Anything less is faithlessness and a denial of the real power of God to transform lives and hearts!

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The new creation is Holy and Righteous. 

Ephesians 4:23-24

23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
 
 

 You are holy and pleasing to God

Romans 12:1 

 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.


Objections:
Some will raise an objection from 1 Timothy where Paul states he is the Chief of sinners or Worst of Sinners.  Here is my response to that.

1 Tim 1:12-16."I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- OF WHOM I AM THE WORST. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, THE WORST OF SINNERS, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."

I have a hard time believing that Paul was actually talking about himself in a present tense being the "Chief of Sinners" Literally. I believe he is talking about what he would be like without Christ. He is very aware of his weaknesses and the ugly sinfulness Christ has delivered him from.

Whatever the flesh once manifested itself to be in our lives--some extreme form of evil, whatever we have done that is now, in our own sight, bad or ugly --we have to remember that is an area of weakness that needs to be guarded very carefully, because we can return to that in an instant, no matter how long we have been Christians. There is that aspect of realizing the depths from which we have come and where we could fall back to without Christ. However, I believe the scripture also has to be examined in context to be clearly understood.

Paul refers to the time when he was persecuting and killing those who followed Jesus (past tense). Paul no longer did these things - it would be ridiculous to state that Paul remained a terrible "sinner". It would bring no glory to Christ if Paul's life did not change. Pauls life was radically changed when he encountered Christ. It brings great glory to Christ when the worst of sinners comes to him and their life changes in such a dramatic, black and white fashion. Here is Paul - a persecutor, blasphemor, and violent man - now he is gentle, humble, peaceful, and loving. Did he still sin? Of course! Did he still have the capacity to fall back into grievous sin without the grace and love of Jesus Christ?  Sure!  But was his identity still a wretched sinner? Absolutely not!

I believe there is a strong distinction in the New Testament between a sinner and a saint. However, sometimes our behavior may not line up with our identity. A sinner will sometimes act Saintly, and a Saint will sometimes act sinfully. As we become more secure in who God says we are, and the radical change that has taken place in our nature, our behavior will change.

I love the past tense descriptions of our old way of life in Eph. 2:1-3. There is no question in my mind that we are no longer sinners, but we are now saints!

Eph. 2:1-3
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overcomer or Overcome?



 A couple weeks ago, I was pondering the significance of being an overcomer in the Bible.  I was amazed to see how many times the phrase "to he who overcomes" and the word "overcome" are used. I realized that being an overcomer is not so much something we do, but it is who we are.  As Christians, it is our true spiritual identity.  The only way to truly overcome is to live out of that identity.  We are overcomers by faith, it is our inheritance as children of God.
1 John 4:4 teaches that every believer is an overcomer. This victory is something that every child of God partakes in. It is not based upon what the believer has earned or achieved, but it is based on WHO indwells the believer!
1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 5:4
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

The issue of our identity:
Genesis 32:28
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Interesting that Jacob was given a new name because he had overcome.  Receiving a new name is a symbolic and prophetic way of communicating our true spiritual identity as a child of God.  There is great power in learning who we really are, what our true names are.

Revelation 3:12
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

We need to see ourselves as overcomers, not as those who are overcome.
2 Peter 2:20
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

We have the spiritual DNA of Jesus Christ, THE overcomer.  Since he has overcome the world, so have we.
John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Why is it significant for Jesus to say that we can have peace and be of good cheer because he has overcome the world?  Because it was his plan that we would live "in him", "abiding in him".  As long as we abide in THE overcomer, Jesus Christ, we are also overcomers by default.

Every generation and every culture has it's issues and struggles to overcome.  In the seven churches of Revelation, Jesus points out issues he sees with each church, but then he concludes with a promise to those who overcome.
  1. Revelation 2:7
    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’
  2. Revelation 2:11
    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’
  3. Revelation 2:17
    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’
  4. Revelation 2:26
    And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
  5. Revelation 3:5
    He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
  6. Revelation 3:12
    He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
  7. Revelation 3:21
    To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
If you are a true Christian, you are an overcomer!  You are more than a conqueror!  You CAN do all things through Christ, who strengthens you!  You HAVE overcome the world! You have overcome Satan!  You are seated(past tense) at the right hand of the Father because you are IN Christ, THE OVERCOMER! 
Ephesians 2:6
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

You are not defeated! You are victorious, triumphant!
2 Corinthians 2:14
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

I like the way Ed Tandy Mcglasson says it in "The Difference a Father makes".
Ed Tandy McGlasson Ministries
He says you are either a "Survivor" or a "Thriver".  A survivor does his best to just get through the day, but a Thriver is one who squeezes everything possible out of Life, making the most of every opportunity.  That is how Jesus lived, and that is how he desires each of us to live.
 
Jesus lived under the smile, blessing, and approval of his Father, he was not living out of a desire to gain his Father's approval or the approval of others.  If we can also live out of this kind of identity as ones who are beloved by the Father, we will also understand our identity as an overcomer, a "Thriver".

However, the enemy has labeled many of us and imparted to us  a false identity.  Many of us were cursed by parents who didn't know their identity either, survivors.  When we really understand who God has created us to be, receive the Father's blessing and purpose into our lives, we will not want to settle for just surviving any more.  We will begin to live as Paul described in Philippians 3:12-14.
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

When we communicate with our children, it doesn't do a whole lot of good to berate them and beat them up for their failures and mistakes. But it does a tremendous amount of good to remind them of their true identity.  When they are complaining, remind them of the fact that they are overcomers.  When they make a mistake, we can say something like, "That's OK, you'll get it next time - because you are an overcomer, you are a Champion, you can do all things through Christ, you have what it takes to succeed!"  If we keep speaking like this in faith to ourselves, and to our children, we will eventually get it.  Something will change deep inside of who we are, and we will truly see as God sees. Instead of seeing ourselves and others as failures or survivors, we will see overcomers, champions, thrivers, victorious, able to do all things.  We will see ourselves and others through the eyes of Faith, we were born to overcome!


Disclaimer: I haven't read anything off the web-site, I just searched for and liked this painting.