How Is Your Peace-a-ture?

Temper-a-ture is an important indication of body health. So, it seems to me, peace-a-ture is an important indication of soul health. With me, too low a peace-a-ture is evidenced by my ability, or lack thereof, to manage those tiny buttons on the collars of my button-down shirts. It can get ugly! That’s just a small thing–not so important. But not having patience with children or with store clerks, or freeway-drivers, or bosses–can have strong legal and/or relationship consequences, not to mention lots of stress on the body and brain chemistry (the text book definition of clinical-depression is “anger internalized”).
So, how is it that people can have faith in Jesus, but still have an up-and-down peace level? What does it mean to “have faith in Jesus?” Can a person have faith in Jesus at 10:00 AM, but lose their faith by 2:00 PM? Just how connected are “faith in Jesus” and peace-a-ture? Is “identity” a faith-thing?

It seems to me–
that one can have faith in something, but only as long as that thing is reliable and available; and that one can have faith in someone, but only as long as that someone is reliable and available.

Since Jesus is a “someone,” does faith in Jesus have to do with His reliability and availability?

What is Jesus reliable and available for? What can He do? What is He willing to do? Because Jesus is reliable and available His job- description is of considerable interest to those of us who believe in Him. What can He do for us? What will He do for us? What about His promises?

Some of the promises Jesus made were to the nation of Israel during His
earthly ministry as the long prophesied Messiah. Other promises were made to His rather small band of disciples after His death and resurrection experience. These later promises are the ones I am particularly interested in.

Before I begin to discuss these resurrected-life promises I need to explain how the human mind works. Dr. Albert Ellis, now deceased, spent his adult life trying to figure out why people do the things that they do. The good doctor reasoned that the human mind goes through four phases of “thinking” that lead to human behavior– awareness, evaluation, emotion and behavior. I have learned a lot from his teaching, especially about my own gyrations in the area of “evaluation.” It seems to me that I like “to know” about how things work, all kinds of things. In order to come to this “knowing” I need to have some “understanding” of it based on true facts. Once I “understand” it, I am then ready to add my thing into my “belief system.” But the battle is not yet won. I now discover that I have an older “belief” about my thing that does not like my newer “belief.” Where did this older “belief” come from, and why does it not care about my new found, fact-based understanding?

Answer– childhood!

The battleground of my mind is not in “understanding,” nor in “believing,” but in “thinking.” When I become aware of circumstance #832 coming up to my front door I make a lightening-fast, and completely automatic evaluation of #832 based on my childhood. My feelings are immediately triggered, and my behaviors follow my feelings right into the pit. The promises of Jesus never got up to bat.

God’s promise for winning the battle of the mind:
Romans 12:2 (NASB77)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Apply the formula:
1. try to understand some-of-it,
2. try to believe the part-you-understand,
3. try to think on the part-you-understand-and-believe.
As you begin to do this your peace-a-ture will begin to increase. The more you understand, trust and think, the more the peace comes.

Some understanding, plus some believing, plus some thinking. equals some increase in peace. (Peace here is not PEACE with God, but an emotion in the soul, absence of fear, anger, frustration.)

Here’s another:
John 16:5-15 (NASB77)
5 “But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘ Where are You going?’
6 “But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.
7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
8 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;
9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;
11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

Do you see any promise in these verses? What do you understand from them? Did the disciples present understand Jesus’ message? What is the significance of the message for you personally? Did the disciples have any religious facts/beliefs that were being challenged by the message? What were they feeling?

The writer of the above is John, one of the original twelve disciples, the youngest, in fact. Disciple means “learner,” or “follower.” Disciple is an identity term in God’s heavenly accounting system. I am not one of the original “followers,” but I am on the team now. Becoming a “follower” does not automatically treat a low peace-a-ture problem, but learning and practicing “follower” thinking does. A disciple of Christ can learn, needs to learn. to think like Christ.

When a person joins the Marine corps he/she is given the Marine uniform and boots and haircut. New recruits are not treated with much respect by the Drill Sergeants, but they are given a lot of training in what being a Marine is all about. The one thing drilled into their minds is that there has been an identity change. They are Marines–first, last, always. They are constantly reminded of SEMPER FIDELIS (always faithful). Pretty soon they are Marines, body, soul and perhaps even spirit!

Becoming a Christian, a “follower” of Jesus, is the wonderful beginning of a “transformation of life through the renewing of the mind.” Experiencing peace of heart is promised to those who learn and think the TRUTH THAT SETS PEOPLE FREE.

I hope to soon do more writing about Jesus’ promises and identity-thinking. I have blocked off all comment aspects to this blog because of bandwidth limit issues. Sorry about that!

Ran B. Stovall

My Identity In God’s Accounting Books

Am I who other people say I am?
Am I who I feel that I am?
Am I who God says that I Am?

Identity in God’s heavenly accounting system is by birth, not by human works or performance. Reading, studying, meditating on “identity” scriptures is powerful for guiding our relationships and our evaluations of circumstances. There are four categories of “identity” scriptures:
A. who God says He is
B. who God says I am
C. who God says other people are
D. How God evaluates circumstances
Learning to think the same as God thinks in these four categories is what Romans 12:2 means about “renewing the mind.” It says such a “renewing” results in “transformation of life.” Thoughts have influence on emotions. Emotions have influence on decisions/behaviors. In psychology this modus-operandi is called “rational- emotive therapy” or “cognitive-emotive therapy.
In 1974, I completed a correspondence course with Moody Bible Institute, based on Dr. C.I. Scofield’s study and preaching notes. The course title was, “Twenty-six Great Words.” That study has turned out to be in the top ten smartest things I have ever done. The “mind renewing” it gave me has resulted in some very beneficial “transformation of life”. The following list of identity verses and definitions is based on that course. There are a good many more than I have included here.
Here’s how I use it in 2017. I read a verse as per the New American Standard Bible ’77 [very important]. Then I read the verse again and put my name into it at the appropriate place(s). This gives me a personal experience with the meaning of the identity words in the verse. This influences me to agree with the identity-thinking of God.

1.Romans 5:9-10 (NASB77)
9  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
10  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

The Greek New Testament word is “dikaios,” and means to be accounted righteous.

The Greek New Testament word is “katallasso’ and means to change thoroughly.

2. Romans 5:19 (NASB77)
19  For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

The Greek New Testament word is ”dikaios,” meaning just in many NT verses, but rendered righteous in many other verses.

3. Romans 5:12 (NASB77)
12  Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—

The Greek New Testament word is “hamartia,” meaning sin, error, sin offering.

4. Galatians 2:20 (NASB77)
20  “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

The Greek New Testament word is “pistis,” meaning believing, (from the verb “peitho,” to persuade, or to convince).

5. Romans 6:6 (NASB77)
 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

Our Old Self:
The Greek New Testament words are “palaios anthropos hemos,” meaning old self of us. Scofield notes that this is the corrupt human nature, the inborn tendency to evil in all men, received by inheritance from Adam through countless generations of sinning ancestors.

6. Romans 6:7 (NASB77)
 for he who has died is freed from sin.
The Greek New Testament words “ho gar apothanon,” are rendered here the(one) indeed having died. The word for death is used in scripture (King James Bible) seven ways. Dr. Scofield notes that the use in this verse is of a believer to denote the fact that God accounts him crucified with (or in) Christ. Because of this he is reckoned (and is to reckon himself) as “dead to sin.

7. Romans 6:8 (NAS77)
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Scofield Note: The old relation to the law and sin, and the new relation to Christ and life are illustrated by the effect of death upon servitude Rom 6:16-23. The old servitude was nominally to the law, but, since the law had no delivering power, the real master continued to be sin in the nature. The end was death. The law could not give life, and “sin” (here personified as the old self) is in itself deathful.
But death in another form, ie., crucifixion with Christ, has intervened Rom 6:6 to free the servant from his double bondage to sin (vs 6,7), and to the law Rom 7:4, 6.

8. Romans 6:11(NAS77)
 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
My Note: “Consider yourselves” means to account yourself as legally dead, disconnected, separated, divorced from the Adam, sin domain, and to account yourself as legally alive, connected to, adopted into the Jesus, righteousness kingdom.

9. Romans 6:14(NAS77)
 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

The Greek New Testament word “charis” means the free favor of God in salvation. God’s grace to man is always based on the work accomplished by Christ in His death on the cross.

When trying to help someone understand that God relates to people based on birth, not behavior, I use the following home-made, DIY, daily circumstance; that of using a vacuum cleaner.
When I plug my vacuum into an electric outlet at the office, it will immediately start and run by the power system of the Austin Energy Power Utility. I can accurately say that my vacuum has its being, lives its life because of the Austin electricity feeding it. But on some occasions I might take my vacuum up to my vacation cabin (if I had one) on the Medina River (a delightful place) to clean the cabin’s carpet. There I would plug it into an electric outlet connected to the Perdenales Electric Cooperative. Now my vacuum would run, live because of the connection to PEC. It would be “dead” (disconnected) to The Austin Energy name and power, but it would be alive to (connected to) the name and power of PEC.
Roughly speaking, God and Satan are both power sources in the Universe, including our Planet, Earth. In Col. 1:12 Paul writes of “the domain of darkness” and “the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Every soul starts life, is birthed into, the “domain of darkness.” Some souls have chosen to request and receive a transfer, a new birth, into the “kingdom of His beloved Son.” One of the great new things of this transfer is a new identity, an “in Jesus” identity. The power of that flows to us when we remember our newness, to think it, be glad for it, be thankful for it.

What Was Eve’s Identity

The sin of Eve and the resulting identity problem for women:
Romans 5:12 (NAS77)
12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–

So, “just as through one man sin entered into the world,”– what man? Adam? Adam! Why, Adam? Why not Eve? She ate of the forbidden fruit first, didn’t she? Yes! But, it says, “one man” not “one woman?” Are we arguing semantics, here? Splitting hairs? Maybe “man” means “human,” both sexes? No, the Apostle Paul goes on to nail the culprit down to the first man, Adam.
Why Adam? “It seems to me” because of the special and “stick-tight” relationship between God and Adam, even, I think, a legally-binding relationship, a heaven-earth agreement, one written-in-the-Book. A DEAL, if you please, a contract– a covenant. What’s the evidence of it? Well, the Bible evidence of God making covenants with men down through the ages of man’s history, so why not with Adam? And the evidence of some kind of agreement between God and Adam before Eve was “made.” Adam was to be “husband” of the garden, to name every plant and creature of it, and to take good care of it all. We read that God and Adam walked and talked together “in the cool of the day.” What did they visit about, I wonder? God’s creation, I should think.
If the covenant idea is sound, then for Adam to knowingly choose to break the covenant, to separate himself and Eve from it, to believe that Satan was offering a better “deal,” is scary to think about. It might possibly compare to me renouncing my U.S. citizenship and signing on to Russian citizenship. Would I not realize the effects on my children, indeed on all my progeny? Insanity, or worse!
The point I’m making here here is that Adam did it, not Eve. Why “not Eve?” It again seems to me that Eve was not the “covenant maker”, so she could not be the “covenant breaker.” Thus, Eve is not the one that brought “sin, and death through sin” onto the world. Consider what choices Adam had when he learned that his mate had been beguiled by that snake. He could join in the transgression, which he did, or he could have stuck with the covenant– like asking God to forgive Eve, or to ask for God’s guidance in understanding Eve’s weakness to yield to temptation, or to find the serpent and chop his lying, evil head off. What kind of wimp was this Adam cha5racter, anyway. Didn’t he know Satan was messin’ with his honey? For crying-out-loud! No wonder our world is in such sniveling, awful shape.
So, what happened? Well, “no-guts-Adam” made the dumb choice of trusting the snake instead of the Holy, Loving, God Almighty. He broke covenant and joined up with God’s worst enemy. He woke up with no light in his spirit, the bitter taste of guilt in his soul, and the specter of death starting to gnaw on his bones. Furthermore, he lost his home and his free-lunch program. Eve lost her Gynecologist/Anesthesiologist, and her vote, and the control of her passion.
Oh, boy! The school-of-hard-knocks is tough, but it is effective. At some chapter in this Russian-play, God offered a somewhat less complicated addendum to life outside the Garden– something new called “blood-sacrifice.” The first we hear of it is in the sad story of a conflict between two of Adam’s sons, Cain and Able. The “blood-sacrifice” was God’s provision to Adam’s family for atonement for sin, and (it seems to me) some measure of relief from the curses. Atonement was not exactly forgiveness, more like a pushing forward of punishment for sin. As long as the guilty sinner trusted and performed the sacrifice, she/he did not suffer the jail-time (condemnation). They were Adam-children, but received blessing from God by trusting the blood-sacrifice arrangement, even though plagued with darkness in their spirit, guilt-atoned-for in their souls, and physical death in their future.
Prospects improved dramatically for Adam-folks (Adam-girls included) when Jesus Christ, God-in-flesh, talked-the-talk and walked-the-walk and died-the-death of the final, finish-the-job sacrifice of all sacrifices. The sting of death was de-stinged. The power of the un-stoppable grave was stopped. A way to freedom was purchased– freedom from Adam-identity, Adam-stigma, Adam-punishment, Adam-slavery, Adam-future.
And one of your Adam-sisters, a girl named Mary, a daughter-of the Eve who stubbed her toe one day by falling for the line of a slick-talking snake, was the chosen instrument by which God brought forth the Lamb of God, the final sacrifice. Think of it– the mother of God.
From cursed:
(Gen.3:16NAS77) To the woman (Eve) God said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, In pain you shall bring forth children; Yet your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
To favored:
(Luke 1:30NASB77) And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31) “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32) “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
33) and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”
34) And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
35) And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.

38) And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

From cursed to favored to justified heirs:
(Gal.3:24-29NASB77) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.
25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26) For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27) For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29) And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

From cursed to favored to justified heirs to seated in heaven:
(Eph2:4-6 NASB77)) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus. . .

So, girls, what’s your identity? Who are you, really?
Are you who Adam-men say you are?
Are you who Adam-women say you are?
Are you who your feelings say you are?
Are you who God says you are?
Learning to agree with God in your self-talk is a healthy thing to learn to do.

Identity-verse 2 (continued)

Rom 5
1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Rom 5:1, NASB77)

We worked on “justified” and “faith.” Now we’ll do “peace with God” and “through our Lord Jesus.”

“Peace with God” means that my heavenly Father is not ashamed of me, nor embarrassed over me, nor angry with me. Now that’s a stretch for me to believe, but I do believe it, I must. Otherwise I lose the freedom of it. I lose the “juice” of it. God’s word says (Rom.5:10) that I am reconciled to God through the death of His Son. Not God is reconciled to me, but me to God. God did not leave Adam. Adam left God. Its like Adam’s inner compass went “tilt.” It couldn’t point toward north anymore. So Adam lost his ability to touch God, to balance his senses to God’s magnetic impulses. Adam became dull of hearing, or maybe just plain, all-around dull. It was bad! So God gave Adam a way to tune-in to God, through blood sacrifice, and that really means “life” sacrifice– not just a little blood, but the whole life-ending loss of blood from something that lived, but would no-longer live. The new tune-in method wasn’t nearly so close as the previous relationship, but it was good to again see a little light in the awful darkness of SEPARATION. This gave Adam a shadowy kind of reconciliation. He could “touch” God through the death of a living creature. In this way God could let Himself be touched by a “dirty” hand, without the hand getting “toasted.” Or something like that.

Now comes the sacrifice of Jesus, the Perfect, the Best,– it brought a wonderfully better reconciliation to Adam’s race– one permanent, one complete, one death to end the blood-letting for eternity, one that achieves better cleansing of the hands and the heart, better fellowship, better peace, better identity.

Here’s a word-picture that helps me, “juices” me, every time. The cross has two arms. The left arm is the blood-death of Jesus. It brings about this better reconciliation (touching) and invaluable justification. I need it, I understand it, I believe it! Praise the Lord for the left arm of the cross. It effectively deals with my Adam connection, my sin nature, sin’s ownership on my life. But I need more.

The right arm of the cross deals with my less-than-perfect Christian “walk.” It reminds me that it is the life of Jesus that keeps me safe from the “wrath” of God’s heavenly and eternal law. Because He lives, I live. If He always lives, I will always live. His righteousness abides forever, my safety abides forever. Thanks Jesus. You’re my Savior and my Safety.

Anything happening yet?– something stirring? Some experience? Any “juice, yet?

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Rom 5:8-11, NASB77)

Try reading Truth to your “baby-self.”

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward ________, in that while _________ was yet sinner, Christ died for ___________. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, ____________ shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while ____________ was an enemy, ____________ was reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, ____________ shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but _____________ can also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom ____________ has now received the reconciliation.

Identity-verse #2

Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Rom 5:1 [NASB77]).
The “identity ” message in this verse is in the word “justified.” Notice the verb tense–having been justified. This indicates action completed in the past. So, a person needs to know if this is actually true about her/himself. “Have I been justified?” one must cry out into the silent heavens.
“Justified” as it is used here means,”given a proper, legal standing.”
To explain the meaning I’ll offer this anecdote. Let’s suppose that you had been born in Canada, but recently had come to Mexico (Isla Mujeres) on a tourist visa. Your legal standing in Mexico would be “tourist.”
Now, if you decided to remain in Mexico, and applied for citizenship, and completed the requirements necessary for that status, you would be recognized by the Mexican government as a citizen with all legal privileges that pertain. You would be legally “justified,” just as if you had been born a Mexican citizen.
Did you stay with me through all those words? I hope so! I do so want you to UNDERSTAND. Basic understanding of Bible (New Covenant) facts is necessary to basic belief-system change, which is necessary for basic control of emotions, which is necessary for basic control of behavior.
Continuing with our “identity verse,” Paul informs us that the fact of being “justified” is brought about by “faith.” The meaning of faith here is a two-step activity. The Canadian must realize her/his present citizenship is inadequate for the desired new life in Mexico, and must let it go, or “repent” of it. Secondly, the repentant Canadian must choose to trust in the plan and promises of the Mexican constitution that makes available the status of Mexican citizenship.
In the same way, the soul looking to God for a new life, a new citizenship with its array of new opportunities, rewards and freedom from condemnation, must repent of an old identity and self-sufficiency, and choose to trust the plan and promises of the best heart that ever beat, the best tongue that ever spoke, the best eyes that ever cried over a lost lamb, the best hands that ever lifted a loved one out of a cold grave–the Lord Jesus.

Stay tuned-in for “identity-verse #3

New Identity In-Christ

Sorry about the troubles, fears, exhaustion, worry, doubts, insecurity, etc. Well, I can’t change your circumstances, but I can teach you some “identity-verses.” In order to get go-juice (power) out of the Bible you need to understand it. When you are increasing your understanding of God’s word you are breaking up the “fallow ground” of childhood learning (womb to age 10)– including that very strong learning of identity.
Review-so-far: Increased understanding can lead to positive changes in the belief-system, including improved self-esteem (identity).
Speaking of identity– me teacher, you learner. I can decide for myself, but you have to decide for yourself. Read on to see if I can “rightly divide” God’s Truth so that you begin to experience an increase in understanding.

Identity-verse #1
(Rom 8:1 [NASB77])
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Read this verse aloud, please.
Now once again, but this time read your name into the verse at an appropriate place so that it continues to make sense– like this:
(Rom 8:1 [NASB77])
There is therefore now no condemnation for ______ who (is) in Christ Jesus.
What does “therefore now” mean? Exactly so, you know.
What does “condemnation” mean? You know-sure.
What does “in Christ” mean? You may need a nudge here. Apostle Paul, the author of Romans, used “in Adam” to refer to non-Christians, and he used “in Christ” to refer to Christians. So this marks our verse as an “identity-verse.” Just so you know, Paul wrote a lot on the subject of Christian behavior, and a lot on the subject of Christian identity. Warning– study Christian identity, understand the “new-creation-identity-you” until it is like a big bell clanging in your belief-system. Then slowly begin to study Christian behavior.
Now, read our verse again, aloud, but this time read your “baby name” into it. Your “baby name” is what your parent(s) called you early in your life. Do you know it? If so, read it in. Mine was “Ran-boy.” My mother called me that. I don’t remember my Dad calling me anything. So, I’ll read– “There is therefore now no condemnation for Ran-boy who is in Christ Jesus.”
Am I sure about this? Yes, I am sure. Is this assurance go-juice for me? Yes!
Did you experience anything with this shorty exercise in faith? “Yes” is an experience– “no” is also an experience. Write yourself a note about your experience. Place the note in your Bible at Rom.8:1. You’ll be reading it again,soon?
Identity verse #2 coming up tomorrow!