December 2010

Welcome to this month's view. I know that many of you are hurting because of unmet needs during this Christmas season. Some of you are frustrated because of unmet expectations. Or you may be living in fear because of insecurity. Regardless of your need, the answer is to "...come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace [ability] to help in time of need."1

Emotions That Destroy

While on death row in January, 1972, my counselor wrote this about me - "the All-American boy."

"What events transpired, and what emtional concepts were set in motion prior to his decision to leave that life-style and set of values for the totally foreign experiences of the drug-culture is unknown. He cannot yet verbalize it, and, in fact, may not even be consciously aware of it. There is no doubt that something or someone propelled him to totally immerse himself into this new life-style."

 

For years now, I have been aware of the "emotional concepts" that drove me from a healthy life-style to an unhealthy one. I felt perceived rejection and insecurity (fear), not to mention my pride, rebellion, and self-centeredness. I medicated my emotional pain with drug abuse, and released my anger and violent behavior on others, which I deeply regret. Now, I'm reaping the consequences of my sin.

In the book, "Overcoming Emotions that Destroy" (Baker Books, 2009) by Chip Ingram and Dr. Becca Johnson, they write about three primary emotions: 1)Hurt (unmet needs); 2) Frustration (unmet expectations); and 3) Insecurity (threatened self). I believe this book will help you to understand that anger is a secondary emotion to these primary ones. In my frustration, I left my wonderful parents in Texas, moving to California to overcome my problems. I didn't understand the problem was deep within my heart -- spirit and soul (thoughts, choices, and emotions), not my location.

During my childhood, I was in church several times a week, but I never came to know the Spirit of grace. Sadly, I grew up without God's strength in my spirit. I wasn't filled with wisdom, and the grace of God wasn't within me. I was prey to the evil one without any authority over him, having not received God's gift of grace. I obtained God's mercy and came to the throne of grace in June 1975. I received Jesus into my heart, and the Holy Spirit gave me a new heart. The Lord says:

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone [stubborn and self-willed] out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh [pliable and responsive]. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."2

Many of us didn't grow up like the baby Jesus: "...the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace [ability] of God was upon Him."3 During His earthly ministry, Jesus said: "I do nothing of myself: but as my Father has taught me..."4 Likewise, we can do nothing without God's ability working in us. Grace is God's ability working in us, making us able to do what we cannot do in our own ability. We find grace to help in time of need at the throne of grace. This is where we go to find help to overcome our hurt, frustration, and insecurity.

Grace To Help

You may feel rejected like I did in the 60's, but God's "throne of grace" is open to you. It's not a throne of judgment, but where we go when we need God's ability to handle or overcome things [hurt, frustration, and insecurity]. "The Lord is gracious and full of compasion, slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works."5

We come to God's throne by faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, not by our good works. As the Word clearly says: "Dear friends, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of His death for us...let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting Him."6

As the chorus goes: "Things on earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." Thoughts that brought hurt, frustration, and insecurity are cast down in light of the blood of Jesus. Our position before the throne is not based on us, but based on Jesus. God doesn't reject Jesus, so He doesn't reject us. "He has made us accepted in the Beloved."7

Accepted In Christ

It is humbling to realize that my perceived rejection and insecurity in the 60's drove me to earn acceptance from man, when God's throne was open to accept me in Christ. Acceptance is based totally on Jesus. Maybe you are feeling rejected, and heading down the wrong path, seeking acceptance from all the wrong people and in all the wrong places. If so, faith comes when you hear God's Word, believe it in your heart, and confess it with your mouth.8 Then, you'll be rescued from destruction.9

Shout it from the roof tops, "I'm accepted by God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ!" In Dr. James B. Richard's book, "Grace, The Power to Change," he says:

"Apart from realizing God's acceptance, you will never receive His grace. As long as you feel the need to earn righteousness, you frustrate the grace of God.10 But in understanding total acceptance, you can approach the throne with confidence."

My previous two views were about righteousness by faith in Christ. This is the key to understanding your acceptance. When you accept Jesus as your righteousness, then there will be peace in your heart about the love, acceptance, and approval of God. As a result, you'll come to the throne of grace with boldness; leaving hurt, frustration, and insecurity in the dust. Won't you receive Christ as your righteousness today?

A Prayer For You ...

Heavenly Father, I pray that You reveal the righteousness of Christ in me through the finished work of the Cross. I am a new creation in Christ.11 I believe in the cleansing blood of Jesus for my righteousness, and not my good works. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You raised Him from the dead. I believe I will not be disappointed "...for the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."12 I will yield to the righteousness of Christ that lives in me. Lord, I ask that you increase my faith so that I will be conscious continually of the revelation of my righteousness in Christ. Hurt, frustration, and insecurity, GO in the name of Jesus! I am secure because I am accepted in the Beloved! Amen.

Scripture References:

1 Heb. 4:16
2 Eze. 36:26,27
3 Luke 2:40
4 John 8:28
5 Psa. 145:8,9
6 Heb. 10:19,20,22
7 Eph. 1:6
8 Rom. 10:8-17
9 Psa. 102:20
10 Gal. 2:21
11 2 Cor. 5:17
12 Rom. 14:17

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!

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