Blogs

When Plans Fail
Courtnaye Richard
Knowing God's Word
Christina Fox

About Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.

Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson
RSS this blog Archives Contributors

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.

Understanding Your Identity in Christ

Hello Beloved! As we continue our “Already Free” series we learn why it is so important to understand our identity in Christ. In today’s video we learn not only are we daughters of God, but that we are also His heirs.  And freedom is our rightful inheritance! However, we must make the decision for ourselves to live as free daughters of God or we’ll only live as slaves to sin. So let’s receive all that Christ has for us by living like His daughters: valued, esteemed, and royal heirs to the Kingdom!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for my identity as your loved and accepted daughter. Please strengthen me in any area of my life where I am not living out this truth. I love You. In Jesus Christ Name I pray. Amen.

Today our study leads us to discuss why our identity in Christ as His beloved daughters is more value than anything we could possibly do for Him. As we start chapter 4 of Galatians today we learn that if we are God’s children then that means we are also His heirs. In Galatians 4:7 we read:

“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians ‭4:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If there is one clear message I hope you have received from this “Already Free” series it is that we do not need to work for our salvation, but that we are saved by grace through faith alone.  

When we truly grasp this truth we find freedom from trying to work for something we can not earn but that has already been given to us. We are no longer slaves to striving for God’s acceptance and realize we are His children. But in today’s verse the Apostle Paul takes it a step further. We are not only children but we are also heirs.

Not only are our sins wiped clean, not only are we accepted as God’s daughters, we also receive an inheritance. We receive the righteousness of Christ.

When God sees us now, He also sees His Son. All the good that Christ did to fulfill the law has now been imparted to us as our good works.

So Jesus alone completely frees us from our sin and the punishment we deserve for it. But He also works for our righteousness and gives us its benefits. We receive His inheritance as both daughters and heirs. We can see this truth more clearly in John 8:31-36:

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John‬ ‭8:31-36‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s funny because like the Jews here many of us are in bondage and slavery and don’t even know it. The world will tell you freedom is being able to do whatever you want but Jesus says freedom is abstaining from sin. He tells us all who have sinned are slaves to sin. We are born with this desire to go against God’s will. It is easier to follow our own desires than the will of God. So until we accept Christ in our lives we are bound to our own desires and wants. Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. But the problem is there is so much more to our lives than our desires. Anyone can do what they want. But there is more: Jesus says He came that we may have life and life to the full (John 10:10). This full life is experienced in a relationship with Him. The thing is, we must turn from our ways and follow Him (His Way). There’s just one thing. Sin has a good way if getting in the way, but Jesus died to make a way.

You may be free to do whatever you want but can you use that freedom to live for Christ? Or has your physical freedom left you in bondage to sin? And as daughters of the Most High God freedom is our rightful inheritance. So let me ask you, are your living like a slave or a daughter?

Where a slave lives in lack a daughter lives in the fullness of God’s provision.

Where a slave works to pay off a debt a daughter lives in the security that her debt has been paid.

Where a slave has no inheritance a daughter has rights to all that is her Father’s.

Where a slave is incapable a daughter has power.

Now is the time Beloved to stop living like slaves and receive everything that is ours in Christ as Daughters of the King and joint heirs with Christ. Because we when understand we are God’s daughters we also understand that we don’t have to work for His affection or approval. It’s already ours. 

There are so many times I just look at my kids and they bring me joy. They could be taking their nap or potty training or eating snack and my heart will fill with so much joy I feel like I can’t take it. Now they don’t pay any bills up in here, they don’t cook any means and guess what, they still take my breath away because they’re mine and that’s all that matters. They don’t have to give me anything ever and I would still give them everything I can.

And God has already given us His everything. His only Son on a cross even though we can’t give Him anything of value. Why?  Because we are His daughters; loved, accepted, valued, highly esteemed, and royal heirs to the kingdom.

As we’ve been studying, the Galatians we’re feeling like they needed to rely on their works for God’s acceptance and not their position as children of God. So Paul had to remind them, you are children of God. You are accepted by God, not just as a servant or even friend but a child.

Paul not once in this entire letter tells the Galatians what they needed to do. He first reminds them of who God is, His promise to them, and now who they are in Christ. His Children. And the language that Paul uses here almost had me in tears because I just imagined myself in the place of the Galatians. Questioning if they were doing enough for God. Wondering if they could really ever be accepted by God.

Have you ever felt that way? Small, inferior, and not enough. But Paul reminds us: It’s not about what you do. It’s about who you are. And you Beloved are a child of the most High God. And that truth trumps anything you can ever even think about doing for God. 

Now I want to hear from you today Beloved. In the comments I simply want you to write “I am a daughter of God” then I want you to go out and live like it!

If you enjoyed today’s message be sure to share it with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today. I post new encouragement every week so be sure join Beloved to have my weekly devotion “Hello Beloved!” delivered directly to your inbox. As always, thank you so much for reading and until next time be beautiful, be blessed and beloved.


We Are All One in Christ

Now more than ever race, class, and social status are the dividing lines that prevent unity and progress in our world. However, through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unity, reconciliation, and healing is possible. Learn how in this week’s video “We Are All One in Christ”.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making us all uniquely yours. May your Gospel free us from division and may we live in the unity that You desire for your children. In Jesus Christ Name I pray, Amen.

Now more than ever, race, class, and social status are the dividing lines that prevent unity and progress in our world. In today’s study of Galatians, we learn how the gospel of Jesus Christ frees us from these dividing lines. I’m not saying that the lines are not present and that there is no longer work to do, because, believe me, there is much, much more work to do. But what I am saying is that because of Christ’s work on the cross, unity, reconciliation, and healing is possible. How much of that we actually experience is dependent upon if we believe that, and our willingness to surrender to God’s desire for diversity, especially in His church.
We see this truth in today’s text, Galatians 3:26-29, which reads

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

‭‭Galatians ‭3:26-29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The apostle Paul is writing these words to the church of Galatia which received this false gospel that says this: in order to really be saved, in order to really be accepted by God, you need to conform and assimilate to Jewish culture and tradition. Jesus was Jewish and the first people to get saved were Jewish, so clearly this is the standard, right? Absolutely not. We’ve been going over this for weeks now, and I’ll post it in every video if I need to: we are saved by grace through faith. Amen.

Today I want us to place ourselves in the shoes of these Galatians. Imagine someone is having a party and everyone there has on a pink shirt, and you are the only one that has on a blue shirt. You received an invitation to the party, your meal is paid for, but when you go to sit down at the table someone says, “Wait, you don’t belong at this table. You must have on a pink shirt to sit here.”

And you’re like, “But I have my ticket, I was invited, my meal is paid for.” And they are like, “Nope, it’s not enough. You need a pink shirt.” So now the attention is off of what it really takes to sit at this table, and on what makes you different from them. The truth is, you are different. You have on a blue shirt. But the lie is that this blue shirt somehow disqualifies you from sitting at this table. So then the host of the party comes up, corrects the hater, and is like, “No, I invited her. Have a seat.”

This is what the gospel does. It invites everyone to the table. Paul’s words—”There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus“—are revolutionary. Gentiles, slaves, and women can sit at the table too? Yes. Because Jesus invited you and paid for your meal. Have a seat.

This message is so important today, especially in America, because when we think of Christianity, it’s commonly associated with white, American culture. We have done a severe disservice to the entire world by attaching a culture to Christianity. In the Body of Christ, we all have a right to be here.
It’s so serious, in fact, that Jesus gave His life so we all can sit at this table. His last prayer before being crucified was for unity in His Church. Who are we to tell someone they don’t belong? Even more, who are we to cower back and not have our seat because we’re afraid it might make someone feel uncomfortable?

The Gospel frees us from division and unites us in Christ.CLICK TO TWEET

Some Jewish Christians were uncomfortable with Gentiles like the Galatians, we’ve been studying. Even one of Jesus’ disciples Peter was uncomfortable with them at one point, as we learned a few videos ago. But the gospel frees us from having to appease people, and it grants us the power to live for God. For you, maybe that means living as a single mom, or lower-middle-class, or if you’re like me, a black woman. In Christ, we all have a seat at the table. Jesus gave His life so that we could. Paul reminds us, we are all one in Christ. No one is better or more closer to God than the other.

Does that mean we forget our unique differences and cultures? Absolutely not. But it does mean those differences have no power to separate us from God or each other if we live in the freedom of this truth. The gospel does not say, “Your differences don’t matter.” If they didn’t matter, God would have made us all the same. The gospel says, “Despite our differences, we can still sit together.” We are all one in Christ, so if we think that we are more special because of the color of our skin, the money in our bank account, our education, or anything other than simply being a loved and accepted child of God, then we don’t believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If this is the case, we do not understand why He came and the work that He accomplished. We live as slaves to our egos when we really could and should be living as free daughters of the Most High. 

Now I want to hear from you, Beloved. Please comment and let me know: how has the gospel of Jesus Christ affected your views on race, diversity, and the Church? I can’t wait to chat with you in the comments!

If you enjoyed today’s message be sure to share it with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today. I post new encouragement every week so be sure join Beloved to have my weekly devotion “Hello Beloved!” delivered directly to your inbox.

Registration for the 2017 Beloved Women's Conference is now open! This one day event is filled with dynamic speakers, life changing worship, breakout sessions and more to help you refresh your soul, enjoy your life, and empower your purpose. Click here to register now before this event sells out!

As always, thank you so much for reading and until next time be beautiful, be blessed and beloved.


3 Gifts the Resurrection Gives to Those Who Believe

#Easter

Their hearts are absolutely crushed. Hope was fading for the life of their brother. They had watched him suffer in sickness, praying he would soon get better while he only got worse. And now it was too late.

Lazarus was dead.

Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus about his sickness requesting His help. Jesus had been a close friend; actually He was more like family. Not only did He care about Lazarus deeply, but He had the power to heal him. However, Jesus did not arrive in time. In fact, Jesus arrived 4 days after Lazarus had been buried.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” John 11:20-23

Jesus had been teaching his followers about the resurrection. From Martha’s response however, we see she does not have a clear understanding of what she had been taught. She believed Jesus when He said that one day there would be an event where all those who are in Christ would be raised from the dead. To her, the resurrection is a day; it’s an event. Based on Martha’s understanding, the resurrection is limited to a certain period of time, mainly the last day at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Martha is right that this event will happen, but what she did not understand was that the resurrection is not simply an event.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Jesus is the resurrection. He has the power to take that which has died and bring it back to life. Not only that, Jesus is the life. He has the power to take that which is now living and ensure that it will never die. The resurrection is the manifestation of God’s glory and power to defeat death and give eternal life to those that believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus wanted Martha to see that God’s glory was not limited to time. Jesus wanted her to understand that all things, even time and death, were subject to Him.

Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go." John 11:39-44

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is God showing us what He actually has the power to do for us. It is a shadow of what Jesus will do for those who believe in Him.

I think of my first pregnancy. The only evidence that I had of being pregnant was morning sickness. I knew something was different, but I did not feel pregnant. I just felt sick. However, when I went for my first ultrasound I saw a glimpse of what was to come. What looked like a peanut on the screen caused my heart to flutter. It was in that moment I knew I was not simply sick, and although I could not make out the picture, I knew I was not alone. There was life in me growing and my heart swelled with joy and expectancy.

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is an ultrasound for what God is birthing in those who believe in His son. We can’t completely make out all the mysteries of the resurrection, but we see life, we know it is coming; and although we wait through the birthing pains, we do so with great hope and expectancy.

On Resurrection Sunday we reverence and honor an even more powerful resurrection: that of Jesus Christ Himself. The followers of Jesus were taught about the resurrection, but they did not understand that He would have the power to resurrect Himself. They saw Him give sight to the blind, heal the sick, and raise the dead as in the case of Lazarus. They knew He had the power, and He even told them that He Himself would die and rise three days later (Mark 8:31). So why at the death of Jesus are His followers left hopeless? Why did they not expect a resurrection? They saw Him raise Lazarus. Did they not think He could raise Himself? Did they believe the power of death was greater than that of Jesus?

Looking back we have a privilege they did not have at the death of Jesus on the cross. We know how it ends. We know that although He in fact died, He did not stay dead. We now know that the power of Christ is not limited by death.

The question Jesus asks Martha has stayed with me as I’ve read these verses over and over: “Do you believe this?”

Do you believe that Jesus has the power to overcome death?

Do you believe that He gives the gift of Eternal Life?

Do you believe that on Resurrection Sunday, we celebrate not only the day itself, but the very power, life, and hope that the resurrection brings?

Before you answer that question, I want to take some time to discuss three important gifts that the resurrection of Jesus gives to those that believe, that we may see the glory of God a little more clearly.

1. The resurrection of Jesus Christ seals the fact that our sins are forgiven.

If Jesus did not rise on the third day then He lied, because as I’ve stated above Jesus predicted not only His death, but also His resurrection. To not believe that He rose is to also believe that He is a liar. And to believe that Jesus is a liar is to believe that He is not God. And if Jesus is not God, then He does not have the power to forgive sins in the first place ~ making His death pointless and our faith worthless. The Apostle Paul wrote:

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  1 Corinthians 15:17

The resurrection is what makes Jesus different from all other prophets and gods. He is the only One with the power to overcome death. He is the only One who can give that same power to you.

2. That brings us to the second gift the resurrection offers, and that is eternal life.

On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The death of Christ satisfied the wrath of God for the sin of man. Yet the cross without the resurrection would mean that our hope for salvation would be limited to the time we have left here on earth. The cross reconciles us back to God. The resurrection ensures that our reconciled relationship with God will last forever. The cross defeats sin; the resurrection defeats death. The cross gives us forgiveness of sins; the resurrection gives us life.

The cross did not stop our physical bodies from dying and that is a good thing. I say that is good because if we had eternal life now it would be in a sinful body. Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we receive a new spirit. The Bible tells us:

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." >Ezekiel 36:26

Our spirit lives, but our bodies still die. Yet now with spirits that are living, when we do die we will be raised to life. The Apostle Paul explains it like this:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit." 1 Corinthians 15:42-45

Our physical bodies are not life, but they contain life for the believer. Think of our bodies as a seed that contains life in it. The spirit is the life in the body and contents of the seed. The body that dies with life (with Christ) in it, is raised with life just as a seed sprouts the contents that are within it. The body that dies without life (without Christ) in it, is raised without life in it. Though our bodies die, just as the seed perishes, the spirit lives on to bring forth life on the day of the resurrection, just as the contents of the seed continue living to produce the plant. In Christ the contents of our seed have changed from perishable to imperishable because we have been born again (given new life which means a new spirit). Because the contents of the seed are now imperishable, so is the seed. The Apostle Peter says:

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:23

3. This is great hope for the believer, which is the third gift the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives to those who place their faith in Him.

The resurrection gives us a hope beyond our life here on this earth. It means that this is not the end. Paul adds:

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:17-19

Life no longer ends in death. We have hope for more, for greater beyond our time here in this fallen world. We have hope to one day experience what Revelation 21:4 tells us:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and hope in the realization that we never have to experience death. Jesus told Martha, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this? Do you believe Jesus? Blessed are those that believe.

If you enjoyed today’s message be sure to share it with a friend because you never know who might need some Beloved encouragement today. I post new encouragement every week so be sure join Beloved to have my weekly devotion “Hello Beloved!” delivered directly to your inbox. As always, thank you so much for reading and until next time be beautiful, be blessed and beloved.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com