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Misfit Toys
Count It All Joy! 
James 1:2
 
For many years I identified myself as a sexually abused victim. As a child growing up that was not the case. I did not realize that what I experienced on a regular basis was sexual abuse. I did not know what sex was or wasn’t. For me, it was just my life. I knew that I was not normal and that my life was different from other kids and yet it was the only normal that I knew. I was so afraid that someone would find out about me.
 
Every year at Christmas time I would get to watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. I longed to live on the island of misfit toys. The toys did not perform the way they were supposed to by everyone’s standards but if Santa took them to the island of misfit toys they could be accepted just as they were. If I could just go there, I wouldn’t have to be afraid that someone would find out about me. It wouldn’t matter what happened in secret. It wouldn’t matter that I was not what I was supposed to be. . . a normal kid. I could be accepted just as I was.
 
As I grew toward my teenage years, I attempted to covered up being different by becoming what I thought other people wanted me to be. I did not know that it was alright to have my own thoughts and ideas. I am now learning to have my own thoughts and ideas.
 
It does not always feel safe to share my thoughts with others. What I do know to be true. . . my identity is now in Christ. I no longer have to be worried about what other’s think of me. I know what my God thinks of me and that is what matters. That is not to say that I never struggle with who I am. It is a growing process. I can count it all joy because I know who He is.
 
 
Because of Him,
Hope
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An Invite To My Story
 
Live Free coz' U r Free!
A practical perspective of:
'being moved from receiving Life through faith to the power of living by faith'
(Romans 1:17, the Passion)
 
Presented by Pastor Ron on Live Free coz U r Free
 

Today, I want to share my story. My journey out of the miseries of sexual and relational brokenness into the joys of living from God’s Life—Jesus' righteous Life of purity and faithfulness. Learning how to exchange both the pleasures and the pains of sexual and relational sinning—the selfish addictions of self-worship—the self-centered and self-absorbed mindset—the self-defeating and self-crushing emotions. Exchanging sin’s hunts, haunts, and habits for Jesus’ Life of grace and truth. Set free to trust and obey. Set free to worship the true and Eternal Life—Jesus Christ—instead of me, myself, and I.

Learning to embrace Jesus as my sovereign Lord, forgiving Lamb, and saving Life. Growing to experience Him as my rescuing Liberator, all-wise Leader, and Light-Source of Grace & Truth. So, I may enjoy Jesus as the perfect Lover of my Soul, now and forever! 

I founded NewHeart Expressions as a platform to disciple broken men like myself. Those whom God has granted, is granting, or will grant a repentance that ignites a Life of saving faith within. Those who heart’s desire is for an alternative to porneia—to sexual immorality—to any and all types of sexual activity, outside God’s boundaries of covenant marriage between one man and one woman.  

Over the last twenty plus years of living in freedom. Of learning to live from Jesus’ Life of purity and faithfulness within. God has granted me the wisdom needed to disciple other sexually and relationally broken men, with the grace and truth of God’s Word. FindTrueIdentity.com is designed to challenge you to discover your true identity and freedom in Christ, and the sexual and relational wholeness He brings to our lives. Why? We are broken people, in need of His help and healing.

 

It would be my privilege to share with you:

Born Gay or Not!?

a testimony of Jesus’ Life living in and through ron browning

 

Live Free coz’ U r Free!

Ron

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The Power of Living by Faith
 
Live Free coz' U r Free!
A practical perspective of:
'being moved from receiving Life through faith to the power of living by faith'
(Romans 1:17, the Passion)
 
Presented by Pastor Ron on Live Free coz U r Free

 

In our first blog we asked: What is true freedom? What is significant and lasting freedom? What does it mean to Live Free coz’ U r FreeIf you remember, a two-fold answer was given. One for the unsaved; another for the saved.

Clearly the unsaved cannot live in God’s freedom. No matter how good or how right they live their lives. It’s impossible for an unsaved person to live in true freedom. Why? Simple.

Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6)For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of (God's) confident rest (true freedom)!

So, we see that a person who isn’t God’s child cannot please God, because of their lack of saving faith (Hebrews 3:19). Thus, they cannot experience true rest and freedom in Christ. Including rest and freedom from sexual sins and brokenness. 

Knowing this, if you haven't heeded Jesus' invitation to repent and believe. I urge to do so NOW! For we begin to experience God's salvation when repentance ignites our hearts with a Life of saving faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 11:18)

The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel (Mark 1:15)... In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...  (And) to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of Grace and Truth... For the law was given through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4, 12, 14, 17).

 

The Unsaved Experience

First, all people are born SIN, unrepentant and without saving faith. Born unsaved... into the fallen and broken condition of the human heart that plagues every one of us from birth.

There is no one who always does what is right, no, not even one! There is no one with true spiritual insight, and there is no one who seeks after God alone. All have deliberately wandered from God’s ways. All have become depraved and unfit. Kindness has disappeared from them all, not even one is good (Romans 3:13-9-12, CEV). The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV)...

Second, God identifies each unsaved person by our sins (e.g., as a liar, a thief, the sexually broken, etc.). Sins that consume our lives from the sinner’s deceitful and sin-sick heart, producing all kinds of sin-filled behaviors.

Their words are like an open pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. Each word is as deadly
as the fangs of a snake, and they say nothing but bitter curses. These people quickly become violent.  Wherever they go, they leave ruin and destruction 
(Romans 3:13-16, CEV). Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV)... 
and—

Third, the unsaved are destined to continue sinning all their days and throughout Eternity. With an eternal and unquenchable fire of passion for disobedience that hunts, haunts, and habits the unsaved forever.

They don’t know how to live in peace. They don’t even fear God (Romans 3:16-18, 23); ...mired in that old stagnant life of sin... (letting) the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell (us) how to live... (filling our) lungs with polluted unbelief, and then (exhaling) disobedience; ...all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat (Ephesians 2:1-3); ...stupid and stubborn, easy marks for sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back (Titus 3:3)... (so) it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27)

Unless… … …

 

The Saved Experience

Unless... God reaches down and captures a sinner by grace, and through faith that sinner is rescued from sin-and-death, from God’s wrath of sin, sins, and sinning. Made alive with Jesus’ righteous Life. Given a new and responsive heart to learn how to live by faith—saving faith—obedient faith.

Our Sovereign God says:

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. AND I WILL GIVE YOU A NEW HEART, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you A TENDER, RESPONSIVE HEART. And I will put my Spirit in you SO THAT YOU WILL FOLLOW… AND BE CAREFUL TO OBEY... (Ezekiel 36:25-27, NLT, emphasis mine).

You see, the Christian Life isn’t just about escaping an eternal hell, though that is God’s glorious promise to all who repent and believe. Rather, the Christian Life is about relationship. A relationship with Jesus that produces a Life of obedient faith. A journey of getting to know and growing in intimacy with Jesus as our sovereign Lord, forgiving Lamb, and saving Life... as our rescuing Liberator, all-wise Leader, and Light-Source of Grace & Truth... as the perfect Lover of our souls!

Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

 

When true repentance ignites our hearts with the saving faith of Jesus’ Life, we begin a journey of transformation that God promises to complete (Philippians 1:6). In Ephesians 1, Pastor Paul teaches us what this salvation looks like. 

  • Father God has saved us from sin, through the sacrifice of His Son. He CHOOSE us to be family, and GAVE us as family to His Son. That's God's exchanging our nature to sin for His Son's divine nature for right living (v3-6; 2 Peter 1:3-5; Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2)
  • Jesus, God’s Son, has saved us from our sins… the sins that once identified us… that’s God’s REDEMPTION—FORGIVENESS & LIFE (v7-12; Colossians 1:13-14; 2:13-14; 3:1-4)…and—
  • Holy Spirit of God is saving us, day by day, from sinning… saving us from the sins we think, choose, and feel (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Hebrews 4:12) …that’s God TRANSFORMATION—conforming us into the image of Jesus Christ (v13-14, 15-23; Romans 8-26-30)

God’s great salvation of a NewHeart, of a New Life is received and lived by faith in and from Jesus' Life. And what does this faith look like?

The Bible provides the simplest definition in the first half of Romans 6. Pastor Paul begins with a practical view of faith. We are to KNOW (v6-7) God’s truth about God and others, about ourselves and our struggles. Then we are to RECKON (10)—i.e., take possession of—God’s truth as true about God and others, about ourselves and our struggles. Then once we know and reckon God’s truth as true, we are empowered to YIELD all our body parts—inside-and-out—to God’s truth; so, we can WALK out God’s truth in our day to day lives. In other words:

Faith thinks it, chooses it, and feels it; so we can live it.

The second half of Romans 6 describes this faith as the key to freedom and obedience. By comparing how non-Christians live under law and in the hell of disobedience, with how Christians live by faith in the freedoms and joys of right living. One writer put it like this: Obedience is the freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority. So, consider:

  • True biblical freedom is being captured by a creative obedience to Jesus.
  • While biblical disobedience is being captured by sin’s hunts, haunts, and habits.

So, to live free coz’ U r free is a biblical idiom of Christian faith and obedience. 'Trust & Obey'.

This Gospel (Jesus’ Life) unveils a continual revelation of God’s righteousness—a perfect righteousness given to us when we believe. And it moves us from receiving Life through faith, to the power of living by faith. This is what the Scripture means when it says: “We are right with God through Life-giving faith!” (Romans 1:17, the Passion).

 

My friends, Live Free coz U r Free!  

Ron

 

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Proof of Identity

 

The MirrorReflecting Jesus
today's guest is: Dr. John Woodward from www.GraceNotes.com

 

 A while back my wife and I registered to vote in our regional election. In order to get on the voters' list we needed to bring with us two proofs of identity. After showing them our driver's license and health card, we were deemed eligible to exercise our right as citizens.
 
Similarly, we need to be convinced of our "proof of identity" spiritually before we can exercise our freedom for abundant life as citizens of God's kingdom. How can we learn about our true identity as believers in Christ? What proof will really convince us of this new identity?
 
We can look nowhere else for this revelation than the written Word of God. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16,17). God's Word corrects our understanding and equips us to fulfill our calling in Christ.
 
Let's focus on some texts in Philippians which relate to our identity in Christ and how this perception should affect us. According to this epistle, we as believers are
•  partakers of grace (Phil. 1:7),
•  brethren in the Lord (Phil. 1:12,14),
•  participants of consolation, love, fellowship, affection, and mercy in the Spirit (Phil. 2:1),
•  lights in the world (Phil. 2:15),
•  righteous in Christ (Phil. 3:9),
•  called upward (Phil. 3:14),
•  citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20),
•  inscribed in the Book of Life (Phil. 4:3), and
•  saints in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:21). Amen!
 
We need to distinguish between spiritual facts and spiritual obligations. There are numerous obligations and admonitions in this epistle (e.g. Phil. 1:27,28, 2:2-5,12-14), but these are not requirements for obtaining our new identity in Christ. Being precedes doing!
 
We are new creations in Christ by grace alone through true faith alone (Eph. 2:8-10). This awareness then encourages us to cooperate with God's Spirit in carrying out His directives.
 
In his book, Birthright, David Needham shares about his quest for identity.
"In order to assuage my constant guilt, I tried even harder to do the things I figured God wanted me to do... I was committed to become someone for God--a youth leader, a pastor, a husband, a father, a teacher, a something... I had reckoned myself 'dead to sin' dozens of times; often with a great surge of faith. I pled with God with all my heart for victory and for joy. I confessed countless times. I memorized dozens of Bible verses. I claimed the fullness of the Holy Spirit in earnest faith. It was real faith, and it did not work. Then, God opened a door."
 
For David Needham, this door involved the discovery of the nature of his union with Christ and the new identity that resulted from this. He continues,
"A Christian is not simply a person who gets forgiveness, who gets to go to heaven, who gets the Holy Spirit, who gets a new nature. Mark this--a Christian is a person who has become someone he was not before. A Christian, in terms of his deepest identity is a saint, a born child of God, a divine masterpiece, a child of light, a citizen of heaven. Not only positionally (true in the mind of God but not true in actuality here on earth), not only judicially (a matter of God's moral bookkeeping), but actually. Becoming a Christian is not just getting something, no matter how wonderful that something might be. It is becoming someone." [1]
 
As God illumines you about your essential spiritual identity in Christ, you will discover new potential for abundant living!
 
Discovering our new identity enables us to view our circumstances from God's perspective. Consider Paul's identity in Christ and how it influenced his outlook on his circumstances as he wrote Philippians. Instead of being a mere prisoner of Rome, he declares himself a bondservant of CHRIST (Phil. 1:1); his chains were in Christ (Phil. 1:13). This security assured Paul in spite of threats of rivalry (Phil. 1:5-17), martyrdom (Phil. 1:20), and false teaching (Phil. 3:1-7). His ministry was not just a job, but likened to a drink offering being poured out (Phil. 2:17). Rather than glorying in his Roman citizenship (which he did claim when it was useful), he gloried in his spiritual identity: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself." (Phil. 3:20,21).
 
If God's Word does affirm these truths about our essential identity in Christ, we should meditate on them rather than our flesh patterns, the trials of life, or the failures of others. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." (Phil.4:8).
 
Have you ever taken one identity truth and kept it throughout the day as a focus of "renewing your mind"? (e.g. "In Christ I am God's workmanship" - Eph. 2:10). This discipline will help you focus on your new identity and provide variety as you take a different identity truth for each day.
 
Since we live according to how we perceive our identity, we must take God at His word about it.! The new you can walk in newness of life.
 
Lord, when we slip into doubts about our spiritual identity, reassure us of the radical change that You have accomplished in our hearts by Your grace. Incline our minds to believe this wonderful truth of who You have made us to be in Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.
 
_________________________________
 
[1] David C. Needham, Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? (p. 45-47). Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1979.
Copyright, 1999 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non commercial use if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com.
Scripture quotations from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Copyright, Thomas Nelson.
 

 

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Grammar of Galatians 2:20
 
Live Free coz' U r Free!
A practical perspective of:
'being moved from receiving Life through faith to the power of living by faith'
(Romans 1:17, the Passion)
 
Presented by Pastor Ron on Live Free coz U r Free

Last week Hope and I were in our discipleship group from Church. During our fellowship together we recognized one of our pastor’s strong faith in God. Faith that weathers every storm—heart attacks and bypass surgeries… and now cancer with all its treatment and struggles. As we went through the weekend, Pastor Dan's faith reminded me of the last words in Isaiah 40:31. …they shall run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. And I was praying ‘God I want to run and not grow weary! God, I want that kinda faith!'

As, I was working on my next blog post for: Live Free coz U r Free, I decided to share this desire with my readers. A post I’ve entitled: Grammar of Galatians 2:20. I know, Isaiah? Galatians? Which? Well, hopefully that will become clear.

The Galatians 2:20 Teaching is simply: my old life of sin is now dead and I’ve been raised to a new life—the crucified life, the surrendered life, the deeper life, the exchanged life. Jesus’ Life! An exchange of identity—mine for His. A Life empowered by Jesus’ righteous Life living within me. It’s a life of being instead of doing. Being so you can do. A life where I live out the faith of Jesus and live by faith in Jesus.

Which is it? Some translations read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith of the Son of God’; others read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God’. The latter seems to make more sense. But which is—of or in? The grammar seems to change the meaning drastically, doesn’t it? 

But then I learned something I never knew. And that’s difficult for this damaged brain of mine. Learning new things isn’t my forte. So, it must be a God thing when I do.

 

GRAMMAR

Okay… it’s gonna get a little tedious. You know how grammar can be. So bare with me for a bit.

The Greek language has many strange grammar types. Subjective and objective sounds simple enough. But genitives or moods?  And then there's the plenary genitive. A mood with plurality? But I should have been aware of the plurality concept. For God’s Word has many truths that seem to be contradictive. Yet we all know, there isn’t any contradictions in God or His Word. Simply put, there are many parallel truths in God’s Word that don’t seem to make any sense and are often beyond human understanding. So it seems, when we don't understand we tend to label as wrong. And we argue over what appears to be contradictive. 

For example, we know that God has sovereign choice, and that humanity has freedom of choice. These are parallel truths in the Bible that can’t be denied. Both are true, but often they’re argued as contradictions. However, peace is gained when we simply accept both as true, whether we can reason through them or not. For me, I reason that my human freedom of choice begins and ends in God’s sovereign choice; for He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end. There my heart rests, and all arguments cease, even if I don't understand. 

 

SO, WHAT ABOUT GALATIANS 2:20?

The Christian’s old sinner life—i.e., our lives born fallen into God’s wrath of sin, sins, and sinning—is now dead. And the new Life we live, is Jesus’ Life living in and through us. So as a Christian, I now live in and from God’s Life within. How? By faith of course.

But questions arise with translation. Do I live by faith of the Son of God or by faith in the Son of God? And I think the answer is simple. We live by the faith Jesus has given us (the subjective genitive or mood). And we live by faith in Jesus (the objective genitive or mood). Making the use of grammar in Galatians 220 a plenary genitive or mood. Both being true.

We also see this grammar gymnastics in the Galatians 2:20 Old Testament twin—Isaiah 40:31.

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (ESV).

Two verbs stand out: ‘wait’ and ‘renew’. The first verb, wait, is the Hebrew word for rope. So, we could read Isaiah’s words like this: they who braid themselves into or wrap themselves up in the Lord… or in southern slang, they who ‘hogtie’ themselves to Jesus… shall renew their strength.

The second verb/action is ‘renew’, which can also be translated as ‘exchange’. In other words, those of us who dive into and drown ourselves in the waters of Jesus’s Life, can exchange our strength for His. And here’s the EXCITING! part. As Christians, we can then live by faith of and in the Son of God, a faith that runs and never grows weary, walks and never faints. A faith that never fails us in times of trouble.

Lord, may that be true of me. 

 

Live Free coz U r Free! 

Ron

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