THE STEEL AND CONCRETE MISSION FIELD NEWSLETTER July 2001
by Bro. Gregory Wamsley
Plant Identification & Classification:
Genus: Rosa of the family Rosaceae
I once needed to belong to the "in crowd." Today I see that same behavior all around me. Identity, identity, what's the big deal with identity? Some say the youth are having an identity crisis. Identity isn't a dirty word. It's whom you're identifying with that matters. It was the spiritually-led ministers like Brother Ron and Sister Diana Green who taught me about my true identity. The lion's share of this article is from my notes of their many teachings. People unaware of their true identity walk around with veiled faces. God, by His grace, lets us unveil our faces. People try to change themselves on the outside. I learned that, to change my life, I had to change my life style. I had to change who's in control of my life inside. To be an "in-cast" with Christ, I had to be an outcast with man. All the answers to the world's identity problems and problems in general are not found in therapy rooms, court rooms, religions, or even new religious movements. The answer is still the same today. The answer is one of Spirit. The answer is Jesus. The Bible is clear as to where we should set our affections:
"Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4).
The world today needs the revelation of these scriptures, not a misplaced identity. The Bible is called the "Sword of the Spirit, " not the sword of the flesh. My connection, or ascension, to the things above became more real as I read and studied God's word in the Spirit. I'm to be concerned with what God thinks about me, and not what people think. I wish this world would focus on the only true race, the human race. If you are saved, you are not a human becoming spirit, you are a spirit-being becoming Spirit. Our roots didn't begin in our family tress; they began with God! In the book of Romans, our beginning is clear:
"For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).
God the Father, through God the Holy Spirit, breathed life into Adam. God the Son (Jesus) gives us a second breath of life to make us a "Living Spirit." Because of this reality, I don't look to the world for my identity or needs. After salvation, our new environment isn't an earthly one, but a spiritual one. May we take full advantage of our life in the spirit in heavenly places. Jesus said, in John 3:6: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh' and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." Cats give birth to cats. Dogs give birth to dogs. We know God is a Spirit, thus God gives birth to spirit. If you are born of God, then you are spirit.
The flesh is our human nature. We need to switch natures. Jesus said, in John 3:7: ". . . you must be born again." As Christians, our human identity must be done away with. We're actually saying we're crucified ones: the very embodiment of Christ Himself in this world. God's word says we are born again, not of a corruptible seed, but of an incorruptible seed. Being born again "spiritually" makes believers the seed of God and not the seed of man. God's seed was and is Christ. Through Him, that's whose seed we are. God's true identity is not a physical being, so to have a high calling is to identify with His Spirit. In God's word, we see that there is "One Spirt," so he that is joined in Him is also part of that one Spirit.
Jesus said that he came in His Father's name. His identity was not fleshly, but Spiritual. In Phillipians 2:7, we see that Christ took upon Himself, "no reputation." He already had a reputation and identity in His Father, and as believers, so should we. It's a sad fact that some sons (children) of God still want to hang on to their old fleshly personalities and identities. We need to skip this duality thinking. If we are new then there is no more old! If you don't agree and accept your true identity and destiny in Christ Jesus, then you will die a sinner in your humanity.
Jesus Christ ministers heaven to us. It can be in many forms, but we've got to take the time to be receptive and learn by reading the Bible. Colossians, the third chapter, tells us that our new life isn't here on this earth. Our new life is transferred and his with Christ in Heaven. Chapters 3-5 in 2nd Corinthians speaks of our translation from glory to glory. Our first act in this process is keeping our total focus centered on Christ. Our resurrected spirit will run the darkness and sin out of our lives, bringing us more and more into our true identity and into the likeness of God's Son. The Glory of God is to be revealed in us, here, now, as partakers of His divine nature. Through Him and only through Him do we escape the corruption of this world.
As a believer, it's my job to direct all the unsaved to the cross, from death unto life, from human to divine, from flesh to Spirit, and from Adam to Christ. Focus in the world today seems to be more on temple buildings than on God's temples. "What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?" (2 Corinthians 6:19). Christ over His own house; that's what's right. Today I know whose house I'm in. So many unsaved people think they have answers and that they have life. It was Jesus who said that He came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. So how can Jesus give us what we think we already have? The human life is no life. It's a fallen identity, an existence that leads to an eternity in hell.
The power of God eliminates our fleshly identity. 1st Corinthians 1:18 says to the believer, "The cross is the power of God." Many unsaved people still want a sign of God in their lives. If God's truth offends you, then that's a sign that something in your life needs to be changed. Don't search for superficial substances in this life. The only true tangible substance in this life is the Faith life, Eternal life, Spirit life, Christ life.
In prison and in life, one cannot always move out of their situations geographically. We can, however, move up and out of these situations spiritually. To do this, one must move to a higher manifestation of God's reconciling love. Remember, the Bible says God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. It said, "UNTO HIMSELF." God is Spirt, so true reconciliation is to change or restore everything to Spirit. Our lives are to be built upon a foundation. That foundation is Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 2:10, it tells us believers that we are no longer strangers or foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. Our new existence leads to our "new environment." We can't draw from this world because Christ said believers are not of this world:
"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:18).
The Bible also says that there is a generation that curses the father and mother. People were taught wrong because they were fathered wrong. If you have not done so, go the right Father today and be spiritually reborn. It's been said that humanity is the real prison house. Flesh and blood have kept people limited and in bondage for years. Jesus said, in John 8:32: ". . . you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." In other words, you shall know your real true self, your incorruptible-divine-spiritual-eternal-self. Parents, if all you've given your kids in this world is a selfish, fleshly identity focus, then all you're actually given them is a spiritual death sentence:
"Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. . . ." (2nd Corinthians 1:9).
Saul tried to keep the laws of Moses. The harder he tried the more he found out his flesh and identity failed him. Paul, in Romans 7:24, cried out: "Who shall deliver me from this body of this death." Since we have a body of death, how can we possibly have any faith in this "body of death?" Saul's eyes needed to be blinded for him to see. May we never need God to blind our eyes for use to see. If you want to be the person you're to be in God, then you need to stand up in Christ Jesus. God will, however, allow believers to fail until they get into their heads the warning of Philippians 3:3:
"For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh . . . ."
We are to have no confidence in our fleshly identity or the flesh. In Romans 1:17, Paul said: ". . . the just shall live by faith." In Acts 9:4, when speaking to Saul from heaven, Christ said, "Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me?" Jesus Christ said the believers Saul persecuted were Him. He identified Christians as Himself. Christ is Spirit, so if Christ says you are Him (Spirit) then who are you to say you are not? The Bible also tells us God is Love. Therefore, the world doesn't just have an identity crisis, they have a love crisis, a Spirit crisis, a "Christ Crisis."
~ GOOD NEWS ~
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, in prayer plead the Gospel truth that you cannot save yourself and you must confess to Him that you are a sinner and are in need of a Savior. Accept him into your heart as Savior and Lord. Christ commands that one must repent from their sins. Read his word (the Bible) and learn of the NEW BIRTH you'll be given in Christ Jesus. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. . ." (Acts 16:31).
"YOUTH STATUS 2000: CODE RED" Statistics compiled by Dr. Paul Richardson, "The Children's Defense Fund" and the book 13th Generation by Neil Howe and Bill Strauss.
1,106 teenagers who didn't intend on becoming pregnant obtain abortions
1,000 unwed teenage girls become mothers
1,000 adolescents begin drinking alcohol
437 are arrested for drinking and driving
500 adolescents begin using illicit drugs
211 are arrested for drug abuse
135,000 kids bring guns or other weapons to school
16,000 crimes are committed on school campuses
2,200 teens drop out of high school
307 teens are arrested for crimes of violence
5,703 are victims of violent crimes
3,610 teens are assaulted
7,945 adolescents abused or neglected
3 adolescents die from abuse
80 teens are raped
6-18 teens commit suicide
9 teens are murdered
2,989 youth see their parents get divorced
3,288 teens run away from home
There are 600,000 drug addicted children in the United States.
6% of boys between 16 and 18 carry guns outside the home for "protection."
25 percent (25%) of inner-city school students report carrying a weapon in school.
44 percent (44%) report carrying weapons out of school.
By the time a child completes elementary school, she/he will have seen over 8,000 made-for-TV murders.
By the time a student graduates from high school, she/he will have seen over 80,000 acts of violence on television.
While only four percent (4%) of inner-city school students report use of hard drugs, 13 percent (13%) report either dealing drugs or working for a drug dealer.
51% of graduating high school seniors admit having used illicit drugs by the time they reach their senior year of high school.
"LEGEND OF THE DOGWOOD TREE" author unknown submitted by Sister Emily Fulcher
When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew
To a towering size with a lovely hue.
Its branches were strong and interwoven
And for Christ's cross its timbers were chosen.
Being distressed at the use of the wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
"Not ever again shall the dogwood grow
To be large enough for a tree, and so
Slender and twisted it shall always be
With cross-shaped blossoms for all to see.
The petals shall have bloodstains marked brown
And in the blossom's center a thorny crown.
All who see it will think of me,
Nailed to a cross from a dogwood tree.
Protected and cherished this tree shall be
A reflection to all of my agony."
Note from the webmaster: I must comment on this poem. It's a lovely, heart-tugging story, but it's a legend. A legend is a folk tale. A legend is not based in truth. In my opinion, Christian believers have plenty of meat in the truth of the Bible with which to feed their minds. Legends, such as this and other poems, stories and hymns, have a way of replacing the truth of the Bible in people's minds and are, therefore, dangerous to a Christian's spiritual health.
"IT'S A SPIRIT THING" by Brother Gregory Wamsley
It's not a white or black thing,
It's a Spirit thing.
Jesus saved my life and taught my heart to sing,
Walking this Christian walk,
It's a Spirit thing.
Being a part of the Bride of Christ,
The Holy Ghost is the wedding ring.
It's not a fairy tale ~ it's a Spirit thing.
When your flesh fails and your heart aches, "ping,"
Get your true identity in Christ,
It's a Spirit thing.
This writer one day to heaven, Christ will bring -
I thank my Savior and Lord,
It's a Spirit thing.
~ HUMOR AND GIGGLES PAGE ~
"PROBLEMS WITH IDENTITY" submitted by Michael Hogdin
A small boy sat with his mother in church, listening to a sermon entitled, "Who is Jesus?" The minister punctuated his talk at several key intervals by asking, "Who is Jesus?" Each time, he pounded his fist on the pulpit for emphasis. At one point, the lad whispered to his mother, "Mama, do you know? Do you know who Jesus is?" "Yes, dear," the mother replied, "now try to sit still and listen." As the minister was wrapping up the sermon, once again he thundered, "Who is a Jesus?" and pounded especially hard on the pulpit. At that, the boy jumped up and cried out, "Tell him, Mama, tell him!"
"WATCH WHAT YOU ASK FOR"
The church put an ad in the paper for an piano player and a choir director. It said that the person could be either a gentleman or a lady. Later that week, they got the following reply: "I'm responding to your ad in the paper asking for a piano player and a choir director. I haven't had much experience in either, but on the issue of wanting either a lady or gentleman, I've been both for many years!"
"THE WRONG VIRGIN"
The age of the computer brings much ease and expertise to the preparation of the worship folders. Some churches which use the same basic format each week can simply call up the form on the computer screen, make a few necessary changes, and presto, it's done. But it can be tricky.
In one church I know, they use the same format for funeral services. And when a person dies and a funeral service is prepared, the secretary simply uses the word-search-and-replace process and changes the name of the deceased from the previous service to the name of the deceased who has just passed away.
So when Edna died, the pastor instructed the secretary to prepare the service for her by following the above mentioned process. The last person who died was Mary. So the secretary instructed the computer to change all "Marys" to Ednas." And so it was.
Image the surprise of the attendees when they recited the Apostles Creed and read: "He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Edna."
"ALL YOU DIRTY ROTTEN SKUNKS"
One night, a gangster on the run seeking refuge entered a church during Bible study. Waving a gun in the air, he yelled, "OK, all you dirty rotten skunks get out of here!" Everyone ran out of the church except a foreign member. The gangster looked at him and yelled, "Well, what do you have to say?" The foreign man looked at the gangster and said, "There sure were a lot of them, huh?"
"THE SCRIPTURE SCRAMBLE ~ JUMBLE PUZZLE by Brother Donald Bovello
To save this puzzle, right click and save picture to your hard drive.
"MY LIFE IS IN YOU, LORD"
My life is in You, Lord
My strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord
In You, it's in You
I will praise You with all of my life,
I will praise You with all of my strength,
With all of my life,
With all of my strength,
All of my hope is in You!