Self image!

 Identity  Comments Off on Self image!
Dec 132017

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1).

These days-

– people never tire debating the importance of self-image!

We are told to understand-

– what formed our self-image,

– to consider how as parents we shape a child’s self-image,

– to help others with their self-image,

– to be concerned whether or not we have a healthy self-image.

…and the list goes on.

How do you view yourself?

Now compare your self-image to how Paul viewed himself.

He viewed himself as a servant-

– literally, a slave.

He belonged without reservation to Jesus.

He viewed himself as an apostle, one who had been sent.

His life’s work was to do what God sent him to accomplish as one appointed by God.

He viewed himself as set apart-

– specifically for the ministry of the Gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus.

How he viewed himself affected what he did.

Viewing himself as a servant affected his attitude toward God and others.

What he did and why he did it was affected by understanding himself as one sent.

Being set apart affected his aspirations, what he hoped to accomplish.

We need to view ourselves like Paul-

– who saw himself from God’s perspective.

God formed his self-image!

Accepting what God wanted in his life enabled Paul to truly be what God wanted him to be.

Do you see yourself as a set apart sent servant?

The temptation is to be in control of your own life when instead you need to recognize that Jesus is Lord.

Ask God to help you be what He wants you to be.


What a turnaround!

 God's love  Comments Off on What a turnaround!
Dec 122017

“The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compasssions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).

In a general sense-

– your emotions are a product of your thought life.

If you are not thinking right,

if your mind is not being renewed,

if you are not perceiving God and His Word properly,

– it will be reflected in your emotional life.

One of the best scriptural illustrations of the relationship between perceptions and emotions is found in Lamentations 3:1-6.

Jeremiah expresses despair as he wrongly perceives that God is against him and that He is the cause of his physical problems.

In verses 7-11,18-

– he vents his feelings of entrapment and fear.

If your hope was in God, and these words were a correct portrayal of God-

– you would probably feel bummed out too.

What was Jeremiah’s problem?

His perception of God was way off center.

God wasn’t the cause of his affliction.

But Jeremiah wasn’t thinking right, perceiving right, or interpreting his circumstances right, so he wasn’t feeling right or responding right either.

Suddenly, Jeremiah’s countenance changes:

“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness,” 21-23.

What a turnaround!

Did God change?


Did Jeremiah’s circumstances change?


His perception of God changed and his emotions followed suit.

You are not shaped so much by your environment as you are by your perception of your environment.

Life’s events don’t determine who you are.

God determines who you are.

And your interpretation of life’s events determines how well you will handle the pressures of life.

In reality we have very little control over our emotions.

But we do have control over our thoughts, and our thoughts determine our feelings and our responses.

That’s why it is so important that-

– you fill your mind with the knowledge of God and His Word.

You need to see life from God’s perspective and respond accordingly.


Bigger picture!

 Faith  Comments Off on Bigger picture!
Dec 112017

“So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where He was…” (John 11:1-6).

He stayed away from Mary and Martha and Lazarus.
… longer?

Nobody does that.
If you hear that someone you love is in trouble, you get over to them fast.

Three times in the surrounding verses we read how deeply Jesus loved these three friends.
So why did He stay away?

We can totally understand why Martha’s face had a big question mark:
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

This is the hardest moment in any crisis.

From our perspective-
– the problem is growing,
– the prayers are rising,
– but the provision is not coming.

We draw a dotted line from delay to deception and conclude that-
God doesn’t love us and then spend many dark, disappointing nights believing our own lie.

Here’s an important truth gleaned from this situation:
God doesn’t love the way we love.
What appears unloving may in fact be the greatest kindness of all.

We expect God to work our solution on our timetable.
Can you imagine the complexity of the tapestry God is weaving in the universe?

We’re over here in our limited little corner without a clue about what’s going on in the bigger picture!

Faith says that what God is doing is right-even when we don’t understand.
I believe the whole tapestry will unfold for us someday.

But for now I have to believe-
– in spite of what I see that He is after my good and His glory in every situation.
I must trust that what appears unloving may in fact be His greatest kindness.

God is at work in your times of crisis.

Whatever is challenging and stretching you right now in your family, your workplace, or in your personal walk with God-
He is at work in that.

He is building your faith in every circumstance.
He knows all about that thing that is breaking your heart.
Will you believe He is at work?


Every Second Experience!

 Sanctification  Comments Off on Every Second Experience!
Dec 102017

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

This is a simple formula for a righteous lifestyle.
We have a choice:
We can live according to our fleshly desires for comfort and pleasure.
Or we can trust the Holy Spirit to enable us to fearlessly serve the Lord.

Resisting the tug of the flesh isn’t easy!
Even the disciples-
– who spent three years learning directly from Jesus,
– couldn’t expect to achieve righteousness in their own strength.

The Lord instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them.
Acts 1:4.
Modern followers can put no more confidence in their flesh-
– than did 11 of Jesus’ close friends.

In order to walk by the Holy Spirit-
– we must accept the truth that it’s impossible to live the Christian life alone.
If we depend upon our experiences and strength, we’ll fail.

God’s Spirit works in and through us.
That’s why submitting our will to His power and guidance is critical.

And surrender isn’t a one-time deal.
Believers have to yield repeatedly.

For sanctification is-
– not a once for all experience!
– but a continuous experience!!

Sanctification is not a second experience!
Sanctification is an every second experience!

Every time a decision must be made-
– we should look to the Spirit for guidance.

Righteous living simply isn’t natural for human beings.
We require help.

Our Father has graciously given us the Helper so we can live in a godly manner.
When we choose to yield to His direction, joy and peace will follow.


Be filled with the Spirit!

 Holy Spirit  Comments Off on Be filled with the Spirit!
Dec 092017

We cannot expect to have the Holy Spirit’s fullness in our lives-
– if we are quite content to live without it.

Check your motives!

If we seek the Holy Spirit merely for our own happiness or comfort or liberty of soul-
– it will be very unlikely that He will be given.

His one passion is the glory of the Lord Jesus.
He can only abide with those who are willing to be at one with Him in this.
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3.

But if you are motivated simply by the desire that the Lord Jesus may be magnified in you-
– whether by life or death;
– if you long above all that men should turn away from you to Him,
– then rejoice, because you are near blessing beyond words.

If your motives fall below this standard-
– trust Him to enlighten and purify them.

Offer Him free entrance to your heart.

Consider the Scriptures!

We must not be content to have the Spirit without the Word or the Word without the Spirit.

Our lives must travel along these two-
– as the locomotive travels along parallel rails.

It is only by our devout contact with the Word that we shall be able to detect the Holy Spirit’s voice.

It is by the Word that the Spirit will enter our hearts-
as the heat of the sun passes into our homes when its beams of light enter the open windows.

We need a revival of Bible study.

There is no better way of communing with God than to walk to and fro in your room or in the open air with your Bible in hand, meditating on it and turning its precepts and promises into prayer.

Commit to Christ!

The Holy Ghost is in us, and by this means Christ is in us, for He dwells in us by the Spirit, as the sun dwells in the world through its rays of light.

But we must perpetually yield to Him-
– as water yields to the vessel that holds it.

This is not easy.
It can only be accomplished by incessant self-examination and putting to death our self-life
– that is, making self, rather than Christ, the focus of our life.

We must allow the One to increase-
– while the other decreases.

There is nothing trivial in this life.
A look, a word, a refusal, may be enough to grieve Him in ourselves and to quench Him in others.

Do not shrink back afraid of what He may demand.
He is the Spirit of love, and He loves us too well to cause grief unless there is a reason.

Commune with the Spirit!
Receive Him by faith!

Just as you once obtained forgiveness and salvation by faith, so now claim and receive the Holy Spirit’s fullness.
Wait quietly but definitely before God in prayer, for He gives His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.

Then reverently appropriate this glorious gift, rise from your knees and go on your way, believing that God has kept His word.

There may not be the sound of rushing wind or the tangible feeling of His presence.
Do not look for these any more than the young convert should look to his feeling as an evidence of God’s acceptance.

But believe, in spite of how you feel, that you are filled.

The feeling will sooner or later break in upon your consciousness.
And you will rejoice with exceeding great joy; and all the fruit of the Spirit will begin to show themselves in your life.

Be filled with the Spirit!