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.

(PA)

But He knows the best!

 God's Work in Us, Trials  Comments Off on But He knows the best!
Dec 022017
 

The little boy was so excited as he and his mother waited for signs of life from the chicken egg they hoped would soon hatch.
The mother hen had left the nest, busy caring for other newborn, and they decided they had better put this egg in a box with a light in it, to keep it warm.

They waited and waited.
Finally they heard the first tiny tap and the chick began to peck on the eggshell to be set free.

The little chick pecked and pushed and pushed and pecked.

The little boy felt so sorry for him and wanted to help.
It would be so easy to just quickly crack open the shell and let him out.

But the mother cautioned him-
– explaining that it was important for the chick to have to work hard to get out of the shell so that his body would later be strong enough to survive outside the shell.

Leaving him alone and letting him work his way out was actually an act of love.

That is the way our heavenly Father feels toward us.
He sees the many challenges which we face.

And all He would have to do is-
– just speak a word and all our problems and challenges would be solved.

But He knows the best!

He knows that allowing us to work through them,
– and “peck our way through our challenges,”
– so to speak, will enrich our lives in the long run.

God is in the character-developing work.
And our trials help develop us into what he wants us to be.

James refers to this process when he says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James1:2-4).

Peter speaks of the same thing:
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:4-7).

Because of God’s loving and benevolent plan and purposes for us-
Paul could write, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

(PA)

Nov 222017
 

“And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-17.

If someone asks if you’re aware of God, what will you say?

Maybe you’d reply, “I go to church, read my Bible, and pray all the time. I’m definitely aware of God.”

But the real question is this:
Are you aware of God’s presence and activity in your daily life?

This second question makes it a bit more personal, doesn’t it?
It refers to God being in our daily lives all the time.

We’d like to have that constant awareness of God’s presence, but it’s difficult.

When hardships and trials come from nowhere, we sometimes feel confused.
We may feel like God has left us so alone.

During difficult times, we might pray even harder and longer.
We plead for help, but see little result.

The problem is that our prayers usually revolve around our desires.
Even when communicating with God, we may be aware only of ourselves, leaving the Lord out of the matter entirely.

At that point, we may find we’re not really talking to the Father at all; we’re talking to ourselves.

Perhaps we’re focusing on the problem and actually wishing for the ability to handle it on our own.
We can, in effect, become completely blind to how God may be working.

Second Kings 6:15-17 gives us a clear picture of what happens when we remove our self-centered blinders and truly see God’s hand at work. 

Open your eyes!
You may be shocked to discover the help God has already sent your way.

(PA)

Iceberg!

 Getting Right with God, God's Work in Us  Comments Off on Iceberg!
Nov 172017
 

“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6).

A honest look at what is going on beneath the surface of your life-

– can contribute greatly to your spiritual health,

Think of your life as an iceberg!

We are told that the visible part of an iceberg-

– that is, the part we see above the water – is about one-tenth of its total size.

Its bulk lies beneath the surface and is revealed only to those who are equipped to go down below the waterline.

Our lives are like that!

There is much more to them than we see on the surface.

Think of the visible part above the waterline as representing-

– the things you do, the thoughts you consciously think, and the feelings you sense going on within you.

Let the mass below the waterline represent the things that go on inside you that cannot be clearly seen or understood, such as motives, attitudes, impulses, and so on.

Facing what goes on above the waterline – our visible behaviours and actions-

– is a whole lot easier than delving below the surface.

And this is why many Christians (not all, of course) concern themselves only with what they can see, know, and understand.

These people can be described as “surface copers!”

They cope with life by dealing with whatever they can see and ignoring all the rest.

We are to enjoy a deeper relationship with God!

Then we will do so only as we come to grips with the tough issues that lie beneath the surface of our lives.

May God help you this day to stand in complete and utter honesty;

– save you from becoming a “surface coper,” and

– give you the grace you need to face the things that you would normally avoid.

(PA)

There is a brighter tomorrow for you!

 God's Work in Us  Comments Off on There is a brighter tomorrow for you!
Sep 162017
 

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Are you discouraged today?

Are you afraid of an uncertain future?

The Bible tells the story of a time when Jesus’ disciples were not only discouraged, but they were afraid for their very lives.

Jesus had told them to get into a boat and go over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and they obeyed.

But when they were a considerable distance from land, a fierce storm arose that terrified them.

Jesus, who had been on a mountain praying, went to meet the disciples, walking on the water.

Thinking He was a ghost, the disciples cried out in fear.

So Jesus immediately told them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).

There are two simple reasons the disciples didn’t have to be afraid:

First-

Jesus would help them weather the storm.

Second-

He had told them to go to the other side, which meant that they would reach the other side.

Jesus knows where you are at this very moment.

He knows what you are experiencing.

He is telling you to be courageous-

– because He is with you.

There is a brighter tomorrow for you!

Even if you have failed,

– even if you have made a mistake,

– it isn’t over.

You can still learn from that mistake.

And get out of the situation you are in.

God has a future for each of us.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)

God will complete the work He has begun in your life.

(PA)