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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Your Creative Purpose

One of my favorite programs is the Science Channel’s “How the Universe Works.” When the entire universe is mapped out in front of you [in this case on the TV screen], you realize we are insignificant creatures on a minor planet of a very average star in the outer suburbs of one of a 100,000-million galaxies. That explains why it is so hard for some people to believe that God Almighty, creator of the universe would care about us or even notice that we exist.

It is interesting that the psalmist who wrote Psalm 8, knew far less about creation than modern scientists do today, but he knew far more about God than we seem too. He wrote,

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! [Psalms 8:1; 3-9]”

The psalmist knew creation was big even if he didn’t know how really big. He asked,
“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” He got it—that we were created for a unique, personal and eternal relationship with God. It is this purpose and destiny that sets us apart from the rest of creation. Human beings alone are stamped in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).

Because man is made in God’s image, we are the only creatures on earth that can choose how to use our gifts and creative power—not only to create new life, but also to shape the world according to God’s purpose. God calls us to use this gift to build and not destroy. Are you aware of God’s gift to you and the responsibility to use it wisely?

Human beings are uniquely addressed by God (Genesis 1:28) and called into a personal relationship with him. We were made to know God (Genesis 2). Human beings alone are addressed by God through special revelation which is a fancy theological term for “the message of Scripture.” God is speaking to us through the Holy Bible. The message of the gospel is that God has made himself known—not vaguely—but specifically in words of his choice to his chosen people. As we study the Scriptures we encounter the God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, who reveals himself using human terms.

The Scriptures teach us God is a personal being who is speaking to us. But do we choose to listen—to respond? Do we choose to open the Scriptures daily to hear from God? In our prayer time do we listen and ponder, or do we tell God what to do? Or do we let the busyness of our hectic lives take priority? BTW, “BUSY” stands for “Being Under Satan’s Yolk.”

It can be a challenge to find daily quality time to be alone with God, but it can be done! It’s our pride--with a little help from the devil that says we can come to know God without opening up his word. You say, “that’s not me.” Do you realize we could spend our entire lives reading, studying and even memorizing Scripture, but if the words and truths do not penetrate our hearts and convict us to change the way we think, act and live, it is of no real benefit to us? God asks us examine, comprehend and apply! In that process we will get to know our Creator on a more personal level and see the innate value we, and other human beings, truly have.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Forgiven and Set Free!

God allows me the privilege of coming alongside some pretty incredible women as they venture on some very difficult but rewarding healing journeys. One such woman is Jen who has struggled with an eating disorder for many years. She has had many breakthroughs but we want to share this one with you—it is a testimony to our healing God. Jen said:

I have been forgiven, cleansed and freed from the eating disorder life that I lived for many years!! What a concept, what a freer feeling...what a GIFT from the Heavens above! When Jesus died on the Cross, He died for all my past sins, current sins and the sins He knows I will commit. He takes my sinful ways and washes my soul clean from all the "earthly/eating disorder" behaviors that I have fallen into. He has granted me the gift of living free from obsessions, compulsions and negative thinking!

Yesterday, God was speaking to me about "no eating disorder" and that was really sitting in my head. And in my heart, I do think that He used Mary [her therapist] to "speak" to me and tell me that I AM free from the eating disorder, that He has forgiven me for all the years I spent in that hellish life. He is giving me a new life and I am becoming a new woman!

I do believe that Jesus knows how hard it is to change behaviors and old, ingrained beliefs. He provides me strength and courage to step out and away from the old "ways" and to face the fears and move into my new life!

My biggest realization is that I AM free from the disorder and I am free becuz Jesus already paid for those sins! I can rest in the truth of that and live my life as a free woman in Christ!

I rejoice with Jen and the millions of others, including myself, who have been set free from their own personal hell. Praise God!

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Penny

The Penny
I came across a story about a man that reached down & picked up a penny off the ground. He held it up and smiled, then put it in his pocket as if he had found a great treasure. A penny?? When asked why he picked it up:

I trust in God, the name of God is holy, even on a coin. Whenever I find a coin I see that inscription. It is written on every single United States coin, but we never seem to notice it! God drops a message right in front of me telling me to trust Him. Who am I to pass it by? When I see a coin, I pray, I stop to see if my trust IS in God at that moment. I pick the coin up as a response to God; that I do trust in Him. For a short time, at least, I cherish it as if it were gold. I think it is God's way of starting a conversation with me. Lucky for me, God is patient and pennies are plentiful!"

David wrote in Psalms 20:7-8: Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

The next time you pick up a penny--read the words, "In God We Trust," and say, Yes, God, I get the message.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me, made in the image of God?

Today when we hear the word image, it connotes something different than the likeness of God. An actress or politician hires an image manager. An executive dresses for success, conveying an image. A company seeks the right image. Man’s self-image thrives on physical attractiveness, athletic ability, or a place on the corporate ladder. When we approach Scripture, we encounter a new kind of image.
God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our [referring to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit] likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The author of Genesis teaches that humans are made in the “image” of God. But this is not explained in Scripture. Theologians agree that any resemblance to God is not physical since “God is spirit” (John 4:24).

Most often the image of God is explained in terms of our immaterial aspects such as our intellect, emotions, our will, and the spiritual qualities shared by God and humanity. There are certain attributes of God referred to as God’s communicable attributes. They are qualities that God exhibits in absolute perfection that believers are called to emulate such as his goodness, holiness, righteousness, desire for justice, ability to love unconditionally and forgive offenses, faithfulness, slowness to anger, compassion, truthfulness, graciousness, mercy, and wisdom.

Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). The word “perfect” is the Greek word teleios, which means “mature, fully developed.” It doesn’t refer to flawless or moral perfection, but to the kind of love that is like God’s love—mature, complete, holy, full of blessing. To be perfect is to seek and work to love others as wholeheartedly as God loves us and fulfill the purpose for which you were made. God’s image—his moral attributes are an example for us to follow.

Mother Teresa said that when she looked into the face of a dying beggar she prayed to see the face of Jesus so she might serve the beggar as she would serve Christ.
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6), blesses the poor, the grieving, the meek, the persecuted. He comments on how difficult it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. He condemns pride and self-sufficiency. In effect, he is said, “Fine-tune all your interests until the attitude of your mind and heart and body are on me.” God asks us to live out in his likeness in this messed up world. He expects us to give flesh to his Spirit, bearing his image.

As the Spirit works within us, we become more like him (2 Cor. 3:18), bearing his image. As a believer, “we have the amazing ability and the awesome responsibility to make visible the invisible attributes of the Creator and Redeemer” (Dr. Gerry Breshears). God has set eternity in the hearts of men which means we can never be completely satisfied with earthly pleasures and pursuits.

Because we are created in God’s image, we have a spiritual thirst, an eternal value, and nothing but God will ever truly satisfy us. He has built into us a restless yearning for the kind of perfect world only found in him.