It’s New Years Eve. We already shed our old selves in the spirit. Today shed your human frailties/captivity and live as God planned you to live. No resolutions, only resolve in 2019.
Begin with, I resolve to become more like Christ, put myself last (scripture says the last will become first), serve others, love all people-abhor only their behavior, and walk down the path God has paved for me.
According to the command of Scripture, today is the Lord’s Day, a day to worship God. Even though most brothers and sisters are under the supervision and control of community authorities at their homes, and more than a dozen brothers, sisters, pastors, and preachers are in prison, those brothers and sisters who can still freely leave their homes went to our church sanctuary in the Jiangxin Building as usual to prepare to meet the Lord.
The metal gate below the building where the church is was locked, and every entrance had many plainclothes police officers and SWAT team officers preventing people from entering the church. They took away some of the brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters then conducted a small-scale worship meeting at a nearby park, which was also shut down by police. Police took away more than 30 brothers and sisters.
This is an excerpt (day 3 of 5) from Broken Crayons Still Color: From our mess to God’s masterpiece, is a Devotional Study offered through YouVersion/Bible.com. Shelley Hitz, author and publisher, shares how we cannot see who and what God sees in us because we look through judgemental lens and negative self-talk.
This is a great time to read this 5-day devotional. The holidays are coming upon us and our expectations about how others view us often overshadow the most important part of the holidays, the Birth of Christ, atonement for our sins, and eternal life. God sees us differently than you see ourselves. Join YouVersion and take time to remove the internal clutter (and personal external clutter) in preparation for entering the new year renewed. It’s not about resolutions, it’s about renewal. (L.Blair)
Body image issues are so common in our culture today. A majority of teen girls and women I talk to struggle with body image. Even men feel the pressure to look a certain way.
Here is one body image lie we often believe:
If I can change ____________ (fill in the blank) about my body, others will finally accept me and I will be able to accept myself.
If you could change one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be?
I know my answer without even thinking about it. The thing I have struggled with the most is acne and the scars it has left behind.
I tried most everything from Mary Kay to Proactiv to Arbonne to supplements and vitamins to hormone creams, changing my diet, etc.
One day I felt challenged by God to go out to eat with my husband, CJ, without wearing one drop of makeup.
Go out in public without any makeup? Surely not.
So I asked God, “Are you sure you want me to do this?”
You see, I was using makeup as a means of self-protection and to feel better about myself. So to go out without any makeup literally felt like I was leaving the house naked! How embarrassing and devastating.
After some resistance, I finally obeyed God that night and left without a trace of makeup. After a few minutes, I couldn’t stand it any longer, so I asked my husband if he noticed anything different about my appearance.
He looked at me and hesitantly said, “You’re wearing a new headband?”
I said, “Yes, I am wearing a new headband, but do you notice anything else about my appearance?”
He said, “No, I don’t.”
When I told him I was not wearing any makeup, he responded, “I think you look more beautiful without all the caked-on makeup anyway.”
I felt exposed, naked, and self-conscious, but he did not even notice. In fact, he affirmed my natural beauty.
What I learned from that experiment is most people do not notice my imperfections nearly as much as I do. I am so much harder on myself than anyone else could ever be.
The truth is that my value comes from God, my Creator, and not from my appearance and what others think of me.
Once God began to heal my heart in this area of body image, an inner beauty began to shine out through my eyes, my smile, and my personality. Now, most people tell me they don’t even notice my acne scars.
I still see all my imperfections. We are our own worst critics. Others often see us much differently than we see ourselves.
However, if we will allow Him, God will take our imperfections—our broken crayons—and create something beautiful, a masterpiece.
Lord, I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Even though the world shouts that I am not enough and that I never measure up, I choose to find my value in you. Thank you for your patience with me and walking with me step-by-step through this journey. I love you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Images – Google Images, YouVersion/Bible.com Excerpt – Broken Colors Still Color. Shelley Hitz. YouVersion.Bible.com Scripture – Biblegateway.com
Thank you for being a part of my Blog family for the past two years. I look forward to 2019 and sharing my Posts wi
The Apostles suffered cruelty and death in unimaginable ways. When we read about their deaths in the scriptures we tend to focus on the scripture and not the atrocity. This reprospective focuses on their love for Christ and their willingness to sacrifice their lives for The Faith .
Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.
Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that…
TO FOLLOW JESUS, WE MUST FIRST DENY/DISAVOW OURSELVES, FROM OURSELVES AND BECOME OBEDIENT DISCIPLES ASSIMILATING CHRIST’S VALUES TO GOVERN OUR LIVES AND EMBRACE THE WILL OF GOD.
Taking up the cross requires full submission to the will of God. Full submission requires denying or disavowing our natural man for our spiritual man. Jesus is commanding us to reject our natural feelings about ourselves. Mark 8:24 is not about possessions as we so often think. Possessions are a byproduct of our natural selves. Our possessions govern who we think we are in the natural. Jesus wants us to deny, disavow, that we are our own, that we own ourselves. Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity, writes:
“Jesus is saying something very fundamental. It strikes right at the heart of our very existence, because the one thing that we, as human beings, value and covet and protect above anything else is the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves. We refuse to be under anything or anyone but reserve the right to make the final decisions of our lives; this is what Jesus is telling us. He is not talking about giving up this or that, but about giving up ourselves.”
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 explains the transference very clearly, if we are going to follow Jesus, we no longer own ourself. He has ultimate rights; He has Lordship of our life. So, we no longer belong to ourself; Jesus will make final decisions when the issues of our lives hang in the balance. This is what Jesus means by “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself,” we must deny our self-trust, deny our self-sufficiency, deny our feeling so we can handle life by ourselves and run everything to suit ourselves.
Jesus is saying that discipleship requires disavowing ourselves from ourselves and putting him in charge of our lives. It is our pride that keeps us from being dependent upon God. God is calling for us to disavow our human traits and pick up his traits Paul described Galatians 5:16-26 NIV, Freedom in Christ.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
There is only one way to becoming a disciple of Christ, and that is to obey his commands and be completely dependent upon Him for direction. We have to choose to do what Jesus says and not what we think independent of Him. If he instructs us to turn right when we planned to turn left, do so, we never know what lesson lies ahead or what harm you are avoiding. Only Jesus knows the plans for our lives. We are not our own.
“Following Jesus is not a decision for the moment, but a program for a lifetime, to be repeated again and again, whenever we fall into circumstances which make these choices necessary.”
If you look for the Father through Jesus Christ you will find Him. Seeking God is His commandment to let us know He is all around us. He hears our prayers and is waiting for us and challenging us to interact with Him in conversation. He is calling us to enter into a relationship with Him. His grace and mercy are in abundance for the giving.
I view knocking at the door as a metaphor requesting entrance into His home. Knocking also takes the form of praying. We seek Him through our Heart. The Holy Spirit invites us into His dwelling.
Under the Holy Spirits guidance and influence, we are taken out of captivity and are no longer wanderers. In our wandering, the evil one led us astray and away from our Father. The greatness of our Lord invites us home just as we are. All He asks is that we establish genuine intimacy with Him through integrity, honesty, sincerity, and faith.
The idea of seeking God is expressed throughout the Bible. Adam and Eve may be the only people who did not have to seek Him. He was present in the Garden of Eden. God loves us, so He does not leave us alone seeking Him. In Jeremiah 24:7 He said, “ I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole hearts”, much like the Prodigal Son returned home after his wanderings.
Throughout the Bible we are urged to seek Him, to let Him know we are searching for Him and want an ongoing relationship with Him. We have been invited to seek God through Jesus who left the Holy Spirit to live in us during His absence. As believers, we are vessels of the Holy Spirit, and our access is through our heart and love for God.
The scriptures below are taken from the NASB Bible.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back from exile.’”
“The earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains The world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive a blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
“When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.””
“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.”
“Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
Seek, knock, and you will find our Lord.
Related Post: Ask. Seek. Find. Receive. https://wp.me/p98Coa-rd.
September 19, 2018
I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.