Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't Smother Yourself!

"For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[a]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them."
 Psalms 139:13-16

God did not create you to live a life of mediocrity. In fact, John 10:10 says God wants you to have an abundant life. He gave you a personality and knew it intimately before you were even born. God wants to see you use your personality, talent, and skills in a combined effort that utilizes all three to shine as an example of righteousness to those around you. After all, when we're standing at the judgement day (and there will be one), how much better would it be to be able to do so fully knowing you did His will to the best of your abilities? How great would it feel to be able to stand on that day of judgment and say you put everything God gave you on the table?

God put value into your life for a purpose, and no one but you can keep it from being used. The value God put in you can never diminish, it can only be stifled and smothered by you.

Satan wants you to wallow in misery with him, but God has other plans. 

The decision is yours.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Are You a Paperclip?

When was the last time you thought about what a paperclip really does? Think about it for just a moment. Each day in millions of offices all across the world it performs a very important function with very little fanfare (short of maybe this post). Each day, through thick and thin, it holds several independant pieces of paper together. I know, it sounds silly talking about it, doesn't it? But think about how frustrating it would be if we didn't have them! I know it's stating the obvious, but each individual piece of paper holds a key piece of the entire story. Whether the story is a work document for an important client, a book manuscript you've poured yourself into, or a sales contract that needs to be signed by close of business today, if one sheet of paper goes missing we're in big trouble.

The congregation you attend (or should be attending) is like the manuscript, and all the individual members together make up the whole story. But we still need members who are willing to step up and say, "I can be a paperclip."

But be warned, the job of a paperclip isn't an easy one. It becomes your responsibility to try to keep the peace among the pieces of paper. It's your responsibility to keep papers from flying away in the winds that come along. To be certain, this job is not for the intolerant or weak.

A paperclip must not pass rash or unfair judgment. It's not their job to decide which sheet of paper has the best personality, and is therefore allowed to stay in the story. Their personality may be just what the story needed. My point isn't that we should be tolerant of any and all that walk through the door, but rather that we shouldn't create divisions where God, who is the Editor, doesn't. That's not the job of a paperclip.

So the question stands? Are you a paperclip? If not, can you be? Will you be?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Power of a Selfless Prayer

It's not that I never want to pray for myself, because I do. I have to! But I have to remember that I can't pray for myself only. I don't ever want to get so wrapped up in discussing myself with God that I lose sight of you. God sent His only begotten son in order to redeem you, so the least I can do is remember to pray for you! You see, in order to look at myself, I have to take my eyes off of you, and I know that you need me to pray for you. And the truth is, I need you to pray for me, too. We've got to be careful not to lose sight of one another's needs during our conversations with God.

This was Peter's problem when crossing the water to Jesus. His mind lost focus of Christ, and instead, he turned inward, focusing on the dangers all around him. Did you get that? That were all around him! Jesus was doing the very same thing Peter was doing, yet Peter began to sink when his mind wandered into worrying about himself. Rather than staying focused on Christ, Peter focused on Peter. If Peter would have focused on Christ, would he have still begun to sink? Of course not! Because rather than a selfish worry, he would have continued to trust in Jesus and His power to save him.

You see, if you're busy asking God to help you, then by necessity you have to stop focusing on those in need around you- even if it's just for a moment. And we know that disasterous things can happen in only moments. The average tornado is on the ground for less than 10 minutes. Yet, when they happen they are utterly devastating.

Another reason I don't want to lose sight of you during my prayer time with God is that if I'm praying for me while you're also praying for me, then who is praying for you? It leaves a void.

God would much rather hear a prayer on behalf of someone else rather than a prayer all about me. That's because a prayer for someone else comes from such an unselfish place, and after all, it was selflessness that sent Jesus to die for us in the first place.

The Art of Self-Forgiveness

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