Father I Know That All My Life

Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee.

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love, through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles, and to wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself, to soothe and sympathize.

I would not have the restless will that hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child, and guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am, in whatso’er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts to keep and cultivate;
And a work of lowly love to do for the Lord on whom I wait.

So I ask Thee for the daily strength, to none that ask denied,
And a mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space, if Thou be glorified.

And if some things I do not ask in my cup of blessing be,
I would have my spirit filled the more with grateful love to Thee,
More careful, not to serve Thee much, but to please Thee perfectly.

There are briers besetting every path that call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot, and an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee is happy anywhere.

In a service which Thy will appoints there are no bonds for me;
For my inmost heart is taught “the truth” that makes Thy children “free”
And a life of self-renouncing love is a life of liberty.

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**By Anna Letitia Waring – 1850 / Photo by Lori McPherson

What He Must Be…

In pastor and author Voddie Baucham’s book, “What He Must Be,” he states that the man must lead in the Word.  To do so, he himself must be deeply rooted in the Word before he can lead his wife in this area.  I have outlined this book for single women to use as a reference guide for choosing a Godly mate and for men to strive for as God’s standard for them to follow.

The information detailed in this outline is not written by me, but was extracted from the book “What He Must Be,” written by Voddie Baucham Jr.  There are also additional notes I have added from his video series “Love and Marriage” on Youtube, the links are below. 

I am adding this to my blog to help raise my sisters’ standards in the men they consider as future husbands.  And to set the standard for brothers to live by and strive for as they prepare to be husbands to my sisters in Christ!

Ephesians 5:25-31 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

Biblical Love

An act of the will, accompanied by emotion, that leads to action on behalf of its object; not led by emotion, nor is it void of emotion, that demonstrates itself by actions on behalf of its object

Marriage is a Ministry

  1 – It was God’s first command, “Be fruitful and multiply…”

  2 – A Training Ground for Church Leaders

  3 – An Illustration for a Lost World

  4 – The Preferred State

          a)  Be Prepared

          b)  Two States, One Standard

          c)  Jesus-Our Ultimate Guide

“Marriage is the God–appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God.  The ultimate purpose is to obey God, to find aid and counsel against sin; to call upon God; to seek, love, and educate children for the glory of God; to live with one’s wife in the fear of God and to bear the cross.”  — Martin Luther

1 – He Must Be a Follower of Christ

a)  A True Believer is Regenerate

a.      He must be born again

b.     There is an infallible connection between regeneration and salvation

b)     A True Believer is Repentant

a.      Repentance is at the core of the gospel message.  A man cannot claim regeneration if he shows no evidence of repentance.

b.     True repentance is the result of an accurate understanding of the significance and gravity of sin, coupled with an overwhelming desire for the remission of that sin through the person and work of Christ.

c)      A True Believer is Reformed

a.      Consistent, perpetual, undeniable, evidence proceeding from his mouth and life on a daily basis.

b. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (1 John 3:9-10)

2 – He Must Be Prepared to Lead

a)  He must lead like Christ

a.  Lead in Love

A man who loves like Christ will protect his heart

A man who loves like Christ will protect her heart

b.  Lead in the Word

Leading in the word requires personal time in the word

Leading in the word requires a grasp of the word

Leading in the word requires a Plan for Growth

Leading in the word requires patient instruction

VIDEO: If he is not a man who can mentor you in the scriptures, he not worthy of being your husband. 

Can he disciple and mentor you in the Word of God?

He has to be equipped to mentor and disciple your children in The Word.

He MUST be this before you even think about him!!

c.  Lead in Righteousness

He must be marked with an upright life

He must nurture holiness in his bride

He must influence his family in righteousness

Video:  A man who ensures your purity.

What he’s saying if he wants to get physical: “I want to use you and I want to dishonor you.”

He must be a man who desires for me to be Pure.

A guy who wants you to move in with him is saying, “I want all the benefits with none of the responsibilities.”

“Sex is like Fire.  You put fire in a fireplace and it warms the whole room.  You let fire out of the fireplace, it will consume and destroy everything in its path. It must be in the proper context…and biblically, the only proper context is Marriage.” — Voddie Baucham Jr.

d.   Lead in Selflessness

He will show restraint and patience throughout the courtship process

He must show Christlike selflessness

He must demonstrate his willingness and desire to put her needs above his own

VIDEO: He must be a man who understands what it means to put others before himself.  If he’s more interested in what he can take from you than what he can give to you, then he’s not the kind of man who leads in selflessness.  If he doesn’t treat you like a delicate flower, keep stepping.  Cause what you’re looking for biblically is a man who nourishes you as he would his own flesh.

e.  Lead in Intimacy

External Intimacy

Internal Intimacy

VIDEO: Intimacy happens when I let someone into a part my life that is not readily available to everyone.

Creates a hedge of protection around the marriage relationship that says this relationship is prioritized above all others.

3 – He Must Be Committed to Children

a)  Committed to having children

b)  Committed to investing in children

c)  Committed to supporting children

4 – He Must Practice the 4 P’s

He must be a Protector

He must possess personal strength, wisdom, and courage

He must be a Provider (Dependence on others is a perversion of biblical manhood)

He must have a job

He must have a work ethic

He must have a plan

He must be a Prophet/Priest

A man must Pray for his family

A man must Preach to his family

A Priest is an intercessor who represents his people before God

A Prophet is one who instructs his people in God’s truth

God has given husbands the responsibility of washing their wives in the water of the Word; Diligently teaching the Law to their children; and bringing them up in the discipline and instruction in the Lord

Love and Marriage Video Series, Voddie Baucham

Love and Marriage, Part 1 (sermon starts at 32min:50sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnTCl6Dvr5U&feature=related

Love & Marriage (part 1 – In the Beginning).wmv – YouTube http://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at – 32min:50sec A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 2 (sermon starts at 29min)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKGyFyW3-D4&feature=relmfu

Love & Marriage (part 2 – True Love).wmv – YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at 29min * A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 3 (sermon starts at 29min:15sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wAdURL_qdQ&feature=relmfu

Love & Marriage (part 3 – The Other Half).wmv – YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com* Sermon starts at 29min:15sec * A sermon series by Voddie Baucham spoken at the 7:22 service at the Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta in 2005

Love and Marriage, Part 4 (sermon starts at 17min:50sec)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cybhnuvS1i0&feature=relmfu

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***By Nina Andres author of the book, “God Ordained Relationship”

***More sermons to do with Christian relationships can be found HERE! Covering all stages of a Christian relationship for men and women: single, courting / dating, marriage, home, bringing up children and all the bits in-between.

Lust Verses Love A Biblical Perspective

Most people know the difference between lust and love so what are they? What does the Bible define as love and as lust?

A Definition of Lust

Lust is an emotion or feeling of intense desire in the body and it can take nearly any form such as the lust for knowledge, the lust for sex or the lust for power. It is an overwhelming self-absorbed desire or craving for an object, person, or experience that might be good but in most cases, is not. For example, a man or a woman can lust after their spouse and since they are legally married, there is no sin in this, however lusting after someone else’s spouse or someone who’s not married is sin, so clearly, lust and love aren’t the same at all and in many ways, they are actually opposites of one another, for example we can lust after riches, for drugs, for alcohol, and for any number of things that are detrimental to our wellbeing.

A Definition of Love

The way the world defines love and the way that God defines love are not even close to the same thing. As far as the world sees, love is a strong and warm affection that someone has for another or others or for something. It could be like that of a parent for a child or a spouse for their mate or it could be a love for reading, eating, drugs, alcohol, or even shopping. Some of these are good and well, but others can lead to ruin. Love can certainly be a strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from a kinship or close friendship, which I have for my own spouse and children and grandchildren and even for my friends but from the biblical standpoint, love and lust are no co-equals since one can be good, while the other can lead to harm.

But-I-say-to-you-that

A Biblical Definition of Lust

I like what C.S. Lewis wrote many years ago. He wrote “If you look upon ham and eggs and lust, you have already committed breakfast in your heart.” This is a very good, biblical definition of lust in the heart. If you covet something or someone, that is lusting in the heart. Exodus 20:17 lists the tenth commandment as “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” so lust is not just about looking at someone of the opposite sex, or for some, looking at someone with lust of the same sex, it is coveting what you don’t have. It is a passionate desire to have what someone else has.

What Lust Can Lead To

David let his lust carry him away as “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful” (2nd Sam 11:2) and so he lusted after her in his heart. This led to adultery and later, to the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah. This is why James wrote that “after desire (or lust) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (1:15). The proverbs say “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes” (6:25). Jesus said that it was “out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt 15:19). Solomon understood this connection, writing that as a man “thinks within himself, so he is” (23:7a). You can commit adultery without ever committing the physical act. Jesus said that “that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28) and of course the same thing applies to women.

A Biblical Definition of Love

There are so many places that define love in the Bible that it will be hard to select only a few. Paul writes that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1st Cor 13:4-7). The love of God is not about feelings or words but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). Love is a verb; it is what you do more than what you say or what you think. We know that Jesus did not feel like taking on all of the sins of humanity, but His great love for us on the cross proved what the love of God is like. He died for us while we were still wicked sinners and His enemies (Rom 5:8, 10).

Conclusion

The differences between love and lust are that we don’t covet what we don’t have. We shouldn’t covet (lust after) our neighbor’s spouse or their goods (Ex 20:17). Love, on the other hand, “does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:10) and this means “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19) but above all “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37). The difference for believers is that we are told “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). The greatest display of love was not what Jesus felt or what God feels but it was revealed at Calvary. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) and that’s just what He did. Lust harms, love sacrifices.

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**By Jack Wellman at what Christians wat to know / Photo by Mark Stebnicki at Pexels

The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman replied, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The investment banker scoffed, “I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats until eventually, you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution.”

Then he added, “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15–20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

To which the investment banker replied, “Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

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** Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh at pexels

Learn to Desire the Best for Others

Our passion should be to know God better and better, because this is eternal life. We are going to spend all eternity getting to know God more and more. This is why eternity will not be boring for anyone whose passion is to know God. Our earthly life too will then not be boring any more. Let us learn something of God’s life and of His ways from Genesis 2, in the way He dealt with Adam. There we see that it was God Who saw Adam’s need for a wife and Who met that need and made a wife for him. There we see what God’s nature is like. God is always alert to the needs of people and does all that He can to meet those needs. When we partake of this Divine nature, we too will become like that – always alert to the needs and problems of those around us and doing everything we can in order to meet those needs! This will involve a great deal of sacrifice on our part often. We need therefore to ask ourselves whether we are willing to pay this price for partaking of the Divine nature.

Our Adamic nature is the exact opposite of this Divine nature. The life of Adam is thoroughly selfish and makes us alert only to our own needs and to the needs of our own family members. In fact it is so full of selfishness and jealousy that it does not want the needs of others to be met even by another. On the contrary. it enjoys seeing people suffer.

When man sinned, God placed cherubs in front of the tree of life with a sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to that tree. The tree of life symbolises eternal life – knowing God. Through this sword placed in front of the tree of life, God was symbolically showing Adam that if anyone now wanted to partake of the tree of life, he had to first experience the sword falling on his own selfish life. We read in Genesis 3:21 that as soon as Adam and Eve sinned, God killed an animal in Eden and clothed them with coats of the skin of that animal. There too God was teaching them the same lesson – that the only way for them to be clothed now was through the way of sacrifice and death. Adam and Eve had tried to clothe themselves at first without any “death” – with just fig leaves. But God threw those leaves away and showed them the right way to be clothed. So we see right from the beginning God emphasising sacrifice as the way for man to fellowship with Him and to be clothed with His nature.

God told Cain that his fundamental problem was that he “did not intend well” towards his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7). Jude speaks of those who walk in “the way of Cain” (Jude 11). Who are they? They are those who do not intend well towards their brothers. It is good for all of us to have a spiritual check-up in this matter. Can you honestly say that you desire the very best for all the brothers and sisters in your local church and for their families? Can you also say that you desire the very best for other believers whom you know in other denominations? Then widen the circle still further and ask yourself if you desire the very best for all the people whom you know, including your relatives, your enemies and those who have harmed you in any way. If you find a disturbance in your heart (instead of a rejoicing) when something good happens to another person or to his children, or if you sense a rejoicing in your heart (instead of a grief) when something evil happens to him or his family, what do such attitudes indicate? Just this that the life of Adam is alive and active in you.

If you are honest with yourself, you will soon discover whether you are walking the way of Cain or not. You must be quick when you see that evil Adamic life within you to put it to death, if you want the fire and the anointing of God to rest upon you constantly.

It is when the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies TOTALLY, that there will be much fruit. One who dies totally to himself will never get offended, no matter what others do or don’t do. He will always intend well towards all. He will never get angry in any matter that concerns himself and he will never quarrel with anyone. He will never shed a single tear for himself in self-pity – for, surely, dead people don’t weep in their graves!!

Cain’s face was sullen and dark when he did not intend well towards his brother (Gen.4:6). We may not realise it, but the attitude we have in our hearts is often reflected on our faces. If you intend well towards all, your face will always beam with the joy of the Lord. Many believers are walking in the way of Cain. Beneath their weak smiles and the “Praise the Lord”s that come from their lips, are found wrong attitudes towards their fellow-believers. When people turn against you and do evil to you, God uses them to give you a scan of your real heart condition. If you cannot love them, your heart-scan will show that you have NOT partaken of God’s nature, for God’s nature is one that loves even His enemies. Jesus intended well even towards Judas Iscariot.

God desires the very best for all people. The gospel message is that we too can partake of this nature. Those who haven’t understood the gospel thus haven’t understood the gospel at all.

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**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.

The Dream

THE DREAM

“When I, Lori McPherson, first became a Christian, I had a glorious dream that was so real. I was standing on the wayside watching all these people busy preparing for something. They all had their own tasks to do, and it seemed they only had a limited time to prepare. Then I realized it was a wedding, an extravagant wedding fit for a king. I wondered to myself whose wedding it was, and how glorious it would be. Then I saw the bridegroom in all his magnificent splendour, so handsome! And I wondered what lucky bride was going to get this handsome and majestic man. And it’s as if all the people there could read my thoughts, and one of them turned to me puzzled as to why I was querying this and said “you!” I was shocked that I could be seen and heard, and tried to shrink away out of sight. At that moment I was afraid and all these thoughts went through my mind, ‘does he know who I am?’ for I knew I was not worthy of him. ‘Does he know my past?’ because I could tell he was so righteous, just and pure, and I wasn’t. He was way out of my league, and “has there been some mistake?!” all these thoughts crossed my mind because I was dirty, blemished and defiled. But the bridegroom came to me and smiled warmly, it was the Lord Jesus Himself. I couldn’t look at Him, I was ashamed. As He stood there, I could feel His love for me, so kind and accepting. He then held up a large picture frame with a blank white canvas and portrayed to me that this was to be part of the wedding decoration once finished, as before it could be put up, the blank canvas had to be filled with fruit that I had placed on it. This fruit was the fruits of the Spirit, the work I had allowed the Holy Spirit to do in me and through me during my earthly lifetime. This would be like a decoration of honour to Him, a wedding gift.”

**This wonderful dream represented the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19:6-9. In an article by Christianity.com the wedding feast that John referred to in revelation is explained below, which leads up to the Big Day. John saw and heard the multitudes in heaven praising the Lord God at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The wedding feast of the Lamb is the marriage supper which was about to begin. To understand what the marriage supper of the Lamb is, let’s consider the three significant wedding customs in the time of Christ.

Three Major Parts of a Wedding Feast

1. A Marriage Contract. Wedding customs in the time of Christ were signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom. Additionally, this contract was signed by the parents of the bridegroom, and the bridegroom himself would pay a dowry (down payment) to the bride or her parents. Such a process began the betrothal period, which today would be called the engagement. One example of this was the one Joseph and Mary were in when Mary was found to be with baby Jesus in the womb (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5).

2. A Torchlight Parade Through the Streets. The bridegroom accompanied by his male friends went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. Such a parade would not be a surprise to the bride as she knew well in advance such an event was taking place so she would be ready with her maidens. They would then all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom’s home. Such a custom is the basis of the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.

3. The Marriage Supper Itself. During the time of Jesus, the marriage supper itself would go on for days as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2. The events described by John in Revelation 19:7-10 describe the third phase of the wedding feast the marriage supper of the Lamb. John isn’t meaning to skip the first two phases of the wedding feast customs but is communicating they already have happened.

The first phase was completed on earth when each individual Christian placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ. The dowry, in this case, was paid by the bridegroom’s parent (God the Father) because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Bride’s behalf. The Church is betrothed to Christ much the same way as the wise virgin in the parable. All Christians should be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom the Lord Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8). The second phase picture, when Christ comes to claim His bride and take the Church to the Father’s house. The Marriage Supper follows as the third and final step and is a glorious celebration of all who are in Christ Jesus.

Delight in the Lord and the Final Day

The Christian will one day find their ultimate delight at the time when He consummates all things (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Revelation 19 describes the day where we will become like Jesus. On that day, we will wear the most beautiful wedding gown made up of our righteous deeds (Revelation 19:6-8). As glorified Christians, the people of God will finally fulfil the purpose for which we’ve been created, which is complete, unbroken fellowship with God. Such joy we will experience on that day is beyond description as we will see Christ face-to-face (Revelation 19:9). Every born again, Christian will experience this day because they have been declared righteous in the Lord’s courtroom.

The Lord’s Supper and the Wedding Feast

The Lord’s Supper on the Lord’s Day is a foretaste of such a day as the Wedding Feast. Every time we eat of the Lord’s Supper, we should long all the more for the day when the feast will never end. Whether or not you are partaking of the Lord’s Supper this Lord’s Day, focus your heart on the great wedding feast with the Lord Jesus.

** Dream by Lori McPherson © Copyright – Lori McPherson. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author / Article by Christianity.com / Photo by Edward Eyer at pexels

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How to be saved: The Path To Salvation

7 Characteristics of the Bride

My personal testimony

What Real Love Looks Like

As a parent, one thing I’ve come to learn is that true love for someone does not mean you give them whatever they want. For example, my children would like to eat donuts every night for dinner. In this situation, my love for them is the very reason that I deny them what they want. When I deny them, they may be tempted to think I don’t love them. But real love desires the person’s long-term good, over giving them what they want all the time.

It’s very helpful to me to remember that God loves me with such a perfect love, that He will deny many of my earthly desires. To someone who doesn’t know God, this may look like God doesn’t care for or love them. But whoever knows God as their loving Father, they will no doubt be thankful for the many prayers and desires He didn’t answer, knowing that when they come into eternity they will look back and say “I’m glad He did things exactly the way He did.”

So if real love for my children doesn’t look like ‘giving them whatever they want’, what does it look like? The Bible – our foundation of truth tells us what real love is and what it looks like. I’d like to list out many practical examples of love the Lord has burdened my heart with, that illustrate the principles of real love as defined by the Bible. This isn’t meant to be a complete exhaustive list, but a list of examples God has put on my heart as practical goals I can have as I try love others, and God better.

CHILDREN

Real love toward my children should look like:

• Asking God for wisdom to raise them (James 1:5)

• Praying for them consistently

• Taking their sin and disobedience very seriously, and not brushing it off

• Carefully disciplining them and rebuking them when it will build them up, not too severely and not too lightly, and never out of anger (Prov 3:11-12, Col 3:21, Heb 12:5-8)

• Teaching them that God loves them and is always with them, so they never have to be scared, and they can talk to Him any time (Heb 13:6)

• Teaching them the Bible, giving them foundational godly wisdom for life and godliness (Prov 4:5)

• Being patient with them (Eph 4:2)

• Not ignoring them

• Spending quality time with them

• Encouraging them (1 Thess 5:11)

• • Not losing my temper and snapping in anger at them (responding verbally or physically in a harsh way that is driven not by desire for their good but anger)

• Playing with them and laughing with them

SPOUSE

Real love toward my wife should look like:

• Praying for and encouraging her (Heb 3:13)

• Plain and simple kindness (Eph 4:32)

• Considering what burdens she’s had throughout the day when I’ve been away at work

• Holding my tongue and keeping quiet when I am tempted to be angry or frustrated (James 1:19)

• Working hard at my job to provide for her what she needs (food, shelter, etc) without getting in to debt and making our family a slave to others outside our home (1 Tim 5:8)

• Being faithful to her – not committing adultery in the heart by looking lustfully at another woman (Matt 5:28)

• Being a servant, sacrificing time and energy to make things easier for her (John 13:12-14)

• Helping with household chores

• Not leaving messes around the house

• Sharing little words that God has spoken to me – ‘salting the conversation’ (Col 4:6) with the things of God, and ‘washing her in the Word’ (Ephesians 5:26)

• Expressing appreciation for her

• Laboring to present her as a spotless bride to Jesus (Ephesians 5:27)

• Rooting for her to grow in the Lord

• Playfully joking with her to make her smile, and to let her know that I enjoy her (Prov 5:18-19)

THE CHURCH

Real love toward my church should look like:

• Being quick and eager to forgive others (Eph 4:32, Prov 19:11, Luke 17:3)

• Encouraging them – letting them know how special to God they are and loved, and how necessary to the church body they are (Heb 3:13)

• Encouraging them to seek for an intimate life with the Lord, desiring that they would be enraptured with Him and not anything else in this life (2 Cor 11:2-3)

• Challenging them to become Christ-like (Heb 6)

• Praying for them in secret (Php 2:3-4, Matt 6:6)

• Not gossiping or speaking negatively about others (Psalm 41:7)

• Doing what I can to help them if I become aware of some need they have (James 2:15-16)

• Thinking of them throughout the week and bearing burdens of others, praying with real meaning for them and pouring my heart out to God (Gal 6:2, Matt 6:7)

• Never comparing myself with anybody in the church (2 Cor 10:12)

• Being real, not a fake hypocrite – “Let love be without hypocrisy” – being open about my own weaknesses and not trying to hide them so people think I’m godly (Rom 12:9), and thereby discouraging them making them think they are ungodly because they still have struggles

• Getting ‘under’ people by serving them and doing things quietly in the background, instead of trying to climb my way above everyone by seeking honor (Php 2:5-8)

• Weeping with those who are going through a hard time, not saying “I’m glad it’s not me” (Rom 12:15)

• Not being envious, but rejoicing with them when something good happens for them, cheering for them

• Exhorting them always to keep pressing into Jesus – to be persistent and consistent, to keep going even when things are tough (Matt 24:13)

• Gently rebuking them when necessary, so they can become aware and repent of their sin (Gal 6:1)

GOD

Real love toward the Lord should look like:

• Seeking Him alone and not His gifts (Psalm 73:25)

• Obedience, both inwardly and outwardly – “For this is love the love of God: that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3)

• Presenting my body as a living sacrifice to Him, and my body parts as His instruments of righteousness (Rom 12:1, Rom 6:13)

• Considering everything else on this earth besides Him as worthless, and living like that (not chasing after money, comfort, success or the pleasure of this world, but only chasing after Christ) – (Php 3:8)

• Laboring to build up His church (not in numbers but in Christ-likeness) “Do you love me? Tend my lambs” (John 21:15-17)

• Seeking for gifts that can build up the church in Christ, and eagerly desiring those gifts not to feel good about myself or significant, but desiring them for the sake of others (1 Cor 14:1-12)

• Being eager to spend time with Him and having a desire to always be in His presence, regardless of wherever I am or whatever I’m doing (1 John 1:7)

• Leaving anything He asks me to give up (even if not sinful) because I always want to be close to Him (Psalm 73:25, 28)

• Going to Him when I am struggling with some issue, and not trying to solve my problems myself without Him (1 Peter 5:6-7)

• Hating sin because it grieves Him (Eph 4:30). Not wanting to hurt the One I love the most

• Not complaining when something goes wrong or doesn’t turn out as I’d have hoped, but surrendering myself to it as God’s will, and praising Him in spite of the outcome (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Being faithful to work hard at doing the mundane day to day tasks, because I’m doing it for Him (1 Cor 10:31, 1 Thess 4:11)

• Seeking eternal life – which is to know Him intimately (John 17:3)

• Cleansing myself because I want to be like Him (1 John 3:2-3) – (by cleansing, not just outwardly but cleansing all the evil that’s inside – things like anger, selfishness, greed, loving money and material things, a gossiping tongue, laziness, lukewarmness toward seeking God)

Up to this point I’ve only tried to illustrate what I believe real human love looks and doesn’t look like. But I’ve also been blessed to meditate on and see in God’s Word what His perfect love for me does and doesn’t look like.

God’s love for me doesn’t look like:

• Answering every prayer and giving me whatever I ask, no matter the consequences (2 Cor 12:8-9)

• Withholding all sickness, physical issues, job or family problems

• Withholding every temptation from me (1 Cor 10:13)

• Making me very wealthy (Matt 19:23)

• Giving me only easy relationships (at work, in my family, in the church, etc)

God’s love for me looks like:

• Giving me many precious promises in His Word so I can partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4)

• Justifying me through Christ and now seeing me as righteous, just as if I’ve never sinned (2 Cor 5:21)

• Filling me with His Spirit so I can live in righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit (Romans 14:17)

• Always being with me (Heb 13:5)

• Not just changing my location forever (from Earth to Heaven), but changing what I am forever (2 Cor 5:17)

• Putting boundaries around me that will guide me to seek for Him (Acts 17:26-27)

• Willingness to subject me to hardship for my eternal good (Romans 8:28)

• Willingness to discipline me (Hebrews 12:6)

• Always providing my needs, both physical and spiritual (Luke 12:29-32)

• Always thinking of my eternal good over the temporary earthly gain I could have (Mark 8:36)

• A fervent desire and joy to fellowship with me and be close to me (Zeph 3:17)

• A fervent desire to see me grow in the image of Christ, and working all of my circumstances to achieve this goal (Rom 8:28-29)

And the most special illustration to me of what God’s love for me looks like is:

Not holding back what was most precious to Him – sending His Son to earth to become a man forever, and as a man to die for me so I can have an intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as my loving Father:

John 3:16, John 17:3

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life – And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent

Luke 15:24

“For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

**By Bobby MacDonald at NCCF Church

Overcoming Sexual Passions

In Ezekiel 16:49-50, God describes the real sins of Sodom that led to the destruction of that city (in Genesis 19). Most of us have always associated Sodom with sodomy (homosexuality) and other sexual sins. But sexual sin was the ultimate result of a way of life. What was it that led them into such depths of evil? Here we are told that Sodom’s sins were actually:

1.Pride

2. Laziness

3. Gluttony (love of good food)

4. Neglecting the poor and needy

These were the reasons why God wiped out that city. It is interesting to note that God does not even mention their sexual sin. Sexual sin in Sodom was the result of their lazy, comfortable life-style. What can we learn from this? That there is a close connection between:

  • Pride and sexual sin.
  • Laziness and sexual sin.
  • Gluttony and sexual sin.
  • A lack of concern for other people and sexual sin.

Consider just these four areas. Many of you who are young have to admit that you are finding it very difficult to overcome your sexual passions. That is an extremely difficult area. But why not begin by overcoming in these four easier areas? You may, then, find it easier to overcome in the sexual area.

Begin first of all, by humbling yourself in all situations. Avoid all arrogance.

Then begin to be hard-working and diligent in whatever you do.

Then try fasting – avoiding food – once in a while.

And fourthly, begin to think a little more about the needs of people around you and see how you can help them.

Try this prescription for one year and you may discover that overcoming your sexual passions becomes easier. We cannot overcome any sin without grace from God – but He gives His grace only to the humble; and He helps only those who are kind and helpful to others.


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**By Zac Poonen © Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. https://www.cfcindia.com/ 

**Videos on overcoming addictions and sexual sin can be found HERE!

Dowry

The Dowry System in India

It is unfortunately, normal among Christians of all denominations in India, for a boy’s father to ask for a dowry from the girl’s father before a marriage is finalised. This has reduced marriage to a business deal. Among unbelievers, such a practice is understandable because, being spiritually blind, they allow covetousness to rule their lives. But what shall we say when most believers also indulge in this practice – even those who claim to be Spirit-filled? Surely the Devil has blinded them too.

Many a marriage arrangement has failed because the parents of the girl could not meet the exorbitant demand for dowry made by the parents of the boy. Many girls in our land have been emotionally disturbed and brought to frustration because of this – and some have even committed suicide. Every day in India, some wife somewhere burns herself to death because of her husband harassing her to get more dowry from her father.

God will severely judge all those who make marriage a matter of striking a financial deal. This judgment will begin at the house of God, among those who claim to be born again. It is because many believers have not spoken out against the evil practice of dowry that it is still so widely prevalent in Christendom in India today. It is a sad thing indeed when those who should be standing upright for God in a warped and crooked world, become warped and crooked themselves. No Christian who wants to please God should ever ask for, or receive a dowry.

Some brothers hide under the excuse that it is their parents who ask for dowry and not they themselves. But if they have any convictions at all, why don’t they speak up and tell their parents that they don’t want any dowry? The reason must be that they too secretly desire the money. If they are convinced that the dowry system is wrong, they should speak up for the truth. It is surprising that many brothers who are strong-willed when it comes to other matters, act like spineless jelly-fish when it comes to expressing their convictions on dowry to their parents!

Some brothers say that it is only reasonable that their parents who have spent so much money on their education should now receive some money as dowry from the girl’s parents. But the girl’s parents have also spent money on educating her! Why doesn’t the boy give money to her father for giving him an educated girl??

Others justify their asking for dowry by saying that their parents will need money to give as dowry for their sisters when the latter get married. But we can be certain that God will not let anyone down, who seeks to honour Him in this matter. If you honour Him, He will honour you and give good husbands to your sisters (or daughters) without your having to pay any dowry (1 Samuel 2:30). If you say you don’t have faith for that, then I have nothing more to say to you, for I am writing now only for wholehearted Christians. The commandments of Jesus are meant only for wholehearted Christians.

Others may ask, “What is wrong in receiving money which the father of a girl gives gladly to her as a gift?” There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But before any brother uses this as an excuse for his covetousness, let him answer these three questions first:

(a) Was money any factor at all (even if the least important) in deciding the marriage?

(b) Did you or your representative (whether father or relatives) ever ask for the money, (or try to find out how much money the girl’s parents had) before or after the marriage had been settled?

(c) Did you secretly hope that money would be given by the girl’s parents (either to the girl or to you)?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, then you have certainly fallen a prey to covetousness, however well it may have been covered up by different excuses.

It is in such situations that the contradiction between a believer’s preaching and his practice becomes evident to all. No wonder infidels are prompted to say, “Whatever Christians may preach, when it comes to money, they have the same religion as everyone else”.

In some places, I have heard that the dowry system is the reverse of what is found in most parts of India. There the boy has to give a dowry to the girl’s father in order to marry her. But whichever dowry system it be, the practice is an abomination to God.

Many may resent such a strong denunciation of the dowry system. But we must remember that the system is a product of man’s covetousness, which the Bible calls idolatry (Colossians 3:5). One has only to read the severe denunciation of idolatry in the Old Testament to realize how God detests it. The prophets of old were fiery in their preaching against it. They did not mince words when speaking against that which God hated.

We have preached against and stood against dowry consistently in CFC ever since the Lord established our church in 1975.

Personally, I have practised exactly what I have written above, in my own life. I refused to allow any discussion of dowry at the time of my wedding. I took the same stand against dowry when my four sons were getting married. In addition, I never sought to find out whether the parents of the girls (whom my sons were marrying) were rich or whether the girls themselves had good educational qualifications that would enable them to work and earn money. Unfortunately, these are the matters that most believers today are keen on finding out when getting their sons married. I was only keen to find out if the girls themselves loved the Lord and were disciples of the Lord Jesus. And I thank God that He honoured my desire by giving each of my four sons God-fearing wives who would help them in their ministry for the Lord and also help them to raise God-fearing children.

Whenever I conduct a wedding, I always take a signed declaration from both the bride and the bridegroom stating that no dowry has been exchanged between them or their parents. I do this so that both parties see the seriousness of this evil. If any dowry was given or received, then I refuse to conduct the wedding. If they deceive me they are answerable to God.

To expect dowry, or to accept dowry are both just as bad as asking for dowry. Those who accept or expect a dowry are both covetous. Such “Christians” should be honest and call themselves “heathen“. They are certainly NOT followers of Jesus Christ.

Can you picture your asking Jesus to negotiate with a girl’s father about the amount of dowry he should pay you before you agree to give your son in marriage to his daughter? You know very well that Jesus would never be willing to negotiate in such a matter. That itself should show you that expecting or receiving a dowry is wrong.

Receiving dowry or giving dowry or helping someone receive a dowry are all offences according to the law in India. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 states:

“If anyone gives or takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment for not less than five years and with fine not less than Rs.15,000 or the amount of value of dowry, whichever is more.”

Leaders of churches should be the foremost to obey the country’s laws and to honour God in this matter. Any church-leader who is unwilling to take a stand against this evil dowry system has no right to remain in leadership in any church. Some leaders may secretly take a dowry without anyone knowing it. But God will deal with such hypocrites in His own time.

At a wedding, money may be given for the actual expenses of the wedding and the reception. But even this should ideally be equally shared by both parties. Thus both the boy and the girl are given equal dignity before God. But we cannot make a rule in this matter, because some are able to afford an expensive wedding and reception, while others are not.

It is perfectly in order for a bride’s parents to give money to their daughter. But this is best done by putting the money in a bank account in her name. This is not a rule but only a guideline so that believers can preserve their testimony and not be accused of having received a dowry after the wedding.

There is another equally great evil in India – and that is the way daughters are treated by their parents when it comes to an inheritance. Many parents do not give an equal share of their wealth and assets to their daughters as they do to their sons. If it is evil to give or ask for dowry, it is an equally great evil for a parent not to give their daughters an equal share of their wealth as they give their sons. In God’s eyes, sons and daughters have equal rights to their parents’ assets. Any father who shows partiality to his sons over his daughters is an ungodly father, unfit to be called a Christian. Whether the father writes this in his will to be distributed after his death or whether he gives it to his children earlier is immaterial. But he must treat his daughters exactly like he treats his sons. And a daughter has every right to ask to be treated equally. Jesus taught that it is proper for children to ask their fathers for good gifts (Matthew 7:9-11).

If Jesus were in India today, He would denounce the dowry system ruthlessly. Unfortunately, church-leaders who claim to represent Him, do not denounce this practice – because they love money themselves, or are eager not to offend the rich, or hope to get a commission themselves in the process!

Even a non-Christian film-actor in India has spoken out against dowry recently. Aamir Khan writes:

“I am totally opposed to dowry. It is not only a retrograde practice but also an illegal one. Think about it – can a relationship, built on the foundation of money and greed, be meaningful or beautiful? We should make our daughter so accomplished and independent that she is capable of crafting her own future and becoming the master of her own happiness. Then she won’t need a greedy, useless groom to complete her life. Let her marry a person who respects her. Let her marry a man who she believes is worthy of her; whom she is happy to spend the rest of her life with.” 
http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/article3439626.ece]

Such non-Christian film-stars are now putting to shame so-called “Spirit-filled, tongue-speaking” believers, in this matter! Those film-stars will rise up in the day of judgment and condemn all hypocritical believers.

This is one reason why the Lord has placed CFC and related churches (and I hope, some other churches too) as lighthouses in India, to stand for the truth and to proclaim His will in this matter. The Bible commands us to speak up for the rights of the needy (Proverbs 31:8, 9). We must stand totally against this evil dowry system that has destroyed the lives of so many helpless girls in our land. We must also urge all parents to give an equal share of their wealth to their daughters as they give to their sons.

Daniel took a stand for the Lord in Babylon in a very small matter – not eating certain foods that God had forbidden in Leviticus 11. That was a very small commandment – but it was a small commandment given by a great God. Because Daniel honoured God, God honoured him. God is testing us now in little matters, to see whether we qualify to be a voice for Him.

May the Lord preserve us as a prophetic voice for Him in our land.

By Zac Poonen

**Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author. cfcindia.com / Picture by pexels

Self Worth And Self Esteem

 

“Our identity in Christ is part of accepting His gift of eternal life through faith.”

Often we put our self-worth in the type of clothes that we wear, the type of car that we drive, our accomplishments, our financial status, our relationship status, our talents, our appearance, etc. If you do this you will end up feeling broken and depressed. You will feel like you’re in shackles until you realise that Christ has set you free. Yes Christ has saved us from sin, but He has also saved us from the brokenness of having the world’s mindset.

Don’t let sin take away your joy. Don’t let the world take away your joy. The world will not take away your joy if your joy doesn’t come from the world. Allow it to come from the perfect merit of Christ.

Christ is the answer to all self-worth issues that may arise in your life. You are more to God than you can ever imagine!

Quotes

  • “Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me.”
  • “If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.”
  • “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
  • “Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t.”
  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

God created man in His own image. 

As a result of the fall we are all broken. God’s image has been perverted by sin. Through the first Adam the image of God was tarnished. Through the second Adam Jesus Christ believers have been redeemed. Adam’s disobedience resulted in brokenness. Christ’s perfection results in restoration. The gospel reveals your value. You are to die for! Christ bore our sins on the cross.

Though we struggle at times due to the effects of the fall. Through Christ we are being renewed daily. We were once a people plagued by that broken image, but through Christ we are being transformed to the perfect image of our Creator. For those struggling with self-esteem we must pray for the Lord to continue to conform us into His image. This takes our focus off of self and puts it on the Lord. We were made for God not the world.

The world says we need this, we need this, we need this. No! We were made for Him, we were made in His image, and we were made for His will. We have a purpose. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! It’s amazing that we get to be image bearers of a glorious God! The world teaches that we need to work on ourselves and that is the problem. How can the problem be the solution?

We don’t have the answers and all of these man made solutions are temporary, but the Lord is eternal! It’s either you create a temporary identity for yourself or you can choose the everlasting identity for yourself that is found and secure in Christ.

1. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

2. Romans 5:11-12 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.

3. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

4. Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

5. Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You’re so loved and beautiful beyond imagination!

The world will never comprehend. Even you will never comprehend the great love that God has for you! That is why we must look to Him. You are not in the world for nothing. Your life is not meaningless. Before creation God created you for Himself. He wants you to experience His love, He wants to spend time with you, He wants to tell you the special things of His heart. He never intended for you to look for confidence in yourself.

God says, “I’m going to be your confidence.” It is important on our walk of faith that we get alone with God so we can allow God to work in us and through us. Before the world was created God looked forward to you. He anticipated to have time with you and to reveal Himself to you. He waited in anticipation!

The Bible tells us that God’s heart beats faster and faster for you. Christians are the bride of Christ. Christ is the bridegroom. On a bridegroom’s wedding night all it takes is one look at his bride and his heart beats faster and faster for the love of his life.

Now imagine the love of Christ! Our love grows dull, but the love of Christ never wavers.

Before creation the Lord had many plans for you. He wanted to share His love with you so you would love Him more, He wanted to remove your doubts, your feelings of worthlessness, your feelings of hopelessness, and more. We have to get alone with God!

We struggle with so many things, but the one thing we need we neglect! 

We choose things that never wanted us, that want to alter us, and that never satisfy us over a God who died to be with us! We choose them over a God that says you are wonderfully made. Before the world looked at you and said you are not good enough God said I want him/her. He/she is going to be my treasure.

6. Ephesians 1:4-6 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

7. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

8. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9. John 15:15-16 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

10. Song of Solomon 4:9 “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, With a single strand of your necklace.”

You don’t need to prove to anyone how valuable you are.

The cross speaks louder than your words, your doubts, your accomplishments, and your possessions. The Creator of the Universe died for you on the cross! Jesus shed His blood. Don’t you understand that the simple fact that you are alive right now shows that He knows you and He loves you? God has not forsaken you. He hears you! You feel forsaken, but on the cross Jesus felt forsaken. He has been in your position and He knows how to comfort you.

You are not your past mistakes, you are not your past sins. You have been redeemed by the blood. Keep on pressing on. God is working through your struggles. He knows! God knew you and I were going to be messy. God isn’t frustrated with you so take that out of your head. God hasn’t abandoned you. God’s love is not based on your performance. God’s mercy is not dependent on you. Christ has become our righteousness. He did what you and I could never do.

You were bought with the precious blood of Christ. Not only has God chosen you, not only has God saved you, but God is working in your struggles to make you more like Christ. Don’t let things like sin discourage you. You were bought with the blood of Christ. Now press on. Keep on fighting! Don’t give up. Go to the Lord, confess your sins, and press on! God is not done working yet! If you could have saved yourself by your performance, then you would have never needed a Savior! Jesus is our only claim.

He thought about you when He died on the cross! He saw you living in sin and He said I want him. “I’m dying for him!” You must be so valuable that the Creator would come down from His throne, live the life you couldn’t live, suffer for you, die for you, and rise again for you. He was forsaken so you could be forgiven. Even if you tried to run away from Him you would never be able to get away from Him!

His love would catch you, cover you, and bring you back! His love is going to keep you to the end. He sees every tear, He knows your name, He knows the number of hairs on your head, He knows your faults, He knows every detail about you. Hold on to Christ.

11. 1 Corinthians 6:20 You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

12. Romans 8:32-35 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

13. Luke 12:7 In fact, even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

14. Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

15. Isaiah 43:4 Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.

This world teaches us to focus on self and that is the problem.

It’s all about self-help. Even in Christian bookstores you will find popular books titled “5 Steps For The New You!” We can’t fix ourselves. Until you realize you were not created for yourself you will always struggle with self-esteem issues. The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s all about Him!

Rather than looking to the world to patch up spiritual wounds which it can never do, we should look to God to change our heart. When you take the focus off of self and put all of your focus on Christ you will be so consumed in His love. You will be so busy in loving Him that you will lose the doubt and the feeling of rejection.

You will genuinely love yourself. We always tell people to trust in the Lord, but we forget to tell people that it’s hard to trust in Him when we are not focused on Him. We need to work on our humility. Make that your goal. Think less of yourself and think more of Him.

16. Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

17. Philippians 2:3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

18. Isaiah 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

The world has us comparing ourselves to each other.

This is hurting us. We are not to be like the world. We are to be like Christ. Everyone wants to be like someone. The person who you compare yourself to is comparing himself/herself to someone else. It’s meaningless and it will make you weary. It’s time to say enough is enough.

When you compare yourself to the world you allow Satan to plant seeds of doubt, insecurity, rejection, loneliness, etc. Nothing in this world will satisfy. Find satisfaction and joy in Christ which remains forever. You can’t try to substitute the joy found in Christ. All other joy is only temporary.

19. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbours. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind.

20. Philippians 4:12-13 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things  through Him who strengthens me.

21. 2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Setbacks bring down our self-esteem.

Throughout life we make expectations for ourselves. I do it all the time in my mind. I expect to accomplish this at this time. I expect this to be a certain way. I don’t expect setbacks or roadblocks, but sometimes we need a reality check. We are not to trust in our expectations. We are to trust in the Lord because when our expectations prove to be unfaithful we know that the Lord is faithful. We trust our future with our Almighty Father.

Proverbs 3 tells us to not trust in our thoughts. Expectations are dangerous because once you don’t meet your expectations you start to struggle in different areas. You start to struggle with your identity in Christ. You become disappointed in who you are. You start to lose the love of God. “God doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t hear my prayers. I am not fit to do this.”

Maybe you struggle with self-esteem and self-worth because you have encountered a few setbacks. I’ve been there before so I know how it feels. Satan starts spreading lies. “You’re worthless, God has too much to worry about, you’re not one of His special people, you’re not smart enough.”

We have to understand. We don’t need a title. We don’t need to be big and be well known. God loves us! Sometimes setbacks are because the love of God is so great. He is working in broken people and He is making diamonds out of us. Don’t trust in your setbacks. Allow God to work everything out. You can trust in Him. Pray for more joy in Him.

22. Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

23. Isaiah 43:18-19 Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

24. Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Read Psalms

One thing about my church that I love is that church members take turns reading different chapters in Psalms. Whatever you are struggling with whether it is self-worth, anxiety, fear, etc. take the time to read different Psalms especially Psalm 34. I love that chapter. Psalms will help you with putting your confidence back in the Lord instead of yourself. God hears you! Trust Him even when you see no changes in your situation.

25. Psalm 34:3-7 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

We all struggle with self-worth to some degree. However, the more we learn to take the focus off of self and put it on Christ, the more we realize where our true identity lies. God’s love is so profound it’s difficult to understand. Leonard Ravenhill once said, “it’s not about how much you have to give to Him. It’s about how much He has to give to you.”

God bless!

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**By Fritz Chery at Bible Reasons / Picture by Amine M’Siouri at pexels