Thursday, October 31, 2019

Chosen and Anointed

Submitted by Lara Cook
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.  1 Samuel 16:13

To be anointed means to be ordained or chosen by God for a specific purpose.  David was a shepherd boy that was anointed to be the king of Israel when he was just 10-12 years old.  It was years before he would actually step into the role, but the vision was cast on his life and the Bible says, “and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.”  From that moment on, David went on to do great things.  He lived with no fear, fighting a lion and a bear with his bare hands, and after that he took out Goliath with no armor and no weapon but a slingshot and a handful of stones.  It was evident that God’s hand was on him and David lived like he believed it. 
God’s hand is on you and me too and we have been chosen and anointed like David, but we don’t fight our battles in the anointed power of Jesus Christ.  As Christians we have received anointing from Him so that we will be equipped to do everything He purposes for us to do.  We probably won’t be slaying literal lions, bears, and giants, but there will be many “giants” in our lives that try to take us down.  We need to claim the anointing that is ours and fight our battles in His power.  Like David, He has a purpose and plan for us that He has anointed us for also.  
We are chosen, anointed, and set apart.  How would you fight your battles differently if you fully claimed the anointing that is yours?  If you could comprehend the vision, He has cast over you, the claim He has on you, would you ever be afraid?  Later in his life, David made some bad choices and mistakes, and he forgot his anointing for a little while.  Did you forget your anointing?  Have the wrong choices you have made stolen from you the assuredness of His claim on your heart?  There is nothing that will snatch you out of His hand.  You are chosen forever, anointed for eternity. The bears and lions and giants will come.  Fight them with the power of the anointing you already have.  

And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.   (NASB).  1 John 2:27

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Name of the Lord Almighty

Some material taken from Underdogs to Overcomers - Sam Nobles David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”  1 Samuel 17:45-47

Many good-hearted people have preconceived ideas about how other Christians should fight their battles, but David did what I think we all should do – trust God at His Word. You don’t have to be like anyone else in the heat of battle, you just need to be who God wants you to be. Saul also tried to get David to wear his armor, but David couldn’t do it.  He didn’t need Saul’s armor or anyone’s good advice.  He needed to trust God and do what he knew how to do, what God had prepared him to do.

David knew how to fight a giant. In the field he had killed lions and bears with his bare hands.  He knew how to use a slingshot and well enough to hit Goliath in the right spot. It sounded like a pretty slim chance for victory but David was in for the Lord’s glory and he knew the battle belonged to the Lord. …and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.

It is always good to have friends on our side.  Support and prayers in our battles are essential to survival.  But no one can fight our battles for us except the Lord.  Everthing in our lives should be for His glory and that means the battles too. The victories are for His glory as well as the defeats.  He is glorified above all, above all strategy, weapons, or armor.  
They made fun of David for his size and lack of war experience, but that didn’t stop him. He marched out to meet Goliath with the same trust that delivered the lion and the bear into his hands. 
He knew where he stood. He knew God was with him. All that he had was a little slingshot and five smooth stones from the brook. Instead of being afraid of the giant coming at him, David quickly ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 
Think of the Philistines on the hill that day after seeing Goliath fall when David and told them that it was going to happen in the name of the Lord.  He said that they would all know that it is not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves.  They saw with their own eyes that David had no sword or spear. It was only the power of the Lord that won that battle through David.  The Lord got all the glory.  
Can those around you see the glory of the Lord in the battles of your life?  Can they see the glory of God in the victories?  In the defeats?  Yes, God can be glorified in the battles we lose. How do we handle the defeat? Do we let our faith wane because of a lost battle?  I am not sure which would be a greater testimony, a victory that glorifies God or a loss that glorifies God?  Glorifying God in the losses is certainly harder and He wants others to see Him glorified in our life in all things.  Whatever you are battling, whatever giant is calling to you, taunting you, give the battle to the Lord.  It is in His power that the giants of our lives are defeated and He is glorified. 

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.  Exodus 14:14

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Are You Able?

Some material taken from Underdogs to Overcomers - Sam Nobles
So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have? There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. 1 Samuel 16:11-13a

Most of the time when we feel like we are being called by God to a specific job, we don’t feel qualified.  But the truth is that if God calls us, He gives us all the ability we need to fulfill His purpose for us.  We don’t have the faith we need to step out in belief because we are looking to ourselves for the ability and not Him.  We will never measure up in our own power, but God fills our lives with experience, that brings wisdom and knowledge to equip us for His work. In the story of David’s life we see the story of a boy anointed king, who had to wait a long time before this destiny came about.  David probably got tired of waiting for that to happen and might have even given up hope.  But God has perfect timing. He knows what he is doing, and our job is to trust and obey. David was faithful while he was waiting. He stepped into every role God had for him with an obedient heart.
God had a few “opportunities” for David to experience on the way to the throne. The day that David delivered the cheese and bread for his father, God put David in the direct line to step into the role he was born for - the giant killing shepherd king. He didn’t become king that day, but it was another step in the process. Any person who has made themselves available for God’s use, will spend some time doing seemingly insignificant things and may never know exactly why God had them in that place. It did serve a purpose. The key is to have an obedient and submissive attitude and to do it well - whatever God has us doing.  God provides many great opportunities down the path of “little things.” Don’t miss out because you ignore what you assume to be insignificant. Faithfulness in the “small things” is how God determines promotion to the “big things.”
Are You Willing and Available?Being willing and available provided David with experiences that God had lined up in his life as part of His plan for David.  He was a shepherd of his father’s sheep, resulting in the opportunity to kill lions and bears, giving him confidence to go against Goliath. He spent many hours alone in the fields, playing music, meditating on God and getting lots of practice with his slingshot. After David was anointed to be the king, he worked for Saul as his armor bearer and he played music on his lyre when Saul was troubled. He went back and forth between working for Saul and going home to help his father with the sheep. All of these were seemingly everyday circumstances in his life that provided experience that put him closer to his destiny. God prepared him in the field. God prepared him on the front lines of battle. God prepared him in the palace. David was willing and available.  God provided the able.
When God anoints us, He anoints us - and prepares us - for His service, whatever He calls us to do. Sometimes it is to be the king, sometimes it is to simply deliver the cheese now so we can be the king later. Every detail and task in our lives is part of our God-ordained destiny. It is all important. It is all vital to our story and His plan. Being willing to do the little things is opening our hearts to allow Him to change us and do great things in our lives.

Therefore my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:58 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Small Beginnings that led to Great Things

Some material taken from Underdogs to Overcomers - Sam Nobles
Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” Samuel 17:17-19

Saul was the firsrt king of Israel. His reign started out great but he became completely obstinate towards God and God sent Samuel to tell him that he was being relieved of his duty as king. Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”  1 Samuel 15:28  God then called Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king.
Jesse lined all his sons up in a row, all but one, but he was too young anyway. He was his youngest son, out in the field tending the sheep.  Samuel had come to anoint the next king and David could stay with the sheep because he could not be the chosen one. But that son, the insignificant one out in the field, was exactly who God had chosen and who Samuel was there to anoint as the second king of Israel. I would imagine that when Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger, that inn keeper would have never believed He would be the king either. Jesse anointed David that day to be the king, but it wouldn’t be for many years to come.  However, David’s life was immediately changed.  
It wasn’t long after Samuel had anointed David as Israel’s next king, that a war broke out between Israel and the Philistines. Both armies lined up for battle in the Valley of Elah. David’s brothers were on the front lines of battle and David’s father sent him to the battle to deliver bread for his brothers and cheese to the army officers. 
Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for a teenage boy, who has just been anointed as king, to continue to be a shepherd for his dad’s sheep? Or deliver snacks to the front lines of battle? David probably had some moments where he thought that someone who had been anointed to be the future king should not have to do any chores or serve his brothers. David had to continue to submit to authority, knowing that one day he would be king and submit to no one.  The Lord did have a plan for David’s life, and it included the absolute power of ruling as a king, but he wasn’t king yet.  God still had a journey of growth for David to experience before he would be completely ready to step into his purpose. 
Sometimes God leaves us in a place for a while to mold us into His vessel.  We may feel like we are more important than the role we are having to carry out at the moment because we may be confident in our anointing and sure of His purpose for us. We might struggle because it seems like God is not moving in our life.  We may know that God has greater things for us, but there is purpose in every second of our lives - even the monotonous, mundane moments. God does some of the greatest work in ourlives in the “small things” of our lives - the “small” jobs, “small” roles, “small” circumstances, etc. Are you in a “small” place in your life today?  Are you waiting to finally get to move into the palace and take your seat on the throne?  God anoints us as His sons and daughters the minute we give our life to Him in Salvation.  We have been anointed early on, just like David.  We need to live anointed in every role He has for us - “big” or “small.”  

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Easy Yoke and the Light Burden

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

The definition of yoke is – 1. A crossbar with two U-shaped pieces that encircle the necks of a pair of oxen or other draft animals working together. b. pl. yoke or yokes - A pair of draft animals, such as oxen, joined by a yoke.  2. A frame designed to be carried across a person's shoulders with equal loads suspended from each end.
The illustration of a yoke here is symbolic of Jesus helping to carry our load.  A yoke was most often used between two oxen.  The two yoked together would lighten the burden, and usually a young inexperienced ox was paired with an older more experienced ox that knew what to do.  This is similar to Jesus helping us.  He knows just what to do and He will help carry our load.  
Grace! Not Works!The “yoke of the Pharisees” was the burdensome yoke of self-righteousness and legalistic law-keeping.  They believed that only keeping the law would bridge the gap between their sinfulness and God’s holiness.  
Jesus’ yoke is light.  He knows that no amount of law-keeping will bridge this chasm.  Romans 3:20 tells us through the prophet Isaiah that no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law.  
The good news is that Jesus promises to all who come to Him that He will give them rest from the heavy burden of trying to earn our way into heaven and rest from the oppressive yoke of self-righteousness and trying to earn our way through works. 
Knowing that we have this assurance in Him should help us to rest a lot easier.  He has paid the biggest price of all our troubles.  Whatever we face in life, none of it could be as big as the thought that we will be separated eternally from God because of our sin.  If God can save us from our sins, is there anything that He can’t do for us?  If He can save our lives, if He can defeat the power of sin and death, He can take care of us.  Our trials are overwhelming to us, but they are no surprise to Him and no match for His power.  
Resting in His YokeWhen we learn how to completely hand over all things to Jesus and trust in His wisdom and power, we can find true rest.  There is nothing like the feeling of a burden lifted.  Even when it doesn’t go away, we can turn it over to Him so that we can find that relief.  He wants our burdens, He wants our pain.  It gives Him joy to take the burden off of us, the same way it brings a parent joy to help their child through a hard time or teach them how to overcome an issue. We are never alone in anything we go through in this life.  He is with us every step of the way and provides the sanctuary in the storm we so desperately need.  Trust Him.  Give Him your burdens and fears and take His yoke that provides rest and peace.  Surrender your own desires and thoughts about how to solve the issues you are facing and trust in His infinite power and wisdom.  He loves us and longs for us to trust Him enough to find rest in that trust.    

Thursday, October 24, 2019

He Meets our Needs

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Jesus always knows what we need, and no one can meet our needs better.  Jesus will meet us at the point of our need and do what is best for us in that moment according to what we are dealing with at the time.  There are many different ways God provides us rest, and it may not always be the way we think He will or should.  
Sometimes He Will Remove Your Burden - There are times when the Lord changes your situation in an instant, removing your burden. I don’t know about you, but this is normally the prayer I pray.  I just want God to take it away, to fix it.  I know in His sovereign power He can do anything right? He has all power, but He also knows all things.  He in His omniscience knows what is best for me.  I can find rest and peace by trusting Him when He doesn’t just take the hard things away instantly.
Sometimes He Will Relieve Your Burden - There are times when the Lord will leave the burden on your shoulders, but He will lighten the burden a little bit. He might not take the burden away completely but there will be some relief in some way.  Again, if I trust in His infinite wisdom and love for me, I can find peace and rest in Him. 
Sometimes He Will Rest You In Your Burden - This is the most common aid we receive from Him. He gives us grace to carry the load we have been assigned. He changes us in our situation instead of just changing our situation. - And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  2 Corinthians 12:9
As we serve God, our relationship with Christ provides us the necessary rest required to continue our service.  It is critical to find rest in Him and in our relationship with Him when we are carrying a heavy load.
Grace brings rest!  
When Jesus said the words in the scripture passage above, He was speaking to Jews. He knew these groaned under the weight of their ceremonial laws and the traditions of the elders. He tells them that by coming to Him they would be freed from these burdensome rituals and ceremonies. Christ tells them to come to him, to believe in him, and to trust him, and him only, for salvation. Doing this, He will give them rest - rest from their sins, from the alarms of conscience, from the terrors of the law, and from the fears of eternal death.  These Jews had sought to find favor with God through the Law.  
With grace we can rest in the arms of acceptance and sufficiency through the blood of Jesus Christ.  When we know the grace of our God we can rest.  When we have God’s grace, we are accepted, forgiven, loved, and redeemed.  The penalty of the Law is cancelled by the payment of our Lord. We receive healing, prosperity and eternal relationships through the grace of God. The first time grace is mentioned is in Genesis.  Here is an interesting scriptural insight from the Genesis statement Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord.  The name Noah in the Hebrew means Rest.  Rest found grace.  The key to finding the grace of God is to rest in the work of Christ, and that takes trust.  We must trust in Him to find real rest. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

He Will Give You Rest

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

Rest...It’s a word we hear often enough, but do we really understand its importance in our lives?  We need to learn how to experience rest.  If all we needed was physical rest we can always take a nap.  If we needed only emotional rest, we can always take a vacation.  But where can we find spiritual rest…rest for our souls?  How can we obtain relief regarding the deepest issues of life at the deepest level of our hearts?   

Jesus spoke to this very issue 2000 years ago in Matthew 11:28-30.  Today this scripture passage is still relavant to our lives.  We understand this passage and even quote it often but not very many of us have  learned to actually do this.  On average Americans don’t value rest and relaxation. On the contrary, we’ve made a virtue of being a workaholic; we brag about how busy we are, as if the hectic pace of our lives is proof that we’re important and significant. We feel guilty when we’re not working, and we’re suspicious of anyone else who removes their nose from the grindstone for too long.

"Come to Me ... and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28aThis call from Christ is yours to answer.  Jesus says, “If you are worn out from your burden, come over here to Me.” It shows the willingness of the Lord to meet us at the point of our need.  Kings and leaders are usually difficult to access.  But Jesus is not only willing, but invites us, to come to Him.  What a gracious invitation this is! We have the privilege of connecting with God through the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Law, Jesus Christ.  In Christ, we have the embodiment of the Sabbath, the fulfillment of the Sabbath because in Christ we have found our rest! 

Three aspects of rest we have in Christ:

·  First we receive the Sinner’s Rest when we receive salvation through faith in Christ.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken."  Psalm 62:1-2  What a magnificent blessing we receive when we Christ becomes our Savior!  All of those heavy, discouraging burdens are lifted from our shoulders by Jesus when we fall at His feet and receive His love.  

·  Second we have the Shepherd's Rest secured in Christ.  
For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his lovehe will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. Zephaniah 3:17  What a wonderful promise of peace or calmness which was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ!  
·  Finally we have the Servant's Rest in service with Christ.  The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and what they had taught. Then Jesus said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest."  Mark 6:30-31. There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn't even have time to eat.  Where some would feel there was no time to rest, Jesus saw it as a necessity. 

Rest Rest is a part of life that cannot be ignored without paying a price.  Jesus offers to take our burdens and give us the rest we need.  We will continue to look at rest and what it means to really find a Sabbath in this crazy busy life more this week.  For now, let Him have your burdens and give you rest. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NASB

God did not intend for us to live stressed out and running on empty every second of every day.  When we live stressed out lives, we are letting Satan steal the abundant life that God intended for us to have.  Even if we are filling our days serving God, if we are doing too much, we are not glorifying Him. This is a lie that is easy for Christians to believe. The more I can do - the better!  I need to be in five Bible studies, volunteer four days a week, teach Wednesday and Sunday at church, etc.   God wants a relationship with us most of all and when we are always running, always distracted and busy, we are not focusing on Him.    
 The term stress, by and large, involves too much. Too many pressures demanding too much of you physically, psychologically, and spiritually can bring about weariness, anger or illness.  Yet we still believe that if we can just get everything under control, we will feel better. 

On the other hand, burnout happens when we have ignored the stress we feel and now feel empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring.  People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. 

Neither of these conditions are God’s plan for our lives yet we are a nation of chronically stressed and burned out people.  Most of us feel like we are wasting time if we are resting, or that there are other very important things we need to be doing.  But God meant for our week to end with a day of rest and worship. 

RestStress can cause a lot of negative reactions in our bodies like causing our emotions to become over-reactive, exhaustion, mental exhaustion, depleting our energy, anxiety, panic attacks, and more. Our society today as a whole is overworked, overstimulated, and overextended.  The pressure of social media to be more, do more, and have more is constant.  God did not intend for us to go non-stop.  We were created in His image and He rested on the seventh day of creation as a model to us, calling the day holy.  He meant for rest to be a sacred thing and He meant for us to rest. In rest we can connect with Him, we can hear Him and we can find peace in Him. 

Rest gives us the energy we need to do God’s work.  And for Christians, all our work is God’s work.  

Taking care of our families or sick loved ones, performing the mundane chores of life, doing all the things that are not fun or glamorous are all God’s work.  

What Needs to Go?
To position ourselves to have the rest God desires for us, we usually have to cut something out, meaning we need to take a serious inventory and redefine priorities in our lives. The day will come when we will be asked how we spent our time.  We will give an account of how we used the time that God entrusted us with. 

Are you putting God first?  Spending time with God every day is essential to helping us stay on track and keeping our focus on Him.  We also need to take an honest look and see what may have taken the place of God in our lives.  Ia there anything you are doing that is not the best for you, but you love it and don’t want to stop?  Whatever it is, it is most likely an idol for you, giving you satisfaction you should only be finding in God. This will drain the life out of you quickly. Elevating God to the first place position in our lives allows other things will fall into place and we can clearly see the things that do not fall under His plan for us. Position yourself to receive the blessing of rest that He gives by making Him the first place in your heart.

Monday, October 21, 2019


Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 NASB
It takes a lot of energy to handle what is thrown at us on a daily basis. While some things wear us down, we seem to have a lot more energy in doing the things we love to do or doing things for people we love. 
There are limits, however, to our strength and yet, sometimes we have to continue living when the strength for living seems to be gone.  When we are wrung out emotionally, physically and spiritually and yet still have to continue life becomes a real burden. When we get in this condition, we can lose our hope quickly. It happens in work, marriage, child-rearing, caregiving, and even ministry. Sometimes what once gave us great joy becomes a burden and chore.  Vision, passion, and purpose become buried in the muddy day to day stress of life.  Life comes with troubles and we humans complicate things even more along the way.  
Burnout can become a real problem and cause of serious issues in our lives. Two definitions are:
“A state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations.” - Ayala Pines & Elliott Aronson
“A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.” – Herbert J Freudenberger
These definitions embrace the essence of burnout, with the first stressing the part that exhaustion plays in it, and the second stressing the sense of disillusionment that is at its core.  As you can see, this is not just a workaholic term.  Burnout happens when we give too much of our self away in any situation.  God made remember the Sabbath and keep it holy one of the ten commandments for a reason.  We have to rest and let God restore our souls, fill our cups, if we are to be effective in anything we do - including our job, parenting, relationships, and ministry. 
Many of us get our sense of identity and meaning from our work, a relationship or a cause. We may have started with high ideals or high ambitions and may have followed these with passion. We usually set high expectations for these in our hearts and minds.  
A truth in life is that few things in life end up as expected. The quicker we learn that lesson the better off we are.  Some pour all of themselves into trying to make things turn out to meet their expectations. Then they end up depleted, disappointed, and disillusioned when it doesn’t happen. Finally, you reach the end of yourself. It is the realization that your ideas, your strength, your will, your desires, your efforts are not sufficient to make your marriage, your child-rearing, your career, your ministry, your LIFE work. It is coming to the point of no longer kidding yourself and facing the fact that your belief system has flaws in it. This may be followed by a downward spiral of disappointment, anxiety, depression, failure, and insecurity that leads to more disappointment, deeper anxiety, depression and more failure. People caught in this cycle are unable to break loose without the rescue of Jesus Christ.  He alone is sufficient to provide us with what we need.  He alone gives us our true identity.  He alone can restore our empty disappointed souls and fill us with abundant goodness and joy.  He can make us new and bring our focus back to where it needs to be.  He gives us rest and takes the heavy yoke we are trying to carry.  Look to Him for unmet expectations and trust Him with your disappointment.  He is the only one who can meet all our expectations and provide the satisfaction we long for.  

Friday, October 18, 2019

Feeling Less Than

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12
Feeling Less Than
We have been talking a lot about how we as Christians are not supposed to judge and condemn others.  But maybe you are the one who has been judged. Or maybe you have judged yourself.  Maybe you, or someone else, has given you a label and that has become your identity. 
We cling to labels for ourselves like life preservers.  A diagnosis or a troubled area in our lives lead to labels like depressed, disabled, ADHD, OCD, and many more.  While these are all very real struggles in our lives, we have to be careful to not them become our identity.  Sometimes we like to let people know so they will give us a break, be patient with us, or give us extra time. If we are not careful, we can start to believe that the label completely defines us, spreading it into every area of our lives.

The world suggests that we look within to discover who we truly are.  But if we only look at ourselves to try to discover who we are, we will be left feeling disappointed and empty.  We can look inward and discover some truths about ourselves, but they don’t define us.  Those truths were meant to be taken by our creator and used for His goodness and glory in our lives. 

God desires that we be set free from feelings of condemnation we have encountered in the past, that we not pass condemnation to others, and that we become lovingly involved in helping others be set free.  In the life of a believer, this sense of worthlessness is not from God. There is no condemnation because Christ took the sentence, punishment, and judgment for our sin.  We have to fight hard to not let our humanness overcome our identity in Christ.  Satan loves it when that happens.  God’s standard is over and above all.  Satan has no authority to speak identity into your life, but he will try.  God has called you, adopted you and given you a new identity. 

The trials and struggles we go through and the labels we pick up along the way certainly play a part in who we become.  They change us and God uses those to His glory.  But our true identity is in God and who He says we are.  He alone is trustworthy and unchanging, and He is the only one worthy to determine who we are.  He created us and gave us specific characteristics that He will use in our story.  Labels come from our human traits, not our Heavenly Father.  Our Heavenly Father gives us our identity and it is as His son or daughter.  He calls us chosen, royal, forgiven, free, and victorious. We are who He says we are forever.  That identity cancels out all the negative labels we give ourselves – sinner, unworthy, no good, lazy, and so many more.  No matter what you did in the past, you are not that person anymore.  Let who you are in Christ wash all the other labels away.  

…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

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