God Knows Your Worth


For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-14a

Have you ever noticed how little children want to impress those they admire the most.

I work with kids every day and I see it many times over. One child brings a new toy to school and what is the first thing he says? “See my new toy!” One child learns to dribble a basketball and he can not wait to show the bigger boys who are on the basketball team how well he can bounce that ball.

I see it with my own children every day. One finally passes a level on a game he is playing (Please, no hate mail. Yes, I let my children play video games 😉 ) and the first thing he want to do is show it to me or his dad. When our little girl learned to put her own hair in a pony tail she could not wait to show me how she could do it herself. Our children love to play music; when they can finally make that chord they have been working to make we must stop what we are doing and listen.

Children are always searching for acceptance in the world. Sometimes it is from friends. “Other times it is from their own siblings. Often times it is from a parent.

As I thought about the need for acceptance, I thought to myself, “Children are not the only ones who feel this way.” Even as adults we often try to prove ourselves to each other. Too many times we work very hard to be seen by those around us. I will not even begin to list the ways in which we do this. I am sure that even now each of us is thinking of one situation or another in which we try to gain the acceptance of our peers.

Do we not do the same thing with God? How many times do we bring our abilities to God and say, “Look God! See what I can do.”

Friends, we do not have to try to impress God. Our worth is not in how much money we make or what car we drive. God does not place a value on us depending on our job or relationship status. God loves us just as we are.

Our verse today says that He knew us while we were still in the womb. God knitted us together Himself. God wants us to come to Him just as we are. God desires for us to bring Him all our imperfections and lay them at His feet.

You see, with God all things are beautiful. In our own hands they are nothing more than filthy rags. It is only when we lay them at the feet of our Savior that He will take our gifts and use them to bring honor and glory to His name.

I want to encourage you today. Stop trying so hard to impress those around you. Do not let the world tell you that your worth lies in what you have or what you can do, and stop trying to prove your worth to God. He loves you just as you are. John 3:16 tell us that God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die for us. We did not do anything to earn that love, nor can we ever earn it. It is a free gift, given from a Savior who knows we are worth dying for.

I pray today that you will see your worth in God’s eyes. Offer Him your gifts, not trying to earn his acceptance, but as an offering of praise for all that He has done for you.

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There is Only One Way


“The Lord is merciful and gracious,Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.” Psalm 103:8-9

Friends, I feel the need to share something that has been on my heart. There is a trend going on among God’s people which disturbs me, and I feel the need to speak out about it.

First, let me say that I very much enjoy sharing words of encouragement with you. I feel this is what I am called to do. I try to share Scriptures that will cheer you on along your Christian journey. I share words of wisdom and stories from our lives that will encourage you and your family. I do my best to take Scripture and use it as a guide for your everyday life.

Next, I want to share my belief on what God wants for His children. I believe that God wants His children to be happy. He wants good things for us. I believe that God rejoices with us when we rejoice, and He hurts with us when we hurt. I believe that God wants to see His children enjoy life.

Here is the problem I am having. There are people out there right now who want to tell you things that simply are not true. While I do enjoy bringing you words of encouragement, I never want to lead you to believe that your life is always going to be easy and worry free. I do not want to fool you into thinking that if you have positive thoughts, your life will always go as planned. Friends, sadly this is not true.

Please do not think I am here to spread gloom and doom. That is not my intention. I do, however, feel that God has placed this on my heart today. I feel that just as I share encouraging words with you I must also share the serious words with you.

In the verse that I shared today, we read that God is merciful and gracious. He is slow to anger and full of mercy. God sent His Son to live on this earth for a season and then to die on the cross so that we might be saved. Yes, He loves us. He is merciful. Yes, He wants good for us.

There is something I want us to understand. Even thought we serve a God who is mighty and gracious and merciful, we are told in John 16:33, that we will face trials and tribulations on this earth. Friends, please do not believe the lie that if you will just think positively, then your life is going to be easy and trouble free. This is not true. We are told right here that we will face trouble. We do, however, find hope if we will continue on to the end of this verse. After we are warned that life is going to be difficult, we are then encouraged by these words, ” But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Within this statement we find the truth. It is not in our own positive thinking that we find hope, but in the assurance that we have a Savior who gave His life for us. In doing so He has conquered the world. This is where we find true, lasting hope.

There is one more misconception that I would like to discuss. This one, in my opinion, is not so obvious. The trouble I have in this matter is not so much that it has been twisted and misused, as it is that it simply has been left out altogether. I am talking about the judgement and the wrath of God.

Now, you may be saying, “But, I thought you were just talking about a loving God.” You would be correct. We do serve a loving God, but if you will continue reading today’s verse you will see that this day of mercy and grace will, at some point, come to an end.

We read in Psalm 103:9He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.” Friends, there is coming a day when God will say enough is enough. Please do not miss this very important part of the puzzle. Somehow we have gotten so caught up in the power of positive thinking and the blessings of God that we have forgotten about punishment for sin. Romans 6:23 reads, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is only one way to Heaven and it is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

You can be as positive as you want to be. You can think all the good thoughts that one mind can manage. You can be as good a person as you want to be. What I want you to understand today is that none of these things are going to keep you out of Hell.

I believe in having a positive attitude. I believe in being a good person. I believe that as Christians our lives should reflect Jesus and the love that He has for us. I encourage my kids every day to be positive. I encourage them to work hard and to be good people. What I make sure they understand though is that none of these things are going to save them from the punishment that sin brings, and none of them are going to get them into Heaven.

I understand that I may appear to be on my soapbox today, but I truly believe in my heart that these words need to be shared. I feel that I have been given the responsibility to share the truth with you. If that comes through encouragement, then that is what I want to share. If, like this morning, it comes as cold, hard facts, then I want to be faithful in sharing that as well.

I do have some encouragement for you this morning. God loves you. He does want good for your life. He sent His One and Only Son to die on the cross for your sins. He is, at this very moment, preparing a place for you when this life is over. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He did so as a gift to all of us. It is up to us to accept that gift and give our lives to Him. This gift is our only hope.

Friends, I want to see happiness and health in our lives. I do want us to be good people. I believe in being positive. But, I do not want us to believe the lie that these things are enough to keep us out of Hell. There is only one way to Heaven. I pray that you have chosen that way today.

What Kind of Vessel are You?


gold_vessel

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” II Timothy 2:20-21

Do you own any items which are special to you? Maybe you have something that has been passed down to you over the years or something that once belonged to a famous person. How do you treat these items? Do you just throw them around or do you keep them protected some place?

How would you feel if you came home one day and your children were making mud pies in great-great-grandma Martha’s fine china? What if you came home from work to find your children playing outside with your limited edition football that had been signed by Joe Montana?

I love to collect vintage items. In my kitchen I have on display all of the many items which have been passed down by my grandmother. I also have a set of china that was given to me by my aunt. It is on display in my china cabinet. Only on very special occasions do I take it out and use it. You see, I have set these items apart for a special purpose.

Do you know that God sees each of us this way?

We were all created by God in His image. There are certain things about each one of us which make us unique and special. We have all been given different talents and gifts which are to be used to bring honor and glory to God.

The question I want us to think about this morning is this: What kind of vessel am I?

In the Bible we can read about certain vessels that were made for specific purposes. There were items made of gold that were never to be used for anything except the particular job for which they were created. It was a great dishonor if these items were ever used for anything else. You see, they were holy vessels, vessels that had been cleansed and committed to serving God.

We are all beautiful vessels yet we are all born with sin in our hearts. We are created by God but are naturally dirty on the inside. We must decide whether or not we are going to allow God to work in us and clean us up. It is our choice whether or not we allow God to use us for that special purpose for which He created us.

When we make the decision to accept Jesus into our hearts we allow Him to come in and cleanse us. We ask Him to forgive us of our sins and we are made new. We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.

Sadly for some people this is as far as they get. They somehow miss the next step, which is sanctification. Being sanctified is being completely cleansed and set apart for a special purpose. It means that we empty ourselves of everything that could hinder the Lord’s work in us and we give ourselves to God for His service.

I want to encourage you, today, to allow God to work in your life. Allow God to cleanse your heart and set you aside for a special purpose. Our verse today says that there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. What kind of vessel will you be? Will you be an everyday vessel that is never really used for anything special, or will you bring honor to God by allowing Him to cleanse you and set you aside for a special purpose? The choice is yours to make. 

Indescribable Peace


http://1shada.deviantart.com/art/Peaceful-Life-84811856

photo credit: 1Shada

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Peace. It is a wonderful feeling to experience in life.

Peace that only God can bring is something, as a Child of God, that I long for.

The past couple of weeks have been quite stressful for me, not in a negative way at all, but stressful nonetheless. You may be wondering how stress can be anything but negative. Let me explain what I mean. God has been teaching me lately to grow and to step out of my comfort zone. While it has been a good change and I have enjoyed the chance to stretch my wings, it has not come without a bit of fear. I have spent a lot of time in prayer.

I found myself longing for and searching for the peace I knew could only come from God.  As I prayed for wisdom, thanked God for all that He had done, searched for answers, and trusted God, I found that each day He was leading me, calming me, and carrying me in His arms. There, I found peace. In the arms of my Savior I could rest.

Lately I have learned what today’s verse really means. I have read this verse before. I had to memorize it when I was in school. The past couple of weeks, however, it has really taken on a new meaning to me.

I have heard the voice of fear in my mind telling me that there is no way I will get through this, only to have it overpowered by an overwhelming sense of peace that could only come from God. Lately, I have experienced that peace that passes all understanding.

What a wonderful feeling it is to know that even through my scariest storms God is carrying me, caring for me, and shaping me into the person He wants me to be.

I do not know what storms you might be facing. I do not know what is stressing you out right now. But, I do know that there is a peace that can only come from God. He offers you a peace that you could not possible understand, but when you sense it in your life there will be no doubt from where it came.

I pray today that you will seek God, go to Him in prayer, and thank Him for all that He has done in your life. As you do this, I pray that you too will experience this peace that passes all understanding.

Which Way Are You Going?


A_fork_in_the_road

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Psalm 1

I love to read the Psalms. What a picture each one paints for us. Some of the Psalms we can use as prayers. Some we can draw wisdom from, and others are stepping-stones that teach us how to live. Normally I pick one or two verses and use them, but there was no way for me to separate this chapter. I felt it would lose its meaning if I only used part of it.

This Psalm, for me, is a stepping stone. It gives me a path and shows me the way I should be living and warns me of the things that I should avoid, thus leaving me with a decision to make. Which way will I choose? Will I follow God or will I follow my own way? Each has a certain end. It is up to me to decide which way I will go.

I love the contrast that is painted here for us. We have a choice to make: Tree or Chaff?

Have you ever seen a tree that is planted close to the water? It is tall and beautiful. Its branches are strong and full of beautiful green leaves. It is firm in its foundation and is not easily shaken. I believe that this is how God would have us to be as Christians. We are to be rooted in God and in His word. We will find that as we spend time with God each day we will become as this tree. We will be strong in Christ and our faith will grow. As we study God’s Word we will find that our roots are becoming more and more grounded and that we are firmer in our foundation of Godliness and in our beliefs. As we remain close to God we will find that He is growing us into the beautiful creatures that He intended for us to be.

Now let us think about the chaff. This is the part of either wheat or corn that is left after the seed has been removed. It is very thin and light. It is useless, and can be easily blown away by whatever wind comes along. This, for me, paints a picture of one who is not a Christian, or one who is not grounded in the Word of God.

If we are not careful we can become as this chaff. If we step away from God and His word we will find that instead of being strong and mighty as the tree planted next to the water, we will become dried up and frail. Instead of being grounded, with our roots firmly planted in the ways of the Lord we will find ourselves being blown around by the winds of adversity and sin.

Each of us has a choice to make today. Will we choose to be firmly planted in God as the tree or will we choose to be like the chaff, frail and tossed about? I want us to realize today that the choice we make has eternal consequences. Will we follow God and be called blessed or will we choose to make our own way and perish?

I pray today that this has painted a clear picture in our minds of the life that God would have us to live. I hope we can see today that God wants us to be rooted in Him. If we will stay close to God and allow Him to live in us He will make us into stronger Christians. He will mold us into what He would have us to be. The choice is ours: Tree or Chaff. Which Way Will You Choose?

This is my choice: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.Joshua 24:15 

My prayer for you today is that you will follow God. Allow Him to guide you, to grow you, and to ground you in His word today.