Upset, Hurt….How Can The Scriptures Help?

G001_Fear - Woman

Hurt? Upset? …..How Can the Scriptures Help?

Have you ever experienced HURT?

Have you ever been UPSET?

I want you to cast your mind back to a situation in which you were upset or felt hurt. Some of you might not have to go back because you are hurting right now.

I am going to add to your burden, because I am going to suggest that maybe you could have avoided being upset and the hurt that you experienced was unnecessary.

Recently, someone shared with me an issue that could have caused us to be upset and even to experience hurt. My response was to invite them to consider some things that might have produced the situation. I had taken those things into consideration and consequently being upset did not even occur to me.

I had a conversation with another individual who indicated that they were taking care not to get caught up in reacting to what could be seen as disrespectful behaviour from a colleague.

With the exception of those who walk under a halo, from time to time something rubs us the wrong way and we get upset and may even experience hurt feelings.

That said, it is equally true that how we process and file incoming information influences how we relate to others and how we respond to events. What it all boils down to is that the only factors that determine what rubs us the wrong way are the images we play in our heads and the words we frame.

What am I saying?

I am suggesting that your thoughts are the only things that determine whether you are upset or hurt.

To use Rohan’s psychology class example:

If an insane person hurls some really terrible insults at you, would you get upset and feel hurt?

Put the same words in the mouth of your least favoured colleague and……

All that has happened is that you processed the events differently. YOU and only YOU decided to smile in one instance and to fly into a rage in the other.

So who caused you to be upset and hurt? YOU. Single-handedly, all by yourself, working alone, with no outside intervention, in your own wisdom YOU took it up on yourself to be upset and experience hurt.

Why we do that to ourselves is hard to understand.

I want to share with you how the Scriptures and a renewed mind can help you to better manage upset and hurt.

  1. Other’s shoes

Matthew 7:12New International Version (NIV)

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Some of the upset and hurt that we experience can be avoided by making one fundamental adjustment.

The critical change that will make a huge difference in our lives is to “put yourself in the shoes of others”. Before you turn off and think you have been hearing that from childhood, bear with me a little longer.

I am suggesting that you develop the discipline to consistently ponder why the individual did what they did or said what they said BEFORE reacting.

Some of us are far too sensitive and touchy. Our first impulse is to take offence and to feel disrespected. In that state of mind, it is difficult to think objectively and things go downhill from that point.

We all know people with that mentality and relating to them is like walking on eggs. The challenge is that traces of the mindset that leads to that kind of reaction might be more present in us that we realize.

Pause for a while and reflect on some situations in which you have been upset or experienced hurt.

Can you say that you fully explored what could have caused the individual to act the way they did?

Can you say that you treated them the way you would have wanted to be treated?

Give others the benefit of the doubt to reduce upset or hurt.

Our next stop is the role of SELF

  1. Focus on Self

When you think of the hurt you experienced, were you focused on yourself and your needs?

When we focus on ourselves to the exclusion of other considerations, it is easy to find things that are not in sync with where we are mentally. Anything that falls outside of our needs prompts internal conflict which may or may not be expressed.

Supressed conflict often manifests as upset or hurt.

You can reduce the incidence of upset in your life by being more mindful that we need to be inter-dependent.  We have to make sacrifices to support each other.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matt 16:24

Deny SELF and reduce upset.

  1. Pride

We do not like to accept the role of pride in our lives but we have some explaining to do. Why would we feel disrespected because we were not mentioned by name in a speech and others were?

Why else would Donald Trump throw away the advantage of his Convention Speech to return to his childish tracing because Ted Cruz did not endorse him?

Why would we take umbrage to the fact that we were not consulted in the decision making process or invited to the meeting or function?

In those cases, a haughty self-image has got the better of us.

Reduce instances of being upset by accepting that you might be less important in the scheme of things than you think.

Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:18 

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall

Proverbs 16:5

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Solomon was pointing out that the natural progression is for healing to take place. Conflicts should move to resolution …not fester and grow into malice.

Increase humility and reduce hurt.

  1. Low self-esteem

We are not happy accepting that we might have low self-esteem. However, it is an issue for some of us.

People who are lacking in self-confidence tend to attach a negative spin to unfolding events. There is a tendency to think that things are not in their favour. The motive of others is questioned and rarely deemed to be in their best interest.

Hurt and upset linked to this mindset can be reduced by spending considerable time in mental visualizing exercises. Picture yourself experiencing positive outcomes. Play mental videos of things going well for you. Time and time again see people being kind to you and giving you the respect that you deserve. Above all, know that you are worthy! Increase self-esteem and reduce upset.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

What about Forgiveness?

You notice there is no mention of forgiveness. If there is no offence taken then there is no need for forgiveness.

Are there situations in which there is genuine cause to be upset or to experience hurt?

Yes, but I prefer to pass on some opportunities to be upset.

It gives me peace of mind and enhances my relationships.

Romans 12:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

I include myself in that. I want to be at peace with myself and others. Taking offence moves me away from that. Even if I do not raise it with others, I will not be at peace internally. I would rather not take offence in the first place.

In closing, I draw your attention to the Mark 12:28-31

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g]There is no commandment greater than these.”

This has implications for you. Loving God with all your heart, means being obedient to Him. If you are here and you have not followed His plan for rescuing you from sin, you need to fix that before it is eternally too late. God’s system for rescuing you from eternal damnation includes affirming that Jesus is the Son of God and being immersed in water for the removal of your sins.

The other implication of the passage is the command to love your neighbour as yourself.

If you are firmly grounded in Christ and stay true to these commandments you will experience less hurt and find fewer reasons to be upset.

God bless you!

 

 

 

 

Family the way God intended

cropped-s004_babykissingman.jpgIf we are to replicate ourselves as Christians and the human race is to continue then we must produce children.

I want to discuss some conditions under which a young man could create and lead a God-serving family.

God prescribed the context in which children are to be produced … a man leaving his mother and father and cleaving to his wife and the two becoming one flesh. (Matt 19:5)

Any other arrangement leads either to a dysfunctional society or the very end of the human race.

I will therefore start the discussion on “Family the way God intended” in the context of marriage and the production and grooming of offspring.

I would suggest that to develop a Christian family you need a devout God-fearing husband and wife.

  1. My first bit of advice then would be choose your partner wisely. A bad marriage is the Christian’s worst nightmare.

Today, young women seem desperate to have their own live dolly. Young men are challenged to resist the widespread promiscuity and pornography around them.  Unfortunately, some of our brothers and sisters are giving in to the temptation and giving Christianity a bad name.

Please note that while a purchaser might be happy to take a spin in the Test Drive/Demo vehicle they want a brand new one when they are ready to purchase.

This is not intended to be an affront to anyone or to condemn the many families that are not designed the way God planned it.

However, the fact is that bearing children outside of marriage is not part of God’s plan for the family.

The response of those who want to remain faithful is to satisfy those needs by seeking refuge in marriage. Who could complain about that?

1 Cor 7: Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

My issue with that is that marriage should not be based solely on satisfying those desires. What happens after you have satisfied the flesh?

You need to ensure that you select a partner that is keenly interested and invested in serving God. That immediately reduces a lot of the friction and distraction that plague marriages.

Family the way God intended it is only possible if your partner will also serve Him.

  1. The next thing that will create the environment for the development and growth of a Christian family is the need for you to be the example.

You have to model what you want your partner and children to be. Taking them to church and Bible Study is fine. But they are more likely to copy what they see you do than follow what they hear in a sermon.

Demonstrate to them what a dynamic prayer life is like. When real pressure reaches you show them that by leaning on the everlasting arms you need not despair. When you celebrate your successes take care to give God the glory and thanks.

Avoid trying to create a fake reality. Let them know when you are challenged.

This might be tricky for some, but I also believe that you should not hide away all your disputes with your spouse. Demonstrate that in real live there are going to be disagreements and show that you are able to resolve them in ways that are pleasing to God.

We have to prepare our families to operate in the world even though they are not of the world.

Some families have the shock of their lives as soon as their children get to an age where they can exercise their independence. Why do so many fall away at university?

Lay a solid foundation based on encouraging independent thought. Teach them to have a questioning mind and to have answers for why they hold things as being true.

But that is for later. Back to the infant stage.

  1. Start early with getting them involved in prayer and worship activities.

Teach them to give thanks for their food even when they can only get out the Amen. Let them experience praying before going to bed.

Take them to church consistently. They don’t miss school neither should they miss worship. As soon as they can recognize words, point out words in the song books. Teach them Christian songs at home.

  1. Feed them on a diet of wholesome entertainment. Show them that the Christian is not condemned to a life of boredom.

Show them that Christians can and do enjoy themselves. If they grow up with good clean fun they will be better able to respond to the stories of secular enjoyment that their friends at school will share.

You do not want them to feel like their friends are out enjoying their young lives and they are shut up in a prison called Christianity.

  1. Create the same excitement about going to Church as you do about starting school or attending some special event
  1. Surround yourself with like-minded people. What kind of friends (“Uncles and Aunties”) are they associating with? Are these people coming by in bathing suits and sand on their feet when you are returning from worship? Is their lifestyle one that you want your children to emulate?

Be overly cautious in who gains access and influence with your family!!! Not just the children but also wife and husband. Hair curling things are happening at the hands of “trusted” friends.

  1. You might have to sever long-standing friendships if they put your family at risk in terms of their relationship with God. Choose who you will serve!

Joshua 24:15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whoyou will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

 Prepare yourself to offer sound counsel.

Children need answers. Create an environment in which you are one of the first sources of advice and information that they choose.

You do not have to have a doctorate or 12 CXCs. But open your mind to things that matter. Read or listen to trusted sources of information. Know things. Ask questions. Prepare yourself to guide your children as they navigate through life. The scriptures is the greatest guide to successful living. Search it daily for answers.

If you are discredited as a source of information – never available, or your constant response is “I don’t know” – then the children will have to look outside exclusively for answers.

You will lose your influence over them. You will only be their parent biologically but not functionally.

But what if you have a mature family that is not operating the way that God intended?

The wife and husband are not seeing eye-to-eye. Grown children have no interest in serving God.

My view is that the Husband has the responsibility as the God-designated head of the household to put things in order. He has to do whatever is necessary to be reconciled to his wife … even sacrificing “being right.”

You should avoid using threats and coercion to bring the children in line. “As long as you are under my roof” only works until they get the first opportunity to move out.

Sit down and listen. What is going on in their minds? What are the issues that they are having? When you know what is going on with them you stand a better chance of being able to find common ground. Imposing your will is not sustainable. You can’t monitor them 24/7/365 and forever.

What if the father is the source of the problems and will not subject himself to the will of God?

That is the biggest threat to the family as God intended it.

In that case, the wife has to assume leadership of the process to create a God-fearing family. Notice the role of Lois and Eunice

2 Tim 1:5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Prov 31: 10A wife of noble character who can find?     She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,   all the days of her life.

1 Peter 3: 1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

If you are hearing my voice, please note that Family the way God intended, is designed to be built around Christian parents. Husbands and wives who have obeyed the Gospel.

They have heard and believed that through the disobedience of man, sin entered the world and condemned mankind to the second death. That Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins through His death and resurrection.

They must decide to change to a life of obedience and to make it known publicly that they accept that Jesus is the son of God. They must then be immersed in baptism for the removal of their sins and arise to walk in the light of God’s word.

Who will make a commitment right now to create a family the way God intended?

Who will start working today to bring their family members to the point of being reconciled with the Almighty God?

Who is ready right now to forsake their life of sin and to wash away their sins in baptism?

How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

How To Let Your Light Shine: A 3-Step Plan

Christians are ambassadors for Christ. We are required to let our influence be felt.

 

 

Matt 5: 13 -16 Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Many Christians struggle with this issue of making their presence felt. Some feel that they are shy. Others have doubt about what they have to offer.

A constant challenge for some Christians is “How can we increase our influence?”

I will share a sure fire 3-step process for increasing your influence in any environment – family, work, affiliations and the wider community.

Step 1: Build Trust

If you reflect on the people who have had the most influence on your life, you will find that they had at least one thing in common – you trusted them. You believed what they shared and trusted their wisdom and judgement. But how did you get to that point?

4 sub-steps unlock that mystery and provide the key to building trust.

Why did you trust?

  1. There was meaningful contact, often with a high level of frequency or regularity.

 Strive for regular meaningful communication with those you want to influence. That is one key to your success. Christ was with His disciples all time. He went to temple and places where He would be sure to contact the people He wanted to influence.

 You do not have to become a socialite. You can make a conscious effort to spend more quality time with those that are in your circle. People at work, school or in your neighbourhood.

 They satisfied some need that was important to you.

Identify the needs of those you seek to influence and satisfy as many as you can. At least work towards having their needs met.

 Christ fed and healed. He satisfied the needs of those who He wanted to influence.

 Matt 14: 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 You might not be in a position to address all the physical needs of others but you can be there for them with respect to their emotional needs.

 You can also be a source of wise counsel to help them solve problems and make decisions.

  1. They reached out to you and you perceive that there was a sense of purpose related to the contact.

Make a conscious effort to reach out to those you seek to influence with shared goals in mind.

 Christ was clearly focused and dedicated to His purpose.

Luke 2:49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Make letting your light shine an important item on your daily agenda.

  1. They delivered on promises. This is the bedrock of trust.

Only promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise.

 Christ was sure in His pronouncements. Nothing that He said proved to be false or worthy of being doubted.

 Let your word be your bond. Never allow yourself be caught in a lie or a hollow promise.

Step 2: Be Admired/Respected

Cast your thoughts to the people that you admire or respect. It is likely that the basis of your admiration or respect could be placed into 2 categories:

  1. Their accomplishments and contributions
  2. Their character

What does this mean for you?

 Accomplishment/Contributions

  1. You can wield more influence if you accomplish more and make a greater contribution to your community and the world at large. If you are seen as a worthy citizen you will earn more credibility and wield more influence.
  2. That means that continuous learning and skills upgrade along with focus and commitment are essential ingredients on the path to letting your light shine brightly.
  3. Also, take care of your surroundings and be diligent.
  4. Take care to ensure that your accomplishments and contributions are in keeping with your role as an Ambassador for Christ.

Character

  1. Your behaviour (life) must be in keeping with the message that you are trying to send.
  2. In essence, you have to become a role model for the group. You have to be the living manifestation of what you want them to become. “Do as I (say ) do!”
  3. You need to be someone that they look up to.
  4. You need to be a source of inspiration. Walk the talk!

Step 3: Care

Why is it that most of us trusted our parents and took guidance from them?  At the core, it is because we believed that they cared about us. We believe that they had our best interest at heart and would spare no effort to satisfy our needs. We never felt as though they would lead us down the wrong path or betray our trust.

That is the ultimate blueprint for increasing your influence.

Matt 15: 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Demonstrate continuously that you care for those you seek to lead, influence or impact. Make it crystal clear that you are there to pull them up and not to push them down.

Follow this step-by-step plan for the next 60 days and witness a ground swell in your capacity to influence others.

Tough Minds For Tough Times

Tough Minds For Tough Times

 

Tough Times

 

 

 

 

Someone brought into focus the idea that a major flaw in our make-up is the tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions there is a strong temptation and tendency for us to choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering with glee.

Yet James would have us turn our world upside down:

James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This issue took over my thoughts when I saw someone on TV going across a narrow bridge with no guard rails over a deep gorge. A fall would lead unquestionably to death. I found myself thinking that I could not do that. I could not walk across – I would be too scared.

That prompted a swift chastisement of my mind for that kind of negative thinking and inspired the view that we have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to run wild without firm control.

James 3 vs  3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. The bit there is what we call today a bridle.

I think we underestimate the power that we walk around with at the top of our bodies. We lose sight of how trainable our minds are. I actually did some research on breaking in a horse. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain the trust of your horse. Having a personal relationship with your horse is imperative in building trust with him, leading to training later on. Spend time with your horse everyday, starting with just being near him.

Our minds have been dominated by the impostor self that Christ has told us to deny. In same way that you can’t just throw a saddle on a wild stallion, we need to approach this mind taming process systematically.

The first stage then would be to spend time truly discovering on a daily basis what is going on in your mind. Get to really know who you are – mentally. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. Horses are powerful and you need to be careful around them.

Well, you are about to change the behaviour of a mind that has been carefully groomed by forces that will not easily see their investment go to waste. If you get over-confident and careless during the exercise you could experience a backlash.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

  1. Take it one step at a time.Breaking a horse is a slow process. You have to fully make each step a habit before moving on to the next step.

As we go about regaining control of our minds and bringing them under subjection we should start with micro-steps.

Your rational true self decides that you should get up and go and exercise.  Impostor self pulls the cover back over your head.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about not conforming to the world. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

You know that you are falling behind in reading the Bible in a year but every part of said body suddenly starts hurting you and your eyes are now burning like fire. Clearly, there is no option but to go to bed and hope you feel better the next day.

Read what Paul says we need to do about bodies who think they have a mind of their own:

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever. 26 That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches. 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

We have allowed ourselves to grow soft and we need to toughen up in order to get ready for the challenges that life throws at us.

We have to track down every “can’t be bothered”; every “I don’t feel like it”; every “it is too much trouble”; all “it’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Turn bright searchlights on “I know this not so right but…”

Some of our minds are galloping downhill like a runaway stage coach.  We have to rein them in before it is eternally too late.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Like with the training of the horse you should not move on until the new habit is formed.

As you go through the process of looking into thoughts, words and deeds identify things that you would be better off without. Aspire to be a better person.

Did you catch yourself envying someone?

Is selfishness lurking within? What about jealousy? Maybe arrogance, unjustified levels of stubbornness. Are you guilty of being disrespectful when you are holding the handle?

This exercise in saddling, taming and reining in our minds is a great opportunity for spring cleaning.

But training is not only about bad habits.

We can also aspire to develop our minds in new, positive directions. We can expand our horizons.

What about working to develop a spirit of bravery… consider the early church

Or your capacity to deal with major challenges – Job

Or to offer wise counsel – Major prophets

Or to show compassion – Joseph

With God’s guidance we can bend our minds to be what we want them to be. Let us stop settling for less than we can be.

Let’s take this to another level. Show jumpers don’t just turn up at the show ground and expect to get through the course without penalty. Horse and rider spend hours in preparation.

We cannot expect to clear life’s obstacle course without adequate preparation. We have to get our minds ready for the challenges that we will face in life.

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

James took care to show us what is possible for us.

James 5: 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

It all comes down to the bridling of our minds to get them to do what they need to do. Rein in our minds and life can take on new meaning. Let us toughen our minds as we prepare for tough times.

Decide right here right now to work on one mind building project. Over the next 60 days you are going to have a new habit manifest itself in your life.

Transformation projects work more effectively when you declare them to at least one person who will hold you accountable.

Work on any area of your life. In fact, it might be best not to take on too challenging a task initially. Start out with something that you can ace and build on that success.

  1. Never get angry is the next step in breaking in the horse.

The suggestion is that yelling and beating the horse pushes back the trust and bonding that you have been working to develop.

One huge challenge in moving to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst of anger directed at ourselves resonates at the subconscious level and actually has the opposite effect of what we desire. What stands out is that we are clumsy or careless or stupid. Not that we could be a little more attentive, careful or thoughtful.

A calm yet firm and consistent prodding in the right direction will get best results.

Remember that you are the champion of taking special care on stairs.

Or the empowering question version: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry sometimes also has the effect in causing us to abort the process. We give up frustration because we can’t deal with the constant annoyance. Taming the beast requires patience and long-suffering. Make progress slowly but steadily. Only never quit!

  1. Reward successes. Giving the horse positive reinforcement is very important in bringing about the desired change.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults and berating them about their shortcomings.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

If the horse goes off track, using the rein and applying pressure with the knee can help them to correct course.

Similarly, if you missed out on completing a task you could reinforce the need for compliance by cutting out your favourite cable show and doing it then.

Tough times requires tough minds.

Let us stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Let us work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

If you have not put on Christ in baptism that is an excellent project. Make that decision now and we will work to bring your project to completion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The SELF Diet

The SELF Diet

 Have you ever spoken to your self? Good

Not what if I asked you to hold your cell phone high for a moment. Now, I want you to stand up and put your cell phone on the chair behind you.

Next, I want you to remain standing and put your SELF on the chair beside your cell phone.

Why is there so much confusion with that request? Read it again.

You agreed that YOU spoke to your SELF. That suggests that YOU and your self are not the same.

Why then is it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The issue is that you have been hypnotized into accepting an illusion as YOU. The fact that you and that illusory sense of identity are NOT the same has become blurred.

You have no problem in establishing that your cell phone is not YOU. Your chair is not YOU. Your dress or shirt is not YOU. Your SELF is also not YOU.

The truth is that when we say “I” we usually have in mind our SELF.

What we accept and think of as “me” and “I” is really a masterful act of deception by our SELF. This is high class identity theft that usually goes undetected.

If you do not take care to recognize SELF it will trick you into thinking that it is YOU. You will be lulled into failing to separate the two and to identify with SELF as if it is YOU.

It is critical to recognize that we are NOT the voice in our heads – the prompter. That voice in our heads is our SELF. It is actually the motivation for dysfunction that you carry around with you and indeed, appear to be YOU.

Humans in the normal state are fundamentally defective and collectively dysfunctional….. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin means to “miss the mark”. There is something in us that leads us to miss the mark…. We do not quite get it.

This impostor SELF has been nurtured by events in our lives. In its fully grown state, it takes control of what we perceive to be our reality. It provides the filter through which we screen everything – thoughts, events, interactions, relationships. This illusion – Your SELF – shapes how you view life and its unfolding events.

It is His appreciation of this distinction between you and your SELF that caused Christ to say to His disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24).

Denial of SELF becomes harder when SELF is well fed and fully developed.

Today, we want to put SELF on a diet.  In order to do so, we need to identify the favourite foods of SELF.

Spending time identifying how SELF is fed is essential to achieving the transformation of our minds which is at the core of Christian living.

So as you would imagine SELF is not a healthy eater.

Its favourite is My sCream.

The SELF Menu is simple – “Me”, “Mine”, “More than”, “I want”, “I need”, “I must have”, “Not enough”.

If you want to put SELF on a diet you have to remove those items from the daily menu.

It is critical that you identify the impact of those words. Failure to do so will give them control over you and you will find yourself acting out the unconscious thoughts and actions that are tied to those words.

One fundamental problem is that SELF tends to equate HAVING with BEING. SELF grows and feels more secure the more it HAS.

The problem is that things are temporal – they are not permanent and consequently SELF inevitably experiences heartfelt dissatisfaction and a sense of incompleteness. There is a sense in which we are “not enough.”

It is important to recognize that none of the things that SELF seeks will satisfy you as long as SELF is in control. No matter what you have or get, you will not experience lasting joy. You will be constantly seeking after fulfilment.

Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

 One side effect of this feasting on My sCREAM is the constant need for comparison. We compare ourselves with others.

A spin off of that is that how they view us is how we see ourselves.

Spiritual maturity is tied to our ability to clearly see and live out the reality that what I perceive, experience, think or feel is ultimately not who I am. Who I am cannot be found in things that continuously pass away.

1 John 2: 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 For this reason it is important to learn more about your SELF so that we can identify it in action. Once you recognize the actions of SELF, it is weakened. Recognition weakens it and its hold on you.

 SELF also feeds on NOT Me PIE.

 For the concept “I” to have significance it needs to have something as a contrast. If you place a white object on a white background it does not stand out.

Think about it. If everybody was IDENTICAL there would be no room or need for SELF to boost itself.

In order to grow SELF needs to feast on NOT Me PIE.

The more SELF can identify differences with others, the more special it becomes and a UNIQUE SELF is really special. One of a kind or rare things have increased value. SELF knows that and does everything to get the corrupted you to find ways in which you are different.

Amazingly, the difference does not have to be positive in SELF’s favour. Being really bad also makes SELF stand out and exposure has value.

So, in many instances anti-social behaviour and disobedience are really strategies for SELF to grow by getting attention from being different.

 Where are we going with this?

  •  We are looking at how we can actually go about self denial.
  •  We first sought to identify the SELF that is to be denied.
  •  We then started to look at what sustains SELF. How can we weaken it?
  •  We looked at SELF’s dietary habits…. My sCREAM and NOT Me PIE.

One effect of NOT Me PIE is the drive for “Me” to stand out. So it has to focus on finding differences with others. This actually leads to finding fault with others and complaining about them. When we put down others it makes us feel superior.

Fault finding is a core function of the impostor SELF that you so happily embrace as YOU.

Christ is alert to this deceptive plan.

Matt 7: 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

Complaining and its emotional counterpart Resentment add energy to the false SELF. When we complain, we add emotions to it. We feel bitter, angry, aggrieved, offended. This strengthens SELF.

It has been observed that the things that you react to most strongly in others and mistakenly take as their identity tend to be the same faults that are also in you. You have just been unable or unwilling to detect them within yourself.

The key is to recognize that in your interactions with others, the actions of their SELF is not who they really are. We live in an environment in which rogue SELFs are engaging one another.

That is why conflict, competition, distrust, hate and other ills abound.

It is important to note that resentment is not limited to persons but also to situations which give the false SELF even more scope.

This capacity to look beyond and to avoid reacting to the SELF-driven actions of others is the essence of humility, longsuffering and forgiveness.

Humility takes us to the understanding that we all have imperfections and that fault finding is not a very useful activity.

Longsuffering allows us to be patient when things do not go the way that we want them to.

Forgiveness comes naturally when you recognize that the only purpose of grievance and resentment is to strengthen a false sense of SELF and to feed it more NOT Me PIE.

Whatever the behaviour that comes from SELF, the hidden driving force is always similar: Need to stand out, to be special, to be in control, to have power, to get attention, to get more. Also, the need to feel a sense of difference (I am not like that).

SELF is dysfunctional. It always has a hidden agenda. That is why Christ requires of us that we deny ourselves (that false SELF).

Why then was it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The point is that you have been lulled into accepting all that goes on within you to be YOU. The reality is that you are a victim of identity theft. An impostor has slipped in mostly unnoticed and taken up residence in you under the guise of being the real YOU.

The real problem is that the identity theft has been so slick that the vast majority of persons do not even realize that there is a false self in place. They mistakenly see this impostor as themselves. They think: “This is who I am!” They live that lie to the point where in some instances the two are undistinguishable to them.

The failure to recognize the impostor and to blow the whistle on the threat of identity theft gives the impostor more strength. The impostor thrives on the ignorance and lack of attentiveness and takes over more and more of what should be YOU.

The search for who you are is greatly assisted by knowing who you are not. We must understand that we are NOT SELF.

It is interesting to note that, who you think you are is directly linked to how you think others are treating you. That shapes how you think about yourself. If you think that others are lavishing love upon you, you think that you are loved person.

One important consideration is that whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are in fact withholding from the world!

So, if you feel that you are missing something – start giving it. If you do not think that you have it – act as if you do and it will come to you. Then you give it and in turn you will receive it.

Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 A failure to starve SELF will condemn us because it moves us away from being able to observe the two great commandments – Loving God and Loving our neighbour as ourselves. Mark 12:30

Salvation can only come when you recognize SELF for what it is and take care to separate your core, true YOU from it.

Once you make the distinction, your responsiveness to the Gospel call becomes easy. The cares of the world no longer choke the Word and it bears fruit in your heart. You recognize that you are a creature of Almighty God and that you are in a sinful state. You accept the need for you to take steps to change your status and to change your ways. You are willing and ready to announce to the world your belief that Jesus is Lord. You accept and are ready to put on Christ in water baptism for the remission of your sins and to walk in the newness of life.

The untutored, unattended SELF is the advocate of the flesh.

The transformed YOU manifests the fruit of the spirit:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Be on guard, be alert. There is an impostor taking over your identity.  Once you identify him and monitor him closely the scam is defeated and the TRUE YOU is able to present itself. This YOU is in Christ and is obedient to His will.

God bless YOU!

 

 

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

C.A.R.E. is defined as:

Being Connected to the Divine Source

Making use of the Access to the Diving Source

Being Ready to accept the blessings that are available from the Divine Source

Being Engaged in leading a life that is pleasing to the Divine Source.

 

  1. The life that CAREs has a vibrant Prayer life

The life that CAREs has a deep-seated belief that prayer is effective. Its conviction is boosted by evidence from its own life, cases from the Scriptures and from the experiences of others.

It has great confidence in approaching God passionately and frequently.

It embraces 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

The life that CAREs prays about its personal hopes, its fears and its aspirations. It asks for relief from illness; seeks guidance with critical decisions and begs for safe-keeping.

It is note-worthy that the life that CAREs has a 360 degree approach to prayer. It prays for family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. It includes its community and takes a world view into consideration in its prayers. It asks for reconciliation with those with whom it is in conflict. It prays that God will straighten the path of those who have gone astray and that evil doers will be brought to repentance.

It invites God to intervene to make His will for our collective lives come to fruition.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is its brother’s keeper

The life that CAREs has a sensitive antenna. It is somehow aware of what is going on in the lives of others. It has an uncanny way of remembering things that are important to others.

It surprises you with a call …just when you needed it. It recognizes that your lips are turned down and not up with your usual radiant smile.

The life that CAREs is in the know in respect of what is happening in the lives of others. It shares updates and is able to rally support when needed.

The life that CAREs embraces the call of Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

It manifests Eph 4: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another……..

It shows concern for others and wants the best for them even to the extent of making personal sacrifices:

Phil 2: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

 

  1. The life that CAREs is generous

The life that CAREs relishes the opportunity to assist others. It looks outward. It has palms that are more often turned down in giving that up in receiving.

It gives freely of its time and resources. It accepts 2 Cor 9 to be real to it and acts accordingly in its generosity.

2 Cor 9: 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

 

The life that CAREs is sensitive to the needs of those that are challenged by their circumstances.

Matt 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

The generosity of spirit goes beyond the material giving of resources. The life that CAREs has a forgiving heart. It is long-suffering. It is not so smart as to find hidden insults and disrespects in everything that others say and do.

1 Cor 3: 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a];

 

  1. The life that CAREs allows joy to be manifest in it

The life that CAREs is not spared life challenges. It is not immune to illness, conflict, financial and other woes.

However, the life that CAREs fiercely protects its JOY. It refuses to let any of life’s problems to steal its Joy.

Phil 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That inner peace that is the blessing that those who are in Christ receive is the secret to joyfulness and being able to rejoice in the face of adversity.

The life that CAREs is a model of calm assurance when the storms of life assail.

 

  1. The life that CAREs trains the “prompter” in its head

The life that CAREs relates to the fact its thoughts, words and deeds are inspired by the equivalent of a teleprompter in its head.

The teleprompter presents words that it might say. It can opt not to say those words. It realizes that the teleprompter develops prompts that it thinks reflects what the life that CAREs would want to say.

The teleprompter is not infallible and will produce prompts that are not in keeping with what the life wants. The life that CAREs spends time training its teleprompter.

It conducts the training through deep meditation and constant affirmation of what it wants to express. By constantly working to renew its mind, it trains its teleprompter and gradually eliminates undesirable prompts. The process also encourages the presentation of prompts that are aligned to its principles.

The danger with an untrained teleprompter is that an undesirable prompt might be used in a moment of distraction. This reflected in those “I feel like biting my tongue” moments.

James 3: We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

The ability to bring its teleprompter under increasing control is a hallmark of a life that CAREs.

James highlights the magnitude of the task of getting your teleprompter to produce the prompts that ought to reflect your life in Christ. The teleprompter is actually caught up in a battle for your mid. It receives contradictory instructions based on the remnant of self that is still alive.

James 3: All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

But there is hope:

James 1: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

There is a distinction between man-made, earthly wisdom and the wisdom that comes from heaven. The life that CAREs educates its teleprompter with respect to the differences.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is willing to share its faith

The life that CAREs is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It is not shy in identifying its commitment to living a life that is obedient to God and His commands. This intention to serve God is expressed in word and in deed in the family, at school, in the workplace among friends and indeed, among any one with whom the life that CAREs makes contact.

1 Peter 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The life that CAREs is evangelical. It has the message of salvation to share and does it. The life that CAREs is conscious that all of mankind have sinned. It knows that there is a price for sin – the second death. It knows that unless it presents the sacrifice of Christ as the only cure for sin many souls will be lost.

It is deeply aware that many well-meaning souls are being lost daily because of ignorance, procrastination and false doctrine. The life that CAREs sets about sharing the truth to family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours and those with whom it comes in contact.

 

  1. The life that CAREs makes its calling and election sure

The life that CAREs understands that this present life is a way station. We are here for a little while. It is concerned about ensuring that the next phase in its journey goes well. It prepares itself for its existence in this life and the next.

2 Peter 1: His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Remember, the life that CAREs is first of all connected to the Divine Source. In order achieve that you must access Him through Jesus Christ. The access through Christ involves believing that we are under the sentence of death because of our sins.

We must accept that Christ paid the price for our sins when He died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead. The price He paid is applied to our debt when we confess Him as Lord and decide to pursue a life that follows the principles laid out in the Bible, including being immersed in watery baptism for the removal of our sins.

2015 The Year to C.A.R.E. – Parables for Implementation

2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

I want to share some thoughts related to making 2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. represents CONNECTION to God the Source, ACCESS to Him, READINESS to accept His Blessings, and active ENGAGEMENT in His Service.

Today, I want to present three parables that might help to make C.A.R.E. more real for you and those with whom you share its principles.

Firstly, C.A.R.E. is like a smart phone in the possession of a young person – especially one in love. Or C.A.R.E. can be likened to a small businessman and his cell phone.

What does Connection mean to that young person or businessman in relation to their phone?

24/7/365 proximity

  • They are constantly in contact with their phone. If they are going through the gate and realize the phone is not with them, they are going back for it.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that we are never out of contact with God?
    • How often do we rush into our daily activities without even a reflection on the God who gave us another day?
    • The songwriter asks “Ere you left your room this morning did you think to pray?”
  • They ensure that the phone is constantly charged. If by some fluke their battery dies they scramble to get it recharged. It is amusing to go into airports to watch how people search out electrical outlets and gather around the charging stations that are now increasingly in place.
    • Are we as serious about ensuring that our spiritual batteries are fully charged?
    • Do we allow our spiritual batteries to run down to the point where the devil has a field day with us?
    • Ever wondered why sometimes temptations seem to come from every direction and our capacity to reject them is not as strong as it should be?
    • Could it be that we have allowed our Bible study and prayer life to run down?
    • Could it be that we have neglected meditating on God’s word and allowed wandering thoughts to occupy our minds?
  • They are profuse in their apology if for some reason they are out of touch with their phone for any period or have allowed the battery to die. “I am so sorry, I missed your call.”
    • How sorry are we when we ignore God for extended periods?
    • How terrible do we feel when we repeatedly miss God’s calls? “Don’t go to that party tonight, those are not people with whom you should associate!” 6 missed calls. So you turn up and end up in the devil’s tentacles.

 

Heavy reliance on access

  • Today’s smart phone is a wrist watch, clock and calendar. Ask the time and people go into their pockets. Do a survey of how many people actually wear a watch these days.
  • The phone is today’s newspaper. This is where we go for news.
  • Ask me something that I don’t know and give me a minute or two and I will consult my trusty phone for an answer.
  • How much will it cost to get 7 of those, 9 of that and 14 of the other……moment …. Trusty phone calculate this for me.
  • The phone might not be oxygen but our reliance on it is remarkable.
    • Are we as reliant on God for direction as to how to navigate each day?
    • Do we consult God’s word for answers?
    • Are we constantly tapping into God’s bountiful blessings that He has prepared for us?

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Remember, God is the source of solutions. He can provide answers to the challenges you face daily. The key is that you need to get connected to the source. You need to be in Christ to access “every spiritual blessing”.

Let 2015 be a year of constant ACCESS.

Christ invites us in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Prayer is a very powerful tool. It acts as the plumbing through which the blessings of God may be channeled into our daily existence.

The beautiful thing is that we do not need any credit to talk with God!

2015 should be a year in which we dramatically deepen our prayer lives. Let us pray often and fervently for others, for our projects and for God’s continued guidance and protection.

Let us pray fervently and without ceasing. James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18

Responsiveness

  • They answer the phone after a couple of rings. Extremely responsive to incoming calls.
    • That is how we are to be to God and His constant attempts to reach out to us through His word and His representatives.
    • How responsive are we to opportunities to hear what God has to communicate to us?
    • Is God listed by name in our contact list so that we can jump to get His calls as a matter of priority or is He coming through to us as a Private Number?
    • Take your Bible Study off SILENT!!!

Let 2015 be a year for READINESS. Let us prepare to maximize the benefits that are available to us as baptized followers of Christ. Let us respond eagerly to God’s incoming calls.

  • Is this a text to share the Gospel with the individual that is beside you right now?
  • Is this a text to call a brother or sister who needs some encouragement right now?
  • Is this a text to remind you of a passage that will lift you out of the ugly mood that is taking you over right now?
  • Is this a text advising you to make an important call right now that will land you the job that you have been praying about?
  • Is this a text to reconfirm that Christ has paid the price for your sins and that your plea for forgiveness has been accepted and you can release yourself from the guilt trip that is depressing you right now?
    • Like the businessman who feels that this call could result in a large contract, be ready respond to spiritual calls.
    • Like lovers who have not communicated for over an hour, answer spiritual calls on the first ring with excitement and expectation.
    • Stop treating God’s calls as a “Please call me” from a stranger.

Social integration

Gone are the days of visiting friends physically. Now we have many more “friends” and we keep abreast of what is happening with them via our phones.

We can recite what is happening to friends, “friends”, celebrities and even animals injured in forest fires.

  • What if we were as engaged in what is happening to our brothers and sisters?
  • What if we were not only engaged in gathering information?
  • What if we were to get information in order to add value and provide support?
  • Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
  • Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

C.A.R.E. can also be likened to an ambitious young lady with significant responsibilities who lands a well-paying dream job.

Front of mind

  • The job immediately takes up residence in the front of her mind.
  • She is constantly thinking about things that she can do to improve her performance. She definitely wants to be confirmed in this job.
    • What if God and His people could be given as much space in our minds?
    • What if we could be so occupied with reflecting on how our day as a servant of God went?
    • What if the last thought we had before going off to sleep was completion of an action plan for God’s work tomorrow in His vineyard?

Compliance

  • She is the model of compliance.
  • She is never late for work.
  • She drags herself to work despite flu, Chik-V and other ailments combined. She is not missing a day.
  • She follows the guidelines. She can’t see the logic behind some of them but who is she to question and challenge their rules.
  • She completes assignments without a murmur and makes herself available for other responsibilities. An early promotion is her career goal.
    • What if we treated the church and its leaders with similar respect?
    • What if we did everything possible to be on time every time?
    • What if we were determined never to miss a day of worship?
    • What if we bought into the leadership of the evangelist, Youth Group and Ladies Group leaders?
    • What if we were quick to put up our hands to volunteer for spiritual work in the hope of an early promotion by God?
    • Heb 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

 

Lifestyle changes

  • Soon after her confirmation and a few months in the job, lifestyle changes start to be manifested.
  • Wardrobe changes become noticeable.
  • She starts to make plans to add more items to her list of monthly expenditure.
  • She makes preparation to accept the positive impact of the increased income in her life.
  • That in turn, inspires her to ensure that nothing happens to cut off the supply. Instead, she ponders how much better life would be if she could reach an even higher level.
  • She devotes herself to preparation that could make that a reality.
    • What if we viewed God’s providence in the same way?
    • What if we treasured how richly we are blessed?
    • What if we took time to name every blessing, every answered prayer?
    • What if we were careful not to make anything hinder the flow of blessings from God?
    • Deut 28: 15 However, if you do not obeythe Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

 

Networking

  • Our ambitious lady understands that networking is a key to success with respect to her career.
  • She takes care to engage her colleagues in the lunch room.
  • She does not miss opportunities to socialize with them.
  • If the opportunity arises she reaches out to clients and potential customers.
  • She is never shy to share information about her dream organization.
    • What if we took that same attitude to engaging brothers and sisters?
    • What if we were keen to share how great this organization is?
    • What if we told all who would listen how great a boss God is?
    • What if we freely shared that there were vacancies in this organization and a dream position was available for them in Christ’s church?

 

Finally, C.A.R.E. can be likened to a first time, caring mother and her infant child.

  • At no point is the mother unaware of where the child is.
  • She is constantly there to attend to the child’s every need.
  • She is overly protective. She ensures that no harm comes to the child.
  • She does all in her power to see to the comfort and orderly development of her child.
  • She grooms the child to master life challenges and to lead a successful life.
  • She spends time communicating with the child.
  • She builds a strong bond with the child.
  • She leaves no doubt that her love is unconditional and unfailing.
    • That is how God sees us!
    • What if we could be as dependent and comforted as the infant is in God’s love and care?
    • What if we could allow ourselves to fully appreciate the amazing love that God has for us?
    • What if we could really understand how much God wants us to succeed and do great things to His glory?

If I can cast your minds back to the Smart Phone there are some fundamental lessons to be learned:

  1. The smart phone is only available from a service provider.
  2. You have to complete their application process to get the phone.
  3. You have to comply with their rules to maintain access.

Christ is the sole source of spiritual blessings.

To get those blessings you must comply His rules for access.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He saves us our souls

Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

What must WE do to save our souls?

  1. Hear the Word – the Gospel
  • John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
  • Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Believe
  • Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
  • John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Repent

 2 Cor 7:Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter,(N) I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation(O) and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern,(P) what readiness to see justice done.

  • Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
  • Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Confess Jesus is Lord
  • Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
  • Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Be baptized for the remission of your sins
  • Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
  • Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  • 1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

  What must we do to save our souls?

  1. Remain in Christ
  • John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
  • Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • 1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

 

  1. Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life

Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.

Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Eph 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Father who says:

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?

 Why Jesus?

Because it makes SENSE!

If you are here and you have not put on Christ in baptism. Get connected today by having your sins washed away in baptism and take up your post in Christ’s church…..a dream job.

If you have allowed your spiritual battery to run down, recharge. Access the blessings that are in store for you in Christ.

If you have not been taking your role as a Christian as seriously as a new employee works to ensure confirmation, commit today to shake off your slothfulness.

Let 2015 be the year that you C.A.R.E. >>> Connection, Access, Readiness, Engagement.

God bless you!