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Revealed: Letting the cat out of the bag

Just reading a book by John Bevere called EXTRAORDINARY. It has certainly been a journey and an eye-opening one at that.

In His book John maintains that we as humans have three images our “projected’ image, our “perceived” image and of course our “actual” image.

Must admit I took a bit of a gulp when I read that because his words hit their mark with me straight away. – I would just like to share some of the things he wrote and my own thoughts on this vital message of how God really ‘sees’ us.

John goes on further to say that your ‘perceived’ image is how others see you – your ‘projected’ image is how you desire others to see and your ‘actual’ image is who you really are.

This really got me thinking – how often do we live in a world of ‘projected’ images – living to please others – going to and behaving in a manner that suits the occasion – like going to church and putting on your ‘spiritual’ face, talking in the ‘spiritual’ way with all the ‘spiritual’ cliche’s.

If you were raised in Sunday School like I was – you know all the ‘right’ things to say to rise to almost any situation you are put into when it comes to holding your own in a ‘religious’ sort of way. You can carry on a discussion in a Bible study or lead a group, pray in church and do copious amounts of Bible reading with the best of them. BUT…

Where does that actually leave you in the “actual image’ department?

Take Jesus for example (and you couldn’t get a better one) – His ‘perceived’ image was atrocious – He was slandered, mocked, abused, labelled as a blasphemer and even accused of being demon possessed. He had hardly any friends and those who were, abandoned him quick enough. BUT His ‘actual’ image was altogether different.

In Hebrews we are told that He is the express image of the Father. So while humans saw their ‘perceived’ image of Jesus – God saw His “actual” image. And the “actual” image of us – it what God sees too!

Our “perceived” image does not mean a thing to God – we can look as good as we can and go to all the right places. We can meet all the right people and say all the right things but God sees who we really are.

Jesus was the same with the people He met on a daily basis as He was the Father – can we say that??? Would God be welcome to share every thought we have and every conversation?

Maybe you can see now why I took that BIG gulp after reading just a few pages of John’s book.

Jesus didn’t try to boost his reputation – he didn’t try to get the accolades and win applause by the crowds – he actually hid himself away on many occasions. He wasn’t interested in the approval of mankind.

Jesus only cared about what was important to the Father God – and we should imitate Jesus in that way.


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A Friend full of Promises

A Friend full of promises

 
 

We still sing the old hymns at our church.  We like them.  We like many of the newer Christian songs as well and sing them too.  But we still sing Great is Thy Faithfulness, There is Power in the Blood, Blessed Assurance, Amazing Grace…we love them all.  But not long ago we sang Standing on the Promises.

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
 
Refrain
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.
 
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
 
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
 
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
 
Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.
 
I love that song!  And I love the promises of God…the ones I know.  But how many do I know?  I really started to think about it while going through a small trial.  I’ve been studying, with the ladies of my church, how to pray scripture and stay grounded in His Word during my communion with my Father.   When you are attempting to pray God’s Words back to Him, you really find out how deep, vast and wide the love of God is.  You see His mercy and immutability in a new light.  You discover just what honors and glorifies Him.  And, you understand more confidently just exactly what His promises toward you really are!
 
While praying through this trial, miraculously :), the chapter we were studying was about Praying in the Name of Jesus and what that really means (that needs a separate post).  The author directed us to John 15:15 which says,
 
I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
 
So, those who are His are given the privilege of prayer and knowing, among many things, the promises of God!  We have the means for understanding and knowing all that God has given and will give to us. He comforts us through the presence of the Holy Spirit and through the promises laid out for us in His Word.  We get a new camera, smart phone, or gadget and we intently read that instruction book so that we can know all the things that new gadget can do and all it can offer us to make our lives, not only easier, but more fulfilling.  How much more should we earnestly seek out God’s Word, search for wisdom as silver, discover His promises, and feast on his love, mercy and riches?
 
 
 
I love that He is showing me His promises as I am learning to pray His Word back to Him!  I don’t have to remind God what His promises to me are, but they sure are comforting in my little finite mind as I tell Him, “Lord, your Word says you will never leave me nor forsake me!  And nothing…NOTHING…not height or depth or anything else in all creation will be able to separate me from your love through Christ Jesus!”  
 
So, I am on a quest to discover all His promises as I find I need them more than food or air!  Next up on the blog:  The IF/THEN’s of scripture!!  Stay tuned! :) 
 
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  Psalm 16:11


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TORONTO CANCELS JESUS PARADE

Originally posted on VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED:

Though other parades and protests have been permittted the City of Toronto is saying a parade celebrating Jesus can’t proceed because of construction. Will media coverage change their mind?

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EXPRESSING YOUR NEEDS


by Neil Anderson

August 30

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

If you have legitimate needs in a relationship, and they are not being met, should you risk expressing your needs? Yes, but express them in such a way that you don’t impugn the other person’s character or act as his conscience. For example, you may feel unloved in a relationship and say, “You don’t love me any more.” Or you feel that your spouse doesn’t value you and say, “You make me feel worthless.” Or you feel a distance developing between you and your friend and say, “You never write or call.” You have expressed your need, but you have played the role of the conscience in that person. You are usurping the role of the Holy Spirit. And by pushing off your need as his problem, he will probably respond by getting defensive, further straining the relationship.

What if you expressed your needs this way: “I don’t feel loved any more”; “I feel like a worthless, unimportant person”; “I miss it when we don’t communicate regularly”? By changing the “you” accusation to an “I” message, you express your need without blaming anyone. Your nonjudgmental approach allows God to deal with the person’s conscience. The other person is free to respond to your need instead of defend himself against your attack.

When we assume the responsibility of another person’s conscience, we misdirect that person’s battle with God to ourselves, and we are insufficient for the task. We are under the commandment of God to love one another. So when a legitimate need is made known, trust God to bring the conviction that will move that person to meet the need.

Prayer: Lord, enable me to express my needs and seek Your supply without judging or criticizing others.


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DESIGNED FOR SAFETY: but can be dangerous!

Originally posted on MEETING IN THE CLOUDS:

SAFETY and DANGERDriving would be more difficult and more dangerous without our properly-adjusted rear vision mirrors. While driving, we use the broad view through the windscreen as we move ahead, but we also use the rear view mirrors for reference, making quick, periodic glances into them for information to aid us in driving decisions. Reversing or changing lanes would be hazardous without them.

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Rejoice, God Loves You Just The Way You Are!

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People come in all shapes, sizes — and personalities. There are some individuals who are carefully labelled  as choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic.

But most of us don’t fit neatly in one box because our feelings change and our moods shift. At times, we are confident and exuberant, fully in control as though we’re on top of the world. At other times, we are cautious, hesitant and fearful of the unknown.

One of the most comforting truths about the Bible is that God knows and loves us just the way we are.

With Him we do not have to “play games” and pretend to be somebody we are not. We do not have to make a show that we are on “top of things” when we are really down and fearful in the inside.

The truth is, each one is distinct and unique in the eyes of God. No one is a carbon copy of you. Just as no two snowflakes are the same, no one else in all the world is exactly like you. Whether you’re a vibrant extrovert or a shy introvert, you are unique, one of a kind!

In the eyes of God, therefore, each one is special. You were created to fulfill a specific “mission”. The “mission”, He intends just for you. Thus, no one can replace you in the role that you were assigned by God. You maybe a medical practitioner, a nurse, therapist, artist, carpenter, laborer, a plain housewife, a struggling employee, retiree or whatever you do in life,  – that is your role.

You are most necessary and indispensable for that particular role. Therefore, rejoice and be grateful to the Lord that He has given you a purpose to fulfill – a divine mission to accomplish.

Whether you perform your role perfectly and in a meaningful manner or not, is irrelevant, because God expects each one to do, what one is capable of. He knows our limits, where we are weak and where we are good at. God does not expect ants to carry great loads of timber. Nor does God expects the elephant to fly in the air as do butterflies and doves.

He expects the birds and butterflies to fly and He love them for what they do. He expects elephants to fulfill their role in the forest. And He expects man to live as man. Each one in his own place, in his own sphere, can fulfill a task and gladden the heart of the Maker and contribute something to His plan on earth.

You may feel insignificant, but in the eyes of God, no one is indispensable. No one is useless. No one is lesser. And so, never compare and contrast , because there is no comparing and contrasting in unique things.

Hence, rejoice that you are special to God in His infinite love.

Rejoice that you have your own special place and role to perform in the creation of God.

Rejoice that His love is immediately available to you.

Rejoice that God made you just as you are and His love for you is unchanging and unqualified.

Rejoice that within you is the peace of God.

And most of all,  rejoice that God has called you to a mission, a very special duty to perform, that is, to live the Word, spread the Word and to spread peace to one and all.

Fulfill that mission NOW!

 

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SELF-CENTERED VS. GOD-CENTERED


by Neil Anderson

August 29

Matthew 16:23
You are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s

The apostle Peter is a glaring example of the struggle between self- and Christ-centered living. Only moments after Peter confessed the fundamental truth that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-16), he found himself in league with the powers of darkness. Having just blessed Peter for his noble confession, Jesus announced to him and the other disciples the suffering and death which awaited Him at Jerusalem. “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You'” (verse 22).

Jesus responded: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (verse 23).

Jesus’ memorable rebuke seems mercilessly severe. But the fact that He identified Satan as the source of Peter’s words describes precisely and appropriately the character of the advice Peter tried to give: “Save yourself at all costs. Sacrifice duty to self-interest, the cause of Christ to personal convenience.” Peter’s advice was satanic in principle, for Satan’s primary aim is to promote self-interest as the chief end of man. Satan is called the “prince of this world” because self-interest rules the secular world. He is called the “accuser of the brethren” because he does not believe that even a child of God has a higher motive than self-service. You can almost hear him hissing, “All men are selfish at heart and have their price. Some may hold out longer than others, but in the end every man will prefer his own things to the things of God.”

That’s Satan’s creed, and unfortunately the lives of all too many Christians validate his claims. Satan has deceived them into thinking they are serving themselves when in fact they are serving the world, the flesh, and the devil. But the Christian worldview has a different center. Jesus confronts our humanistic, self-serving grids and offers the view from the cross. Only from this center can you escape the bondage of the one whose sole intent is “to steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).

Prayer: Loving Father, help me forsake self-centered attitudes and actions in order to take up my cross daily and serve You.