Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Looking at Myself and My Past with Forever Eyes

If seeing yourself as others see you is challenging, seeing yourself as God sees you is more so. It definitely requires Forever Eyes. You must first know how God sees you and then you must intentionally set your mind on that knowledge.
So, how does God see us?

We Are God's Intentional Creation

For by him, all things were crated: things in  heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. ( Col 1:16)

Since you are earth and you are visible, you can be certain that you, too, were created by Him. Yet consider the last two words in that verse: you were created for Him! Not just by Him, but for Him! To create is to cause something unique to come into being. A creation is something that comes from a person's own thoughts or imagination, like a work of art or an invention. When you create something like that, it belongs to you. The depth of this truth is life changing. The Almighty God created you and me, and we were created for Him—for His purposes, for His reason. That knowledge alone brings significance into our lives. 

Worthy Because We Are Loves 
In his book Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey quotes from a sermon he heard by Ian Pitt-Watson: "Some things are loved because they are worthy; some things are worthy because they are loved." We are worthy because we are loved by the eternal God. When we can see ourselves through Forever Eyes and not only acknowledge in our heads but rejoice in our hearts that God loves us just because He loves us, it begins to change the way we see ourselves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Looking at God with Forever Eyes

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!  (Job 19:25-27)

We all share his yearning to see God. Can you imagine seeing God? One glimpse would take your breath away. It would be more than your earthly eyes could handle. Yet how many time shave you thought that if you could see God a little better, see some evidence of His existence, some proof of His love, some confirmation of His protection, then you could have faith? Then you could face the unknown. Then you could handle life. If only you could see God. 

Look at Jesus 
We often miss seeing the Father because we're not looking at the Son. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that " The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb 1:3a) The One at the Father's side is Jesus, and we can see God because we can see Jesus. Someday we'll see Jesus face to face in His glorified body. Someday our faith will turn to sight and we shall behold Him. Yet for the here and now, we see Jesus by looking with Forever Eyes.  

Get to Know Jesus
Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent" (Jn 17:3). How do we get to know someone? By spending time that person; by sharing our life with that person; by making that person a high priority in our life. The same is true in getting to know Jesus. We must get to know Jesus through the Bible, specifically through the four Gospels. Read about Jesus with Forever Eyes and with a prayer that God will open your eyes to understanding and help you to truly get to know Jesus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Are Forever Eyes?

Here are some valuable lessons that God has taught me about polishing my personality so that it would become more Christlike. You don't need to change your personality, you just need the Holy Spirit to smooth off the rough edges. I then thought of a sentence that I had read about that made a huge difference:
What difference will this make in twenty-four hours?

This helped me establish a rule for myself: I am not allowed to expend any energy or emotion on anything that won't matter in twenty-four hours. The secret to this trick is to force myself to have a longer perspective. As soon as I can get my eyes off the here and now and look ahead even a short twenty-four hours, my coping ability increases immensely. And all because I look at it from a long-term rather than a short-term perspective. 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is see, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Much of the Christian walk doesn't come naturally, I've discovered. Living by biblical principles has to be a God thing, something that He does in me. It's more than just being disciplined or hardworking or persistent. It has to begin with a motivation and a will on your part that is God-inspired and God-empowered. 

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:24)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Looking with Forever Eyes Blog Series

Starting this coming Tuesday we're going to begin a new blog series based off of Mary's book Looking with Forever Eyes. This book is available in our bookstore, which you can access by clicking this link. Looking with Forever Eyes explains that as Christians, once we are born again, we have the ability that we rarely use to see things with the fresh insight and perspective of the kingdom of God—our forever eyes.

Throughout the book Mary explains that anyone who has been reborn has the gift! This gift allows us to see things that are both invisible and eternal. With this perspective shift we change to be more like Jesus. These forever eyes help us gain a unique take on everything around us:

  • Your friends, family, and other people in your life
  • Your success and failures
  • Your money and possessions
  • The way you spend your time 
  • Your marriage or singleness
  • and more 
Keep reading over the next few weeks to learn more about your forever eyes and how to use them!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Get Over Your Fear of Trusting God

3. God's Plans Are Always Best
Once you have accepted the previous basic truths, they have to lead us to this third and most important conclusion: God's plans for us are always superior to any other plans. If you believe God is God and He cares for you, then you cannot logically deny this truth: God is smarter than you are at running your life. Therefore, you can trust Him. Not only can you trust Him, but it is the logical thing to do. Nothing else makes any sense.
  Just look at what the Scriptures tell us about God's intentions toward us:

        "No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." (Ps. 84:11b)

        "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his            power that is at work within us." (Eph. 3:20)

        "Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak             and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." (Ps. 34:9-10)

       "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,  "plans to prosper you and not to harm          you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)

The irrefutable, logical conclusion is clear. There simply can be no middle ground. If we believe with our hearts, not just our heads, that God is God, eternal, all-powerful, holy and perfect, and that this very God cares for us more than any earthly being could ever care, and that His plans for our lives are far better than anything we could maneuver on our own, we have to get over our fear of trusting Him. He can be nothing but trustworthy. He will lead us into the best paths. To fail to relinquish the control of our lives to Him would be foolhardy and disastrous.

It is arrogance on our part if we refuse to trust God. To fail to trust Him at every turn in your life is a grave and serious sin. It is pride at its very worst.

Whatever the fear that is keeping you from trusting God, it is unfounded and unreasonable, and it is a trick of Satan to keep you from the joy and peace of a trusting, yielding life. Let go of those fears today, confess your sin of unbelief, get into God's Word daily and get to know God better, and you, too, can get over your fear of trusting God.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Get Over Your Fear of Trusting God

So many of us hang on to the controls of our lives, afraid to trust God, as if to say that we know more of what's better for us than God does, and we are more trustworthy than He is. Of course we don't think those thoughts; we just live our lives that way.

Your fear of God may be revealed in symptoms such as these: You're afraid of not having enough money to support your lifestyle or retirement. You're afraid of not achieving your career goals. You're afraid of being rejected. You're afraid of losing the approval of someone or some ones. Whatever your fear of the future is—and it is always a fear of what might or might  not happen—its root cause is that you really area afraid to let go of the controls of your life and simply trust God's plan to be a good plan.     

Believing the Basics 

 1. Learning to trust God begins by reminding ourselves of His character and power, and then asking ourselves if we really believe God is who He says He is.

Here are some verses that describe the nature of God:  God is the only God

"This is what the Lord says—Israel's King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God." (Isaiah 44:6)

2. Knowing God's Personal Care
Assuming we have assimilated the previous basic truth, the next important issue is to understand how this same God feels about us. After all, we are but specks in a great mass of humanity and in a vast universe. Do we make any difference to God. Again scripture gives the answer:

God does not lose track of you!

"Why do you say O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, my cause is disregarded by my God?" Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:27-28)

God knows you intimately

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely." (Psalm 139:1-4)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Get Over Your Discontent with Singleness

God designed and instituted marriage; He is the author of sexual relationships and desire. And within His design, marriage and all that goes with it are to be honored and held in high esteem. It's no wonder that most people—especially in their young adult lives—deeply desire to be married, have children, and establish a good family.

This extreme discontent with singleness is like a black cloud that spoils every other thing in your life. It diminishes the joy of success in careers or other friendships or even ministry involvement. The enemy of our soul, Satan, loves to find ways to keep us discontented, because then our effectiveness in Kingdom work is decreased. I know that we have a choice as to whether our discontent with being single will continue to rule our lives or not. Once again, this is a choice we make as to what we think about singleness, how much we think about it, and how well we learn to bring those obsessive thoughts into captivity and make them obedient to Christ. It is just so true that the problem here lives in our thought lives.

What the Bible Says About Singleness 
 First Corinthians 7 is seldom used for sermon material. It doesn't fit too well with this common idea that God intended marriage for everyone and anything else is second best. Here's an excerpt from verses 32-35. "An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit... I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."

What singles tend to forget is that there are pluses and minuses, assets and liabilities, to being single and to being married. The key thing we need to understand is that God has not advocated one lifestyle—marriage—as the number-one, normal way to live, and the other lifestyle—singleness—as second best, leftovers for those who missed the marriage boat for some reason or another.

Let me remind you of some of the people in Scripture who were either certainly or most likely single: Jesus, the apostle Paul, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Lydia, Mary Magdalene, Dorcas, Many others have no reference to marriage and have lifestyles that would lead you to think they were probably single, including some of the disciples and many in the early church.

There are some dangers in allowing ourselves to think that marriage is the only normal lifestyle and it will solve all our problems.

  1. You place an unduly heavy responsibility and expectation on marriage.
  2. You're asking too much of that other person who will be your mate if and when you do marry. 
  3. When a person is consumed with the desire to be married, they usually become less and less attractive because they are unconsciously transmitting that message through body language, facial expressions and conversation.
  4. When we think that marriage is essential we begin to make an idol out of it.