THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF

It is important for mankind to have a right understanding of self and to have a proper attitude toward self. For that to happen we need first to understand how special each of us are when we grow according to God’s plan. He has a plan for each of us even before we are conceived not unlike someone designing a blueprint before putting up a building. Every element of our personal construction is being overseen by God from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16). Indeed we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

With time just as buildings need oversight so do we in terms of our relationship to our Creator. God desires that from our earliest moments we be in union with Him. That requires that we die to sin and no longer live in it (Romans 6:2).

The problem is that God gave us free will and many if they have sorrow for their sin are insincere and after forgiveness continue sinning. God’s plan is that we put on the “new man (and woman)” or new self.

For some time many if not most in our world have had a problem of self pre-occupation. Someone once wrote a book titled: Looking out for #1 and it compounded the problem of mankind’s focus on self rather than God. The result when we abandon God and get caught up in our own sinful life is we are less successful on many fronts. Simon Peter learned this lesson when leaving Christ to go fishing and came back with nothing (John 21:3).

There are those who have left our Lord and Savior and seem successful yet in reality they are not for they will be and are caught up in their own sins. For we who call ourself Christian remember the importance of having THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Proper self image is seeing oneself as subject to our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 139:13-16 “self plan of God for each of us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be subject to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you view yourself?
  2. What do you believe is God’s blueprint for your life?
  3. Have you died to all your sins?
  4. How has mankind shown its focus on self?

 

TRULY HONORED

We live in a society that likes to bestow glory and honors on individuals in the form of certificates to hang on our walls or statues to set on our shelves. Glories which may have some meaning to us but at the time of our standing before our Creator God will mean absolutely nothing to Him. God has other methods by which He honors us and will look with favor upon us when we stand before Him and during our time on this earth.

Placed in the Garden of Eden, God had great hope for us but original sin entered into the picture and mankind’s glory becomes tarnished (Romans 3:23) not unlike trophies who are left untouched on some shelf over time. When left to our own we are as 1 Peter 1:24 tells us nothing more than withering grass or dying flowers.

Today with every one seemingly getting a trophy or participation certificate for  almost everything we need to remember when we die we carry nothing with us (Psalm 49:17).What we can carry with us in this life and the next is true honor which comes with a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). A life where one lives out a devout belief in Jesus as Son of God (1 John 5:5). Only  then will we understand what it means to be TRULY HONORED.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The glory of man is gained only through Christ Jesus, God’s Son.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Christ restores man’s glory”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for the glory You bring to me.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Why is humanity so taken by honors bestowed by anyone other than God?
  2. How do you look upon honors you have received?
  3. What if anything is the relationship between sin and human honor?
  4. What are you doing to achieve honor in God’s eyes?

UNDERSTANDING REJECTION

Everyone at some point in life has to deal with rejection in some fashion. Rejection comes with our being refused or declined in some form or fashion something which we had hoped would happen.

Scripture helps us to understand being refused something or rejected beginning with the example of a parental rejection of a mate for a daughter despite the unique circumstances mentioned in Ex. 22:17. In this case a dowry was necessary to overcome the rejection. Today as well we see where money often can buy favor although I suspect it is seldom used when a child decides to marry someone the parents may have reservation about. In Numbers 20:21 we have another example of rejection in regards to right of way through a persons property. Private property rights are and should always be respected and the right to reject or refuse someone access to what you rightfully own should be protected.

God gave us another reason for refusal in 1 Samuel 16:7 when Eliab felt his stature (appearance) would make him a logical choice for King. God set everyone straight saying more important was the type of heart a person had. Sadly we do not follow in God’s footsteps here as we often regrettably elect leaders based on how they look and then we regret it later.

An additional example of rejection was Moses (Acts 7:35) who the people didn’t want but God did. It is here where we as believers may need to stand up and be the voice of God when in our heart the Holy Spirit tells us certain individuals who may at a given time be out of favor with the majority need our support nevertheless.

Another area the Bible asks us to refuse or reject is anything which is contrary to good doctrine (1 Tim. 4:6-10). Here believers need to stand firm perhaps at the risk of alienating friends and family even to the point of their rejecting you. A good role model is Moses who when he found the truth gave up the right to possibly be Pharaoh of Egypt. By doing so he was selected to lead God’s chosen, the people of Israel, to the promised land. The importance of standing up for truth no matter the impact on those around us including those we may hold close to our heart is something that should never be sacrificed.

Being rejected or needing to reject something which may not always feel right at a given moment but when understood in light of Biblical history makes it easier to UNDERSTAND REJECTION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Refusal or rejection is often a reminder to return to our Redeemer.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: 1 Samuel 16:7 “a reason for refusal”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord give me the ability to understand refusal and rejection in light of Your will for my life.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. When was the last time you were rejected or refused?

2. Give an example of an election where appearance was judged over the individuals heart?

3. What risk is there in standing firm on God’s doctrine when popular opinion would have you believe otherwise?

4. Do you understand rejection when it happens to you?

 

POPULARITY!

We seem to live in a world today that is run by polls and compliments of various types. We want to be near, dress like, look like and even act like the popular or in crowd people. We desire to own the latest gadget or most popular toy. Daily we remember via the media the birthdays of “so and so” who some how we recognize for their popularity.

Popularity is when one achieves esteem in the world and here too God wants us to understand how that esteem is achieved. He begins with those who have accomplished HEROIC EXPLOITS. These are honors that most often have an outward focus for who they help such as we honored yesterday (firefighters, police, EMT’s, etc.). Certainly there are others like Sir Edmund Hillary who climbed great mountains or Diane Nyad who swam great distances both of whom I suspect did this for themselves but their message of perseverance is an outward one that influences many.

SECOND popularity is often achieved by TRICKERY. This is an inward or self focused type of popularity. it began with the temptation in the Garden of Eden where self-interest first was seen and then has reached out to people today who use trickery to get their way even at the highest political levels and non-political as well.

THIRD popularity comes with unusual WISDOM. We often speak of the wisdom of Solomon which we can read in Scriptures in the Book of Solomon. Wisdom may not always show in outward popularity but it certainly does in the eyes of God. For each of us we can find that as we grow in understanding of God’s Word.

FINALLY popularity is seen in OUTWARD DISPLAY. It is seen in the example of today’s verse where Jesus spoke with authority and life was changed. This follows the popular phrase that goes “actions speak louder than words”. People in authority often speak a lot of words but there is nothing to back them up. That was not the case with Jesus.

Popularity is how many people grow in self-esteem but that is often shallow in nature if it rests on things of this world for things of this world will pass away but when that self-esteem comes from knowing we are a child of God then it and all our subsequent actions will make us truly popular if not in the eyes of man then more importantly in the eyes of God.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Popularity is plentiful for those who take pleasure in pleasing God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 9:8 “A way Jesus became popular”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I desire my popularity come from my service to You if it is to come at all.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. Who are the most popular people for achieving historic exploits that you can think of?
2. Do you include any eminent people of Scripture in the prior question?
3. How does Jesus use authority to benefit mankind?
4. What can we learn from Jesus example for our lives?

THAT’S INSULTING!

What is the greatest insult you have ever faced or could face? Perhaps it is someone calling you names, bullying you, taking credit for something you did, doubting you or perhaps any number of other things. If you haven’t experienced this I sure have.

Being short in stature and having little athletic skill, and in the first year or two of school only speaking or understanding the German language it wasn’t easy. Quite honestly all through my grade and high school years I had my self-esteem attacked. Even in college one of my freshman roommates threw me out of our room. So how do you turn that around and end up having a really good life which I have?

First of all I refuse to be thin skinned and let the “oppressor” win. Nor will I feed his or her hatred or unworthy conduct by giving them fuel for the fire. My understanding of scripture is not to return anger, etc. with anger.

When I feel abused in some manner I look to my Savior and see how much abuse and blasphemy (cursing God) He takes each day. A minority of people want to write Him out of existence at every turn removing Him from any visible representation . Agnostics and atheists (which make up I am led to believe only about 10% of our society) along with the government and some ‘open-minded'(?) Christians are removing Him from schools, public prayer and much much more. Sadly except for some minor opposition most of us do little to fight back. One of the greatest ways we write God out of existence is the promotion of macro-evolution in our schools. All of this must be challenged but if it is not we can know that God is a just God who will fulfill His covenants (promises).

I am always amazed at how God works in the lives of those we consider impoverished and also the very young. Sadly it seems that often with increased education and wealth those miracles and beliefs are abandoned in many cases. As for me I believe God does exist. I believe that as an absolute fact and in His existence I find my self-esteem and will not ever be insulted.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Our birthright if we believe in God is to be blessed if we do not blaspheme.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 74:18 “how society has treated God”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord remain in my heart so I may tell others of You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. How have you been insulted in your life?
2. How can you turn insults into something positive?
3. How (if you do) do you know God exists?
4. How is your self-image?

I WISH I WERE DEAD!

In this mornings news there was a story of a prominent east coast politician who had died and in the news release it spoke of his handling of death which would face him shortly. It reminded me of the times I have heard people say “I just wish I were dead.” Most of the time it was said in a kidding fashion, but occasionally it was serious.
Those expressions no matter how insincere they may be need to be taken seriously. Occasionally you can attribute it to negative people who most always seem to have a bad attitude, but when it is an unusual expression from a friend or family member then it is time for some serious conversation. No matter who says it it merits looking into.
In the time of Moses (see verse of the day) the Israelite’s had similar feelings and the response was that when taking the problem to God an answer would be found. Today we have that same opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
We can as human beings be dissatisfied in situations we face and have that dissatisfaction turn to complaining, then bitterness and out of that resentment, hostility and finally rebellion or we can do as one song well puts it and that is to count our many blessings. We can choose to wish we were dead or we can look at each day and be thankful we are alive.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: An attitude of gratitude eases the anxiety of adversity.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Numbers 20:3 “wishing for death”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank You for life in its fullness.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. Have you ever been so depressed you thought about death? How did you turn it around?
2. What emotionally leads people to these thoughts and how best avoid them?
3. Do you know others who need to walk back from death wishes to the root of the problem that you can help?
4. What circumstances lead most often too depression?

TELL IT LIKE IT IS!

This morning the first item of news to greet me was a story on the hypocracy of our political leaders from the president on down to the ‘lowliest” of offices. What struck me as interesting is the ease with which they spoke and how equally easy it was to side step their hypocracy when confronted with it by making excuses. The image these people have of themselves is evidently so high that lies and excuses come naturally.
The question that came to my mind when I saw the story was how can those of us who have fears of getting in front of crowds or ever speaking out against a wrong overcome those fears to speak against the hypocracy we see around us. Many good people who live by their principles and follow the teachings of the Bible need to say enough is enough. We need to use all that is available to us (letters to the editors, the internet, gatherings of acquaintances, etc.) and share what God instructs us too.
To do this we often need to overcome a mind that tells us we are not worthy or capable and simply speak what is in our heart. For in the heart rests the Spirit of God. No matter what the cause that brought this inferiority complex to us, we need to get past the excuses and become responsable spokespeople for what is right and good as given to us to understand by God.
Satan who we are told is the father of lies has his minions out in force. They speak boldly and threaten to hold the pincipled Christian believer in check. Problem is we have given Satan and all that is evil too much rope and it is time now to take back what God intended for good. That is our families, schools, communities and our one nation “under God”. It is time for all of us to tell it like it is.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Truth told as it is will stop the tumurous growth of all that is treacherous.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Isaiah 50:4 “where we get our ability to speak”

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord loosen my tongue to speak Your Word.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:
1. What causes people to fear speaking out?
2. When does it become necessary to speak out?
3. What flaws did great men of the Bible overcome to carry out their mission from God?
4. How do you overcome the temptation to make excuses?