Tag Archives: Identity

Does God Care About Me?

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Sometimes we feel insignificant as if we don’t even matter. In the vastness of the world, we are merely a face in the crowd or a number in the system, so we begin to wonder if we matter. Does anyone realize I’m here? Does anyone really care about my concerns and needs? Do I matter? Does God care about me?

The Bible teaches the answer is a resounding YES!

Jesus says in Luke 12:6-7:

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins[b]? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Think of Jesus’ words this way. Not one bird, though worth only a fraction of a penny, falls from the sky without the Lord knowing and caring, and our value is much higher. We do not have to fear the Lord does not care for us. He does! The Lord cares about us enough that he knows everything about us.

I don’t know how many hairs I have on my head, but the Lord does.

The Lord cares about us so much that he gave us the gift of grace. As you experience the vastness of the world today, remember, the Lord knows you and cares for you.

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Freedom

No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. For some, those mistakes can cause them to hold onto a lot of guilt. However, the Bible teaches we can be set free from our guilt.

One day the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus by presenting a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Assuming they were telling the truth, there is no doubt she is guilty. She was caught in the act. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to remind us that no one is perfect. Then, he shows us an illustration of grace. He sends the unnamed woman on her way giving her a fresh start.

A little later as Jesus is talking to the religious leaders, He tells them the truth of the Gospel can set us free. Jesus says in John 8:31-32:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

It was through the work of the cross that Christ set us free.

  • Romans 5:10 says, 10 “For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”
  • Romans 6:23 says, 23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

It is in this freedom we take on a new identity in Christ.

  • 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

And, we are able to fulfill the purpose for our lives.

  • Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s handy work, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do.

Knowing and accepting the truth of Jesus’ message brings freedom.

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Our Work Matters

Colleen was a college student who was working a part-time job to cover bills. Not having a lot of money, Colleen tried to get by on what she had. Her shoes were showing age, but she planned to wear them if they held up.

One morning after church, a lady handed Colleen a box containing a new pair of shoes. “Here you go. I thought we probably wore the same size.” The lady said, “I can’t do much, but I thought I’d buy you a pair of shoes.”

Grateful for the shoes, Colleen replied, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” came the answer, “it takes a village to get us through life.”

The shoes were a small thing, but they made a big difference for Colleen. The lady’s act of service was not headline grabbing, but it was meaningful.

Our acts of service matter; our work matters. We may not be the CEO in our company or be in the spotlight at our church, but our contribution is important. The CEO is efficient because of her Administrative Assistant. The leader in the spotlight would fail quickly if not for the team around him. Each person’s role is crucial to success.

Our contribution is valuable.

The Bible says we have something to contribute.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “In his grace God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well, so if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak up with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well; if you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously, and if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”

You and I are part of a community, and our role is just as important as the other roles. We rely on one another, and our interdependence is not a weakness; it is a strength.

To help us understand this, the Bible uses the illustration of the human body. Is the body made of only feet? Can the hand do the job of the eye? No, the body is made of several parts. Each part must do its job for the body to function. The parts work together making the body strong and sustaining its survival.

Our roles are the same. We must each do our role for the community to function. Some roles are in the spotlight, while others are behind the scenes. Some roles encompass many responsibilities, while others embrace only a couple. However, each role is equally important.

We matter at church and at work.

This principle holds true at church and work.

At Church

You may be responsible for teaching a class attended by a handful of kids, but your contribution is still meaningful.

You may be responsible for running the vacuum each week. It may not seem like a big deal, but it’s your contribution keeping the building clean.

You may be the person who arrives early, unlocks the door, turns on the lights, and makes the coffee. It may not seem like much to you, but without you, people would have to break in the building, walk around in the dark, and remain half asleep.

Our contribution to the church matters.

At Work

The Theology of Work project brings to light this principle is the same at work as it is at church. For success, the work team must function as a unit.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord….”

The work we do at our job matters. Our contribution is vital to our workplace’s success.

If you stock shelves, stock shelves well. If you answer the phone, answer the phone well. If you tighten bolts, tighten them well. The work you and I do is significant in the overall health of the company.

Think of it this way. An auto factory worker is tasked with tightening lug nuts. He falls for the lie his job doesn’t matter, so he stops making sure the nuts are tight. A truck is delivered with loose lug nuts, and the wheel falls off while it is being driven down the interstate.

The accident causes consumers to question the auto makers safety. In turn, causing sales to slump, the slow sales cause lay offs at the factory. All the trouble started because the factory worker fell for the lie his work did not matter.

The assembly line worker is just as important as the CEO. The custodian is just as important as the CFO. No matter what we do, our work is meaningful.

Please do not fall for the lie your contribution is insignificant and your life does not matter. You do matter, and you do have something to contribute.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you recognize the meaningfulness of your contribution and opportunities to contribute.

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A Single Choice Changed Everything

Her life was anything but a dream. Disrespect and endangerment occurring daily. Different men, perhaps more than one a day, stopping by to take advantage of her. Each day a different scene of a continual nightmare, but one day, everything changed. She made a choice which changed everything.

Choices have the power to chart the course of our lives, and the choices you and I make are significant because we are significant. We matter to the Lord, so the choices we make matter to the Lord.

One choice has the potential to change everything. One choice has the potential to influence lives for multiple generations. Choosing to influence one person’s life can have lasting impacts.

The Impact of One Choice

Rahab made one choice which changed the direction of her life and influenced the world in a positive way.

Joshua 2 tells us Rahab lived in the city of Jericho, and her life was anything but a dream. Israel sent two spies to Jericho and they sought lodging at Rahab’s home so they would not stick out as strangers in town.

Rahab heard of the Lord’s power and requested protection when Israel conquered the city. She helped the spies secretly leave town, and they promised protection to her and anyone within the walls of her home.

Jericho was conquered, and the one choice Rahab made to help the spies…

Saved her life.

The spies kept their word, and no one within the walls of Rahab’s home was injured during the conquest.

Changed her life.

Rahab was able to live with Israel.

Joshua 6:25 says, “Joshua saved Rahab, her family, and all those who were with her. Joshua let them live because Rahab helped the spies Joshua had sent off to Jericho. Rahab still lives among the Israelites today.”

Had a lasting impact.

Since Rahab lived among the people of Israel, she became the great, great grandmother of King David.

According to Matthew 1:5-6, “Salmon was the father of Boaz, his mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed; his mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David.”

Rahab’s choice had a lasting impact. Being in the lineage of King David means Rahab is in the lineage of Jesus. The Lord used Rahab as a part of his plan to bring grace to the world.

All because Rahab made one choice.

Our Choices Matter

You and I can make some powerful choices. The Lord may be compelling us to start a friendship. Choose to start it. We may feel led to tip generously. Choose to be generous. Our choices are impactful.

The next choice we make may be the one that leaves a positive influence on lives for generations.

Acting

Choose to follow the Lord’s leading in your decision making. Pray for courage so fear and uncertainty do not stop you from making the right choice.

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Small ButPotent

Is my influence large enough? Do I reach enough people to really make a difference? These are questions that come to mind as we struggle in our search for significance. This may be especially true in an era of Facebook and Instagram influencers with millions of followers. You look at their accounts and they have millions of followers, but your account does not. I look at their pictures and they have thousands of likes, but my pictures do not. So, we begin to doubt the importance of our influence.

We begin to wonder if we even matter, and ask, “Why do we even bother?” The Bible tells us we do matter. You and I may not be the Billy Graham of our era, but our influence is impactful.

A few will reach millions of people, some will reach thousands of people, but most of us will only reach a few people. Perhaps just one person, but our influence is still meaningful.

A Premium on One

The Bible places a high premium on reaching one person. Glimpse through Luke 15 and we see a high premium placed on reaching one person.

Seeking Out One

Jesus uses 3 parables in Luke 15 to help us understand the importance of reaching one person

A Lost Sheep

A shepherd had 100 sheep and 1 went missing. The shepherd leaves 99 of the sheep to seek out the one who is in danger. He celebrates when he finds the 1 sheep. If the sheep wasn’t important, he would have left it to stay with the other 99.

A Lost Coin

A widow loses a coin in her home, so she moves everything out and sweeps the house until she finds the coin. When she finds the coin, she celebrates. If the coin was not valuable, she would have not risked moving her possessions into the elements of the outdoors to find the coin.

A Lost Son

A father believes his son is never going to be back in his life, but when the boy returns, the father celebrates. He has a grand celebration because his son has come home. If his son was not significant, he would have not celebrated.

Rejoicing Over One

Luke 15 tells us each time one is found there is rejoicing.

  • Verse 7: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
  • Verse 10: “In the same way I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
  • Verse 32: “But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.”

Reaching just one person is important. Reaching one individual is significant. A small influence is still potent.

A Rock in a Lake

The significance of our influence is like throwing a rock in a lake. The rock hits the water sending out a wave. The first wave sends out a second wave. The second wave sends out a third wave and so on. Each circular wave grows. Each wave is larger than the previous. The wave action starts when the rock hits the water. Our influence is the rock starting the wave affect.

Jesus started with 12.

The Bible reminds us Jesus did not start with millions of followers. He started with only 12. His influence launched from there. The original 12 may have each only reached 12 people and so on. It did not take long until Jesus’ influence was huge.

Most of us will reach a few people and our influence will go out from there. We have a significant place in the Lord’s plan. Reaching a few is as important to the Lord as reaching millions. The Lord has put you and I in a place which matters to him. Our influence has significance.

Acting

With whom do you have an influence? Ask the Lord to help you seize opportunities you have to influence the people around you.

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Do I matter?

Do I matter? This is a question you and I often ask, and the answer is yes, we do matter.

Significance is something we all search for. Not necessarily to always be in the spotlight as that may not be our place or personality, but to know our life matters. We desire to know our work matters. We like to know the choices we make have an impact. We want to know the act of service we offer is needed. Everyone needs to know his or her life is important and making a difference.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world filled with jobs that treat us as disposable, institutions who say our contribution doesn’t matter, and bullies who treat us horribly. All causing us to struggle on our search for significance.

The Bible offers encouragement as we are on our significance search. You and I are reminded we are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

You are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

We are already significant in the Lord’s eyes. We have always been significant in the Lord’s sight.

  • “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” Psalm 139:13-16 says.
  • Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handy work, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

The Search is Over

Our search for significance can be over. We can find our significance in the Lord.

To the employer who treats us as disposable, the Lord says he is wrong.

To a board of directors who say we have nothing to contribute, the Lord says they are wrong.

To the bullies who point and laugh, the Lord says they are wrong.

We do matter. The choices we make matter. The lives we touch matter. The acts of service we offer matter. Our lives are significant. Our significance is found in the Lord.

Acting

Try memorizing the above Scriptures so the next time you are treated insignificantly, you can remind yourself the Lord says you are significant.

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Jumping in Trust

Zack and his dad were hiking in the mountains of Tennessee on a sunny afternoon. Zack’s dad hears from above, “Hey dad! Catch me!”

Horrified to see Zack falling from an above cliff, the dad quickly put himself into position and successfully caught Zack. A moment passed while the dad calmed his nerves. Then he asked, “What happened?”

“I jumped,” the boy replied.

Why on earth did you jump,” the dad inquired.

Zack answered, “Because I know you are my dad and I knew you would catch me.”

Zack had complete trust in his dad because he was Zack’s father.

Trust is Foundational

Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Friends must trust each other. Parents and children must trust each other. Husbands and wives must trust each other. Our relationship with Jesus requires we trust him.

Jesus Requests Our Trust

Jesus requests in John 14:1 we trust him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples, and he is giving them much to consider. He’s telling the disciples what is going to happen soon, but from their vantage point, there is still a great deal unknown. Jesus knows it is perplexing, maybe even frightening, for the disciples, so he makes a request that they trust him. The same request Jesus makes of us.

What’s going to happen in the future? If you could know the answer, would you want it? I wouldn’t, but the unknown is nerve-racking too. We dislike the unknown. We find it perplexing and frightening just like the disciples, so Jesus says, “Trust me.”

Jesus asks that we trust him. Trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, our money and financial health, and our lives. Jesus asks that we trust him with everything.

Why can we trust the Lord?

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

The Lord has proven himself trustworthy by giving us his son. So, the question you and I need to answer is do we trust him? Do we trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, and money and financial health, and our lives? Do we trust him with everything?

Do we have the complete trust Zack did?

Acting

Make a list of the areas of your life where you may need to trust the Lord more. Ask him to help you build that trust. Share your experience in the comments below.

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3 Responses to Procrastination

I don’t know about you, but I procrastinate sometimes, particularly when I need to do something I am dreading. It seems our natural response to dreaded life change is procrastinating if possible.

 

This may be especially true when we believe the Lord is calling us to a life change, we do not understand or a project for which we feel ill-equipped. The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.

 

“The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.”

 

Moses was tending sheep one day when a nearby bush was ablaze but not consumed by the flames. Moses’ curiosity got the best of him, so he walked over to see what was happening. Moses walked over to see a burning bush but had an encounter with the Lord. The Lord revealed his plan, and Moses made every attempt to tell the Lord why it would not work.

 

When I arrive at my “burning bush,” I often procrastinate by telling the Lord I am not the right person. What about you?

 

Moses tried to convince the Lord he was not the right person, but for every reason Moses offered, God provided a response. It seems we offer the same reasons, and God offers the same responses. Here are 3.

 

No one’s listening.

 

Moses said no one would listen to him. They would just accuse him of being in the sun too long. God dismisses this reason by obvious work in Moses’ life.

 

Do you ever feel like you are talking, and no one is listening, so you just stop talking? Maybe you ask yourself, “Why do I even say anything? It is like talking to a brick wall.” Like Moses, the Lord’s work in our lives is obvious. And, while it may seem no one is listening, it turns out they are paying attention.

 

Reimaging Faith Formation for the 21st Century cites studies showing our family members are listening. For those of you who are grandparents, you are the second most influential person in your grandkids’ life. You follow only their parents, and in some cases, you are in the number one slot. You sit in a position to speak a lot of wisdom into their lives as they witness the Lord’s obvious work in your life. Just when you think no one is listening, it turns out they pay much attention.

 

The work the Lord is doing in our lives is obvious. It stands as a testimony to the words we say.

 

I can’t.

 

Moses tells the Lord he is not a good speaker, so how can he stand before Pharaoh and say anything. God responds by saying, “I gave you the abilities you have, so go, and I will help you.”

 

We may feel we are inadequate for God’s calling. We know we should do something, but we try to convince ourselves and the Lord we are not capable. We identify a barrier that could cause us to fail, and instead of jumping it, we hide behind it.

 

Moses identified a barrier of speech. What is your barrier? It could be any number of things. No matter the barrier, the Lord’s response is the same. “I gave your abilities and I will help you, so go.”

 

Not me, please.

 

After other reasoning failed, Moses simply asks the Lord to send somebody else. The Lord tells Moses to stop procrastinating. He has already put provisions for him in place. Moses is the one God called for this purpose, and the Lord will help Moses accomplish it. He began a good work in Moses, and he will bring it to completion.

 

Can you relate to Moses? “Lord, I just don’t want to,” you say. Perhaps we can all relate to Moses. The Lord’s response is always the same; he has called us each to a unique spot in his plan. Therefore, he will help us accomplish the purpose. He, who began a good work in our lives, is bringing it to completion.

 

Moses was in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. His biography records Moses leading God’s people out of Egyptian bondage and guiding them to the border of the Promised Land. He may have felt inadequate, but God used him in a mighty way. God completed a good work in Moses’ life.

 

Acting

 

We are in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. Each of our biographies will record how we served in the Kingdom. What is the Lord calling you to do? You may feel inadequate, but the action step you can take is growing in the Lord. Paul tells the Philippians to grow.

 

  • “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
  • “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Continue to walk with the Lord and fulfilling your purpose. Again, what is the Lord calling you to do? How have you responded to your “burning bush?” Share in the comments below, and remember, he, who has begun a good work in you, will bring it through to completion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Once In History Life

We’ve all seen coffee cup phrases.  The encouraging words that are just right to place on a coffee cup and present to someone as an encouraging gift.  Most gift shops stock these cups and they make great gifts for a person who just needs a little encouragement.  The phrases usually originate from Scripture as the Bible is full of them.

 

You do not have to read very far into Philippians before finding a coffee cup phrase; maybe even one of the most encouraging phrases in Scripture.  It is in the sixth verse of the first chapter; he, who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion.

 

There is no denying this is an encouraging statement.  The Lord is at work in our lives, and he promises he will complete what he has started.  God is completing a good work in our lives despite what we may do to try to stop him.  The Bible’s biography of Moses helps us understand how this truth works.  Despite Moses at times, God completed a good work in his life.

 

What do we have in common with Moses?

 

This may seem like an odd question.  You may be thinking, “We can’t possibly have anything in common with Moses.”  True, Moses had a once in history childhood, grew up to be a shepherd in the desert, and spent his senior years leading the Israelites through the desert.  Unique is an understatement when describing his life, yet we share common ground with Moses.

 

A Once in History Life

 

I said above Moses is the only one who lived his life story.  God placed Moses in a unique time and called him to a unique purpose.  Moses was the individual God needed in that moment to fulfill that part of his plan.

 

Glimpse through Moses’ biography, and you can see how each phase of his life prepared him for the next.  Growing up in Pharaoh’s palace would have enabled Moses to become familiar with Egyptian customs.  Shepherding sheep in the desert prepared Moses to be the shepherd of God’s people in the desert.  God began a good work in Moses and carried it through to completion.

 

The same can be said for us.  God has placed us in a unique position.  Every person has a spot in God’s plan and a purpose to fulfill.  Scripture speaks of each person’s uniqueness.

 

  • The Psalmist says to the Lord, “For you created my inmost being you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was woven together in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13-16).
  • “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” (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Esther was told, “You are here for such a time as this.”

 

Acting

 

Glimpse through your own biography.  See how the previous phases of your life have prepared you for the current phase.  He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.

 

Moses had a once in history life, and so do we.  Share how the past has prepared you for the present in the comments below.