30-Day Oatmeal Diet
A missionary got very ill on the mission field. Adding to her difficulties, her monthly check didn’t come. Here she was: very sick, without any money to buy food. All she could afford to eat was oatmeal.
It made her sad, that in the middle of her great need, God wasn’t helping her. But within a month she fully recovered, and money arrived. Later, back in her home country, she was speaking to a group of people somewhat disparagingly about her life. She told of the hardships she had gone through with her illness and how her funds were delayed.
After the meeting, a doctor came up and asked her questions about her illness, concluding: “Thank God your check didn’t come in! The only cure for what you had is: a 30 day oatmeal diet!”
What’s the principle? God’s never failed us, though it may take awhile to see it.
We Are God’s Masterpiece
A man was attracted to a rock he found in a stream. He brought it home and, for a long time, he made it a doorstop in his house. One day, a geologist visited him and saw the rock. He identified it as pure gold. It was the largest piece of gold ever found east of the Mississippi River.
It was a doorstop in someone’s home. Considered insignificant! Worthless!
He didn’t know what he had! Do you know what you have? Do you really believe you are insignificant to God? Worthless? Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, what the Bible teaches, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
Body-Slams of Life
How would you describe yourself: a wounded victim, or a scarred warrior?
How we respond to life’s body-slams makes all of the difference on how fruitful we are in life.
The Message Bible paraphrases the following verses in Corinthians that Paul wrote after challenging the church in a previous letter. “Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain.” (2Corinthains 7:9-10, The Message)
Don’t be a victim; rejoice in each struggle that brings you closer to God.
God’s Love Never Changes
If you’re a follower of Jesus, think back to one minute before you gave your life to Him. Did God love you then? Was He smiling or frowning? Did He suddenly have a cosmic epiphany and realize He was head over heals in love with you? NO! God loved you as much one minute before you received Jesus, as He did one minute after.
God’s so excited about the life He’s given you, even your greatest challenges, He’ll settle for nothing less than you loving it too.
So, how do you learn to love your life? You’ll love your life when you know God’s always pleased with you and never disappointed; not everything you do, but everything you are. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV)
God’s Thoughts About You
When God thinks of you, is He sad or glad?
God may be saddened over what you do, but He’s never disappointed in who you are. God’s not disillusioned with you, because He had no illusions about who you were to begin with.
How can you surprise a God who sees past, present and future simultaneously?
He lives in a perfect place of complete understanding of your past, total acceptance of your present, and absolute hope for your future.
How can you disappoint someone who is all knowing and ever in your favor? The psalmist describes God’s thoughts toward us so clearly, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…” (Psalm 139:17, NKJV)
This verse makes it clear: God’s infinite thoughts about you are precious.
Finding the Will of God
At one point in my life, as a young Christian, I was really struggling with finding the will of God for my life. Because of a number of strong voices telling me what I should, and shouldn’t do, I was emotionally distraught about missing His will. In tears, I asked my pastor for advice. What he shared with me has guided my life through countless decisions over three decades. He said, “Francis, it is impossible for you and I to miss God’s will if we desperately want His will more than anything else.” Wow! What a word!
God, as a loving Father, exercises His great power on our behalf, as Paul wrote, “…I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2Timothy 1:12, NKJV)
Being On God’s Side
I once asked a great leader how he was able to accomplish so much in his busy life. His answer was one word: FOCUS.
Light can either be dissipated or focused…a floodlight or a laser beam. In a similar way, passion is pain, which has been harnessed. It’s pain that’s been focused. Only then can we see its true value and God’s purpose in the hardest parts of life.
We can’t change our quality of life until we change our focus. Oh, that we would see Jesus! When we focus on seeing Him in our circumstances, it changes everything! It transforms our lives from tolerable to abundant!
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV)
Focus on being on God’s side, rather than asking Him to be on yours.
As Loved As Jesus
As a young Christian, I battled with the thought that I was insignificant to God. Why? Because, growing up, I was one of my natural father’s afterthoughts.
He was so busy in politics trying to find his identity; my twin brother and I were discarded. I thought, “If my natural father loved me, it was probably out of obligation.” I assumed God’s love must be the same.
I remember as a young boy writing letters during two-month long summer camps, begging someone to come visit me. Drawing a sad little face with tears coming down. God seemed as distant as my father was in those days.
But now I know, nothing could be further from the truth.
Jesus said, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9, NKJV) We are as loved by the Father as Jesus. Believe it!
Receiving God’s Love
Do you believe your mistakes have disqualified you? If anyone could have thought that, it would have been the apostle Peter. He’s a perfect example of someone who blew it, just like each of us, but God restored him.
Peter thought he was disqualified, after denying the Lord three times. How would you feel if in their greatest hour of need, you deserted your best friend? Well, that’s exactly how Peter must have felt. And that’s why the angel, after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, said, “…go, tell His disciples––and Peter––that Jesus is going before you…” (Mark 16:7, NKJV) …and Peter…
Whatever you’ve done? Whatever you think disqualifies you from receiving God’s love and forgiveness? Remember, if God could forgive Peter for his sins, He can forgive you too.
We Are Beautiful To God
Do you believe you are beautiful to God…greatly loved and treasured? It’s the doorway to experiencing the greatest joy in life.
If we believe as God states, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV) then we are each beautiful, at least to God. Certainly, the God who made all that is beautiful on Earth must be beautiful Himself.
If we say, we’re not beautiful, then we are assuming God isn’t beautiful as well. The truth is, our identity rests in the fact that a beautiful God created us and loves us. As beautiful as Jesus is, so is His spotless bride.
In the Song of Solomon God says, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7, NKJV) Jesus, the perfect Groom, has set His gaze, His affections, and His adoration upon His perfect Bride to be.
We live in a world that worship’s pleasure. But worshipping pleasure will destroy you. Actually, worshipping anything other than God will leave you empty. The Bible says, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man…” (Proverbs 21:17, NKJV)
All addictions to pleasure are misguided attempts to fill the void left by not being intimately connected with our Creator. Every person who is addicted to a destructive habit really needs God. Every woman who pursues romance with the wrong person is really looking for the love of God. Every teenager who is more attached to pleasing his friends over doing what’s right is looking for God.
Have you found what you’re looking for? His name is Jesus, Your Creator. As the psalmist wrote, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV)