Abused and Abandoned?
Have you been abused or abandoned? How can someone become un-abused or un-abandoned? Would it surprise you if I told you that this was exactly God’s will for our lives? Though an emotional scar can remain after our wounds are healed, if we give God all of our pain, it will become a scar of remembrance, a sacred altar attesting to the greatness of God’s healing power. My pain is now worth it. Passivity will keep you from fulfilling your destiny, and a stubborn resistance to God touching your pain won’t allow Him to remove it from your life. But the way to your healing is through Jesus! The truth is “…he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!” (Isaiah 53:5, NLT)
Nameless, Faceless, People
All of us want to be noticed, approved of, and accepted. But what would you be willing to do to become famous? The great basketball coach John Wooden said, “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” One of the great ironies of Earth is that God loves to use nameless people. What was the little boy’s name who gave Jesus the loaves and fishes? Who was the woman with the Alabaster Box, or the widow who gave God her last two mites? Nameless, faceless, selfless souls! Unknown on Earth, but renowned in Heaven! Only our God and Creator can give us the validation we crave. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, live righteously and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33, NLT)
Complaining Causes Brain Damage
Do you ever feel that people who complain a lot are driving you crazy? Well, they are! A study was done which determined that complaining actually damages the neurons in the brains of the people forced to listen. Author Trevor Blake writes, “…if you’re pinned in a corner for too long listening to someone being negative, you’re more likely to behave that way as well.” The Bible says that complainers are actually “…walking according to their own lusts.” (Jude 1:16, NKJV) Various translations refer to them as “grumblers, fault-finders” (NET), mal-contents (ESV), even “bellyachers” (The Message). Paul the Apostle had a great recommendation, “…you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8, The Message)
Somewhere On Purpose
It’s been said that, “Everyone ends up somewhere. But, few people end up somewhere on purpose.” In order to fulfill our unique destiny, we must believe that we are created with a specific purpose. And here it is: Romans 8:29 says that we are created to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus. Our plan must first start with His plan for us. My primary purpose is to be like Jesus…to reflect Him. I’m living out my purpose, by embracing His purpose for me. No one else has my unique blend of background, personality, temperament, physical attributes, needs, identity, gifting, destiny, and calling. I am complete in Him alone. God broke the mold. Not in frustration, but with the satisfaction that who I am created to be brings pleasure to Him.
Insulting Our Creator
How do you insult the Creator of the Universe? Ask Him to do something He’s done before. The God who doesn’t eat leftovers or watch re-runs has never had 2nd thoughts about you. His first thoughts were perfect. Therefore, everything He is, or does, concerning you, is original. We are His one-of-a-kind, limited editions, fashioned in the image and likeness of a generous God. When we embrace this sweet spot of our calling, then God can fill us with more of Himself. “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalm 139:17-18, NLT) Perhaps God is too busy thinking good thoughts about you to waste His time thinking bad ones.
We Are All Weak!
Did you ever notice God encourages us with Bible heroes who are as weak as we are? Moses felt disqualified because of his past failures. He said, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11) Gideon retorted, “How can I save Israel? My clan’s the weakest, and I’m the least in my family.” (Judges 6:15, NIV) When God told Sarah she would have a baby in her old age, she laughed in unbelief. (Genesis 18:12) The prophet Jeremiah complained, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:6, NLT) God responded: Don’t be afraid! I will deliver you! I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:8-9) Even Jesus struggled with the fact that, like David and Joseph, His brothers didn’t believe in His calling. (John 7:5) Yet, called He was, and so are you. Never forget, once given, God’s gifts and callings cannot be taken from you…by anyone. (Romans 11:29)
Do we see the potential in those around us? George Whitefield was the principle evangelist God used to fire up the 1st Great Awakening in American History. During the mid-1700’s, 20% of the population of New England (50,000 people) were added to the churches. As a boy, George Whitefield was a bully, a liar, a thief, a gambler, and a blasphemer. As a teenager, Whitefield stood up in bars on bar stools and mocked the way preachers preached. Once, he even got drunk and, with his friends, broke up a church meeting. Yet, as a converted adult, Whitefield preached to 30,000 people at one time. Benjamin Franklin said he could be heard clearly one mile away. Do I see the potential in those around me? I will take another look!
How Billy Graham Got Saved
Have you ever heard of Mordecai Ham? He was an x-boxer who got radically saved, bought a tent, and began to hold evangelistic meetings across the South in the 1930’s. On one occasion, when he went into a city, the churches didn’t want him there, so he took his tent right outside the city limits. One night, a teenage boy came to a meeting and got saved. His name was Billy Graham. WOW! A little-known evangelist, who was rejected by fellow Christians, but didn’t give up, continued to preach the gospel and Billy Graham got saved. Sounds like we shouldn’t give up when we’re doing God’s will because we never know who’s on the other side of our obedience. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land…” (Isaiah 1:19, ESV)
57 Cents To Reach Children
A little girl was turned away from a church because “it was too crowded.” The pastor heard about it, and found a place for her. Two years later, when she died in a poor apartment, they found a worn and crumpled purse with 57 cents and a note she had scribbled, “this is to help build the little church bigger, so more children can go to Sunday School.” For two years she had saved for this love offering. At her funeral, her pastor challenged the people to raise money for a larger building to reach more children. A landowner even offered a parcel of land worth many thousands of dollars for 57 cents. Checks came from everywhere. Today, the building still houses hundreds of Sunday School children each week, right next door to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Every Life Serves a Purpose
A dog was born on Christmas Eve with just two hind legs. Even his mother didn’t want him. His first owner didn’t think that he could survive and thought of ‘putting him to sleep’. But then he met Jude Stringfellow. Though he couldn’t walk, Jude named him “Faith.” In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfboard to let him feel the movement. After six months, Faith learned to balance on his hind legs and to move forward by jumping in the snow. Soon, he could walk like a human being. No matter where he went, he attracted attention, appearing in newspapers and on TV shows. A book was even written entitled “With a Little Faith.” Perhaps you feel shortchanged as well: born with less than you desired. Don’t let that lie prevail. We have each been given all we need for a great and godly life. (2 Peter 1:3)
Communication in a Healthy Marriage
Four negative patterns of miscommunication are prime marriage destroyers. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Criticism says hurtful comments primarily focusing on the faults of a spouse; it’s where blame is placed on the person and not the problem. Contempt communicates worthlessness through disrespectful statements and actions, sending your spouse the message that they’re inferior and undeserving of respect. Contempt leads to Defensiveness, where we cease being able to receive from our spouse due to lack of trust. And lastly, Stonewalling is when spouses put up unwarranted protective walls. The Bible says, “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her…” (Ephesians 5:25-26, The Message)
Is your heart hurting? God wants to heal it. A man came to Jesus and said, “Lord…if you are willing, you can heal me…Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’” (Luke 5:12-13, NLT) If you can believe it, Jesus is telling you the same thing. “I am willing to heal you.” Will you allow Him to heal your broken heart? Are you abandoned? He will surround you with His love! Are you neglected? He will fill your emptiness! Are you fearful? He will give you all the faith you need! Are you embittered? He will soothe you! Have you been abused? He will comfort you! Have you been spoiled? He will train you! Are you performance-driven? He accepts you as you are! Has your heart been wounded? He will make it as good as new!