Monday, October 19, 2009

Daily Digest #349

God is love. —1 John 4:8

Allow me to share 4 related articles from the Purpose Drive Life online (read below). May we be reminded how much God loves each of us. Pray always. God bless!

God Says You Are Accepted

“Therefore, accept each other in the same way that Christ accepted you. He did this to bring glory to God” (Romans 15:7 GWT).

Most of us spend our entire lives trying to earn acceptance. We want to earn it from our parents, peers, partners in life, from people we respect, maybe even from people we envy. The drive to be accepted is a deep drive that can influence the kind of clothes you wear, the kind of car you drive, the kind of house you buy, even the career you choose.

Remember as a kid you wanted so badly to be in the in-crowd that someone would say to you, “I dare you to do this,” and they’d suggest something that was either stupid, or that put your personal safety at risk. But, you did it anyway because your desire to be accepted overruled the desire for safety.

We do it because we love the feeling of “I’m OK, I’m accepted; somebody accepts me.” When you’re accepted, it does tremendous things for your self esteem. The truth is Jesus accepts you and that acceptance is not based on your performance. In fact, you may have received Christ and accepted Jesus into your life, but do you realize that you’re able to do that because Jesus accepted you? You don’t have to earn his acceptance; you don’t have to prove yourself to him.

We need to stop thinking, “I’ve got an unpleaseable God up there and I’ve got to be a good boy, or good girl, to be accepted.” God, through Jesus Christ, has already accepted you. That’s the good news!

The Bible teaches, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalms 27:10 NIV). Now, the fact is, some of you had an unpleaseable parent. No matter what you did, it wasn’t good enough. For instance, if you got B’s on your report card, you had a parent who wanted A’s. If you got lots of A’s, that parent wanted straight A’s. No matter what you did, you couldn’t find acceptance.

The tragedy is that some of you even today are still trying to prove yourself to an unpleaseable parent. You’re still trying to earn that acceptance. I want to say two things to you:

1. In all likelihood, you’re not going to get it. If you haven’t gotten it by now, then you’re not likely to ever get it—and that is your parent’s problem, not yours.

2. You don’t need that acceptance to please God. You’ve been accepted by God. There are nearly 6 billion people on the planet, if some of them don’t like you, who cares? You don’t need it. You have been accepted by God!

God Says You Are Valuable

“You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (1 Corinthians 7:23 LB).

God says not only are you accepted, you’re valuable.

How much do you think you’re worth? I’m not talking about your net worth; I’m talking about your self worth. Don’t ever confuse your valuables with your value as a person. You can be rich or poor but it has nothing to do with your value as a person.

What determines value? There are two things that determine value in life:

1. It depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. How much is your house worth? Not as much as you think it is, and probably not as much as it was a year ago. Your house is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it. No more.

How much is a baseball card worth? To some of you, it’s worth nothing. To Matthew, my son, it’s worth a lot of money. Some people are willing to pay $10,000 for a baseball card.

How much is a piece of art worth? Whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

2. It depends on who owned it in the past. Sometimes something is valuable because of who used to own it. For example, would a car owned by Elvis Presley be more valuable than a car you owned? Probably. Or, would a guitar be more valuable because it was owned by John Lennon? I read about a pair of stinky, smelly, worn out basketball shoes that sold for $7,000 at an auction because they happened to be owned by someone named Michael Jordan.

Based on these two things, what’s your value? Ask yourself, “Who owns me?” “What was paid for me?” The Bible says, “You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears” (1 Corinthians 7:23 LB).

You have been bought and paid for by Christ. You belong to Jesus. How much does that make you worth?

Now ask yourself, “Who do I belong to?” The Bible says you belong to God. God exchanged his own Son for you! The cross proves your value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are incredibly valuable. Nobody has ever paid a greater price than God paid for you. You are acceptable and you are valuable!

God Says You Are Capable

“It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work not because we deserved it but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his love and kindness to us through Christ” (2 Timothy 1:9 LB).

You have a right now to go directly to God; you have direct access. You don’t have to pray through anybody else. You don’t have to confess through anybody else. You don’t have to go through anyone else to have fellowship with God. The Bible teaches that you have a direct line now.

In addition, God says you have been gifted for ministry to serve other people. Every Christian is a minister. That doesn’t mean every Christian is a pastor, rather minister. Anytime you’re using your talents and gifts to help others you’re ministering.

Notice the Bible verse above says, “He saved us for his holy work.” You are saved to serve. Why did God save you? So you could serve him.

You may be thinking, “How do I know what my ministry is?” You look at your talents, your gifts, and your abilities. You look at how God shaped you. God wants you to use those talents and gifts to help other people. Every time you do that, that’s called ministry: nothing fancy, scary, or supernatural about it. It’s just helping others.

Can you minister in a sales office? Yes, you can. Can you minister as an accountant? Yes, you can. Can you minister driving a truck? Sure! Anytime you’re helping other people in his name, you’re ministering.

In fact, God says you’re necessary in the church. You’re a necessary part of this family. Look at it this way, if I don’t use my talents—you get cheated. If you don’t use your talents—I get cheated. Everybody else in the congregation gets cheated.

We’re all important; we’re all necessary to do our part as we fit together.

God Says You Are Forgiven

“I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you” (Isaiah 43:25 TEV).

Some of us, even though we’re believers, think whenever we’re having problems that God’s getting even with us; that God’s just trying to get back at us.

It’s like the guy who was driving up to a mountain lake and on the way up it starts snowing, so he gets out to put chains on his tires. While he’s doing this, another car comes along and slams into his car. And he watches in horror as his car goes over a cliff.

He continues up the mountain on foot, in the snow and sleet, and he’s getting sick from the cold. Then, as he rounds a corner, he sees that his cabin has burned down. He starts hitting his head against the wall, and asks, “Why me, God.” The heavens part and a voice says, “Because some people just tick me off.”

Some of you really feel that is the way God feels about you. You think that whenever you’ve got a problem, God is ticked off. But the Bible says, “I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you” (Isaiah 43:25 TEV). God doesn’t hold a grudge. If you have received Jesus as your Savior, then there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. He doesn't rub it in, he rubs it out. He doesn’t rehearse it, he releases it.

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