Archive for abundant life

The Better Life of Peace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by greatvictories

You have heard that is was said, “You shall love your neighbor” and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven, for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and send rain on the just and the unjust…Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:43-48).

As a Christian we are called to forgive no matter what. No matter how bad someone has hurt us. No exceptions.

Who would you consider an enemy, a parent, child, teacher, spouse, ex-spouse, friend, ex-friend, pastor? Have you forgiven them?  How do you respond to the enemies/adversaries in your world?

Jesus says to love ~ (an attitude or action, having a humble, self-giving heart, wanting the best for them, seeing them as God sees them).

There is a way to love our enemy ~ Jesus is our model. He doesn’t say they should face justice or that you have to have them over for dinner one night a week. But he does say to love them as a model of Jesus. “The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Benefits of loving our enemies:

There’s a physical benefit. “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). There is scientific evidence that surpressed anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness WILL affect our health. Healing WILL begin when we forgive and work through our pain.

There’s a psychological benefit. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a).

There’s a relational benefit. “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends” (Proverbs 17:9). Love is the only power that can turn an enemy into a friend.

There’s a spiritual benefit. “But if you do not forgive men of their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mathew 6:15). We accept God’s forgiveness, we must accept and forgive others’.

We reap what we sow. If we forgive, we reap forgiveness. If we bless, we reap blessings. “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself” (Proverbs 11:25).

There’s a kingdom benefit. “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brother only, what do you do more than others? Do not even tax collectors do so?” (Matthew 5: 46-48).

Love ~ Do what God has already done for us ~ Do unto others. Help those who hurt you. Return good for evil.

You may ask, “How do I do this?” Through the P-E-A-C-E process. “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).

P ~ Pray for God to give you the ability and love in your heart to forgive those who have hurt you. Pray also for those who hurt you. You will get personal healing. “…bless those who curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:28).

E ~ Empathize ~ Understand what they may be going through. Find out what is really going on under the surface. Hurt people, hurt people. Love the pearl that lies in the mire. “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).

A ~ Act ~ Do good to those who hate you. Return good for evil. It is a choice you have to make. “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).

C ~ Confess ~ Be willing to admit. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Be a man or woman of character, humbling going beyond your pride and confess, turn and receive. Ask God if you might also be part to blame? “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

E ~ Emulate ~ Imitate God! Jesus loved and forgave His enemies. Those who beat Him, those who spit on Him, those who denied Him, those who ridiculed Him and those who hung Him on the cross. What happened in the past ~ forgive. Show Jesus’ love that is working in your life. It’s tough. It’s freeing. It’s commanded. “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Submit to God’s ways. Love. Forgive. Do good to those who hurt you.

When will you initiate  the peace process? Only then can we live the better life, the abundant life!

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Seeing Yourself As God Sees You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2012 by greatvictories

Seeing through God’s eyes ~ Part 1

Oh, to see myself as my Savior sees me. I am learning to see myself the way God sees me. How about you? How do you see yourself? Who is your mirror? Your parents? Family members? Peers? Friends? Ex-spouse? Kids on the playground?

Seeing yourself through God’s eyes ~ “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22)

Grasp how God sees you and it will change your life forever!

The most important perspective is how God sees you because of His grace…”that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).  See yourself from God’s point of view. He declares you good. He chose you. We don’t have to work for God’s acceptance.

If being chosen by man makes you feel good, how MUCH MORE since God choose you? “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…”  (1 Peter 2:9).

1) God sees you as acceptable in His sight. “When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10).

Rejection is the number one hurt. We’ll do almost anything to gain approval of others. To be accepted, we’ll buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t even know.  We can never live up to some people, so we work and work to gain their approval. Hurt people hurt people. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)

2) God sees you as valuable. “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. Of how MUCH MORE value are you than the birds” (Luke 12:24)? “You were bought at a price, do not become slaves of men” (1 Cor. 7:23).

What is your value in life? How much do you think you are worth? Who owns you? Don’t confuse your net-worth with your self-worth.

The Cross of Jesus is your net-worth. You are that valuable to Him! Jesus paid it all! You are His son, His daughter. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

3) God sees you as lovable. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

God’s love is consistent. Human love is not. God’s love is unconditional. Not based on your performance but on God’s character, who He is.

“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:10).

Don’t doubt God’s love for you. Don’t seek approval. God has already given His approval. Believe what God alone says!

4) God sees you as forgivable. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Get to KNOW God and have a personal relationship with Him. No matter what others have said to you or about you, you are forgivable! “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” (Ephesians 1:4).

5) God sees you as capable. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:5-6).

Pride is the number one in man. Low self-esteem is an epidemic in our nation. Don’t live according to old messages of the past from people, start filling it with God’s word! “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it MORE ABUNDANTLY” (John 10:10).

God  has a plan and a purpose. He is able and He is sufficient. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Jesus should be the most important person in your life. You’ll never regret it. See how God sees you…Acceptable, Valuable, Lovable, Forgivable, and Capable.

You CAN be what He wants you to be. “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).