Monthly Archives: March 2015

Less “God”, More “Jesus”

Easter is just around the corner, and for many Christians, this is one of the most special weeks of the year.

In just about any church you walk into this week, you will hear the pastor talking about Jesus. In fact, this is the week when you’ll probably hear Christians talk about Jesus more than ever. However I’m willing to bet that once Easter passes, we will hear His name mentioned less in the pulpits – and from Christians on the street – at least until Christmas rolls around again.

Here’s my point: I think that we talk too much about “God”, and not about “Jesus”.

You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? They are one in the same, aren’t they?” The answer to that is yes, of course…but unfortunately, the subject of god is not so simple anymore.

A person’s image of “god” can be so very different, depending on who we ask. Some people believe that god is in the trees and every part of nature. Some see god as this Invisible Force that has little or nothing to do with our everyday lives. Others see God as some Mean Guy from above who is waiting to punish us every time we mess up. And many Christians still see God as the One who spoke from the top of Mount Sinai – blessing us when we do right, and punishing us when we do wrong.

It’s like walking into a room full of people and shouting out, “Hey You!” Not only would that be annoying to most in the room, but it would also leave everyone confused as to whom you are referring to. Referring to God as simply “God” can sometimes be seen in the same way. It not only runs the risk of sounding generic, but can also conjure up such a wide range of opinions and emotions from others – some that are positive, and others not so good.

Jesus is a very specific person. He is the Son of God, who came to this earth in order to purchase something for us that we could never purchase for ourselves…total forgiveness, total love, and an eternal future with Him. His name is so powerful that the mention of it alone breaks addictions, brings healing and changes any circumstance.

I believe that as Christians, it’s time that we stop talking so much about “God”, and start talking more about Jesus. Jesus came to demonstrate to us that God is not distant from us. Jesus came to let us know that God’s not mad at us. And Jesus came to bring a fulfilling life to anyone who believes in Him.

And here’s the best news of all…Jesus loves you too, even if you are not a Christian. He wants you to know Him, and He wants to share His life with you. Don’t judge Him based on what you have heard or seen from others. Judge Him based on what you come to learn from Him personally. If you want to know Him, just say to Him:

“Jesus, I believe that you came to this earth to purchase my forgiveness. Thank you for paying the price for my sin, and for forgiving me of every wrong I have ever done, am doing right now, and will ever do. Because you paid the price for me, I am in good standing with God. Thanks for being my friend, and I look forward to our new and amazing relationship that starts today.”

Stepping Off The Hamster Wheel of Performance

Society has taught us that with enough hard work and determination, we can accomplish any dream or goal that we set our minds to. Although this is true to an extent, I believe that there must be more to success than simply hard work. I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who have sacrificed much energy, money, time and effort, but sadly never quite saw their dreams materialize.

We as human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. Because the spirit is the “quieter” part of our being, it can often get overtaken by the body and soul (mind, will, emotions), which are often much louder and more demanding! As a result, our emotions, along with the need to “do, do, do” can drive us into a cycle of activity, thinking that being busy will create results.

Unfortunately, religion often teaches us the same thing. We have been taught that in order to get God to do something for us, that we must first work hard for His approval. You’ve heard the saying, “God helps those who help themselves”? Although many live by this principle, it can be found nowhere in the Bible.  Actually, it’s a quote from Benjamin Franklin.

We have been taught through religion, however, that we must “help ourselves” before we can expect help from Above. Perhaps that means that we need to read our Bible or pray more. Or maybe we need to go on an extended fast. Or perhaps we need to be nice to seven people in a single day in order to get God to pay attention to what we need.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are wonderful to do, and are something that we in fact ought to be doing. We do these things because we desire to do them, for our spiritual growth and benefit. We cannot do these things in order to compel God to be good to us. The Bible calls these things “works”. Galatians 2:16 says,

”Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

In simple terms, we are told here that no amount of self-effort can ever validate us before God. Only our belief in Jesus gains us approval from God.  In other words, God is not good because WE are good.  God is good because HE is good!

In fact, Hebrews 4 tells us that it is God’s desire that we be diligent to enter into a place of rest. This resting means that we are not working to gain God’s approval, but we rest in the fact that He loves us, and that He will take care of all we need – which includes guiding us to our dreams and life purpose.

So the next time you find yourself running on that hamster wheel, ask yourself these two questions:

– Is my mind at rest, trusting that Jesus loves me and will get me to my destination?
– Is my hard work based on what I’m hearing from God, not from my own self-effort?

If so, keep on moving toward your dream! If not, it may be time to simply step away from the wheel…

Pet Hamster Holding A Blank  Sign

Getting To The Core Of Relationship

You want to know your life purpose. But what do you need that will help you to reveal what that is?

The fundamental answer lies in relationship. Your relationships determine how you see yourself, your life, and where you are headed in the future.

When we think of relationship, we think of how we get along with our family, co-workers and friends. But there is so much more to consider.

Relationship exists on three different levels:

  1. Your relationship with God. How do you see God, and how do you believe He sees you?
  2. Your relationship with yourself.       How do you see yourself?       How do you speak to and treat yourself?
  3. Your relationship with others. How do you treat others? How do others treat you?

These three levels of relationship are like the parts of an apple: the core, the meat and the skin:

The core of the apple is like to the spiritual level of relationships. Just as the core is connected to the branch of a tree, you have the ability to be connected to something (Someone) bigger than yourself. This connection allows you to be so much more than what you could from trying to make it on your own.

As this life-giving truth becomes a part of your consciousness, you will begin value and appreciate yourself at a deeper level. Just as the meaty part of the apple is refreshing and sweet, you now are able to fully recognize and enjoy your unique God-given abilities, skills and qualities. You come to understand that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and gain a greater respect and peace with self.

When you are able to live in a place of self-respect and self-love, you naturally become irresistibly attractive to others. The beautiful shine of an apple is so attractive. Once you truly value yourself as God values you, like the skin of an apple, others will see your shine, drawing them to you. This attraction empowers you to make a real difference in the world, and allows you to fulfill your life purpose.

Your relationship with God determines how you see yourself. Your relationship with self determines how others see you. In this beautiful flow of relationship, your life purpose can then blossom and be a blessing to others.

“What’s God Got To Do With My Purpose?”

God has an important message for you.  And I believe that it’s a message that can change the landscape of your entire life.

I’ve met many people who long to understand what they are on this planet to do.  But for many reasons, most become frustrated and discouraged, to the point where they have given up searching out their life purpose.

Maybe it’s just the ex-engineer in me, but this I know for sure:  Everything that is designed or built has someone who designed or built it.  As human beings, I believe that it is God who designed and built us.  That means that He is the one who understands what we each were unique created to be and do.  So, if we truly want to understand our life purpose, it is important that we look to the One who made us.

Your creator wants you to know that He knows you inside out.  Like a fingerprint, He designed you so uniquely that you are a one-of-a-kind, never to be duplicated.  And within that unique design is a destiny that has been embedded into you.  One that is shouting to come out!

I believe that the reason many of us don’t ever find our destiny is  that there are so many misconceptions about ourselves, based on misconceptions about how God feels about us.  But once we understand the truth about God and how He feels about us, this truth unlocks something within us that actually causes our purpose to chase us down!

Keys