According to Robert McGee there are four false beliefs that Satan uses to undermine a person’s sense of worth. 1) The Performance Trap: “I must meet certain standards in order to feel good about myself.” 2) Approval Addiction: “I must be approved and accepted by others to feel good about myself.” 3) The Blame Game: “Those who fail are unworthy of love and deserve to be punished.” 4) Shame: “I am what I am. I cannot change. I am hopeless.” We need to connect to Christ. In doing so, let’s now replace those lies with the truth of God’s Word: 1) “I bear Christ’s righteousness and am, therefore fully pleasing to the Father” (Romans 5:1). 2) “Although I was…alienated from God, I am now forgiven and totally accepted by God through Christ” (Colossians 1:21-22). 3) “Christ satisfied God’s wrath against sin by His death…therefore, I am deeply loved by God (1 John 4:9-11). 4) “I am a new creation in Christ (John 3:3-6). Feeling better now? Take a minute and say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Faith Connections with Pastor Mary…
As many Christians celebrate Palm Sunday—the arrival of Jesus (the Light of Truth who illuminates the way to live a vibrant life in connection with God)—let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on some challenging questions. For example, “Do I really want to know the Truth of God’s love? When I can see my level of love is deficient in certain areas (dark and selfish before God), will I trust Christ to enlarge my understanding and ability to love in a way that pleases God? To accept and know Christ and to follow his ways will lead us to victory (death to selfishness and eternal life in God’s love).
“I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust me me will no longer remain in the dark.” John 12:46
God created the heavens and the earth, and placed creative humanity in a position to govern it under divine authority. We have allowed ourselves to leave the ways of God to follow the false standard of culture because we love our own “THINKING”…and our natural thinking without God’s influence is basically selfish and therefore, distorted. And, the sad thing is when our thinking is distorted all of our attitudes and behaviors keep leaning in that direction.
Albert Einstein said, “The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
We serve a gracious and generous God. Our response to God’s grace and generosity should be a spirit of great thanksgiving and a passion to look like our Creator as we encounter people each day.
Peter and John had been very bold in their witness of what Christ had done in their lives; how their lives had become whole and Christ’s love had filled them. God took these ordinary men and inspired them to “connect” with a man who had been lame for forty years. This man was healed, in the name of Jesus, by the power of God’s love through these two men. Naturally, the church council and the religious leaders were not happy about this love and energy that was permeating “their” religious camp. But, these religious leaders could not deny the courage and boldness that had come over these two men to speak the truth about how their lives had changed since meeting Jesus. Peter and John were acting on what they could now see from God’s horizon. Peter and John were more concerned about what God desired to do through them, than how these people around them listening might react to what they might do and say. This is an example of a stand of courageous love for God and people. It is that courage for which we, as Christ followers, must seek to “connect.” The Holy Spirit is the Giver and Initiator of such courage. Following this story, the healing of the lame man, we see the early Church (followers of Christ) ramping up their prayer for courage…
“Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsy. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes.” Haggai 1:1-8
Haggai talks about “Pockets with holes;” that provides a very good visual for us doesn’t it?
“If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So, to keep me from being proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” 2 Corinthians 6-12
The Apostle Paul knew all about issues and problems; yet, God trusted and empowered him to write a great portion of the New Testament. Many Christians feel if they face intense problems, it is because God is displeased with them. Punishment must be the reason; that’s a human perspective.
Have you ever been caught up in deep worship–true oneness with God that filled and overwhelmed you with awe, wonder, praise, and thanksgiving? The Apostle John did. His spirit was translated from a physical location (more than likely the Island of Patmos) to the throne room of heaven where he witnessed the glory of God’s presence (Revelation 4:1-11).
“If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.” John 12:44-47
A picture is most beautiful when the lighting is just right. The eyes of our understanding are beautifully lit when we are trusting Christ. When it comes to “seeing things clearly” for what they are in this world and your life, has it ever dawned on you that you may not really have the “lighted” picture? In other words, do you ever admit that you might not be seeing things from a “Lighted” perspective?
“When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:44
I want to take you back, over 2000 years ago, to a small town with a teenage girl, Mary. She is entrusted with a Promise that has been delivered by an angel. God places that promise within Mary; she is to give birth to Christ. It defies all logic; all reason. It seems out of context; it looks like she is dishonored. She ponders the word given by the angel; the message that she is highly favored and loved by God. She chooses to believe. No one really knows for awhile about the Promise in Mary. The ones that do, find it impossible to believe. It’s a huge gift, but carrying and explaining such a Gift is difficult. Staying among the people who have known her and viewed her as a child with nothing significant yet to offer, makes it impossible for her to have the right perspective of herself–seeing herself from God’s horizon. How will she gain that proper vantage point?