Saturday, May 29, 2010

Love as You Love Yourself

I actually wrote this in 1989. The only thing I added now that I am posting this in 2010 is the phrase "the older I get, the more I learn not to". It is encouraging to me as I read this I realize that those tendancies you are about to read about that I did so often are not much of an issue anymore. It must be true that with gray hair comes wisdom!

I must learn to love myself (not have a poor self image) before my relationships with other people reach their full potential. Of course I do not love the creation more than the creator (Rom. 1:25) Maybe I should say, I love Christ within me. There is only one God, but there are many Christians. Each one has a different personality through which Christ is revealed. The Bible says in Mark 12:33 to “love your neighbor as yourself.” How can we love our neighbor if we do not love ourselves?

This is different from pride. Pride means you think you are better than others. The truth is that deep down people with pride really do not love themselves.

I remember after I first got married; I wanted to change my whole personality. My self concept was suffering. You see, some might say that I’m very out-going. However, that is not always good! Even though my foot tastes awful, it seems I have chewed it down to the bone—the old “foot-in-the-mouth” syndrome! The older I get, the more I learn not to, but especially in times past I have told people what I think of something as if they asked for my opinion! I knew immediately that I should not have opened my mouth. I would come home, and Bill could tell right off; “What did you say this time?” Then there were those times that Bill was with me, and he knew I would say something I shouldn't’ so he gently nudged my knee with his hand to remind me to keep quiet. It saved me from a lot of turmoil. That started making me want to be like Bill instead of me. I was down on myself for weeks. Finally, Bill sat me down and talked to me. He said he married me for who I was, not so he could change me to be like him. He said that I had opened him up more than anyone else had ever done; never before had he been able to express his inner-most feelings. It was then that I realized the awesome miracle of our marriage. God knew what each of us needed, and He put us together to compliment each other and to be truly one in Christ! Oh yes, Bill still has to nudge my knee sometimes, and I have to ask him quite a bit what he is thinking, but we have a much more exciting marriage than if we were so much alike.

God made each of us uniquely perfect with our own personalities. Since we are born in sin (Rom 5:14, 17, and 3:23), we all have flaws in our personalities. The more time we spend with our Creator and other children of God, the more the flaws decrease. God takes out the tendency to gossip in the extravert and the evil thoughts that are not spoken in the introvert. It just takes spending time with Him in intimate communion and a sincere, repentant heart.

Time spent with other Christians is also very important. We compliment each other. Just as a man and wife are better together than apart—because one’s strengths are the other’s weaknesses and visa versa—so the church needs to bind together as one. Imagine how we would so encourage one another and bring out each other’s strengths if we all would gather together after following the first step of individual time with God. (Matt. 22:37-38) The best of every Christian's personalities combined would be so much more like Christ than just one person. Isn’t that our goal—to be like Christ? Let’s help each other—build each other up—never cut the other down. (Gal 6:2) Then the church will be “a glorious church without spot or wrinkle” at the time of Christ’s return. (Ep. 5:27) Glory be to God, the Creator of all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Trap of Comparison

How many times do we not live to our full potential because we compare ourselves to others? There are two ways comparison happens:
1. Comparing our "strengths" to someone else's "weaknesses"--That would be called being haughty. "Haughty" is an adjective describing one who behaves in a superior, condescending, or arrogant way.

2. Comparing our "weaknesses" to someone else's "strengths"--That would be called having an "Inferiority Complex." To me that's when someone has an overdeveloped sense of being inferior to others. In other words, that seems to be all they think about! Believe it or not, having and inferiority complex is just as much pride as being haughty, because the focus is all about self.
Let's take a look at some examples of these in the Bible. First we'll look at someone who was haughty. Luke 18:9-14 (NKJV), Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: [10] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You, that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ [14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Notice the Pharisee compared himself to another man, but the tax collector (or "Publican" as the KJV says) compared himself to a Holy God. Go back and read the last verse again and see just which one ended up being lifted up.

Next, let's think about Moses, our example of one who had an Inferiority Complex. God showed up to him in a very powerful, supernatural way in a burning bush that was not consumed. God asked him to go lead the Israelites out Egypt where they were in captivity as slaves. Moses kept giving excuses why he shouldn't be the one to go. “Who am I that I should go?” “But I am not eloquent in speech.” “Can’t you send someone else?” All the while, God was proving He would be with him. Read it for yourself in Exodus 3 and 4. Thankfully, God still used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and turn the tide of history setting the stage for people of God to be delivered for ages to come. It was certainly not because of Moses' abilities, or should we say lack or fears?

My prayer is that when God nudges me to do something, He will remind me to look to Him, and not compare myself to others or focus on my lack of abilities. I need to remember, as Paul said in Philippians 2:13 that it is God who works in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. If He has put a desire in me, He will give me everything I need to accomplish it. He has promised to complete what He starts in me. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

'News from Legacy Ministries'

Click on the title of this post above to read the May Newsletter for Legacy Ministries and the Legacy Equipping Center. God is on the move! Your prayers, support and attendance at events is greatly appreciated as we go forward "...for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ..." Ep. 4:12.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jump into the Cleansing Stream!

What a weekend! I attended the Cleansing Stream retreat Friday and Saturday in Augusta, GA with a group from my church who have been going through a 12 week discipleship course to be cleaned out from the inside out! This is one of those things that cannot be explained but has to be experienced. It's all about the two things I am so passionate about....discipleship and inner healing!

There were hundreds of others who were also getting delivered from "stuff" that had kept them bound from that abundant life God wants us to have. The worship was amazing. At the beginning I entered the sanctuary with worship music going on that just stirred an expectancy of what God was about to do! As the weekend progressed, worship increased from people who were getting rid of all the garbage that was stopping them up from free can only imagine how free the worship was becoming as the weekend progressed.

God showed me some areas in my life that needed to be washed with His amazing Living Water that I did not even realize were issues. I have been walking through some trials lately, but they only served as primers to get me ready to be set free this past weekend! It is so true that God's truths will totally set you free! Now I want to offer this discipleship leading to diliverance at the Legacy Equipping Center this fall.

For those of you who are local, if you are interested in participating in Cleansing Stream at the Center, let me know. If you are interested in getting this started in your own church, click on the title of this post and it will take you to the Cleansing Stream website. You can see all about the ministry and hear some testimonies about what God has done in others through Cleansing Stream. Let me know if you start the program. I want to hear what God does! Below is a video of a testimony I got from the Cleansing Stream website.