Thursday, June 13, 2013
For most of my life I have suffered with self-esteem issues. Even as a saved woman of God, I have battled low self-esteem and poor self-image. What I have found in the past few months, however is that this has served to open the door to people who have used that to their advantage and who have in turn used me. You see when you don't place the proper value on yourself, there are people who will use you, take advantage of your gifts and talents; while making you feel that they are doing you a favor. They prey upon your insecurities and hurt you but they never say I am sorry and always manage to make you feel that somehow you are the problem. Today I can tell you, dearly loved ones that I have been there, done that and have the scars to prove it. But I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, who in recent days has begun to minister this truth to me..."You have worth, and value and until you see this, there will always be someone standing in line to use you and take advantage." So I want to share this truth with you. As a teacher, and because I know my issue with low self-esteem and poor self-image, I have always counseled young women to "know their worth." When I see them allowing someone to devalue them, I always ask them the question, "What value do you place on yourself?" I now realize that this truth has been stuck in my head for many years, but has never made its way into my heart. I never really knew my worth, never really placed value upon myself until I came face to face with the truth that I was being devalued, and that I had allowed it! In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells the parable of the woman who lost a coin, 8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ I know that this scripture is referring to sinners coming to salvation, but I also believe that in a broader sense, it is talking about the value that the Father places on each of us. This woman knew that the coin had value, so she didn't simply dismiss the fact that it was lost, even though she still had nine other coins, but instead she went to great pains to find that coin. This simple story speaks a very deep, eternal truth to me, we matter to God! He has taken great care in creating a masterpiece in each of us, a thing of beauty; a work of art! And regardless of the countless billions that have walked this earth, we are each priceless to Him! When we devalue ourselves, or allow others to devalue us, we are saying that the masterpiece that God created, you and me, is really worthless! How do you suppose the Father feels as He observes us allowing ourselves to be used and discarded like a Kleenex that someone used to wipe their nose? I can only imagine that it causes Him great pain. Psalms 139:14 gives us a good view of how the Father wants us to see ourselves: "I praise [thank] You because You made me in an amazing [awesome] and wonderful way. What You have done is wonderful. I know this very well."(EXB) We, beloved, are valuable to God! Even when we don't count ourselves as having value, even when others discount our value, God the Father always knows our worth. In Matthew 10, Jesus reminds us of this..."29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."(ESV) During Jesus' time, sparrows were of so little value that two sparrows were sold for less than a penny in today’s currency, but God cared so much for them that not one of them was lost or destroyed without Him being aware of it; but Jesus goes on to remind us that we are so valuable to God that He took the time to number even the hairs on our heads! Dearly loved ones, I will say this again, we matter so much to God! So my encouragement to you today is this...see yourself as the valuable silver coin, the wonderfully made masterpiece, the creation so precious that your Father even took the time to count the hairs on your head; and do not allow ANYONE into your life who does not know your value and your worth!
Be encouraged beloved and keep your eyes on the Father!
Sunday, June 2, 2013
*This is the third in the series on Trusting God and is a repost from September 2010. If you have read it already, I hope that you will read it again, because the Lord had given me new insights and new things to write. I hope that it will bless you.
So...trusting God, take 3. How do we come to the place of total trust in God, in His goodness, in His faithfulness, in His love? It doesn't seem like the hard places of our lives would be where we learn to trust God, but they are. Why is that? Why did God allow Jezebel to threaten Elijah and send him running to the cave? Why was Abraham tested to the point of taking his son to be offered as a sacrifice to God? And why do we face our cave, our climb up the mountain ready to sacrifice that thing we love most? Abraham, Elijah, us--why does God take us through the various trials that we face? Is He just mean and gets a kick out of seeing us suffer? No! First and foremost, we must remember that God is good and He loves us beyond measure. I know what you're thinking, "Ok smarty pants--then why does He allow us to go through these trials?" I will answer that question with a story. When I started a fitness program with a personal trainer, he told me that in order to lose the most weight quickly, he needed to start me on a strength building program with weights to build muscle, and the muscles would then burn the fat as fuel. Now, can I tell you that this was not at all pleasant at first! Some of my weight routines required that I lift as much as 120 pounds and that was hard! In the first couple of weeks, I was so sore I hated the thought of going to the gym! As I continued to go, I began to look forward to my workout time. A few weeks more and I began to see definition in my muscles, my clothes began to fit better and I had more energy than ever! The muscles that I had begun to build were now using the stored fat as fuel. Even when I was doing simple tasks like walking the corridors of my school, my muscles were working, burning fat; the strenuous workouts that my trainer created for me were conditioning my body so that even when I wasn't actually working out, my newly formed muscles were working. So how does this relate to our learning to trust God? I believe that each time we face trials, we have one of two choices: trust God to bring us out or hide in the cave. If we decide, "I really don't know how God and I am a little afraid, but I am going to trust You," what we find is that God does come to where we are and gives us the help that we need. Every time we make this choice, we build our faith and trust in God. Just like I build muscles every time I workout, which in turn allows me to get stronger; every time we face a situation where we must trust God and only God, our faith and trust in Him grows stronger! Our trials create a track record by which we can trace the faithfulness of God, we in turn develop a stronger and more lasting faith. We must come to know that God does not do things the way that we think He should, we can't even imagine sometimes how God is going to respond to our place of trial, but we must know that our God can do anything. The Apostle Paul says it this way, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine according to the power that works in us." What power? The power of the Living God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The scripture reminds us that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is working in us. How can we fail? How can we be destroyed? How can anything take us down when we have the power of the Eternal God working in us and for us? This power allows us to stand in the face of our "Jezebels" and "mountain climbs" knowing that our God loves us and He always has a plan for our lives, "to do us good and not evil and to give us a hope and a future." That being said--Let's keep pumping, building our faith physique..."One, I'll trust you Father, two, I'll trust you Father..."Continue to fight the good fight of faith dearly loved ones!