Charles Stanley – Feelings of Inferiority

 

Ephesians 2:10

Early in my life, I experienced some feelings of inferiority. Because we struggled financially, my mother and I didn’t live in the “right” places, and I didn’t wear the “right” clothes. Even in school, I felt that I did not measure up academically to the other kids. The sense of failure and embarrassment at not being good enough was devastating to me.

The misery of inferiority is never what God intends for His children. Its seed usually takes root in the impressionable hearts of the young and thrives in an atmosphere of comparison. This kind of emotional baggage can have debilitating and enslaving ramifications in every area of life. Feelings of inadequacy may cause avoidance of healthy challenges; low self-esteem cripples personal relationships; and comparison steals contentment.

We need to understand how God sees us. Then, when feelings of inferiority come, we can cling to His accurate assessment rather than our own faulty one. He says we are His workmanship—His masterpieces. Each person is thoughtfully designed by the Creator for His purpose. The differences that cause us to make comparisons and feel discouraged are the very qualities that the Lord created to bring Him glory.

Feelings of inferiority are a hindrance to becoming the people that the heavenly Father designed us to be and a deterrent to fulfilling His purpose for our lives. When it comes to our value, we either accept the truth of His appraisal or decide not to believe Him and instead rely on our own feelings. What will your choice be?

Bible in One Year: Job 39-42

 

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Our Daily Bread — Sharing Slices

 

Bible in a Year:2 Chronicles 34–36; John 19:1–22

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Proverbs 11:23-31

Steve, a sixty-two-year-old homeless military veteran, made his way to a warm climate where sleeping outdoors was tolerable year-round. One evening, as he displayed his hand-drawn art—his attempt to earn some money—a young woman approached and offered him several slices of pizza. Steve gratefully accepted. Moments later, Steve shared his bounty with another hungry, homeless person. Almost immediately, the same young woman resurfaced with another plate of food, acknowledging that he had been generous with what he’d been given.

Steve’s story illustrates the principle found in Proverbs 11:25 that when we’re generous with others, we’re likely to experience generosity as well. But we shouldn’t give with expecting something in return; rarely does our generosity return to us as quickly and obviously as it did for him. Rather, we give to help others in loving response to God’s instruction to do so (Philippians 2:3–4; 1 John 3:17). And when we do, God is pleased. While He’s under no obligation to refill our wallets or bellies, He often finds a way to refresh us—sometimes materially, other times spiritually.

Steve shared his second plate of pizza too with a smile and open hands. Despite his lack of resources, he is an example of what it means to live generously, willing to cheerfully share what we have with others instead of hoarding it for ourselves. As God leads and empowers us, may the same be said of us.

By Kirsten Holmberg

Reflect & Pray

With whom can you share today? How have you been blessed through another’s generosity?

We can be generous with what God’s given us.

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A World Invisible

 

Aristotle once said that the greatest thing by far is to have a command of metaphor, an eye for resemblances.(1) The prophet Isaiah had an eye for a God so near to his people that he saw the heavens being torn open and God stepping down to be among us. “O that you would rend the heavens and come down! That the mountains would quake at your presence.”(2) This commanding metaphor gave Isaiah an eye for the resemblances of God all around him, and sparked every word of the prophet who spoke so that the world too would see more.

I have a friend who refers to people like Isaiah, those with a vision for God and God’s resemblances throughout the world, as “eyes of the kingdom.” There are times when these visionaries surprise us as much as the resemblances of the God they call us to see. A homeless man in nineteenth century London was one such visionary, lamenting the ease with which we often miss the very thing in front of us:

The angels keep their ancient places—
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
‘Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.(3)

The poem is titled “In No Strange Land” and was written by a man whose life oscillated between brilliant writer and homeless addict. Francis Thompson lived on the streets of England, slaking his opium addiction in London’s Charing Cross and sleeping on the banks of the River Thames. But he continued to scribble poetry on whatever paper he could find, often mailing his work to the local newspaper. “In No Strange Land” is one of the poems Thompson mailed from the streets of homelessness.

The tone of the poem is not unlike the prayer of Isaiah 64. Thompson begins with the great reality and oft unrecognized hope that is before us:

O world invisible, we view thee,
Intangible, we touch thee,
Unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee.

His words are reminiscent of the gift Isaiah reminds us is ours: that we are able to recount the gracious deeds of God, to see the hand of the Potter in dark times of history, to call him Father even now in the midst of blindness from sin or sadness, disappointment or distraction. The rhetorical question that follows Thompson’s praise of the unnoticed inquires of our often short-sighted vision and demanding questions to God:

Does the fish soar to find the ocean?
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumor of thee there?

Thompson wonders why we insist upon interrogating a distant God, when God may just be standing beside us, having climbed down his great ladder. The poem brings to mind the crux of Isaiah’s vision and metaphor—namely, that there is a God whose throne is before us, though our tendency is to miss it all together. As commentator John Watts notes,

“[Our] failure…to see God’s vision, to hear God’s voice, and to rise above human goals of pride, striving, and independence adds a tragic dimension to the vision [of Isaiah]. To the bitter end a large proportion of the people cling to their version of the past as the only acceptable pattern for their present and their future. They demand that God conform to their concept of what his plans ought to be and thus preclude themselves from participation in God’s new creation.”(4)

Both Thompson and Isaiah use the power of image and metaphor to bid us to look again and again, and learn to live as eyes of the kingdom. While it is true that God sometimes comes down and unmistakably transforms time and place, other times we fail to see the sacred in our midst simply because we do not want to see anything subtle. We pass over what God has extended, whether a sign of grace, a moment of transcendence, or a richer lifetime of seeing his presence. And we ironically miss the images of God all around us within a world that is made in God’s image. As the unlikely poet laments:

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry—and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry—clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

Thompson invites us to see the scandal of the particular in the story of God and the stories of our own lives. There is indeed a certain traffic about Jacob’s ancient ladder, but it may well be pitched between Heaven and Charing Cross, New York City, or Hong Kong. Christ may well come walking on the water, though perhaps not from the direction of Gennesareth, but Thames.

Like the vision of the prophet Isaiah, life itself can remind us of the coming of a deliverer, the drawing near of God to humankind, the arrival of the human Son of God, our rescuer, into our very midst. A voice is indeed crying out of the wilderness: Who will have ears to hear it, eyes to see it? Francis Thompson’s “In No Strange Land” is a call to see the strange particulars of Christ’s story, but to also see him in the faces and stories before us, perhaps even in the unlikely story of a homeless man sleeping on the banks of the river Thames.

 

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

(1) Quoted in Leland Ryken, Ed., The Christian Imagination(Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2002), 403.
(2) Isaiah 64:1.
(3) Francis Thompson, “In No Strange Land,” The Hound of Heaven and Other Poems (Wellesley, MA: Branden Books, 2000), 78.
(4) Watts, John D. W.: Word Biblical Commentary: Isaiah 1-33. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002 (Word Biblical Commentary 24), xxix.

 

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Joyce Meyer – God Can Fix It

 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

Adapted from the resource The Confident Women Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

A confident woman is not afraid to get out of her boat and shake things up. I’m not talking about doing whatever you want to do, but what you think God is leading you to do. If your heart is right, if you’ve done your best to seek God and done what you know to do to hear from God, and you feel like what’s come to you is right, you’ve got to step out and find out.

I’m not afraid to make mistakes, because I know that God knows I’m doing all that I know how to do, and that I’m on a journey. I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be. I’m more excited about my progress than depressed about how far I have to go.

God approves of me. He doesn’t approve of everything I do, but He approves of me because I love Him and my faith is in Him, and I’m doing the best I can to follow Him. That’s what makes me bold to step out for Him and try new things and do new things. God is God. He can fix it if I make a mistake.

Prayer Starter: Lord, I take great confidence from the fact that You have the power to work all things together for good, even my mistakes. I delight in Your approval of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – You’ve Already Won

 

“Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ, because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world” (1 John 4:4).

“I am afraid of Satan,” a young minister once told me.

“You should be afraid of Satan,” I responded, “if you insist on controlling your own life. But not if you are willing to let Christ control your life. The Bible says, ‘Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.'”

My friend lived in a city where one of the largest zoos in the world was located.

“What do you do with lions in your city?” I asked.

“We keep them in cages,” he replied.

“You can visit the lion in its cage at the zoo,” I explained, “and it cannot hurt you, even if you are close to the cage. But stay out of that cage, or the lion will make mincemeat out of you.”

Satan is in a “cage.” He was defeated 2,000 years ago when Christ died on the cross for our sins. Victory is nowours. We do not look forward to victory, but we move from victory, the victory of the cross.

Satan has no power except that which God allows him to have. Do not be afraid of him, but do stay away from him. Avoid his every effort to tempt and mislead you. Remember, that choice is up to you.

Bible Reading: I John 2:1-6

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will with God’s help, stay out of Satan’s “cage,” choosing rather to enlist God’s indwelling Holy Spirit to fight for me in the supernatural battle against the satanic forces which surround me.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – A Heart Headed Home

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

The apostle Paul wrote, “God sent [Christ] to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:5).

Heaven knows no stepchildren or grandchildren.  God says we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  What Christ inherits, you inherit.  We are adopted but not yet transported.  We have a new family, but not our heavenly house.  He has claimed us, but has yet to come for us.  What do we do in the meantime?

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2 to “let heaven fill your thoughts.  Do not think only about things down here on earth.”  Let today be a day full of heaven-thoughts.  Every homeless day carries us closer to the day our Father will come.  You, my friend, are headed home.

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Denison Forum – The Southern Baptist abuse crisis: Two steps God is calling all Christians to take today

 

“We want our churches to be as safe as possible as soon as possible.” This is the goal of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), according to its president, J. D. Greear.

Ahead of the SBC’s annual meeting that begins tomorrow in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Greear and other Southern Baptist leaders are responding to an unprecedented sexual abuse crisis facing their denomination. They are seeking ways to hold churches more accountable for allowing such abuse and to keep people in their churches safe.

One sexual abuse victim is too many

This crisis was catalyzed by a report last February presenting information on 380 credibly accused Southern Baptist leaders, including pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and volunteer leaders.

Reporters discovered that at least thirty-five church pastors, employees, and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were nonetheless able to find jobs at churches over the last two decades. In some cases, church leaders apparently failed to alert law enforcement or warn other congregations.

The stories are horrific. Victims as young as three were reportedly molested inside pastors’ studies and Sunday school classrooms. Adults seeking pastoral guidance say they were seduced or sexually assaulted.

As I wrote at the time, these tragedies occurred in a very small number of the 47,000 Baptist churches in the US. The vast majority of Southern Baptist leaders are committed to personal integrity. The vast majority of Southern Baptist churches are safe places for children and their families.

But as SBC leaders would agree, one sexual abuse victim is too many.

“Be holy in all your conduct.”

As the SBC begins its meetings, I’d like to consider the crisis they are confronting as a larger issue for Christians in America.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Southern Baptist abuse crisis: Two steps God is calling all Christians to take today