Friday, 27 March 2015

Confident in Knowing God

Confident in Knowing God

            I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles even though I am nothing.
                                                            2 Corinthians 12:11

How humble are you? Are you someone who is comfortable inside his own skin and confident in his position as a child of God, a person who teaches what they have learned but is still open to correction or differing points of view?                   
How valuable are you to God? “you are worth more than many sparrows” Matthew 10:31 God knows you and cares even more for you than he does each sparrow.  
 How do you see your self-worth? If our sense of self-worth is derived from God, we don’t have to worry about what the world thinks of us or does to us. The fact that God sent his Son to die for us should be an overwhelming affirmation of the worth of each individual. But the problem comes when we measure ourselves by the world’s standards and rely on our own efforts to measure up. With a healthy faith we stay focused on God and the value he has given each of us. A person with a healthy faith feels valuable to the Creator because he or she is valuable to the Creator.
Why should we feel we have value?
1)      Because we have been invited to come into God’s presence and kneel before his very throne (Hebrews 4:16)
2)      Because he has named us as fellow citizens of heaven along with the saints and members of God’s own family (Ephesians 2:19-20)
3)      Because God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and adopted into his very family (Ephesians 1:4-8)

Peter struggled to accept a love so loyal so deep and so enduring from Jesus. Yet he needed to feel this love again after Christ’s resurrection.
            Often we need to feel really feel Christ’s love when we are discouraged in our faith or are just not sure of what it is that we are seeking and needing from Him. But knowing that God values us, loves us and offers to us his grace and love enables us to grow in our faith.
Have you ever felt that God did not love you or you questioned your faith because you felt left out? Maybe you might have felt others wonder about your love for God because of your actions and words. Or even you have felt that God loves everybody but you. Just think—if you were the only person alive, Jesus would have died for you alone. This is how much he loves you-and I- us all together.
How do you respond to God’s love for you given in Jesus? Do you have a healthy faith knowing that God loves you for who you are?

Holy God thank you for loving me so much that your Son died for me and saved me from death. Thank you God for this gift in Jesus for he has changed my life and I pray that I may live to serve you well all the days of my life. Amen.

This reflection is based upon ideas of by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton More Jesus Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationship. Colorado Springs, Co: Waterbrook Press,2000.     Chapter 6

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1

When God calls a man or woman, he calls them personally
as is evident in the Bible and how God interacted with people.  The Creator walked with Adam in the garden during the cool of the day and called out to him by name after he rebelled. An angel of God spoke to Hagar by name and asked from where she came and to where she was going. God called young Samuel and until he realized it was God. And Jesus spoke to Simon and Andrew and said Come follow me. And through the bright light, Jesus spoke to Saul of Tarsus in the middle of the road.
God speaks to people individually and this relationship is compared with a shepherd and sheep- a relationship that is close, dependent and filled with love. God calls us but the question that is so important is do we answer God’s call Many people read the Bible and know a lot about God but they may not have an intimate relationship with God. In such a relationship we are able to share, identify and surrender our individual weaknesses and we grow in a healthy faith. And this healthy faith will enhance our ability to have compassion for hurt and lost individuals. We will be able to empathize and through this we are able to deepen our relationships. And knowing that our faith is healthy we can restore wandering brothers or sisters and bear one another’s burdens as a way of life.
Healthy faith is a personal experience generated internally through trust in God.And as the faith becomes healthier, the more personal it becomes between believer and God. But first and foremost—the church that reflects Christ’s earthly ministry will encourage people to believe personally in Jesus because God calls us by name.
If we do not believe in a personal God, we are missing out on a relationship that can make life bearable in the bad times and incredible in the good ones. God is not too big to care about each one of us.
God sees us and reads the contents of your heart wherever it might be---He’s big enough God to do that. He’s a personal enough God to do that. He’s a loving enough God to do that. And he cares about you.

Have you experienced God calling you? What is the stirring in your heart about? What is the experience of knowing that God loves you and calls you by name mean for you at this moment in your life? Do you respond to God’s call in action?

Holy God we praise you that you call us by name. You know us even before we are born and you never let us go. We praise you for this O God and give thanks that we are in your care always. Even though we may turn away from you, you never let us wander. We belong to you and you will never give up on us. These is so comforting and to know this boosts us as your faithful people
Enable us to respond to your calling to us—so that we may be challenged anew. Amen.

This reflection is based upon ideas of by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton More Jesus Less Religion: Moving from Rules to Relationship. Colorado Springs, Co: Waterbrook Press,2000.     Chapter 5