Me…an expression of God?

Our story begins as a creative work of God…and unfolds in the same way.  Just like the first humans, we are made in the image of God.  Pause and think on that just for a moment:  YOU are created in the image of God.  Every morning as you awake, let that truth settle into your heart and mind before you bound into the day.  Everyone you encounter has an opportunity to glimpse God in you!  Are you ready for that privilege…for that responsibility?!  Only in Christ can we ever embrace our divine purpose.

The image of God in man was marred in Paradise…and each one of us, every day, mars it more.  We are frail, fallible folks–clay jars indeed.  We make muddy messes; we have cracks and jagged edges.  God knew all that and took care of our lacks before He ever uttered the first word of creation!  (1 Peter 1:20)  So, as you prepare to go into your day as an expression of God, remember to celebrate the love that saw every sin that would mess up His plans–and made a Way in spite of the sin!  That is the God we are called to be the image of!

Finally, before you enter into your day, remember the ‘Work’ is complete. God does not ask us to do what we can never do.  Our ‘ability’ rests on this:  believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.   Jesus stated our daily work very clearly:

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  (John 6:29)

It is His work that restores us to our intended divine purpose:  being an expression of God.  God began that work–and His Spirit continues it.  Knowing God is key to knowing the image we are made in.  Studying His Names is one great way to know Him more.  The Prayer Today website has many resources for studying His Names; here is one.  Glory Glimpses on this blog offer you some devotions on the same topic; click here to consider God as the Morning Star.  Simply know that God loves you and wants you to know Him personally and share Him with the world around us gives great cause for rejoicing!

Are you hungry for more on the subject of ‘your job?’  Numerous scriptures encourage us to know we can be fully equipped for the good work God plans for us to do:  2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 1:6 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are some good starting points.

So:  spend some time knowing this great God you are created in the image of…and let someone see Him in you!

Victory and Glory in YOUR Story!

Scripture tells us that we overcome the enemy through the power of Christ’s blood and our ‘testimony.’  Sometimes testimony seems like such a ‘churchy’ word…does story work better for you?  We are living stories to tell about the glory of God.  That was the topic of a recent piece I shared on another site.  Here’s an excerpt:

We were created for love; when we learn to walk in His love, we enter His purposes.  Too often, we insist on writing our own story, doing things our way.  We see those examples around us every day; sometimes we are those examples.  The pharisees and lawyers are the biblical example, and the Word says, “They rejected the purposes of God.”  Ouch!  We never mean to do that; God loves it when we finally see what we are doing.  He isn’t mad!  He says, ‘Come on into my story!’

If you are interested in the ‘rest of the story’ visit that page, here: The Power of a Story.

From Fingerpainting to Artistry

“So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art.  Grow up in Christ.”
Hebrews 6, The Message
That’s the message, the Lord placed on my heart overnight and through my morning devotions.  Faith, confident hope, in Jesus alone is the inheritance we want.  Being a child of God is sweet…and He loves the fingerpaintings.  But there is more for us!
It is so tempting to settle for less…for good things that ‘fit’ our earthly design.  But not a one of the good things (ie love, 
fingerpaintinghusbands, children, fulfilling work) are enough to fill the space intended for the Spirit of God.  Longings that make our hearts ache are hard–but not bad.  Perhaps the hardest thing is watching our loved ones ache.
God knows what that is like.  He watched the Israelites wander in the desert–and miss the path.  The Message translation records God’s heart as this:  ‘They’ll never get keep their minds on God; they refuse to walk down my road…They’ll never get where they’re going; never be able to sit down and rest.”
It breaks God’s heart when we miss His path and ‘eat’ of things that do not satisfy.  And He loves us too much to encourage us to feast on what will not satisfy.  I tend to get frustrated when the results I expect do not materialize.  Worse is when I watch those I care about try so hard, do the ‘right’ things’ and still ache. I want to fix things.  I’m learning to accept though that the fix is Jesus.  It is seeking first His Kingdom.  It is delighting in Him so that my heart desires come from Him.  Then the food on my path will fulfill!
Paul, throughout Hebrews, struggles to convey faith to his hearers.  The plea from the Lord remains the same:    Today, please listen; don’t turn a deaf ear.  He says be careful that the lies of sin–the lies of those things that promise fulfillment but fall short of Jesus–do not harden your heart.  Let the hurt soften you up to receive Jesus; let the empty pursuits of your loved ones hurt them enough that they receive Jesus.
Don’t fill up the manger of your heart with empty foods…keep it always ready for Savior!
Growing up in our faith is exciting.  More tips are found in the Projects section of this website.  Growing strength through Diligence is a great place to start.

Blessing the Battlefield

“But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel.”  Psalm 22:3

It is often said that in this life, one is either in a battle, just coming out of one or soon to be in one.  Battles are part of life.  We have a powerful weapon for victory that is often forgotten.  Praise.  No matter what we face, God has not abandon us to face it alone!  In the presence of God, victory is assured.  Praise puts us in his presence!  Why not read this aloud and let the Spirit minister to your spirit.

Exodus 14:13-14 And Moses said to the people, Do not be afraid. Take your stand and see the salvation of Jehovah, which He will prepare for you today. For as you see the Egyptians today, you shall not continue to see them again forever. (14) Jehovah will fight for you, and you be silent.

Father, let these words be blessing builders in our lives.  We rejoice that you grant us confidence that brings peace:  You are present in our battles…you are working out our victories.  Bless us, Lord, with hearts that can not fear because they are captivated by You.  Might our eyes clearly see you removing enemies and delivering us; might our ears hear your voice telling us to move here, move there, do this, do that.  From tiny things to huge things, Father, let our steps of obedience keep us in the perfect position to see your work.

Father, grant us confidence that every battlefield we encounter is under your direction.  Fill us with peace that any battlefield Gloryholds the potential for great glory for you.  Every situation is managed by you; you will provide all that is needed for total victory.  We praise you for blessing us with faith that pleases you.  We rejoice that walking in faith gives strength to others.

Bless us with eyes that see you intervening, freeing us from difficult circumstance…eyes that see you removing enemies supernaturally.  We praise you for that and rejoice in the opportunity to bring your presence to this tangled world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

For more on reaping the harvest hidden in the fields of trouble, check out Battles Become Blessings.

Chosen Parents

You are the parent God chose for your child. Isn’t that a puzzling, sometimes overwhelming concept? As we begin walking the labyrinth of parenting, the paths ahead are blessedly shrouded. The parenting journey includes delights beyond imagination and thorny passages which instill fear and frustration. God’s Word tells us the Creator Himself shepherds those with young and guides them on the paths; yet, it doesn’t always feel that way. At times the complexities of parenthood give the illusion that God stepped off the throne as challenges were assigned or that perhaps He confused us with a wiser, more loving and experienced parent. The reality is more incredible than we can begin to grasp. In His infinite love and wisdom, God chose each parent and each child as unique, perfect gifts for one another. The blessings are mutualthe plan perfect.

God uses the tool of parenthood to craft His family likeness into earthly moms and dads. He longs for His glory to be revealed in the parenting privilege. Nearly a decade and a half ago, we brought our baby home from the N-ICU with overwhelming joy, awe, fear and a numbing sense of inadequacy. Thchild parent hande ability of a five-pound baby to bring a prideful heart to its knees is powerful! God continues to use the University of Motherhood to draw me unto Himself, to unveil the reality that His strength is revealed in my weaknessesand what a superb reality! My pride had rejoiced in meeting the challenges of life head-on. The magnitude of the responsibility for nurturing this precious life shattered every competency I had ever relied upon. Parenthood has taught me I do not need to be in control and managing every detail perfectly. It has taught me that struggling is okay! It is not a sign of defeat to be engaged in a battle. Struggles simply strip away the deceits which have hidden the doorway to God’s strength. The inequities and burdens of life create opportunities for God to transform parents and to begin drawing our beloved children to Him. Struggles are to help us embrace His presence in our lives with confident hopewith certaintythat His plans and purposes are perfect. As we hold fast to that hope, the very image of God begins to shine forth in our liveschanging us, lighting our children’s paths and touching all those around us!

Beyond the challenges of parenthood lie mountains which dot the landscape of our children’s future–mountains woven into the design of our children’s lives by their loving, heavenly Father. His love for our children is greater and more perfect than ours. God would never allow a mountain for which He has not provided provisions for conquering. Parents are a key part of those provisions. The parent God chooses for a child has the strengthsand the weaknessesto guide their children to the Shepherd Himself. God longs to take the hands of our children and guide them in life. Leading our children to the One who provides abundantly is the key task of our parenting assignment. Treasure the challenges on your parenting journey as the doorways to Christ. There is a splendor possible through embracing God’s presence in the trials of life which will produce faith that perseveres and moves mountains aside.

Do you have a Glimpse of Glory in your family life?  I’d love to hear it.  Or maybe you are in the midst of a battle that has you baffled.  Check out turning Battles into Blessings.

For Further Study
Being chosen as a parent is a life-transforming gift from a loving God. We have been chosen to receive another precious gift from Godeternal life. God longs for each of us to embrace His plan for us to become His childto be made perfect through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. Becoming His child is the key to becoming the parent your child needs. If you do not have a loving relationship with the heavenly Father, choose to change that today!

SCRIPTURES: Psalm 127:3; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 10:35; 2 Corinthians 3:18; James 1; Matthew 17:28

This piece was originally written for and published by Handivangelism, PIP Ministry.