A Biblical Concept of Yourself 

Lately, I have been going through a series by J. Hampton Keathley III called Marks of Maturity: Biblical Concept of Christian Leadership, it has really heed me think through some of my thoughts. However, the chapter that has really helped me recently is chapter 3 which in the title of this entry A Biblical concept of oneself. When I got on to write this was looking at some of my drafts that didn’t make it to the published side. One those entries is called inferiority complex. Something I can struggle with in my christian walk is how I view myself which usually isn’t how the Bible says that God sees me. The study is quite long but I’ll share the things that really impacted me or greats points he makes.

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

– Romans 12:3 NIV

This scripture tells us to not think that we are not to think of ourselves as if we the best thing that has ever Wales on earth but to really look at ourselves as God sees us. What women hasn’t struggled with her image? Her worth? Her characteristics? I’m sure everyone has at one point but the beautiful thing is that we need to think of ourselves with SOBER judgement which means a real look at who we are and where we want to be. Better yet, where God wants us to be. If we have the right thoughts about God, we’ll have a right view about ourselves. On the oher hand, if we don’t like who we are, we will have the crazy notion that no one like us either. That’s a sad mental state to be in because it can paralyse yourself,  your ministry and the relationships around your (friends, family, etc). That mentality will put your further in isolation and selfishness and as Christians we need to consistently pour ourselves out (deny ourselves) as mentioned in Luke 9 : 23. If we live in a state of self hatred and hating others, we will focus on our own personal strength and not on the strength tat God provides us with and when failures come around it becomes a huge hindrance in the Christian walk. God has made us able to accomplish his plan into reality.

“Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…”

– 2 Corinthians 3:4‭-‬6 NIV

If we focus on what people think about us, we’ll never really get anywhere past of what the limitations people will give us. You don’t want to be a slave to the opinions of people but be fully confident that God has equipped you and made you competent. I love what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2:4‭ & ‬6,

“On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.” NIV

Paul had the mindset that he could honestly care less what the people thought about him because he was confident in his calling and how God saw him. Paul didn’t measure success by men’s standards but by God’s grace which helped him to be grateful and work harder.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

– 1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV

Paul also knew the danger of measuring up to men’s standard, instead of God’s. When you look at men to set your standard and give you approval, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Not only that, it’s sinful because you’re idolizing people.

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”

– 2 Corinthians 10:12‭, ‬17‭-‬18 NIV

Keathley gives a list of what false standards lead to which are:

  • False motives – Philippians 1 : 17
  • Guilt, frustration, depression – 1 Thessalonians 2 : 4 – 6
  • Feeling of pride and false success – 1 Timothy 3 : 6
  • Fear of failure and not wanting to go for the ministry – 2 Timothy 1 : 6 – 7
  • Self deprecation with the belief that we aren’t good enough

Falso standards -> false feelingso of significance

He continues to say that all those attributes lead to “handicapped people who are divisive and unloving because they compete with others and themselves for a sense of significance” and become defensive, argumentative and fearful. Have you ever been a person who is defensive, argumentative and fearful? I have and that was because I allowed my emotions to keep a hold of me and not rely on the word of God for the truth.

A mature believer… (From Keathley)

  • Act on the truth in their identity in Christ
  • Rest and act on God given abilities

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”

– 1 Corinthians 12:4‭-‬6 NIV

  • Act on God’s purpose and nature for this life

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

– Ephesians 2:10 NIV

To summarise what I learned from this lesson is that if I know who I am in Christ, I will act accordingly regardless of the response or success of others because I know of where I am going. Jesus knew who he was and where he was going that he did not really care for the negativity of the people of the leaders of the time. It’s always about the cross and our relationship with God. You should only measure yourself with Jesus and not other people because their sense of measurement is broken. God knows you more than anyone and even yourself and he has really made you one of a kind with gifts and talents! Find out what those are and excel in them and be okay with your weaknesses.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

– Psalm 139:13‭-‬14 NIV

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Single but Taken

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Happy Valentine’s day!

It’s a worldwide day celebration of love. You see bouquets of roses everywhere, chocolates being sold for way more than it should be, people blushing and falling in love… and then there is the other side. Single women wondering why they don’t have that “special someone” but I am here to persuade you that you do have a special someone on this day and EVERY DAY! My some one special speaks to me through the Scriptures and tells me how much he loves me every day and how special I am to him and even compliments my hair *blushing*.

I find Song of Songs to be a very romantic book and it is perfect for today to remind us that even though we are “single”, we are completely taken in God’s eyes. These are some scriptures I found extremely encouraging and I hope you are encouraged as well…

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Songs 4:7

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.” Song of Songs 6: 3

“…but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.” Song of Songs 6 : 9

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8 : 7

I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.” Song of Songs 7 : 10

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” Song of Songs 1 : 15

“I’ll marry you for good—forever! I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness. Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go. You’ll know me, God , for who I really am.” Hosea 2 : 19 – 20 MSG

God has a love that no person can fill. Reading these scriptures helped my heart to remember that I have a love that will never fade or go away. It is also a love that loved me first, when I was unlovable and kept pushing him away.

Below is one of my favourite songs about God’s love to me! ❤

 

 

*This is posted a day late*

Dating – What Good Women Want

So this post is a bit different than my usual. It is a collaborative between myself and some of my fellow Christian bloggers. It is a mix of married, single professional, university student and a recent graduate. I am posting on behalf of everyone else. Hope you enjoy it and leave feedback in the comment section! The links to the other blogs will be at the bottom.

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Guest editorial: What Good Women Want

(James Morgan of the London International Christian Church)

I don’t know what happened in my congregation last year but there was a veritable explosion of dating couples in the second half of the year. This kind of thing usually happens in the spring right? But there it is. One after another like dominoes the London church singles got Twitterpated! It was quite something to behold. Even guys who had held on to singleness for decades were going head-over-heels.
I don’t know if it was our ex-Hollywood actor Evangelist regularly encouraging dating in the congregation or the annual international conference attended by delegates from around the globe. Anyway a number of your men had the unusual situation all of a sudden of having to organize a date almost every week. That brings with it certain challenges. So I thought about what might help them in this Herculean task of fighting off the demon of Droopage, their brother Bashful and cousin Cancellation!
I decided to ask the ladies in the church (both married and single) an important question. Beatriz has edited the answers below to remove duplications. So it seems that the these good women agree on a number of things. I hope these answers presented here will really help the chivalrous men in the church who are busy planning dates. Here they are.

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I decided to ask the ladies in the church (both married and single) an important question. It went like this….

“Sister..  You’ve been around a while. I’d like to ask you a personal question. Hope that’s OK. I’m interested.. What is top 3 things that make a date memorable for you?”

I plan dates for singles at my place. My wife and I love to cook and offer hospitality to our friends. I thought it would be useful to have a variety of answers to help me improve on the dinner dates we do. I am sure the answers below from several sisters will be invaluable to brothers thrust into an organisational role that can be quite stressful at times.

 

1. Giving your heart with planning
The main concept that popped up with all the women is planning. Planning an outing makes a person feel special because they took time out of their days to think of that person and give their hearts fully. Here is what the women have said…

– I love it when a Brother plans a date to encourage me and not just jumping on another plan. I love doing things that are fun,  action packed , good quality time with a creative twist. Great dates have input from both sides.

– To be honest, an encouraging date starts for me before the actual date. When the brother really gives his heart to plan and doesn’t just muster up something last minute so i guess my number one thing is “Heartfelt planning”. It’s super encouraging when i just know that a brother is planning the date to specifically encourage me. I can tell he is when during the week, he asks me what i like eating, what i don’t like eating, activities i like/would like to try, etc. It doesn’t have to be something big, even if its just getting my favourite dessert or something for a dinner date. It shows the heart.

– Fun and creative dates. I love to have quality time than to have the most glamorous and expensive date. New activities really encourage me.

– I’ve always had a deep conviction about going on dates in order to build unity between everyone. I feel loved when brothers ask me what I like to do or to eat and plan it ahead of time. I appreciate when I am told in advance about the date so I can properly plan my day. When they ask, it shows that they’re putting their heart behind it and really trying to encourage me.

 

2. Personal conversation
Friendships are built on being honest and sharing your life with the person, allowing them to know who you are. It also gives them a glimpse into your life and your heart!

– I love when I see the heart of God in a brother where he can share deep insight on the word ,  tips on what God is teaching him and he helps me to further strengthen my walk with God. It is always great when a brother is interested in my power times; prayer needs, really listens; and tries to be my friend and really connect. This scripture comes to mind, Colossians 3 : 16

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

– This definitely is a huge one. Dates where the conversation is vague or superficial, where I don’t really learn anything new, deep or personal about the brother, to me aren’t really dates. I believe the type of questions a brother asks and the type of conversation we have really shows whether the brother actually wants to get to know me as his sister or is just on the date for the sake of it. For me, openness helps me draw closer to people and endear myself to them.

– I love God focused conversations where the brother can share deep insight on the word. I think the type of questions a brother asks and the type of conversations shows if the brother really wants to get to know the sister deeply. Openness helps me to draw closer to the brother and understand the brother better. Numbers 32:23,

“…and be sure that your sin will find you out.”

– To me this is a big one. Conversation is such a powerful tool. Superficial conversation does not help me to know who you really are. When brothers are open and vulnerable, it shows that they trust me and aren’t trying to just say the right thing. Also, with a good conversation there’s no awkward moments.

3. Feeling appreciated

Appreciation (according to Google) is defined as recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.
– There is a brother; who has a hash tag on Facebook called #everysisterdeservesflowers.
He sets the standard for how all Kingdom dates should be planned, led, conducted and ended. He always ends the date with flowers and cards for the sister just to say thank you and I love that you are my sister in the Lord. He has this focus for all sisters to be encouraged just because he has the heart of a great man of God not just because he has an interest in a sister.

– Fun! Absolutely! If a date has no fun, its totally discouraging. Fun doesn’t have to be big like going to Thorpe Park or the London Eye or something. It can just be something we do at the dinner table that causes laughs and great memories. Having fun makes a date memorable and encouraging for me. I’ll always remember and be grateful for the laughter and the memories even when I am far away from those with whom I had them.

– As a student in university, I feel appreciated and supported of when a brother offers to pay; that really shows care in the sense that he’ll be there for me when times are tight. I have also had brothers make me a card after a date and it puts a smile on my face because they took even a little bit more time after encouraging me to go beyond!
– It’s fun to consider that not only what I would like. Show genuine love on a date even if the brother doesn’t like it. He sets the standard for how the date should start, conduct and end. Ending the date with a thank you the brother doesn’t have to end with flowers and a card the brother who shows love through words of affirmation is great. He has a focus for all the sisters because he is a great man of God.

 

So there it is. Many thanks to the sisters. I’ve already adjusted how I plan dates myself. Below are the urls of the personal blogs of some of the awesome women who contributed to this article. Love. James

http://teephuong.tumblr.com/
http://www.lydiasladies.com
https://morganites.wordpress.com/
https://diaryofanewdisciple.wordpress.com/

It’s not over

I haven’t posted since last year *hides face* but just as the title says it’s not over! This will not be a new year new me type of post because I’m sure all of us have seen enough of that but I guess you can see this as a reflective one. Last year I loved and lost, frozen in my fear and pushed through my insecurities, laughed, cried, messed up, helped others, experienced new things, traveled and fell asleep under the sunshine. All in all it was great. Some parts I would’ve loved to skip over but that wouldn’t be a life to the full now, would it?

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Change is something that happens consistently but I’m the type of person that likes to know what’s going to happen next, even if it’s good or bad, I don’t really mind as long as I know what’s going to happen. That’s how I view butterflies. Animals that are always changing. Butterflies go through a dramatic change from chunky ugly caterpillars that may get eaten by a bird to beautiful colorful flying creatures. They don’t know if they’ll make it to the butterfly stage of their life but they keep going with the faith that they will. The same way I need to simply trust the best things will happen.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LordAs the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55 : 8 – 9

Last year was one that really pushed my faith in terms of changing my heart to having a optimistic outlook to whatever the situation. In the beginning of 2015, my heart finally changed and I truly forgave someone who I had spent years being angry towards. I did not want to forgive but looking at how much Christ forgave and loved me, I eventually just gave it up. It felt like a giant weight coming off my shoulders which was something I never thought would happen. I messed up while trying to co – lead a Bible discussion group, not being able to help anyone to become a christian except for months later and the end of a relationship. These are some things that I wanted to get angry at God and ask him why why why why? It’s not fair, I don’t like it. Why does this person get to do this and do that and I have to go through pain. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side…

But as the earlier verse said, God’s ways are not my ways and his thoughts are not my thoughts so I can’t even begin to imagine all the things that he’s doing for my good and all in His timing. In Jeremiah 29 : 11, it says that God has a plan to prosper and not harm to give me a hope and a future. That’s a promise that God gave specifically to me and to you as well! Right now I may not completely see God’s plan for me life or what He wants for me to do but I can trust in Him that whatever comes next despite the troubles that come my way. I can’t keep looking at someone else’s life thinking it’s better than mine because many things can be happening behind a picture that I don’t even know of. A scripture that’s helping me to hold on to this is Psalms 16 : 5 -6,

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

I love that psalm because it just echoes that things I got through is for a reason which will take me to a delightful inheritance! That inheritance is heaven and nothing on earth will compare to it!

I plan on writing more on here to keep it updated with my life and hopefully help others put that may be going through the same things.

A Hope That Purifies

This message that Tracy gives is just eye opening and completely will make you think. She is vulnerable and real, something you don’t get to see too often in the world. People often puts up masks but she has hers off and inspires us to do the same… to get over our insecurities!!  More importantly, to help me get over my insecurities. These are my notes and thoughts about it. I will try to follow as her lesson goes along.

 “People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrew 6:16-19

1) Purification

“It is impossible for God to lie.” Wow. Think about that for a second. In a world where there are endless possibilities, there is no chance that God will lie. There are no tricks, no shadiness, no confusion, no small print, nothing. Just a simple but powerful truth. Yet God (in his awesomeness) still chose to make an oath to me to stress that I really can hold firm to him as it says “an anchor for the soul”.  As a woman, I can try to hold firmly onto many things other sisters, my own thoughts… but at the end of the day none of those will be firm as holding onto God and his promises. That means laying everything into his hands and letting go of my life. Letting go of my insecurities.

James 4:1 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Tracy parallels it: “Insecurities causes fights. Getting insecure is an argument over who you are and what you can do. We want to argue because we aren’t in control.”

I never saw being insecure as an argument over who I am and over what I can do. I thought being insecure was just not believing in myself or being faithless. When I can’t get what I want I go to my comfort which is eating or being debaucherous with watching videos. Clouding my mind. Acting as if it’s not there. Why am I not praying? Asking God for help? Whenever I don’t have a good prayer in the morning, I find myself being very defensive (putting walls around my heart so none can get close) and if too many questions are asked that make me doubt I want to run away. Trying to hide my insecurities from others.

2) Purify ourselves from anxiety

“Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening, ‘If only it were morning!’– because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.” Deuteronomy 28: 65-67

Wooooohhh maaaan! Anxiety and I go waaaaay back. All of my self reliance has caused me to have migraines for years. I go to doctors and there’s nothing they can do except give me prescriptions that don’t really work. At those times when I really can’t take the pain I go to prayer. See what’s wrong with that picture? I am going to God AFTER I have tried to do things my way. Am I praying in my distress? Why am I not in the battle on my knees with my voice crying to the One on high? Satan knows my weakness of self reliance aka pride. He will use it against me. I need to develop a deeper knowledge of scripture to battle my anxiety. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6. Pray to be righteous. Where is my faith during the storms?

3) Purify yourself of resentment and bitterness

This is the one I struggle with the most.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:30-31

Holding onto things of the past that I wish were different or not letting go of hurts. That makes me bitter which ends up being shown as anger and defensiveness. Dig and SOUL SEARCH! Hit rock bottom. It’s OK. I think that’s when (I) you can find what’s really bothering (me) you instead of blaming someone/something for it. At the beginning of my christian walk, a dear friend and mentor encouraged me to write in a journal. I chose to not do it because I didn’t want to open the door to the deep waters of my heart. So I kept skimming the surface with the bitterness shark still swimming around. I will work on diving into those deep waters and purifying myself from it!

The end goal is to become more and more like Christ every day! It’s a daily challenge and self denial. Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”