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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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/

Woman of Prayer

In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a (woman) of prayer.

-Psalm 109:4

I read this verse for one of my quiet times with God. This was David in the midst of his trials and seeming as things were starting to fall apart. I found this verse profound because in spite of what was happening David knew he had to keep his eyes and his focus on what’s above and who is helping him instead of what’s going wrong and having an ungrateful heart. He said he is a man of Prayer. That’s something I need to work on for sure. Having deep prayers. Not trying to run from prayer because of fear or unbelief that God has the best plans for me which is all Satan’s lies.

Last Friday I was spending time with a friend and I said something that I had thought about during the week, “I don’t know how to cry out to God.” Fair enough, I’d seen scriptures that spoke about crying out to God, grew up hearing different people from all backgrounds praying, listened to worship songs and different scenarios where people in the Bible had “cried out” but still I was stuck. My prayer life had hit a stagnant consistency.  Even though I was being honest in my prayers and speaking to God about things, something was still amiss. I tried having park prayers, early morning prayers, starting prayers off with a song or a psalm but again something just wasn’t clicking. Hidden sin? No, clear conscience… maybe not spiritual enough prayers? No, God doesn’t want pretty clear cut prayers… WHAT IS GOING ON? Then there was a lesson yesterday about crying out to God. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. God listens to me even when I think he doesn’t. He showed me some practical ways on HOW to cry out. Woah! Just what I was looking for.

1. Repetition – 1 Samuel 1

Year after year, Hannah would go up to Shiloh to ask God. She didn’t give up praying about something specific even though EVERYONE around her where basically shaking their heads at her and she was being taunted by her adversaries. Eventually her prayer was answered with Samuel. I needed to start bugging God with faith on the same request. Recently that has been full funding for university… full funding for university… 

2. Deep distress – Nehemiah 9:9

God heard the Israelites cry at the Red Sea. I have a bad tendency to try to do things in my own strength. Now I can only imagine the destruction it would’ve been if they tried to cross the Red Sea by themselves. I think the times that I have cried out to God in distress is when I’ve reached my limit and finally humble out to ask God to take over. That’s one of the big things I need to change. Are you being proud?

3. Loud and Passionate – 1 Chronicles 4:10

What I got from this was JUST ASK FOR IT! Jabez asked and God answered. Are you having quiet prayers like me? Not being bold in requests and believing God won’t give me or you what we want. That’s a wimpy prayer. I’m sorry but my God is powerful, I have no need to be having quiet prayers. I need to umph up the volume and throw all my requests before him and walk around like they have been already been answered.

4. Help – Psalms 145: 18-19

This just sums it all up really. If I fear God I will pray to him in a righteous boldness that he will hear me and help me. So, I completely believe that He will give me the full funding for university! 😀

 

“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he HEARS my voice.” Psalms 55:17