The hardest lesson I’ve ever learned.

Control…

A loved one who no matter what you say just will not accept what Jesus did for them on the cross. You can’t make them believe.

An illness that grips you, weakens you, causes excruciating pain. You can’t heal yourself.

You can’t find work. You can’t make a job appear out of thin air. You feel stuck.

Plans that you’ve planned for months, that are good things, and at the last minute they don’t work out. You couldn’t have predicted that.

A friend you’re investing in spiritually who you just can’t convince that Jesus is better than the sin they keep holding on to. You can’t grow them.

Anxious thoughts and worry about the future, that go like this: How will it work out? What will you do? How can it possibly be okay? You can’t fix everything, and you can’t see into the future.

Learning that I am not in control has been by far the hardest lesson that I’ve ever begun to learn. But if I don’t let go of my imaginary powers soon, I will run myself down with more anxiety, more fear, and more distrust. It’s really time to be okay with someone else being in control over my life and destiny.

God is love. The Bible is clear on that. Author Jerry Bridges taught on trusting God during his ministry on earth, and he focused on three aspects of God’s character that when believed and meditated on in our circumstances, can bring us peace. God is perfectly wise and all-knowing about everything there is to know, He is incredibly loving towards us in a steadfast, unchanging way, being completely good down to His core, and He is timelessly sovereign, over everything, always, being the King in full control.

He knows the “just right” circumstances to bring into your life and has a purpose for them to train you to become more like Jesus and to grow your faith in Him. Pain, sickness, loss – every hard thing in this life is intended to draw us closer to Him in both reliance/trust and godliness.

 …we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3b-5

There are a few times in this life when we can change habits, walk away from situations, and exercise responsibility that will lead to less suffering. But usually, we are not in control of what hardships we must endure in this life. We know that God is in control, but will we believe and trust Him to make the right decisions for us?

Wives, you can’t control your husbands. Husbands, you can’t control how your wives act. Pastors, you can’t make your congregations listen and receive God’s life-filled words. Mothers, you can’t always make your children behave. Believers, you can’t make your friends believe. These are hard, hard things. Especially when our hearts are breaking for them, and especially when their actions effect our lives. But here’s the thing: us trying to exercise a control that we don’t have will lead to stress and frustration, and frustration to anger, and anger to an indifference or worse, a lack of love. In other words, the fruit of you not trusting God with them, and your frustration towards them, if not dealt with, will lead to you not looking like Jesus to them, because you probably won’t be loving them the way He loves.  Listen people, we can’t control people! We can do what we can do, and we are responsible for that. But at the end of the day, we can’t make their decisions for them, even when their decisions effect us. But God can do a work that no person can do. Just look at what His Word says:

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;
    He turns it wherever He will.” – Proverbs 21:1

What?!? God can change a person’s heart so easily, whenever and however He wants? That is an incredible truth that we both need to rest in and submit to. His goodness. His power. His timing. His purpose.

Life…is hard. We have many circumstances that are almost completely out of our control. The weather, job stability, how people will receive us, bad drivers, the government – we could make a list of our worries a mile long, but what Jesus says is that our worrying actually profits nothing. Do you believe that?

 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Jesus, Matthew 6:27

So, Jesus, You’re saying that every ounce of my worrying, stressing, and anxiety over life actually accomplishes…nothing??? That’s right. But if I’m not going to worry about things, then I need to put my trust in Someone who can do something about it. Someone who knows what’s best. Someone who is for me, and not against me. And who is that? You know… 🙂 It’s God.

Based on the verse we just read in Matthew, I can’t add an hour to my life by worrying. But God already has planned and knows the span of the hours for our lives completely, and His plans always come to pass.

The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.” – Isaiah 14:24

I’m not even in control of when I live or die. David writes to the Lord,

…all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
    before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:16b

All of them. From before day one, until your last day, and throughout eternity, God has been and is in complete control of your existence. He created you for Himself. It’s an exercise of authority that He has, and you don’t have.

This is not at all meant to bring us down. It’s meant to set us free! It is good that God is in control, because, well, He’s GOD, and we are just, well, us. As I see God teaching me these things, I feel like I’m coming to a place of acceptance, a place of letting go and surrendering to His plans, purposes, and promises. Perhaps I’m even starting to rest in His loving control.

One of my biggest fears ever in this life is that I can somehow screw up my relationship with God and lose my salvation, lose His love, and lose eternity. Of course, this fear is invalid and unbiblical, which the verses that follow will prove. But in my distrust, I fight for control that I don’t have by trying to keep my faith just right, so as to not fall away from Jesus. And while we are commanded and warned to keep the faith (to not walk away from Him and the hope of the Gospel, that He died for all our sins to make us right with God), I think that this fear in me has become all-consuming, to the point where I’m no longer just trying to be faithful, I’m trying to keep myself saved. And this is where the hardest lesson hits the biggest fear, when I have to let go of trying to keep myself secure, and trust the One who saved me in the first place to keep me safe and in the faith, with Him.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25

Wow, God. I am not able, but I am Yours, because You are mighty, and mighty to save.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -Jesus, John 10:28-30

It’s time to entrust myself to the One who actually has the power to save and to keep, to protect and give life.

So, we have gone over several different situations, circumstances, and difficulties surrounding our anxiety-filled desire for control, and we have learned that when it comes down to it, we really don’t have control. We can be responsible and courageous to change the things we can, as the Serenity Prayer states, but if fear or worry enters into our acts of responsibility, than we have gone too far. We really need to trust in God to give the increase, the provision, and the right decision. We need to entrust ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone else we know to Him, for He has the power to grow, change, and save. And in the things that hurt, we need to entrust our lives to Him, knowing that His plan is best, because He really is good. He’s just so much wiser than us that we don’t always understand why things happen. But if you can understand that He is good, and that He loves you and proved it by going to the cross for you, by giving up His life to give you eternal life forever with Him, than I think it’s okay to not know and just rest there.

Be okay with not being in control. Be more than okay with it. Be freed by it. Rest in it.

And trust in the One who always has perfect control over everything, even you. Even them. Whoever they may be. Even it. Whatever it may be.

Let’s end with a Psalm of trusting in God:

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
    Would all of you throw me down—
    this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
    from my lofty place;
    they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
    but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
    the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
    together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
    or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
    according to what they have done.” – Psalm 62

Let’s discuss! Use the comments section here or on my Facebook post to share and encourage one another.

What do you stress the most over controlling?

What makes it hard to let go?

What did God speak to you through this Psalm? Skim back through it and share what verse was most encouraging to you.

What was helpful to you through this post?

What are you ready to trust God with?

I pray that God might use this post to bless someone else today, as He has used it to bless me. Thanks in advance if you decide to join the discussion. I hope you will! Love ya’ll!

Living this life alongside you,

Keri

 

**Note: to interpret the last verse of Psalm 62 in light of the Gospel, in case you were wondering about that, here’s a passage from John 6:28-29:

Then they inquired, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”

Jesus replied, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”

Blessings!

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Faith comes through…the Word of Christ.

Hey ya’ll. Have you ever struggled to believe what you know is true? Ever battled with doubt? Found it hard to obey what God says, because the desire and faith to do it just isn’t there? Well, let me tell you that I have, too. A lot, actually. And recently, God has been revealing to me what I can do about it. Today, I’d like to share that with you.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”

That’s what Romans 10:17 says about the origin of our faith. Now, the Bible also explains that when we hear the Gospel and believe on Christ, and when we continue to hear the Word, learn it, and grow, it is the Holy Spirit moving through the Word of God, creating faith in us (Philippians 2:13, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The Bible teaches that God gives and grants faith. But through what vehicle does He do this? As Christians, through what mechanism does He grow our faith? “Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”

That gives us some responsibility in our growth. In our desiring God. In our walking with Him in faith. Now, we know that He does the growing, yes, so it is not up to us to transform ourselves. But it is up to us to be in His Word through hearing it preached, reading it, and thinking about it on our own. But how often do we really need to be thinking about God’s wonderful words to live a faith-filled life with Him? I’m not going to lay any law on you about an exact 20 minute-a-day quiet time, but just listen to what God says about how often we need to be thinking about His Word:

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.”

Do you want to prosper spiritually in your walk with Christ? Yield the fruits of righteousness to reflect and proclaim Him to others? God says that is the fruit of meditating on His Word day and night. It’s funny, that the laws we put on ourselves and others are often relaxed forms of what God really says is best for us. Honestly, a 20 minute-a-day quiet time isn’t going to cut it according to this text, if all we do is take it in and forget about it the rest of the day. Now, I don’t think that this passage from Psalm 1 is saying that we have to be pouring over the Bible all day long and not go do anything – of course God wants us to apply it and go out and live life for Him! But how can we help ourselves to remember it as we go?

For me I think God is calling me to be in His Word actually reading it daily. Things that help me to remember His Gospel message and call on my life throughout the day are playing Christian music or listening to sermons or YouTube clips as I’m doing other things around the house, meeting with the Church a couple of times a week, discussing what I’m learning with my husband or believing friends, looking for opportunities to talk about Jesus with people (which I really need to be more brave in), or writing things I’m learning on note cards or other things and putting them throughout the house. This isn’t law, people. But it is life.

 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.”

In John 6:63, Jesus is recorded saying to His disciples that the words He spoke to them were Spirit and life. His words! In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs us to take on the full armor of God to be able to stand against the devil, who Peter tells us is after devouring our faith. And what is the armor of God? (Click on the link above to Ephesians 6 and read, so you know what I’m talking about). 🙂

So, the armor of God. It includes the truth, for one. Jesus says to His Father, “Your Word is truth.” in John 17). And another piece of armor is the righteousness that we have through Christ alone. And where do we get reminded of that, but in the message of the Gospel? In the same way, the armor of faith is bolstered by the Word, and the confidence of salvation through Jesus is rejoiced in and remembered when we hear or read the Gospel being preached. So, I think it’s clear that all of the armor that Paul talks about us needing is directly related to us knowing, remembering, and holding tight to the message of the Gospel and believing the Word of God when tempted to believe lies. So finally, Paul just comes out and says it: Take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” (see verse 17). But a Christian who is deprived from the truth of God’s Word, who is forgetting the Gospel message of peace with God, righteousness given through Jesus, and the blessed call we have on our lives to share the good news, is not going to put up much of a fight when the lies of the devil start creeping in. Unfortunately, and in my stubbornness, I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Please don’t learn it the hard way like I did. Instead, as it says in Psalm 37:4,

Delight yourself in the LORD,
    and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Now, I don’t think that this means if we seek God we are going to get that new Mercedes we want. Ha. What I think it means, and what actually proves true in reality and in the way God works, is that as we seek Him with all of our hearts through prayer and His Word, He begins to change us, giving us the desires that He wants us to have, and as born again believers in Christ, the desires that we long to have for Him and His kingdom.

The reason I felt like God wanted me to write this was first, for me, because I’ve been struggling in my faith and lacking the desire to live for Jesus, and He showed me that the issue is my lack of being in the Word. The second reason is because I know that all of us struggle to be in the Word consistently, and the fruit of that is going to be a lack of desire for living for Christ, believing the lies of the enemy (because we cut off the flow of truth in our lives), being more about the world and less about the Kingdom, or even doubting the Gospel and God’s goodness and love for us through Jesus. So ya, get yo’self back in the Word if you need to, get that constant flow of truth flowing in your life again, and I’ll try to do the same. We can live spiritually vibrant lives here on earth (remember Psalm 1), we just need the constant reminders of God’s Word to do it. We need to slow down with everything else that we get too focused on, and focus on seeking God to work in us, so that we can maintain a strong faith.

And faith comes through taking in the Word of Christ!

Love ya’ll.

Keri

The love and mercy of God

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In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes that he’s praying for the people, that they would be able to understand the length and the width, the height and the depth of God’s love for them. And I think we really start to understand this love when we understand the cross of Christ.

The following passage should help us to understand that love more deeply:

“At dawn He [Jesus] appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:2-11)

Now, I used to read this passage and think, “Wow, Jesus sure is kind and merciful,” but if we stop there, I think we are gonna miss out on what happened here. We need to answer the questions, “How could Jesus show mercy for sin, and on what grounds could He let the woman go?”

In the passage, what did the Law of Moses demand happen to her? And who gave the Law of Moses to Moses? If you read in the Old Testament, you’ll find that it wasn’t man, but God!

God gave that Law that “The soul who sins shall die” (see Ezekiel 18:20) because sinning against God is a serious deal. He is holy, and just, and when we have dismissed Him and His commands to live our lives our own way, we need to realize that it really earns us punishment from Him. This is no fairy tale- in reality it really happens. No one just gets “thrown into hell” on a whim. We earn it. We earn death. So we need to take a minute to think about that. And we also need to soberly understand that that punishment is right. Even in our imperfect world, would you think it right and good for the courts and judges to just let all the criminals go free? Would a good judge let a guilty criminal just get away with their crimes against society? God is a perfect judge, in fact, the Judge of all the earth. And He doesn’t let the guilty go free, either.

And then also know that Jesus IS God in the flesh. The invisible God became visible, and dwelt among us (read chapter 1 of John, Colossians and Hebrews to get more on that amazing truth). So how could GOD just let this woman go? Even in the New Testament, we have the Law that in God’s world, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

And the answer is this: Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, because He decided to be condemned in her place. In your place. In my place. That is what He came to do. The death she earned for her sin, that we have earned for our sin, He paid for on the cross with His death. Though without sin, He took on all of our guilt, so He could declare us “not guilty” in His sight. If you are trusting in Christ alone, that He did that for you, then your debt to God is completely paid. That is the good news, the Gospel. That’s what comes to mind when I think about the length and width and height and depth of God’s love for us. That, all the unfathomable gifts Jesus’ sacrifice bought for you in eternity, the biggest one being: you being fully reconciled to God the moment you believe, and being with Him in His loving presence forever.

So, what is our response to this amazing love? Though there is a lot to say on this, I’ll just share a few thoughts that have got me excited.

First, from the passage we are already in, what is the last thing that Jesus says to the woman? How do you think she might have responded? How will you respond?

We don’t know what the woman went and decided to do. But we can know one thing from the Scriptures: If she understood that she really deserved to pay her life to God for her sin against Him and be eternally separated from Him, and she loved the sacrifice Jesus was going to make for her to pay that debt, she would have gladly left her life of sin to follow Him, just to exclaim thank You to Him for His mercy. Here’s how we know that:

Jesus taught in Luke 7:36-50 that when we realize how much we have been forgiven, we will love Him a lot. It’s a good read, you should check it out.

More simply put, Jesus says in John 14:23, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching.” Though obedience is usually not the easy choice, it’s the choice that’s made when one believes in and loves the sacrifice Jesus made for them. It’s worship flowing from a thankful heart.

I pray that you will believe in God’s great love for you, that when He hung on the cross, it was for you. And I pray that the faith and assurance of His love and mercy for you would produce a radical and enduring love for the One who died for you.

Let us end with the good news explained in Romans 5:8.

“God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”

Amazed by our Savior with you,
Keri

 

 

MADE

Part 2: Faith in Christ, our Creator


 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

This is what the Bible says about Jesus Christ. God refers to Him as the Word, and as also God, or God’s Son. It isn’t an easy concept to understand, the triune nature of God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), but that is where faith comes in. And that is a different topic for a different day.

But in the Bible passage seen above, it says that all things were made through Jesus. That includes you! In MADE, Part 1: You are MADE by God, I wrote about God’s intentionality and love in purposely making each one of us. Here is where the rubber meets the road. If you believe that God puposely and lovingly created you for Himself, than what does that mean for you and your life? We were made for a close relationship with God, to bring Him glory, enjoy Him, and to be His faithful people with Him being God, our King. That is awesome if you stop to think about it. But because each of us has chosen to disobey God (His commands), we stand as rebels before a holy God.

In the last post, we learned more about God’s character and discussed how He is good. As the Apostle John puts it, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5. And because God is good, there is nothing false in Him. We can literally trust every single word He says, and He is the only one who completely deserves of our trust. “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19) It is not a gamble to trust God. But people will sometimes let us down, because we are sinful and don’t always keep our promises. In the New Testament it says, “Let God be true, and every human being a liar.” (Romans 3:4)

This is a hard thing to hear, believe me, I know. But I know it is true. I know that I have lied. I have lied, cheated, and stolen things in my life. I have done things I cannot make up for or take back. And the truth is, we all have. No one is better or worse than anybody else, because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) But that does put us all in a predicament. What is a good God to do with bad people? Can a perfect judge let the guilty go free? Would you have wanted Hitler to go free? Pastor Paul Washer once said that the most terrifying truth from the Bible is that God is good…and we are not. ¹

Can a loving God also be a just God? Indeed, God is both, and when he described himself to Moses, God said, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…” (Exodus 34:6-7) And in another passage, “The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3)

Imagine that a close friend of yours is the city judge, and you have broken the law. You come before your friend, who loves you very much, hoping to get a break. But your friend has no choice but to give you the punishment or fine that you earned, because he or she values doing the right thing, and wants to be a good judge. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we have all sinned against God, and have earned the sentence of an eternity in hell for it.

And now we take a look at the loving heart of God, because what He chose to do for mankind is incredible. Grace is a hard thing to grasp when you realize that what you rightfully deserve from God is punishment. But “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) How does this fit into God being a good judge? Because He satisfied His own justice by taking our punishment onto Himself. He poured out His wrath for the sins of mankind on the one man, the God-man, Jesus Christ. Here is my favorite Bible passage that explains it:

God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:25-26

God’s selfless and sacrificial love is so amazing! Instead of giving us the punishment we deserve, He becomes a man and absorbs the wrath from Himself that we deserve. It’s crazy love, but it’s true love. And we get Christ’s righteousness in exchange for our sin! He takes our sin, and grants us His perfect status with God — how incredible!

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

This is a video (I really like) about how wonderfully God loves us despite what we have done to rebel against Him:

Believing that Jesus is who He says He is, and that He died for your sins, in your place, and that He is King over you, is what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus will lead us to turn to Him as the Lord He is, relinquishing control of our lives to Him, and seeking God’s purposes instead of our own. God will give us a new heart, and put His Spirit in us to make us more like Jesus, who perfectly obeyed God (Ezekiel 36:25-27). Of course, we won’t be perfect, but we should be so thankful that He pardoned us and loves us that it is our JOY to please Him. If our faith is true, we will grow in Christ-likeness, and our faith will continue till the end (Colossians 1:21-23), because God is always faithful, and He will continue to work in you (Jude 1:24-25), as you continue to seek Him (James 4:7-10).  If our faith is not true, it will not change us at all (James 2:14-26).

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

Faith in Christ is not only a only a one-time decision, but it’s a change of mind and a gradual life change. Jesus is your life, and your life is all for Him. We shouldn’t view Jesus as our “ticket to heaven.” And He isn’t just our “buddy.” He is our King. And our gracious Savior. He is Lord of all, including our puny, little lives. He is worth much more than our lives, more than we could ever give Him.

Incredible God, perfect and loving, good and faithful, truthful and just, compassionate and forgiving, is the Creator of each one of us. Remember that He made you for Himself, and that He suffered and died to offer you salvation. Remember that He reigns over all, and wants to rightfully reign over you, in love and tenderness. The gentle King, only true God, beckons you to turn to Him and place your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. He longs to have you, that you may know Him, enjoy Him, and bring Him the glory He deserves.

     Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Praying this is helpful to someone.

Love you!

Keri

¹For more on our need for salvation, listen to Paul Washer online, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXOWyjB7d24

MADE

Part 1: You are MADE by God.


Imagine yourself alone in a workshop, sitting at your desk in the dark. You turn on the light, and begin to work. You are creating a masterpiece.

What would it look like? What would it be? How would you form it and mold it to be your very own? I believe all of us have some sort of creative spark in us on some level – a spark that points to someone with greater skill than our own.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Can you imagine such an incredible power? After making the universe and all of the plants and animals, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26) Our Creator fashioned mankind together after his own image, and “male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

 Why did God create humans? I think it is better to first ask the question, “Who is God? What is he like, and what are his attributes? Finding answers to these questions are important, because for some reason (to be discussed later) he did create you and I.

God says of himself, “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5) The Bible also says, “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) From those verses, we can gather that God is the only real god, that he is perfect, and that he is the protector of his people.

With this in mind, know that the Bible teaches that God intentionally created each one of us. King David wrote a prayer which reads,

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.”

(Psalm 139:13-16)

I find this passage of the Bible very helpful, as it addresses the fact that not one of us is here by “mistake.” I understand that for some, this has been hard to believe because of the way people in their lives have treated them. But no matter what anyone thinks or does to you, God wanted you, and intentionally made you.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning–the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31) As we can see from this passage, when God creates, it is good. It brings peace when we realize and embrace that who we are is who we ought to be. Now, I’m not talking about sinful attitudes and desires that God forbids. Those we need to abandon and conform ourselves to what God teaches us is right and true. But our nationalities, races, heights, genders, and abilities, for example, are all God-given.

God, in his perfect character, is also loving and good. This is mentioned in many passages in the Bible, including this one, which reads, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” (Psalm 86:5) So, if this loving, perfect, and good God created us, how can we be made wrong? It is our thinking, when it becomes out-of-line with the truth, that becomes wrong, and leads us to believe we are not who we ought to be. Again, this is not to say our character cannot be improved, because all of us can become more like Jesus. But what we are has been decided for a good reason. To learn more about trusting God for who you are, listen to Jerry Bridges at http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopup.asp?SID=3290818433710.

Friends, if you believe that God made you, don’t you want to know why? Please read MADE, Part 2: Faith in Christ, Our Creator to learn some about why God created people, and why we are here on earth.

Love you!

Keri

Living Life to the Fullest = Living Life with & for Jesus.

If we are Christian and still on earth, it is for a good reason! Here is a day-by-day devotional that will help remind us what real LIFE is. Through faith in Jesus Christ, salvation is a gift to anyone who believes. If you have been saved, it is so that you will live your life for HIM and praise Him forever, and He is so worthy of that, and more. Our lives on earth pass by quickly like a single breath, so keeping an eternal perspective is very important. So, while we are still on earth – here’s to a God-glorifying life!

Day 1: Psalm 16:1-11
Day 2: Matthew 6:9-24
Day 3: Matthew 6:25-33
Day 4: Matthew 13:44-46
Day 5: Matthew 28:18-20
Day 6: Luke 6:44-49
Day 7: Luke 9:23-26
Day 8: Luke 14:25-33
Day 9: John 10:7-11
Day 10: John 11:17-27
Day 11: John 13:34-35
Day 12: John 14:1-7
Day 13: John 15:1-17
Day 14: John 15:18-27
Day 15: Acts 20:22-24
Day 16: Romans 12:1-21
Day 17: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Day 18: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
Day 19: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21
Day 20: 2 Corinthians 13:5-6
Day 21: Galatians 2:15-21
Day 22: Ephesians 2:1-10
Day 23: Ephesians 5:1-2
Day 24: Philippians 1:12-30
Day 25: Philippians 3:1-21
Day 26: Colossians 3:1-25
Day 27: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Day 28: 2 Timothy 2:1-26
Day 29: Hebrews 12:1-29
Day 30: I Peter 1:1-25
Day 31: 1 Peter 4:1-19

Praying this is helpful to people!

In Christ,

Keri Anderson

Enjoy this devotional? Find a Gospel-centered reading plan at https://kerijoanderson.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/daily-gospel-readings. For we never outgrow our need for the forgiveness and grace that come through faith in Jesus Christ. To Him be glory forever. Amen.