Jesus and Me

 

by ignite Your Faith
What if you knew Jesus as well as you know your best friend?

Do People See Jesus in Me?

“You don’t think the teacher will hear us, do you?” my lab partner whispered to me. We were watching an extremely boring video on the lifestyle of the cell. Instead of taking notes, we were talking.

“Nah, I don’t … ” Before I could finish my sentence, I looked up and saw the teacher standing over us, giving a stern look.

“Just kidding!” I blurted out, not sure why I said it. I guess it just seemed to be the best way to lighten up what could turn into a tense situation.

“What did you say?” my teacher asked in a tone that seemed more surprised than angry.

“Uh, just kidding.”

“You know, you sound like the girl who sits in your seat the period earlier. Come to think of it, you two sound a lot alike. I’m sure you must be friends with Lauren.”

“Well, yes … we’re very good friends,” I answered, relieved the teacher seemed more interested in me and my friend than in the fact that I’d not been paying attention in class.

After the period ended, Lauren and I met up so we could walk to our next class together—something we always do. Next to Lauren was a girl who was new to our school. After Lauren introduced me to her, the three of us walked down the hall together. As Lauren turned the corner to go into her classroom, she shouted above all the hallway noise:

“Meet me by the … ”

“Pop machine!” I shouted back, finishing her sentence.

“Of course!”

The new girl was staring at me. “I can’t believe it,” she said. “You guys finish each other’s sentences and keep changing subjects so fast that no one can keep up with you!”

That’s when it hit me: What if I knew Jesus as well as I know my best friend? I thought about what it would be like to be able to finish his sentences. To think his thoughts. To laugh his laugh. To smile his smile. To cry over things he’d cry over. To care about the things he cares so much about.

And then I thought about how my teacher and the new girl sort of “saw” Lauren in me, since we’re so much alike. What if people “saw” Jesus when they saw me? What if I were so close to him that my life looked a lot like his?

I still have a ways to go, but I really want to build that kind of relationship—the kind that will make people stop and say, “Hey, you remind me of Jesus. You two must really be close.”

Written by Allison Asimakoupoulos

Good News for You

by Sylvia Gunter
With all of the negative news in the world, Sylvia Gunter shares some good news: God is still God, and He knows the plans that He has for you!

Good News for You

With all the negative news in the media, today I want to share with you some good news. God is still God, and he knows the plans that he has for you. That doesn’t mean that life will get easier. The famous verse in Jeremiah we like to quote was written to people in captivity for seventy years! But it is still true. Regardless of what today brings, God is still God.

Hear God’s Word in Jeremiah 29:11. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Precious one, be blessed with the love of Christ for emotional healing. The psalmist said that his body was troubled, and his soul was greatly troubled (Ps. 6:2-3). Be blessed with peace and hope being restored to you. The mind may have witnessed an event it can’t cope with. The body may react physically under duress; the soul weeps. It is a total body reaction. Be blessed, spirit, soul, and body, to be healed in the root cause of all disturbance of your peace. Be blessed to reject all lies at the root. Let the power of the Holy Spirit address the lie, and be set free.

Hear the good news: It’s not too late. In the defining message of his life in Luke 4:18, Jesus said that he would set the captives free. If you feel captive in any way because of emotional wounding, be blessed with his love, redemption, and power to flood you and release you. Be blessed in your brain, your mind, and your memory, particularly the part that is holding on to any issues. Receive the compassion of Jesus to address any emotional concern. He is mighty to deal with any depression or other aftermath or backlash. Receive the light of his healing grace into everything that is out of God’s order.

Jesus opened the minds of the travelers on the way to Emmaus so that they could understand him in the Scriptures. Understand his words to you. Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul replied, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Cor. 12:9-12).

Precious one, boast in your wounds by declaring that the power of Jesus is in you to heal them. You have the treasure of your life in a human “jar of clay” to show that he is your all-surpassing power to accomplish his plans for your welfare (2 Cor. 4:7).

Hear Jeremiah 29:12-14. ” ‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.’ ”

God’s thoughts toward you are for peace. His plans in you are for healing, not for hurt or negativity or sadness. He promised the all-surpassing power of his love. He will accomplish his hope, his future, and his well-being in you. When you seek him, he hears you. He lets you find him to bring you back from your captivity, whatever it is. His best for you is peace, wholeness, and security.

Be blessed today in the name of the Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6).

Dealing with Fear

 

by Dr Charles Stanley
Dr. Charles Stanley shares four steps that will help you overcome fear and anxiety.

Dealing with Fear

Philippians 4:6

Not only is anxiety an uncomfortable feeling; it also leads to negative consequences. For example, reasoning becomes cloudy when permeated with worry. So an anxious person will have trouble making wise decisions. Fear of failure may also lead to procrastination or a lack of productivity. Apprehensions can devastate personal and spiritual growth, relationships, and work. So conquering fear is important.

Four steps can help:

1. Identify the fear. Ask yourself, What are the circumstances surrounding my feelings? What triggered them? What message am I telling myself?

2. Turn to the Lord. Remember that God loves you and desires a close relationship with you. He is in sovereign control of your situation, so bring your apprehension to Him.

3. Rebuke the fear before God. You have the authority and power in Jesus’ name to reject what isn’t from Him. Meditate on passages such as Matthew 10:31 and Proverbs 1:33. Let God’s truth replace any wrong thinking.

4. Cling to your heavenly Father. Take your focus off your circumstances, and look to the One who promises His help. Scripture gives this assurance: “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).

Circumstances are external and often beyond your control. But your response originates within. It’s amazing how fears diminish in the Father’s presence.

Pride Humility

 

by Rick Warren
Pride destroys relationships, but humility builds them. If you want to have more humility, then spend time with Jesus Christ.

Pride Destroys, Humility Builds Up

“Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3bNCV)Pride destroys relationships. It shows up in a lot of different ways — like criticism, competition, stubbornness, and superficiality.

The problem with pride is that it’s self-deceiving. Everybody else can see it in us but us. When you have a problem with pride, you don’t see it in your life.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction; a proud attitude brings ruin” (NCV). I love this verse in the Message paraphrase: “First pride, then the crash — the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.”

Pride destroys relationships, but humility is the antidote to pride. Humility builds relationships. The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:8, “Live in harmony, be sympathetic, love each other, have compassion, and be humble” (GWT).

How are you and I going to grow in humility? It happens by letting Jesus Christ begin to control our thoughts and hearts and attitudes and reactions. He’s got to be a part of this. Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person” (CEV).

How do you become a new person? How do you start to think in a different way? The basic law of relationships is this: You tend to become like the people you spend time with. If you spend time with grumpy people, you get grumpier. If you spend time with happy people, you get happier. If you want to have more humility, then spend time with Jesus Christ. He is humble. He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to spend time with him in prayer and reading his Word and talking to him. He is humble, and as you get to know him, you’ll become more like him.

“Be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves …. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to” (Philippians 2:3b, 5-6 NCV/NLT, second edition).

No one has done anything more humble than Jesus, coming from Heaven to Earth to become a man, live for us, give his life for us, and be resurrected for us. When you spend time around him, it makes you more humble, and that builds your relationships.

Talk It Over

  • What are some of the common characteristics and habits of people you know who you would call humble?
  • How do you need to change the way you think about other people so that you can become more like Jesus?
  • What does it mean to give more honor to others than to yourself?

Glory Follows Suffering

by Anne Graham lotz

Glory follows suffering, and life follows death. Would you look forward to the glory that IS coming?!

Glory Follows Suffering

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18, NKJV
Bad things do happen to those Jesus loves. But remember this spiritual principle: Glory follows suffering, and life follows death.
Miss Audrey Wetherell Johnson was a woman greatly beloved of God. Born in England, educated in Europe, delivered from agnosticism, and transformed by God’s grace into a gifted Bible teacher and preacher, she answered God’s call to the mission field in China during the 1930’s. After years of teaching pastors and church leaders in a theological seminary in Beijing, Miss Johnson was scooped up with other missionaries and placed in a Japanese concentration camp for three years of intolerable and unmentionable suffering. Yet, once again, we glimpse God’s glory when we learn that Miss Johnson was finally released, came to America, and began Bible Study Fellowship, an international ministry that now has approximately one million men and women who use her material and format to study God’s Word each week.
If something bad has happened to you, would you look forward to the glory that IS coming?!

Understanding Anxiety

 

by Dr Charles Stanley
The Lord doesn’t want you to live with ongoing anxiety. Don’t take your eyes off the omnipotent God!

Understanding Anxiety

2 Timothy 1:7

Throughout Scripture, the Lord gives us evidence that many people deal with anxiety—even those considered pillars of faith. For example, we can deduce that the apostle Paul must have felt fear, since God instructed Him not to be afraid “any longer” (Acts 18:9).

The fact that fear is common, however, does not mean it is from God (2 Tim. 1:7). Of course, certain situations—like hearing a loud noise when we are alone—will trigger a frightened response. But the Lord doesn’t want us to live with ongoing anxiety.

Common worries include the fear of death, poverty, illness, old age, criticism, and the loss of a loved one or something cherished. Why do we find it so hard to let go of our concerns, even when the Lord clearly states, “Do not fear” (Luke 12:7)? Because worry can be deeply ingrained in the way we think. Sometimes we have unhealthy thought patterns that stem from feelings of inadequacy, a sense of guilt, or a mistaken view of God. It’s not uncommon for insecurity in childhood to develop into a lack of confidence later on. Life experiences can be another factor. For instance, a person who has lost a parent suddenly in a car accident is likely to struggle with worry.

Regardless of the cause, anxiety will take our eyes off our omnipotent, loving heavenly Father and focus our attention on our circumstances. No wonder God repeatedly reminds us not to fear—He wants His children to feel secure in His capability and trustworthiness.

Stewardship

By Ron Blue

Because I’ve worked as an advisor in the Christian world for so many years, I’ve come to know many wealthy believers. Frequently, because I do know so many people with a lot of money, other friends come to me when they are raising money for a ministry or business. They believe that my relationships would be a good place for them to start as they raise funds for what they believe God is calling them to do. When this happens, I frequently have to tell them that the key to raising money is not MY relationships, it is THEIR relationships. People will give money to causes and callings that they see authentically worked out in the lives of those closest to them. My relationships aren’t likely to do them much good at all.

Relationship and resources go together; relationship and stewardship go hand in hand. If I am asked to be a steward of a particular set of resources, then it is important to be in relationship with the one who is asking me to handle their resources for them. Say, for instance, that someone gave me charge over a large estate and told me to refurbish it to be a place of peace and respite for visiting missionaries. Chances are good that I would need to be in contact with them frequently and in a trusting relationship with them, as well. Otherwise, I might end up refurbishing the estate to standards that did not really reflect their heart’s desire.

My stewardship relationship with God is no different at all. He has given me a unique package: relationships, talents, resources, time, geography, money, perspective, etc. He’s asked me to glorify Him through the “spending” of those resources. If I am not in relationship with Him, seeking His Truth and His plan, then I will not be able to steward those resources in a way that reflects His beauty or glory.

I like the relational distinction that Paul Miller draws in his book, A Praying Life. He says, “We forget we are embodied spirits, designed to hear from God…I prefer the biblical term wisdom to our more common term guidance. Guidance means I’m driving the car and asking God which way to go. Wisdom is richer, more personal. I don’t just need help with my plans; I need help with my questions and even my own heart.”(p. 145) With stewardship, begin by fostering your relationship with God. Know that He wants to speak to you. Know that being vulnerable before Him with all the pieces He’s entrusted to you lets Him lead you to those rich and personal places that Miller discusses. Stewardship is not a business contract; stewardship is a relational journey with God.

May God’s peace encourage you as you pursue financial wisdom and depend on His Truth.