Friday, February 02, 2007

Blessed and Highly Favored!

As the world around us spins down into more and more of a self-centered way of thinking about life, it becomes more and more of a struggle for the believer to keep a Biblical focus on eternity. Many are tempted to fall in line with the practices of those around them. Instead of holding a high standard, established for the believer in the Word of God, they lower themselves into sin and worldly standards. They loose sight of their purpose and significance in this world. Yet God has designed a special purpose for every one of His children, and you are no exception. Each person chooses how they respond to life’s challenges. While some see a glass of water as nearly empty...others see it as half full.
A story is told of a shoe salesman who was sent to the West Indies to a small island. When he arrived he noticed that all the natives were barefoot. Discouraged that no one wore shoes here, he came home with no sales. Another salesman was sent to the same place. He too noticed the barefoot natives. He sent an emergency telegraph home…: "Send lots of shoes...all everyone here needs shoes!” Our perspective on life can determine our influence on others and how we impact the world for Christ.

God needs to change our perspective!
When we see life from His point of view, everything changes. When we see grumbling sinners, He sees lost children who need a Savior. When we see crime, violence and abuse….He sees victims of Satan’s curse. When we see life’s inconveniences, He sees life’s opportunities. We sometimes need an ‘eye transplant.’ We need to see the world around us with His eyes.
The world continues to spiral down into the valley of despair. The more they try to turn it all around with education, money, and programs to meet desperate needs, the bigger and more hopeless the problems seem to become. As we look at the political world, we see wars, destruction, corruption, and promises of hope with no real lasting solutions. When we look at the religious world, we see spiritual leaders grasping for ways to change the world. When we look at the material world, we see people trying to fill the emptiness inside with ’stuff’ on the, cars, furniture, jewelry, and the best that money can buy. Yet we soon discover that all the ’stuff’ just gives us more to care for without satisfying the inner need for lasting happiness.

I have found the lasting solution to all of these dilemmas.
I discovered that all my hopes and dreams could find fulfillment and satisfaction when placed in eternal Jesus Christ. He provides me with purpose and significance. He gives me faith and hope for life now and in eternity. He resets my values from ‘stuff’ to Himself. I learned to value Him more than ‘stuff’. In Him is every political solution, every educational answer, and a way out of every dilemma.

How do we get to that point of view?
The first step is to recognize the need for change. The Bible tells me that in myself there is nothing good found. That is because I am a sinner, in need of a solution to my problem—sin. Jesus came as the solution! The moment I realize I need more than I have, and that Jesus has what I need—this is the first step. Then I can call on Him to meet my need and be my solution. The world in sin is bound by a curse. That curse came in the Garden of Eden when mankind fell into Satan’s snare. From that day onward, man became needy. He continued to live, but the spirit within him died. By faith, all the Old Testament people looked forward to the day when Christ, the Messiah, would come and restore life to the spirit of man. Jesus fills the void within. Man struggles on his own to fill that void with carnal pleasures, material goods, entertainment, drugs and alcohol, but nothing satisfies. Nothing lasts. Earth’s solutions are just temporary. But Jesus provided a lasting solution that goes beyond life into eternity. He came to provide Life...eternal Life! The Life He gives fills the emptiness and overflows into joy and happiness and satisfaction and a new sense of values with an eternal purpose. While the world feels cursed and inferior, I feel blessed and highly favored. He lifts my vision beyond what I can see with the natural eye to see with eternal eyes. I no longer see the pain and suffering around me as a dilemma, but as an opportunity for God to display His glory and power. He is the God who loves to change lives, and circumstances, heal sick bodies, and deliver from bondages of depression and destructive habits. If you have been abused….He brings peace and forgiveness and healing. If you were the abuser, He changes the heart, the mind and the life. He forgives you even when you cannot forgive yourself. We may still suffer some of the results of the scars from the past. They serve to remind us not to go back and do that again! I may never have all the wealth of the world in my bank account….but I have the wealth of the One who created the world in my heart and for all eternity. I may not know all the answers to life’s questions, but I know the One who has all the answers, all the solutions, who has all knowledge, all power, all truth. He is no longer a distant acquaintance, but an intimate friend. When life comes crashing down around me, I know with confidence I can turn to Him and find comfort, peace, confidence and healing. He promised his followers that He would never leave them nor forsake them. Yes, I am blessed and highly favored.
Believer, next time someone asks you how you are doing… don’t just say the politically correct phrase…. “I’m fine thanks.” Tell them “I’m blessed and highly favored!”...and see what kind of response you get! Be ready to tell them why you are so blessed...and the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at that moment. Tell them they can be blessed and highly favored too.

We need a new radical abandonment to Jesus Christ.
Believers need to become Spirit-dependent, Christ-centered, spiritually dynamic, mutually-ministering to each other and the world around them. You may sometimes feel like you are totally insignificant, but in the eyes of God, each tiny mustard seed in His kingdom has potential to grow and change the world around it.

What kind of blessings can we expect from God?
We can expect the kind of blessings that are lasting and eternal. There is no great blessing in filling up your bank book. But there is great blessing in filling heaven with souls won to Jesus. Jesus told Peter He would make him a fisher of men. He never promised him big earthly rewards. No... He told him that those who would be the greatest in heaven needed to be the servants of all. God’s viewpoint of blessing is so very different from man’s viewpoint. I want His blessings in my life. Do you? I cannot take my retirement funds with me to heaven, but I can take people. It’s funny how when it comes right down to what we really value in life… we hear it only at funerals. We don’t talk about what the person possessed, but about who they were and the impact that they had on our lives.

I am blessed and highly favored!
I know the One who has pulled my feet from the pit of sin, who has given me a hope and a future, who has provided me with significance and purpose. His name is Jesus. He is the Rock of my salvation, the Door of protection, the Shepherd who takes care of me, the Bread that feeds me when I am hungry, the Lamp for my feet and the Light on my pathway. He is the King who made me part of his family. He is the Priest who made a way for me to enter into the most holy place. He is the Way when there seems to be no way, and the Truth when all around me is confusion and chaos. He is Life when my body feels more dead than alive. He is the Cornerstone and chief Architect of my building. He is the Bright Morning Star that shines in the darkest night. He is the Lily of the Valley and the Rose of Sharon who fills this stagnant world with the aroma of His loveliness. He is the Living Water that satisfies. He is the Vine that helps me grow and produce good fruit. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending of all I am and ever hope to be. Yes, I am blessed and highly favored. There is nothing that He and I together cannot face.
But who is He to you? He can be all of those things and more in your life if you invite Him into your heart and let Him take control of it all. Then you too will be blessed and highly favored.
J. Johnson


Shawn said...

Hey, found your blog refreshing to read! Thanks, it's nice to read something without having to overt my eyes, lol!

Sally said...

Thanks. This was just what I needed to hear. God has purposely brought me to this site and I will visit daily. We as Christians, forget we are blessed and highly favored. I heard something else today that has now changed my life. Association brings about Assimilation whether you acknowledge it or not. I want the people in my inner circle, home, work, church, etc., to reflect me, (a Christian living for God).