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Posts tagged ‘security’

Scoring Perfect at Being Perfect

SOURCE:  Living Free

How Do You Score?

“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”
John 14:27 AMP

So how do you score as a perfectionist? Here are some things to consider . . .

Check all that apply:

______  1. Because of fear, I often avoid participating in certain activities.

______  2. When I sense I might experience failure in some important area, I become nervous and anxious.

______  3. I worry.

______  4. I have unexplained anxiety.

______  5. I am rarely satisfied with the quality of my work.

______  6. I am compelled to justify my mistakes.

______  7. I feel I must succeed in certain areas.

______  8. I become depressed when I fail.

______  9. I become angry with people who interfere with my attempts to succeed, and, as a result, make me appear incompetent.

______ 10. I am self-critical.

Consider this …

How can you use your answers?

First – don’t worry about a perfect score! Just ask the Lord to reveal any areas you may need to work on and pray about.

In today’s scripture, Jesus reminds us the world’s ways are different from his ways. When we look to the world for security, love, and approval, we will often be disappointed. Only in Jesus can we find total acceptance, unconditional love, real security, and everlasting peace. He tells us to stop being agitated, disturbed, fearful and intimidated.

We should not measure ourselves by what the world thinks of us. We need to find peace in Jesus, knowing we are valuable because we are special to him –  and always will be.

Prayer …

Lord, help me to stop being fearful about what others think of me, trying to earn love and approval by being perfect. I know you love me unconditionally. Help me to rest in the peace that comes only from you. In Jesus’ name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …

Seeing Yourself in God’s Image: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia by Martha Homme, MA, LPC.

Feel Like A Loser?

You Are Never a Loser With Christ

SOURCE:  J C Ryle

We may rest assured that no person shall ever be a real loser by following Christ.

The believer may seem to suffer loss for a time, when they first begin the life of a decided Christian. They may be cast down by the afflictions that are brought upon them on account of their religion. But let them be rest assured that they will never find themselves a loser in the long run.

Christ can raise up friends for us who shall more than compensate for those we lose. Christ can open hearts and homes to us, far more warm and hospitable than those that are closed against us. Above all, Christ can give us peace of conscience, inward joy, bright hopes, and happy feelings, which shall far outweigh every pleasant earthly thing that we have cast away for His sake.

He has pledged His royal word that it shall be so. None ever found that word fail. Let us trust it, and not be afraid.

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 244, 245. {Matthew 19:23-30}

Will I last? Where should I look? Look to Jesus!

SOURCE: Based on an article by  Sinclair Lewis

“He’s going through a religious phase.” How often did you overhear that being said about you in your early days as an openly professing follower of Jesus Christ? Admittedly the sheer force of conversion on an untaught mind can lead to us drawing confused notions of exactly what has happened to us. Looking back on my own conversion I feel sure my parents must have thought I was going through a decidedly unbalanced “religious phase” as the golf clubs to which I had long been devoted (even at the tender age of fourteen!) were relegated to the cupboard for months on end. An unenthusiastically completed entry form and an ignominious second-round defeat in the national junior golf championships followed. What had happened to their relatively normal golf-adoring son? I am thankful for their love and patience with a young teenager who took a little time to realize that conversion called him to an ongoing life in and engagement with this world — not to monasticism!

Yet, when you are only three weeks old as a baby Christian, finding your feet in an intoxicatingly new world, whispers such as, “It won’t last!” can really hurt, and they can readily sow seeds of doubt that grow into the trees of mistrust and the forests of confusion.

Yet, whatever pressures we feel as contemporary Christians in the West, they pale by comparison with the obstacles that confronted the new converts to whom Hebrews was written. If indeed they were Jewish converts, each one became persona non grata in both family and community — big-time non grata — disinherited, ostracized, and alienated from the tight network that provided personal, educational, emotional, and financial support. They had joined the notorious “third race of men” that followed a claimant Messiah who had been roundly rejected, humiliated, crucified, and accursed. Now they too experienced reproach and the loss of family, property, and security (Heb. 10:32-4; 13:13). From now on they had to camp outside.

Would they last? Will I last? Where should I look (or point others to look)? The answer to this question, as indeed to virtually every question in Hebrews, is this: “LOOK TO JESUS.” For “he is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him” (Heb. 7:25).

The phrase “to the uttermost” expresses the multi-dimensional saving ability of Christ. His adequacy is not limited by the breadth of my frailty, the depth of my sinfulness, or the ongoing nature of my need. In each of these dimensions Christ is “fitting for us” (v. 26). That is to say, Jesus is exactly the kind of Savior we need. That is why the words “he is able” are woven into the very warp and woof of His eternal high priestly garments. He intercedes for us “in the power of an indestructible life” (7:16). No wonder the refrain of the author is: “Look to Jesus” (3:1; 12:2)!

So what implications follow from the unique and everlasting priesthood of our Lord Jesus? Many, but for the moment notice these two implications: First, my security as a Christian does not reside in the strength of my faith but in the indestructibility of my Savior. How much I need to learn again and again the basic principle that I must walk in Christ in the same way I received Christ (Col. 2:6), not depending on anything that resides in me but on everything that is mine in Him. The reformed fathers and masters of spiritual counsel used to say wisely that the weakest faith gets the same strong Christ as does the strongest faith.

The second implication is that my perseverance as a Christian does not depend on the degree of my stoicism in the face of trials but on the perfection of the work of Christ and His perseverance with me.

Hebrews is an exhortation to persevere. We are engaged in an endurance test (10:36), running a marathon race (12:1). We feel the heat; we encounter periodic pain barriers, and at times the summit seems hidden in the clouds — the finishing tape miles away. This is why the perseverance of Jesus is an even more important biblical truth than the perseverance of the saints! He is with me now and will greet me there at the finishing tape and on the summit. He is in every conceivable way perfectly suited to my present needs. Recognize this and our hard daily work turns into a great journey of adventure shared with God’s people in every age (11:4–12:2).

So, “consider Jesus” (Heb. 3:1). The verb “consider” (katanoeo) is an intensive form of the verb “to understand,” and implies giving detailed attention to something (see its use in Matt. 7:3!). The author of Hebrews realized that Christians in his day (as in ours) are capable of giving detailed attention to almost everything (a football game, new clothes, our appearance, school studies) — often, sadly, with one exception: the Lord Jesus. Hebrews teaches that we must reverse that trend. More than that, it engages in reversing the trend by showing us how captivating our Lord really is. Let’s be captivated by Him — for He lasts forever as Savior (7:3; 8:16, 23, 25)!

False Control or Real Security: The Choice Is Ours

SOURCE:  Stepping Stones/Lighthouse Network

We all have sensitive buttons that when pushed, cause some pretty sorry and regrettable responses to come out of us. One we all have is the control button. Whether we see ourselves as leaders, controlling personalities, or at the opposite end, as followers or passive personalities, we all have the need to be in control of a situation or to have our agenda or plan be followed.

Most people feel more secure when they are in control. A trip down a steep mountain road doesn’t feel as dangerous to us when we’re the ones with our hands on the steering wheel. The passengers will always be more anxious or fearful because they are vulnerable to the skills and decisions of the driver.

Having control over our circumstances is very important to most of us … it allows us to feel more secure, competent, and confident. But we can’t always be in control … actually, we have a lot less control over external circumstances than we think. When facing situations beyond our control, we may feel helpless, vulnerable, anxious, fearful, angry, or overwhelmed. We may experience panic or depression.

In today’s world, a sense of safety and security may be difficult to find. The good news is there is one way we can always be secure.

God provides a way for us to experience a sense of security at all times. He leaves it up to us … we can either continue depending on ourselves, panicking or losing hope when we can’t control a situation … or we can depend on the Lord. If we choose Jesus and His way for our lives, we can always be secure in His love. We will still experience problems and trials on this earth, but we will begin to view them from His perspective. When we turn control over to Jesus, we can know that no matter what challenges or trials we face, He will ultimately work them out for our good, like our favorite teacher who gave us a tough homework assignment to expand our mind and future, or our greatest coach who drilled us knowing we were getting stronger and better equipped to succeed in the big game, or the acting instructor who stretched our comfort zone pushing us to a wonderful and exhilarating performance.

Today, examine whose hands have control of your steering wheel? During especially stressful situations are you still trying to control every detail of your life? If your confidence is in yourself, usually it will be your emotions and fear of pain, the me-centered motivators, that will direct your steps, and poor decisions will be the norm. Do you experience frustration, fear, or even anger when you can’t control what is happening to you? Turn everything over to God. You can trust Him. He is way more equipped to handle life than you are. Then be a good steward of the instructions He gives for your part of the plan.

Prayer

Dear Father God, it seems that every time I turn a situation over to You, I hang on to some little part of it and pull it away from You again. I want to be in control, and yet I know that doesn’t always work out. Please forgive me for not trusting You with every area of my life. Help me to trust You more and to leave the control of my life in Your hands. Help me to rest securely in Your love. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One You sent to teach me how to trust, Jesus Christ;  – AMEN!

The Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Where Have I Really Put My Faith?

SOURCE:  Stepping Stones/Lighthouse Network

Security means different things to different people. Some people feel secure if their health is good, many experience security if their finances are strong, and others if they’re surrounded by a loving family. But depending on people or things for your ongoing and complete security will eventually result in disappointment, as all the things of this world are limited and fallible.

Suppose you work for a company many years, building up a healthy retirement fund that you are depending on for security in later life. Soon after your 60th birthday, the company falters and the retirement fund is no more. If your faith has been in that retirement plan for your security, you are devastated and will now experience fear and anxiety as you face the future.

But if you recognize that God, not the retirement fund, is the real source for all your needs, you can rest in the assurance that He has a plan … and that He will take care of you. Nothing takes God by surprise. You might not see His plan, but you can be confident that He has everything under control.

The same principle applies when you lose a job, a friend moves, you get a scary diagnosis, your child has a special issue … really, when any part of your agenda doesn’t go as you planned. If your confidence, your security, and thus, your faith is in the job … friend … health … agenda, you will lose hope. Or at the very least, you’ll have a fragile hope.

But when your faith is in Jesus, you know that He never changes. Nothing can separate you from His love. And He will provide a way as He promises. Often times, He provides through a way that is foreign to me to “prove” that He is at work in my life. That is why we need to keep our eyes open throughout the day. Peace and other provisions from God may come in ways we are not expecting.

Today, examine what you fear losing. It’s ok if you would feel sadness for that loss. But if you would have fear, anxiety, or lose sleep if it were taken away from you, then you are probably depending on that particular element too much to meet some of your needs. Ask God to show you how He will meet that need and lessen your grip on that thing you fear losing. He is your rock, so rest on and build your life on Him. He will be the solid foundation on which to build all the elements of your life.

Prayer

Dear Father God, forgive me for the times I have depended on other people and things, and then lost hope when they let me down. Help me to use the knowledge and truth of Your word to utilize the blessings You have provided me, but not to become dependent on them. Help me to remember that You are my ultimate source of comfort and provision, and that You are unchanging and totally trustworthy. Thank You for supplying all my needs. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who died for my biggest need, Jesus Christ;  – AMEN!

The Truth

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Marital Jealousy: Overcome It Before Damage Is Done

SOURCE:  American Association of Christian Counselors

How can people overcome jealousy before it reaches the point of disaster?

Below are several useful tactics for battling and overcoming jealousy in one’s marriage.

Action Steps:

  1. Listen to Others
    • If good friends and loved ones comment on their jealousy, it’s a good sign that a problem exists and should be faced.
  2. Be Honest
    • If you are being accused of jealousy, do not react with, “I’m not jealous!” You must ask yourself, “Do I try to control and manipulate my loved one? What or who is causing these jealous feelings? Am I pushing my loved ones away? Do I attempt to make my loved ones account for every minute, look, or thought?”
  3. Spend Time with God
    • If you are dealing with jealousy, you must soak each question above in prayer, asking God to reveal the truth and to give you the courage to act on it. You must ask God to transform your need for security into dependence on and confidence in Him.
  4. Transform the Mind
    • If you are a jealous person, you can use your anxious thoughts and suspicions as cues to stop your dark reactions, take a deep cleansing breath, pray, and get control. Then you should pray for the beloved, think about all the positives in the relationship, and consider what special things you could do, right then, to show love to him [her]. A phone call, a touch, or a gift could do wonders — for both of you.

Biblical Insights:

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast… Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Genesis 4:3–5, 8 NIV

Jealousy is a dangerous emotion that has been with man for a very long time. Jealousy can get out of control, as is evidenced in the story of Cain and Abel. Think about the drastic contrast displayed in the above passage: Cain is giving an offering to God, and soon afterward his jealousy drives him to commit a terrible deed.

Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. 1 Samuel 18:8–9 NIV

The Israelites sang a song that was designed to honor David and tease their king, Saul. If the Israelites were trying to get at Saul with their teasing, they very much succeeded. When Saul realized David’s popularity, his envy was so great he became an adversary to him.

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.Proverbs 14:30 NIV

This piece of biblical wisdom from Proverbs has been proven in many lives. New clinical evidence shows the detrimental effects of stress on the human body—and jealousy always brings on a great deal of stress. Persons who harbor jealousy — emotionally, spiritually, and physically — are doing damage to themselves.

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