Peel Your Eyes from the Mirror

Are you happy being who you are?
Do you have good self-esteem?
Good self-confidence?
Does it really matter?
Are you comfortable in a room full of strangers or do you compare yourself to everyone; focusing on your flaws?

I think many of us struggle everyday with who we are. I’m not talking about how we wish we could lose 20 lbs or how I wish my hair hadn’t started falling out in my mid-twenties. Those are minor cosmetic issues. I’m talking about the big stuff that becomes chains and shackles binding us to the walls in the dungeon of depression.

We are going through many trials in these difficult times. Many are losing homes and jobs, going bankrupt and feeling like failures.

Do you feel like a failure?
Do you feel not good enough?
Are you jealous of those who seem successful and have it all?
Do others have better jobs?
Are others more attractive?
Do they have better clothes?
Is their house, or wedding ring, or motor home that much bigger and better than yours that you feel insignificant around them?
Do you ask why them and not me?

These thoughts of discontentment will eat away at our self-confidence and self-worth. But what is self-confidence and self-worth? Where does self-confidence and self-worth come from?

We need to start by peeling our eyes away from the mirror for a change and look up. We need to look up toward our creator and savior Jesus Christ. We spend so much time looking at ourselves and comparing ourselves to other people that we don’t have time to look at God…and when we look at God we feel the weight and disgust of our sin and we turn away from God. Encouragement for our lack of confidence can only be found in the Word of God:

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Each one of us is uniquely and specially made in the image of God, which means we each carry unique attributes of God. We are all different, but equally made in God’s image.

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

God crafted our bodies, minds, and spirit in our mother’s womb in a unique and special way. We are wonderfully made in an awe-inspiring and fearful way. We are no accident. We are different, but each one of us is formed by the hands of the living God, who is infinitely holy, perfect, and good…every time…God doesn’t make mistakes and he certainly doesn’t make such thing as an economy version.

Isaiah 43:1-2 & 7

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

God is very serious about these facts: He made us in His own image. He uniquely formed us from the inside out in our mother’s womb. He made us for His glory – for His purposes. Based on these scriptures (many others tell the same story), we should be able to deduce that we are not a freak occurrence of nature or an accident. We were not the results of strange biological evolutions or random chemical combinations. Each and every one of us was uniquely planned, creatively designed, precision engineered, and delivered with a purpose. God made us the way we are for a reason…for his glory. God made us just as we are for his purpose and his glory alone. There is nothing more valuable or perfect in the universe than God’s delight, purpose, and glory.

I hope you find comfort and confidence in this. We cannot compare ourselves to others when we know we are unique for God’s purpose. We should instead search out where God has gifted us and apply our lives fully to those gifts and let God do the rest.

But why has he made us this way or that way?
But, if God makes us in His image, why is everyone else more interesting, more desirable, more rich, more important, more everything?
Is it not enough that you are the image of God?

Two of my favorite passages in scripture finish the story. These verses add power to our created nature and they describe the scope and depth of the power of the God who created us.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Ephesians 1:11

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…

These two phenomenal verses show that God’s will and purpose rules our existence. All things work for good – good in God’s eyes, not our own – and He works all things according to his predestined purpose. We and our lives are chosen and planned before time began in order to fulfill God’s ultimate design, purpose, and pleasure. This is good news. There are no mistakes and no failures…ever. Everyone has a purpose.

Not only do all things work for good, but all things are being maintained and held together by Jesus Christ. Right now, Christ is holding the stars in place in the sky, choosing the exact amount, size and speed of the rain drops falling in another part of the world while He is orchestrating the events of your life. I’d even argue that He is beating your heart to keep you alive.

Hebrews 1:3

…and he [Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power…

Colossians 1:17

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

The best part is that it is all good. It was all planned to be this way. You were planned to be this way. Have hope and have courage to serve your purpose to God’s glory. Find your purpose and work it out.

If, however, you are not encouraged and you still want to complain to the all knowing living God, I would caution you. We must be careful in complaining to the creator. Gratefulness and thankfulness should rule our hearts. We in today’s society have lost the healthy respect for God. We need to know our rightful place in the universe. This verse helps keep perspective:

Romans 9:20

20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

Do we have higher standards than God? Or should we find peaceful contentment in how we were molded? Should we change our self-consumed focus from what we don’t have to God, His purpose, His glory, and His genius? I’d say so.

What receiving the Bible in your native tongue for the first time looks like.

Rejoice with me and be greatly encouraged (and deeply convicted) by watching this video of the Kimyal tribe receiving the New Testament in their language for the first time on March 16, 2010.

Quote from the video:

“We [in the West] have no idea. We have had the Word of God for so long. We have taken it for granted. We have resources, we have translations . . . and we don’t cherish it. We don’t realize what a precious gift we have and hold in our hands.”

Find out more about the Kimyal tribe of Indonesia here.

HT: The Gospel Coalition

Pay no attention the the government education professionals behind the curatin.

Here is a quote from a great article by Bruce Shortt writing for WorldNet Daily:

“Of course, evidence of catastrophic educational failure is always dismissed by highly trained education professionals by alternately screeching ‘socio-economic status’ and ‘demographics.’ These phrases are the education establishment’s equivalent of squid’s ink: When cornered by inconvenient facts, shouts of ‘socio-economic status’ and ‘demographics’ usually allow highly trained education professionals to create confusion and slip away quietly from embarrassing revelations about what they have done to the children entrusted to them.”

Read the entire article here.

Apologizing for believing a lie.

According to this article, an African pastor has apologized for believing and furthering Harold Camping’s false prophecy:

A pastor in Kasese District, who claimed the world would end on May 21, has apologised to residents. Pastor Isaac Muhindo, who has since early last year been moving around the district, spreading his doomsday massage, [sic] said he was ashamed of his act.

“I want to apologise to the people of Kasese and whoever heard my messages about the end of the world. I am very sorry for the inconveniences because I followed false prophets,” Pastor Muhindo said on Wednesday in his message sent to the media.

Many people in the district and the country at large spent the whole of Saturday waiting for the end of the world as presumed by Pastor Herold Camping, a California-based evangelist.

Camping’s followers had told people that at 6pm there would be an earthquake that would cause the world to end and usher in Judgment Day.

Repentance
Pastor Muhindo said: “I am ready to go back to my church and repent for misleading the people of God and I am now going to follow the scriptures seriously without wrong interpretations.”

Last year, Pastor Muhindo was denied airtime at most local radio stations in Kasese to preach his alleged end of the world on May 21.

Panic gripped some people in Kasese after the predicted doomsday was characterised by a heavy downpour that started at 2pm and ended after 7pm.

Ms Gertrude Masika, a shopkeeper in Kasese town, said she did not open her shop on May 21 out of fear that the world would end.

“I thought even customers could not come on that day and I decided to remain home because customers were unlikely to appear as they waited to see the end of the world,” she said.

Sadly, America has exported many of its homegrown cults to places such as Africa, and Harold Camping is no exception.

Thanks to the Africa Center for Apologetics Research for keeping us apprised of this news.

Quotes (883)

I notice that many here do not like the term “heretic.” There seems to be agreement that one must deny certain doctrines “essential to salvation” in order to be a heretic. This is very new thinking. Look, for example, at the definition in Webster’s Dictionary (1828):

1. A person under any religion, but particularly the Christian, who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy. In strictness, among Christians, a person who holds and avows religious opinions contrary to the doctrines of Scripture, the only rule of faith and practice.

2. Anyone who maintains erroneous opinions.

Hence, those ideas that elevate the standard by which one is considered heretical are actually a product of modern political correctness. I do, however, understand that our modern, feminized, extremely sensitive sensibilities are offended by name-calling of any kind (except the names we call insensitive, unkind “heresy hunters”), but that doesn’t change the fact that the term is accurate. In fact we are all “heretics” in some point of doctrine or other. That’s why we continue to search the Scriptures daily. I don’t know about you, but I desire to correct my heresies, not soften the blow by raising the bar so that I never feel the sting of the offensive title.

- Voddie Baucham