Archive for: February, 2013

He Loves Me

Feb 19 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

By Carolyn Hittenberger

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It’s hard to find a quiet place, alone, to intentionally reflect on God’s love.  It is easy to just let one day run into another, to complete one project and start another in a ceaseless stream of busyness.  After all, we have things to do, places to go, deadlines to meet.  In this mode, we risk forgetting that we are in a love relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Sometimes I have difficulty grasping the truth of God’s love for me.  Oh, I know He loves the world in general, but it is harder for me to comprehend that He loves me, individually and intimately.  His Word declares it.

He loves me with:

A sacrificial love:  …Jesus Christ laid down His life for us… 1 Jn. 3:16

A forgiving love:  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us… 1 Jn…1:9

An immeasurable lovethat you…being rooted and established in love, may have the power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ… Eph. 3:18

An incomprehensible love:  …and to know this love that surpasses knowledge….Eph. 3:19

A personal love: …I have chosen you out of this world.  Jn. 15:19       

An unending love:…I have loved you with an everlasting love…. Jer. 31:3

A perfect love: As for God, His way is perfect….  Ps. 18:30

A powerful love:With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  Mat. 19:26

A sustaining love:…who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious  presence without fault and with great joy….  Jude 24 

The Written Word reveals to us the Living Word, and His love for us.  There we begin to realize His unconditional love.  I don’t have to earn His favor.

  • He loves me when I don’t feel loveable or lovely.
  • He loves me when I fail Him or question His ways..
  • He loves me when I worry or lose patience or feel weak.
  • Every moment of every day He loves me

The story is told of a little girl who came to her pastor after he had preached a Sunday morning message on loving Jesus. She stated, “I’m not sure I love Jesus.”  She wanted to, but was worried.  Pastor gave her an exercise to do until she would return to church on Wednesday evening.  “When your Mommy sends you on an errand, when you walk to school, every time you put your foot on the ground, tell yourself, “Jesus loves me.”  She didn’t understand, since she did know Jesus loved her, but she did as he directed.  Every time she took a step she repeated, “Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me. Jesus loves me.”  Each time she said it, her love for Jesus grew.  Wednesday evening she nearly ran into the church to tell Pastor, “I do love Jesus, I know I do.”

When we become aware of the truth of His love, we begin to love Him more.  “We love Him because He first loved us.” Jn. 4:8

How convinced are you of His love for you?  Maybe you could try the exercise Pastor gave this little girl.  And maybe this would be a good time to look into His Word and renew your love relationship.

Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Office at Global University and also works with University Communications. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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Providing the “Spark”

Feb 11 2013 Published by under Life

by Michael Goldsmith

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In Acts 4:36 we read, “Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means, Son of Encouragement).” What a nickname: “Son of Encouragement”! Though he is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament, Joseph was so known for his ability to infuse hope, inspiration, and a high belief in others that soon everyone began to call him “The Encourager.”

In every instance of life, Barnabas lifted others to their highest levels because of his ability to sincerely elevate their morale and confidence. In the early days, the church was under tremendous stress, pressure, and persecution. Even the apostles needed times of encouragement, and Barnabas constantly breathed life into them, inspired optimism, and elevated their vision.

Take Paul, for example. No one would take a chance on Paul’s conversion to Christianity. He was eyed with suspicion, and his “conversion” was questioned as a ploy to simply gain access to the Christian community. His past was violent and blemished. Others held him at arm’s length. But not Barnabas! With confidence, Barnabas walked alongside Paul until church leaders were convinced of the authenticity of Paul’s experience with God. Barnabas was a bridge between Paul and the established church.

In another instance, as Paul led an evangelistic crusade, a young, uncertain Mark became insecure and fled the scene. Sometime later, Barnabas suggested giving Mark another chance. Paul refused. Yet Barnabas saw potential in Mark and, living up to his nickname, spent time mentoring and training Mark. Later in life, Paul desired to see Mark again because of the change in Mark. Certainly Mark would credit Barnabas with coming to his aid and convincing Paul to give him another chance.

Daniel Goleman has researched extensively on the value of what he calls “emotional intelligence.” His works, Primal Leadership and Emotional Intelligence, are well worth reading. Simply put, Goleman asserts, “Great leadership works through the emotions . . . if leaders fail in this primal task of driving emotions in the right direction, nothing they do will work as well as it could or should.”

Emotional intelligence is not about hyped-up, motivational phoniness to get people to do what you want. It is much deeper, much more serious, and much more valuable. Hyped-up motivation is typically short-lived. A simple pep talk would not alleviate the real threat against the early church. Paul’s past had serious implications that a “Can’t we all just get along?” speech would not rectify. Mark’s immaturity could not be corrected by a glib statement from Barnabas to Paul. Each of these issues required someone who understood the situation and could provide the catalytic spark for genuine improvement.

Barnabas was that person. He saw the underlying value in each person and had an ability to influence each one to reach his “best self.”

Goleman writes, “Leaders’ moods and actions have enormous impact on those they lead and shed fresh light on the power of emotionally intelligent leadership to inspire, arouse passion and enthusiasm, and keep people motivated and committed.” All of us have been in situations where another person had the ability to either “spark” or “drain” you, to motivate or demotivate. Certainly, you’ve walked into a place where you could feel the mood. Leaders have the ability to alter the mood for the better.

In life we meet both balcony people and basement people. Balcony people pull you up, cheer you on, inspire the best, and give you confidence. Basement people drag you down, discourage, and make you feel incapable and incompetent. Barnabas was a balcony person. All encouragers are balcony people.

Become the “spark” in your family, church, job, neighborhood, or sphere of influence. Be the balcony person. Become known as “the Encourager”—the one who is always hopeful, always solution-oriented, always contributing, always lifting others to higher levels.

 Moods, emotions, attitudes, and behavior are contagious. Be a “spark” wherever you go today!

 Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.   He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country.  You can reach him at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu

 

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Mighty in Christ

Feb 05 2013 Published by under Missions

By John Bueno

John Bueno 10 09

Have you ever felt totally insignificant? I must confess, I often feel insufficient for the challenges of the day. In light of the problems and obstacles that come along, it is easy to focus on the seeming impossibility of accomplishing all that God has designed. The task is vast, and human effort is so small by comparison.

God addressed this issue through the prophet Isaiah. He told the Israelites: “Abraham was only one when I called him. But when I blessed him, he became a great nation” (Isaiah 51:2, TLB). Abraham started out on his journey of obedience without an heir to fulfill God’s promise to become a nation. Somewhere along the journey, God fulfilled His promise and eventually brought the blessing of the Messiah to our world.

Isaiah emphasized that Abraham was just one person—one man walking in the desert day after day, seeking the fulfillment of God’s plan and purpose. But he also tells of God’s response to Abraham’s obedience: “When I blessed him, he became a great nation.” Can you sense the fulfillment of what God is doing through you by His mighty power?

He takes all of us as insignificant nobodies and makes us into a blessing to entire nations. I know sometimes the odds seem against us. We hear about all the people groups that have never heard of Jesus. We hear of all the Muslim countries that put up so many barriers to the overt preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes loneliness and discouragement take over, and we feel that the task is way too big and we will never accomplish everything God has for us in ministry.

I pray that the potential of God’s blessing on your life will be fulfilled. Even though we see ourselves in humble circumstances, we can be assured that when God blesses us and fulfills His promise in our lives, we can make a difference in a nation. This life-changing reality will also impact our homes, our churches, and every phase of our lives.

God wants to make us great influencers, even though in ourselves we seem insignificant. Continue to follow His call and let Him bless you and make your influence much greater than your ability.

John Bueno is the founder of Latin America Child Care and serves as Chairman of the Board for Global University. For more information about Latin America Child Care, visit http://lacc4hope.org/

 

 

 

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