Tuesday, August 16, 2016

God's Plan. God's Will. My Purpose. Part III - Walking a Christian Life

Walking a Christian Life

Christians should be joyful, prayerful, and grateful always and without ceasing.

in Ephesians Chapter 1, Paul encourages all Christians to a wise, dynamic, Christian living, for with the privileges of walking a Christian Life, goes family responsibility. As a new community, we are to live by Christ's new standards.

God provides His Holy Spirit to enable us to live His way. To use the Spirit's power, we must lay aside our evil desires and draw on the power of His life. We must submit our will to Christ, and seek to love others.

God will help you to follow and obey Him. He gives you His Holy Spirit to enable you to live the Christian Life. 

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. - John 14:26

In Chapter 1 of Ephesians, Paul is introduced: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God's holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus, grace and peace to you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Ephesians 1:1

"Faithful in Christ Jesus" - what an excellent reputation! Such a label would be an honor for any believer. What would it take for others to characterize you as "Faithful to Christ Jesus"? Hold first to your faith, one day at a time; faithfully obey God, even in the details of life. Then, like the Ephesians, you will be known as a person who is faithful to the Lord.

He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and Will -- to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. 
Ephesians 1:5-6

"Predestined" means marked out beforehand. This is another way of saying that salvation is God's work and not our own doing. 

If God Chooses Us, Do We Really Have a Choice?
Because we begin our lives spiritually dead, unable to respond to the Lord, only God can gives us the gift of life. When sin entered the human race, it left everyone helpless. We cannot come to God unless He draws us. It is not our own awareness that we are sinful people that first turns us toward God; rather, God in His mercy awakens that awareness within us in a way similar to how Jesus summoned Lazarus from the dead.

Some believe our salvation in Christ is brought about only by God's sovereign choice. They believe the only ones who believe in Christ are those whom God appointed for salvation before time began. They emphasize that there is no one who seeks God. God in His mercy, however, has chosen to save some. Salvation does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

Others believe God gives every person the ability to choose (free will). They believe God's grace and mercy extend to everyone. They say each person has to respond by deciding whether or not to repent of sin and turn to God. They say God honors people's choices to either refuse or accept Jesus' invitation.

In His infinite love, God has adopted us as His own children. Through Jesus' sacrifice, He has brought us into His family, and made us heirs along with Jesus. - Romans 8:17

How are we adopted into God's Family?
In the Roman world in which Paul lived, slavery was common. Some slaves were adopted by the family that purchased them and were given all the privileges of children. In the same way, believers who were once enslaved to sin and death are purchased by Jesus' death and adopted as God's children.

Have you entered into this loving relationship with God?

"Freely given us in the One He loves" means that God graciously accepts us (though we don't deserve it) now that we belong to His dearly loved Son.

If we are going to say we are Christians, we should live our lives in a suitable way, one that compliments such a privileged position.

This "worthy walk" of the Christian life is described in the following ways:

  • A different walk, that reveals an extreme makeover from the godless and evil lifestyle separated from God before one becomes a Christian. - Ephesians 4:17-19
  • A loving walk, similar to the kind of love displayed by Christ when He gave Himself for us. - Ephesians 5:1-2
  • An enlightened walk, which refers to developing a new moral and spiritual standard of living that is acceptable to the Lord. - Ephesians 5:8-10
  • A careful walk, taking advantage of opportunities to serve Christ as evil erodes society's openness to the gospel, people's personal interest in Christ, even the diligence of believers. - Ephesians 5:145-16
  • An empowered walk, being under the Holy Spirit's control as the source of strength to live this way. - Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:25

That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. - Colossians 1:10

There are Eight Aspects of our Every Day Life With God


Many people use the word, "pray" like a "get out of jail free" card. There is a wrong way to pray and a right way to pray. There are cliches like "prayer changes things" or "prayer changes us." But, take this to heart in a very sincere way, prayer never changes God's moral Will. We accomplish nothing, NOTHING, by "praying" over a matter while violating God's Word. 

When saying "I prayed about it" you believe you are in the clear. You're NOT. Our prayers NEVER supersede God's Word. Remember this, OBEDIENCE is a condition for an answered prayer.  

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. - 1 John 3:22

I'll make it really easy for you. The ONLY prayer we need is Teach me to do Your Will, for You are my God - Psalm 143:10

David's prayer was to be taught to do God's Will, not his own. A prayer for guidance is self-centered if it doesn't recognize God's power to redirect our lives. Asking God to restructure our priorities awakens our minds and stirs our wills.

You have the privilege of prayer. Just as good friends talk to each other, so God, your Heavenly Father, wants you to talk to Him. And, while you may not understand it right now, you'll find that He "talks" to you as well. 

You can pray to God about anything and everything. He wants to hear from you. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6


Serving God is a privilege. We can find in Numbers 15:39 a great definition of what it means to serve God.

You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.

The tassels were to remind people not to seek after their own lustful desires, but to seek the Lord. Idol worship is self-centered, focusing on what a person can get from serving an idol. Good luck, prosperity, long life and success in battle were expected from the gods. So were power and prestige. The worship of God is the opposite. Believers are to be selfless rather than self-centered. Instead of expecting God to serve us, we are to serve Him, expecting nothing in return. We serve God for who He is, not for what we get from Him.


True wisdom is found in God, and true happiness comes from pleasing Him. The best example is the Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, 
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus said to rejoice when we're prosecuted. Persecution can be good because:

  1. it takes our eyes off earthly rewards
  2. it strips away superficial belief
  3. it strengthens the faith of those who endure
  4. our attitude through it serves as an example to others who follow.

The fact that we are going to be persecuted proves that we have been faithful; faithless people would be unnoticed. In the future, God rewards the faithful by receiving them into His eternal kingdom where there is no more persecution.

Jesus began His sermon with words that seem to contradict each other. But God's way of living usually contradicts the world's. If you want to live for God you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.

Each beatitude tells how to be blessed. "Blessed" means more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God's kingdom. The Beatitudes don't promise laughter, pleasure, or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, "blessed" means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what the cost.

Love One Another

"You have heard that is was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy' but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43-48

By telling us not to retaliate, Jesus keeps us from taking the law into our own hands. By loving and praying for our enemies, we can overcome evil with good. 

The Pharisees interpreted Leviticus 19:18 as teaching that they should love only those who love in return, and Psalm 139:19-22 and 140:9-11 as meaning that they should hate their enemies. But Jesus says we are to love our enemies. If you love your enemies and treat them well, you will truly show that Jesus is Lord of your life. This is possible only for those who  give themselves fully to God, because only He can deliver people from natural selfishness. We must trust the Holy Spirit to help us show love to those for whom we may not feel love. 

Share God's Word

My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever. - Psalm 145:21

Peter spoke forthrightly about the resurrection. As Peter preached, the events of Christ's death and resurrection were still hot news, less than two months old. Christ's execution had been carried out in public before many witnesses. His empty tomb was available for inspection just a short distance away. If Christ had not truly died, Peter's message would have been laughed at or ignored. If Christ had not been resurrected, authorities could have produced his body and put an end to this new faith. But Peter and the apostles had witnessed the risen Christ. Changed men, they announced the news with great passion and conviction. 

Our faith and our credibility also rest on the truth of the empty tomb. Why? For a number of reasons. According to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection of Christ means that He is the Son of God and that His Word can be trusted. It means that His sacrifice for sin was acceptable to God, so we can be completely forgiven. It means that our Savior is alive and active, able to help us in times of need. It also means that one day, we, too, will conquer death. The Christian faith rests on the basic fact of the empty tomb. Don't neglect this essential part of the gospel when you share your faith others.

Teach Children

Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God's instruction among my disciples.  - Isaiah 8:16

"Bind up this testimony" and "seal up God's instruction" mean that the words would be written down and preserved for future generations. Because some people faithfully preserved the teaching of God and passed on these words from generation to generation, we have the book of Isaiah today. Each of us needs to accept the responsibility to pass on God's Word to our children and grandchildren, encouraging them to love the Bible, read it, and learn from it. Then they will faithfully pass it on to their children and grandchildren.


When you became a Christian, you joined a family - sometimes called "the body of Christ," which means you're not "related" to Christians all over the world. You need to join a portion of that family by beginning to attend a local church.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:24, 25

If you found a really good doctor, or a helpful mechanic, or even a terrific diet, you probably would tell your closest friend about itl. Since you've found the One who forgives sin and gives you a new life, don't you think that's something to share?

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. - Romans 1:16


The statement that Christians should love one another is a recurrent New Testament theme. Yet love for one's neighbor is an old command, first appearing in the third book of Moses (Leviticus 19:18). We can show love in many ways: 

  • by avoiding prejudice and discriminations
  • by accepting people
  • by listening
  • helping
  • giving
  • serving
  • refusing to judge

Knowing God's command is not enough. We must put it into practice, walking "in obedience to His command." 

It has given Me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.  This is love, that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. - 2 John 1:4, 6 

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land, but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. - Isaiah 1:19-20

And, one final reminder about obedience, can be found in the book of Joshua.

But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to keep His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul. - Joshua 22:5

Special Note: When life on earth ends, so will our concerns about knowing God's Will. The day we enter glory, we'll learn firsthand how God's Will is done in heaven. And, since we'll live to enjoy Him forever, we should begin now to learn what pleases Him.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

God's Plan. God's Will. My Purpose. - Part II - Understanding and Seeking God's Will

Understanding and Seeking God's Will

Most of God's Will for our lives have already been revealed in the pages of the Bible. There is a catch. We need to learn and live it. He has given us His written Word as revelation, gifted teachers for our instruction, and His Spirit for illumination, direction and power. God truly wants the best for everyone, and He's provided all we need to experience it. 

God reserves knowledge of many things to Himself alone. He may or may not reveal such knowledge to us at His on discretion. For example, He has provided some information about future events in the prophetic sections of the Bible. But, God's Will regarding our lives in the present is quite clear: It involves knowing and obeying His written instructions. Where are those written instructions? The Bible!

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path - Psalm 119:105

If you're primarily interested in God's Will regarding your own future, the idea of learning and obeying God's Word may be the last thing you want to hear. But, be careful, God's Will is found in God's Word -- and His Plan for all our lives begins with His moral Will as described in scripture.

It is human nature to make our own plans an then ask God to bless them. Instead, we should seek God's Will first. By constantly thinking about the Lord and His way of living, we will gain insights that will help us make right decisions and live the way God desires. Communicating with God allows Him to counsel us and give us wisdom.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
- Psalm 16:7-8

Seeking God's Will for Us

To discover God's individual Will for our lives, we must first learn to obey His moral Will. 

One of the Christian's greatest blessing is guidance from God's Spirit. In fact, as Romans 8:1:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Think of life this way: the whole human race is on death row, justly condemned for repeatedly reading God's holy law. Without Jesus, we would have no hope at all. But thank GOD! He has declared us not guilty and has offered us freedom from sin and power to do His Will. 

There is no shortage of books on God's Will. Clearly, the Bible itself is a book that reveals God's Will. We have plenty of information on the subject - what we need now is ACTION. God wants people who will do His Will, though many, sadly won't.

People after God's heart seek God's Will. They learn it. They fulfill it. Even Jesus Christ, in flesh form, worked for God's Will, not His own.

Even Jesus and Paul lived to fulfill God's Will

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me. 
- John 6:37-38

Jesus did not work independently of God the Father, but in union with Him. This should give us even more assurance of being welcomed into God's presence and being protected by Him. Jesus' purpose was to do the Will of God, not to satisfy Jesus' human desires. When we follow Jesus, we should have the same purpose.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in the province of Asia. - Acts 16:6

We don't know how the Holy Spirit told Paul that he and his companions should not go into Asia. It may have been through a prophet, a vision, an inner conviction, or some other circumstance. To know God's Will does not mean we must hear His voice. He leads in different ways. When seeking God's Will:

  1. Make sure your plan is in harmony with God's Word
  2. Ask mature Christians for their advice
  3. Check your own motives t see if you are seeking to do what you want or what you think God wants
  4. Pray for God to open and close the doors and He desires

Our Desire to Please God

Paul knew he would be imprisoned in Jerusalem.  Although his friends pleaded with him to not go there, he knew that he had to because God wanted him to. No one enjoys pain, but a faithful disciple wants above all else to please God. Our desire to please God should oversee our desire to avoid hardship and suffering. When we really want to do God's Will, we must accept all that it comes with - even the pain. Then we can say with Paul, "the Lord's will be done."

Then Paul answered, "why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready to only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "the Lord's Will be done." 
- Acts 21:13-14

What is Our Purpose According to God’s Will?

Christians should be joyful, prayerful, and grateful without ceasing.

True believers all strive to follow the message Jesus taught and imitate the life He lived by the power He provided.  If you are concerned about knowing God's Will for your life, I have good news for you: God is not hiding His Will. In fact, He's trying to show us all the time. 

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. - Romans 2:7

Paul says that those who patiently and persistently do God's Will find eternal life. He is not contradicting his previous statement that salvations comes by faith alone (Romans 1:16,17). We are not saved by good deeds, but when we commit our lives fully to God, we want to please Him and do His Will. As such, our good deeds are a grateful response to what God has done, not a prerequisite to earning His grace.

How to Recognize God's Purpose for our Lives

In one short phrase, Paul gives insight into his reason for living. The process begins with the proclamation of faith, continues with knowledge of the truth, which is then shown by people living in godliness. Paul wanted men and women to be mature in Jesus Christ. This was his ultimate objective by which he evaluated all he did. 

How would your church evaluate its ultimate objectives? What specific goals, ministries, and service opportunities bring believers to faith, spiritual maturity and godliness? Do established members reflect good Christian conduct and desire for Christian service? How would you describe your purpose in life? To what are you devoted? Are you willing to share your faith, teach the truth, and live a godly life for all to see?

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God's let and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness -- Titus 1:1

My Will and the Will of God

I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My Will. - Acts 13:22

The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7

Judging. God warned Saul against judge by appearance alone. When people judge by outward appearance, they may overlook quality individuals who lack the particular physical qualities society currently admires. Appearance doesn't reveal what people are really like or what their true value is.

Can't Change God's Will

Micaiah prophesied death for Ahab (2 Chronicles 18: 17, 27), so Ahab disguised himself to fool the enemy. Apparently the disguise worked, but that didn't change the prophecy. A random Aramean arrow found a crack in his armor and killed him. God fulfills His Will despite the defenses people try to erect. God can use anything, even an error, to bring His Will to pass. This is good news for God's followers because we can trust Him to work His plans and keep His promises no matter how desperate our circumstances are.

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded." - 2 Chronicles 18:33

Fortunately, God judges by faith and character, not appearances. And because only God can see on the inside, only He can accurately judge people. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance; they should do even more to develop their inner character. While everyone can see your face, only you and God know what your heart really looks like.

What steps are you taking to improve your heart's attitude?

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. - Deuteronomy 10:16-19

God required all male Israelites to be circumcised, but He wanted to go beyond performing the surgery to understanding its meaning. They needed to submit to God inside, in their hearts, as well as outside, in their bodies. Then they could begin to imitate God's love  and justice in their relationship with others. If our hearts are right with God, then our relationships with other people can be made right too. When your heart has been cleansed and you have been reconciled to God, you will begin to see a difference in the way you treat others.

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built! - 1 Kings 8:27

In his prayer of dedication, Solomon declared that even the highest heaven cannot contain God. Isn't it amazing that, though the heavens can't contain God, He is willing to live in the hearts of those who love Him? The God of the universe takes up residence in His people.

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. -- Matthew 12:34-36

Jesus reminds us that what we say reveals what is in our hearts. What kinds of words come from your mouth? That is an indication of what your heart is really like. You can't solve your heart problem, however, just be cleaning up your speech. You must allow the Holy Spirit to fin the ill you with new attitudes and motives, then your speech will be cleansed at its source.

In the parable of the Two Sons, a verse stands out the demonstrates how God knows our true intentions.

"Then the father went to the other son and sid the same thing. He answered,  'I will, sir,' but he did not go. -- Matthew 21: 30

The son who said he would obey and then didn't represented many of the people of Israel in Jesus's day, particularly the religious leaders. They said they wanted to do God's Will, but the constantly disobeyed. They were phony, just going through the motions. It is dangerous to pretend to obey God when our hearts are far from Him, because God knows our true intentions. Our actions must match our words.

Please complete this series by reading Part III.


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

God's Plan. God's Will. My Purpose. - Part I - What is God's Will?

I know God works in mysterious ways, but sometimes I wish He'd let us in on His thinking a little more. 

Like why are we having to go through what we're going through right now?

It sure can't be explained by our human-sized logic. 

I know He has a master plan, and I know that good can come out of what we see as bad, but still...

Many of us are hurting and my heart hurts for all of you. So, I want you to know I'm praying for you and asking God to nurture you and hold you in His hands. 

We'll all get through this. 

I believe it.

I really do.

Most people ask, “Who am I?” and “Why do I exist?” Some even ask, “Does my life have a special purpose?” All valid questions. To seek the answers, we must go back to the beginning.

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea an the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

We were created by a loving God. We have great value. God loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us.

We are not accidents of nature. We did not begin as ooze in a pond, evolve from apes and then into humans. The Bible tells us that we ARE NOT accidents. We were created by a loving God who knew about us before we were born. We are here for a purpose, and we can find ultimate fulfillment by finding a relationship with Him. 

God created You. We were made in God’s Image.

This refers to our spirituality.  Aspects such as the conscience, personality and will of God, as well as other characteristics that we have in common with God such as righteousness and holiness.

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. - Psalm 139:13-16

God knew you before you were born - even while you were in your mother's womb. He knew all about your family and your life until now. He wants to give you a brand new start and a new way of living. He can do that when you give Him your life. 

God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, perfectly good, holy and loving.  

Now may the Lord's strength be displayed, just as you have declared: The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation. In accordance with Your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.  The Lord replied, I have forgiven them, as you asked.

- Numbers 14:17-20

In the scripture above, Moses pleads with God, asking Him to forgive His people. His plea reveals several characteristics of God:

  1. God is immensely patient
  2. God's love is one promise we can always count on
  3. God forgives again and again
  4. God is merciful, listening to and answering our requests
Like Moses, we can rely on God's love, patience, forgiveness and mercy.

However, the people of Israel at that time, had a clearer view of God than any other people before them, for they had both His laws and His physical presence. Their refusal to follow God after witnessing His miraculous deeds and listening to His words made the judgment against them more severe. Increased opportunity brings increased responsibility.

As Jesus said, From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded - Luke 12:46

How much greater is our responsibility to obey and serve God -- we have the whole Bible, and we know God's Son, Jesus Christ.

God obviously did not create us exactly like Himself because God has no physical body. Instead, we are reflections of God's glory. Some feel that our reason, creativity, speech, or self-determination is the image of God. More likely, it is our entire self that reflects the image of God. We will never be totally like God because He is our supreme Creator. But we do have the ability to reflect His character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness and faithfulness.

Knowing that we are made in God's image and thus share many of his characteristics provides a solid basis for self-worth. Human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness or public acclaim. Instead it is based on being made in God's image. Because we bear God's image, we can feel positive about ourselves. Criticizing or downgrading ourselves is criticizing what God has made and the abilities He has given us. Knowing that we are people of worth helps us love God, know Him personally, and make a valuable contribution to those around us.

God has some pretty amazing characteristics, right? 

However, we don't.  

But, like God, we are: spiritual, rational, emotional, communicative and moral beings. We have dignity, purpose, and meaning.

We exist because of God’s will. He specially created us, and those living in heaven praise Him for that. “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created. – Revelation 4:11

What is God’s Will?

The best answers are found in God’s Word.

Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him. - Exodus 40:16

God told Moses how to build the tabernacle, and Moses delegated jobs in order to do it. God allows people to participate with Him in carrying out His Will. Your task is not just to sit and watch God work, but to give your best effort when work meds to be done.

God’s Word is a Lamp to our feet and a Light to our Path. – Psalm 119:05

God’s Will is for HIS glory rather than our personal satisfaction, success, or pleasure.

He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will. – Ephesians 1:5

God’s purpose  - The Bible states that He has His own purpose.

And He made known to us the mystery of His Will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ. – Ephesians 1:9

The Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

When you buy a new gadget, you usually get an instruction manual. With your new life in Christ, you need God's instruction manual, the Bible. In fact, the communication you "hear" from God will often come as you read His Word.

God wants to have a personal relationship with us.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, they only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. - John 17:3

God is not some "force," an unspeaking or unseeing idol, or merely another name for your own self-esteem. Instead, God is a person, your Creator, who created you to be in relationship with Him. 



God loves you. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

You can turn your life over to God's control because He loves you and wants the very best for you. In fact, He loves you so much that He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you. 

God Suffers With Us 
God has a sympathetic concern for us in our trials. He knows every heartache we've felt, every tear we have shed. 

During hard times, it can be difficult to understand what God is doing. God is at work during our suffering. In every individual trial, God probably has multiple purposes which He may or may not reveal to us this side of Heaven. 

You have a great friend in Jesus, so get to know Him!
As you're reading the book of Mark, you've learned more about Jesus. In essence, Jesus is God put into focus for human eyes. Jesus came in order to show us God and then to take the punishment for our sins. 

Only because of Jesus, do you have a personal relationship with God.

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things on Earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. - Colossians 1:19, 20

When you trust God, you are actually trusting the One who created you. When you turn your life over to Him, you are giving your life to the One who knows you inside out. Isn't that a great place to put your trust?

You can trust God's Word.

All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, re-buking, correcting and training in righteousness. - 2 Timothy 3:16

God never contradicts Himself. His Spirit directed the human authors in the writing of Scripture. God would never lead people in ways contrary to His written Word. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to guide us.

The plans of the Lord stand firm forever - Psalm 33:11

Are you frustrated by inconsistencies you see in others, or even in yourself? God is completely trustworthy - His intentions never change. The Bible promises that good and perfect gifts come to us from the Creator who never changes. When you wonder if there is anyone in whom you can trust, remember that God is completely consistent. Let Him counsel you, and trust in His plans for your life.

Suffering inspired a Song.
Horatio Spafford planned a family trip to Europe, but a business emergency occurred so he sent his wife, Anna, and their four daughters ahead with plans to follow them across the Atlantic as soon as possible. On November 22, 1873, in the middle of the sea, the women's ship collided with another and 226 people, including the four Spafford girls, drowned. Upon her arrival in Wales, Anna sent her husband a heartbreaking telegram: "Saved alone." Horatio immediately sailed for England to join his grief-stricken wife, and as his ship passed the approximate location where his daughters had drowned, he felt the comfort of God that enabled him to write these beloved hymn lyrics: 

When peace like a river
attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou hast
taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

All believers can expect God's leading: Direct my steps by Your Word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me - Psalm 119:133

However, if your decisions and actions are contrary to scripture, you will face God's opposition. Or, as found in Hebrews 12:5-11 chastening. It's another indication of genuine sonship. 

To make this VERY CLEAR, If people are disobeying God's Word, they are NOT being led by God. 

It is by the Spirit that we put to death the deeds of the flesh.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  - Romans 8:13

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. - Romans 8:23

God, Himself, produces the first fruits of the Spirit in our lives.

We will be resurrected with glorified bodies like the body of Christ now has in Heaven. We have the "first fruits," the first installment or down payment of the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our resurrection life.

God's character goes into the creation of every person. When you feel worthless or even begin to hate yourself, remember that God's Spirit is ready and willing to work within you. We should has as much respect for ourselves as our Maker has for us.

Please continue this series by reading Part II next.