Where to Find Significance

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The 2016 Olympics came to a close a few days ago. At the close of the events, I came away totally in awe of what these young, and even not so young, accomplished. They sacrificed so much in order to get their bodies ready for these competitions. I can’t help but wonder what it will be like when they get back to the real world. Many say they’re going on vacation to rest and relax. Well deserved!!

Some will start preparing for the next Olympics. Others will now start a new season which doesn’t include competing again. One thing we all know. There will be a day when no one in this year’s group will return. Our bodies finally wear down. No one can have a fit Olympic body forever.

It’s evident they’ve run on adrenaline for a substantial length of time and for most there will be quite a let down when the emotional high has worn off. Hopefully, they’ve all prepared for the moment of returning to those ordinary mundane days of working, studying, taking care of family, even needing to decide what to do next.

Two American divers, David Boudia and Steel Johnson, gave the key to dealing with the jolt of unsustainable elation followed by real-world reality. They just achieved an incredible victory—winning the silver medal for synchronized diving. But David and Steel know where real success lies; more importantly they know significance. They know a significance, an inner peace, an identity that is not dependent upon any career, any medal, any fame, any role, any man’s applause, any natural gift or ability, any human relationship, any perfectly fit and good looking body.

The key of lasting significance that continues into eternity is found in one thing and one thing only – a personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ. These divers both discovered that their identity in Christ is the only thing that matters. They know that it is in Christ that true peace, joy and purpose are found.

Boudia experienced the enormous pressure that comes with being in the limelight of competing for an Olympic Medal. When asked by a reporter what it meant to win the silver medal, he said, “When my mind is on this (diving), and I’m thinking I’m defined by this, then my mind goes crazy. But we both know that our identity is in Christ.” Johnson said he, too, went into the event knowing that the root of his identity was in Christ. Because of that he was able to have peace and enjoy the contest. What wisdom these two young men have!

To many people, the thought of having an identity in Christ is a foreign idea. Either they’ve not thought about it or they haven’t been taught. But, this is a biblical idea. In reality, it’s a foundational truth of one’s relationship with God through Christ Jesus. So what does this identity in Christ mean? Who am I? Who are you?

  • A person created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27
  • A person God designed with unique gifts, abilities, talents that are to be used in His Kingdom work in our homes, communities, and church. Hebrews 13:21
  • A person perfectly loved by God. Jeremiah 31:3
  • A person perfectly valued by God. Psalm 139:13,
  • A person perfectly accepted by God. Psalm 139:14
  • A person who can bring glory to God through inward devotion to Him and outward actions. 1 Corinthians 10:32
  • A person who is blessed. Ephesians 1:3

How are we to live out our lives with these indelible truths? We live in growth. We live in the Word. We submit to His Lordship. We rehearse the Truth. That is, we read daily the truths mentioned above. We live in the power of the Holy Spirit and trust Him to transform us to be more like Jesus everyday.

Where are you? Are you living out these truths that develop us into being the person God designed us to be? If so, we can change our world. Jesus in us, the hope of glory!

 

Living Out What We Believe

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This week on Inside Edition I heard the moving story of how Tim Tebow used many of his spiritual gifts to encourage and comfort a family in distress. He was on a Delta flight headed to Atlanta from Phoenix when a passenger suffered a heart attack. Many came to the man’s aid performing chest compressions and then a defibrillator to restart the man’s heart. Tim Tebow was in first class and heard the commotion. He got up and found his way to this family. He hugged them, embraced them, encouraged them, and prayed with them. After the flight landed, he went with them to help with their luggage and then went to the hospital. He was there when the family heard the news that their loved one didn’t make it.

Tim Tebow used gifts that all believers in Christ have available at all times. He used prayer, encouragement, comfort, service, and loving touches to a family in need. Because of his notability this story will be read and heard and told multiple times. It is a story that lifts our spirits.

In a similar way, God used a precious friend of mine and others in a beauty salon here in my city just last week to help save the life of an elderly woman. It’s a story that won’t be on the news or in the newspaper (as far as I know) but it’s still just as great. It’s a story of how my friend allowed God to use her spirit-filled life to help someone in need. As she was getting her hair done, another lady in the salon began choking on a peanut. Some ladies were gathered around her trying to help. Then my friend started praying aloud. She then looked at a lady sitting next to her and asked if someone had called the ambulance. Before getting an answer, that lady threw off her cape and went over to the woman and began doing the Heimlich. She was a nurse and even had on her nursing scrubs. God orchestrated many things that morning to bring about good that saved a woman. There is power in caring. Power in love. Power in reaching out. Power in doing something. Power in prayer.

This week I also heard of a 6 year old boy who was in a Bob Evans Restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida where some police officers were eating. He overheard the manager shaking hands with one of the officers and thanking him for his service. Joshua Garza, the 6 year old, then approached the officers and asked if they all could pray together for their safety. They gathered together and Joshua prayed for them.

I can’t help but think of these verses that I memorized many years ago when I think of these three amazing people. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16. These scriptures don’t say “you can be” the light of the world. They say “You are the light of the world.”

I guarantee these three people didn’t take moments to sit around and ponder “Do I need to strike up a match and light up my light?” No, they knew they were light because God’s Spirit lives in them. It’s evident they consistently spend time understanding how the light of the world, Jesus, wants to show forth His glory in them. It’s evident they spend time praying in their personal alone time with God. It’s evident they understand that some of the fruits of the Spirit are love, kindness, and goodness. It’s evident that they know we’re all to pray and intercede for all mankind. It’s evident they know we’re to be bold in living out our faith. It’s evident that they were being gentle and loving in their thoughts and actions toward the men and women God put in their path that day.

These stories impact me. I want to be the light of Jesus Christ in word and deed to all I encounter. I don’t want to be so caught up in my world that I do not make myself available everyday to be light that God can use to bring others closer to Him. And, if it’s a day I’m just in my house and see no one, I know I can still make a difference in others’ lives because I am interceding for them in prayer. It’s one of the greatest things I could ever do for anyone. And, if and when there’s an opportunity to pray with someone I’ve never met before, I will do it. If they need prayer, I will be ready. All for Him.

We all hear about the Tim Tebows and thank God for them and their witness, but God uses ordinary, unknown believers daily for His glory. Believers in Christ have incredible power within our lives. God wants to unleash that power through us everyday! What do you think? Has God used you in his way? Please share your story.

Wisdom from NCIS-Thanksgiving Edition

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Last night, thanks to our DVR, we were able to get caught up on one of our favorite programs, NCIS. This is one TV program in which I can honestly say I love all of the characters. Each character is incredibly distinct and on occasion we get new insights into what really makes them tick. It’s not just that I love the unique personalities of each, I love the way they demonstrate their care for one another, even in their mess ups.

Holiday episodes are filled with emotion and life lessons – lessons that are worth taking note of. This year’s Thanksgiving Episode was no exception.

This episode is packed with hurts and pain. A young lieutenant will die with leukemia unless a donor is found. Ellie is devastated when she finds out the reason her marriage is falling apart. She leaves her work in D. C. and goes home to Oklahoma. In essence, she tries running away from her problems. Gibbs continues trying to keep everything under control as he continues to recover emotionally from a near death experience from a gunshot. Tim accidentally reveals a silly little secret about Abby to Tony – Abby finds out. Tony has plans to spend Thanksgiving alone working.

Ellie, while running from her problems in Oklahoma, finds that the case of the young lieutenant follows her. What impacts me is that even in her pain, she’s the one that works hardest to find a donor for the dying lieutenant. The potential donor is in military prison serving a life sentence. She makes three emotional visits to this person. He finally says yes

Her boss, Gibbs, quite concerned for her, goes to Oklahoma to check on her. His advice is great. He tells her to stop trying to handle this alone and that she needs someone to share her feelings with. She comes back with: “You don’t talk to anyone about yours.” Gibbs replies,” I do now. I found a friend, my Doc, to talk to.”

Back in D. C. Abby forgives Tim and both celebrate Thanksgiving by serving in a community soup kitchen. FBI special agent, Tobias, who has a great dislike for Tony, suddenly invites Tony to share Thanksgiving dinner at his home. The dislike seems to be mutual. But, in that moment, the look on Tony’s face is priceless. He’s smiling from ear to ear.

What are the life lessons in all of this?

  • Share your burdens with a trusted someone.
  • Forgive ALL things, big and little.
  • Keep pursuing positive solutions to obstacles.
  • Keep serving others in need even when you’re hurting.
  • Be open to opportunities of spending time with someone you make not like very much. Blessings will be found.

As I watched this episode I couldn’t help but think of what our Faith Community, called the Church, is to look like. The characters in this fictitious program form a team who care deeply for one another. It is shown in how they treat one another. It’s true that they don’t always do it perfectly, but by their actions we know how much they care. God wants us to be a people who can help sustain family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers as they go through difficulties. We’re do it with Christ-like grace that is full of comfort, peace and encouragement.