Saturday, March 31, 2007

Day 34 – Thinking like a servant

Thinking like a servant

Today’s lesson is a follow up from yesterdays. Like the title suggests, service starts in the mind, and will require a change in our attitude as God is more interested in why we do what we do, and not what it is we do [An example in the bible can be seen in the life of king Amaziah of Judah who did what was right in the sight of God but not wholeheartedly - 2 Chronicles 25 vs. 2 - He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheartedly].

In order not to follow the mistakes of king Amaziah, we need to be of the following attitudes:

1) To think more about others than about ourselves, but not necessarily thinking of ourselves less – a form of true humility – to loose ourselves in the service of others [Philip. 2 vs. 4 – 7 - Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness]. Unfortunately much of our service today is often self serving, as we serve to be admired by others or achieve our own goals. We are told that this is manipulation not service as real servants don’t try and use God for their purpose, but rather let God use them for His purposes, a quality that is very rare today. Thinking like a servant (humbling ourselves) is very difficult and require a re-learning process, as we by nature are selfish and think mostly of ourself, and need to relearn all that we have previously learnt. In thinking of others, we need to have in the fore front of our mind, that if taken advantage of or treated unfairly because of our servant hearts, to use it as an opportunity to practice the servant life [Matt. 5 vs. 41 - If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles]

2) To think like stewards not owners, since God owns it all. We are stewards, servants entrusted to manage the things of God [1 Corinth. 4 vs. 1 – 2 - So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful]. In cultivating this attitude, we are requested to settle issues concerning money [Luke 16 vs. 13 - No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money], to choose to live for God and recognize that all our time belongs to God as money has the greatest potential to replace God in our life. To remember that wealth is not a sin, but failing to use it for God’s glory is. This is because how we manage our money affects how much God can bless our life.

3) To think about our work for God and not what others are doing. As we’ve learnt from previous lessons, we’ve found that servants of God don’t compare, criticize or compete with each other, because for one, all are illogical since we are on the same team, and secondly, are forms of wasting time that should be spent glorifying God [Gal. 5 vs. 26 - Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other]. The bible gives us an example of Mary’s sister Marta, and how she had lost her servant heart as she complained to Jesus concerning unfairness to Mary. This is wrong, as it is not our job to evaluate God’s other servants [Rom. 14 vs. 4 - Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand]. We need to be focused to be like Moses and Nehemiah [Neh. 6 vs.3 - so I sent messengers to them with this reply: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?]; who were steadfast on their work for God. Our service for Christ is never wasted regardless of what others say [Matt. 26 vs. 10 - Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me].

4) To base our identity in Christ, because we know that we’re loved and accepted by grace, and now as servants we don’t need to prove our worth. This makes us willing to accept with our servant hearts jobs that insecure people would consider beneath them [John 13 vs. 3 -4 - Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist]. This is why it is important to settle our identity quickly as only secure people can serve the way God requires us to serve [2 Corinth. 10 vs.18 - For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends].

5) And Finally to think of helping others as an opportunity not an obligation; to enjoy helping others and meeting needs to serve the Lord with gladness [Psalm 100 vs.2 - Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs]. Purely because we love Him and are grateful for His grace, because we know that serving others for God is the highest use of our life. To remember that there is a reward from God in obeying [John 12 vs. 26 - Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me; Heb. 6 vs. 10 - God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them].

Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 33 – How a real servant should act

How a real servant should act

In our world today greatness is defined in terms of power, possession, prestige and position; yet being a servant is not a very popular concept of greatness. Jesus however, measured greatness by how many people we serve, and in order for us to be like Him (which is one of the main reason why we were created), we need to be servants, and only through having a servant heart can we implement our shape by being able to find and use our shape for the glory of God. Therefore, since our primary role is in the area we’ve been shaped for, our secondary purpose is to serve where an immediate need is required, as it is possible to serve but not have a servant heart [Matt. 7 vs. 16 - By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?]

Consequently, as servants of God we need:

To make ourselves available to do what’s needed even when it’s inconvenient [2 Tim. 2 vs. 4 - No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer]; and to give God the right to control our schedule and interrupt it whenever He needs to.

Also to pay attention to need, to always be on the look out for ways to help others [Gal. 6 vs. 10 - Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers; Prov. 3 vs. 28 - Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"—when you now have it with you]

Do our best with what we have, to never procrastinate or wait for better days [Ecc. 11 vs. 4 - Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap]; because God expects us to do the best with whatever we have;

To do every task with equal dedication, regardless of the size of the task [Col. 3 vs. 23 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men; Gal. 6 vs. 3 - If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself]. We have seen from Jesus’ example that He specialized in menial task that every one tried to avoid, because nothing was beneath Him as He came to serve, and for this reason He expects us to follow [John 13 vs. 15 - I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you; Acts 28 vs. 3; Luke 16 vs. 10 – 11];

To be faithful in what God has given us to do, in our ministry. This is because as servants we need to be known to finish our tasks and fulfill our commitments. Not to leave a Job half undone, or quit when discouraged. As we are expected to be trustworthy and dependable [Psalm 12 vs.1; Prov. 20 vs. 6 - Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?; Philippians 2 vs. 19 – 22].

Finally to maintain a low profile [1 Pet. 5 vs. 5 - Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble"]; Not to turn helping others into a performance [Eph. 6 vs. 6 - Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart; Col. 3 vs. 22; Matt. 6 vs.1]; as real servants don’t serve for the approval or applause of others [Gal. 1 vs. 10 - Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ]; And to remember that whenever we find ourselves serving God, He has placed us there for a purpose [Col. 3 vs. 4]; so though we might feel that we are serving in obscurity, our service matters in God’s kingdom as the most significant service is often the service that is unseen [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 22 – 24; 1 Corinth. 15 vs. 58; Matt. 10 vs. 42] .

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day 32 – Using What God gave me

Day 32 – Using What God gave me

Since God has taken the time to form me and endowed me with gifts to do His work. I am expected to make the most of what He has given me, not to covet the abilities of others or try to be someone else, but instead to focus on my gifts. To serve God out of my SHAPE [Eph. 5 vs. 17- Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is]. To resolve to stay focused on finding out what god wants me to do for Him.

To enable me to do this I am required to examine myself:

Need to asses my gifts and abilities [Rom. 12 vs. 8 - if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully]. To do this, I can make a list of all the things I know / think I have the ability to do. Can also ask others for their honest opinions not their compliment. This is because spiritual gifts and abilities are always confirmed by others. Imagine for example, if someone thinks that they are born to be a leader, a simple test to find out if this is true, will be to look over their shoulder and find out if anyone is following them – if not one – duh – its doesn’t take a genius to tell them they are not. We need to experiment with different areas of service, because only when we are involved in serving will we be able to find out what we are good at.

Need to consider my heart (i.e. passion) and my personality [Gal. 6 vs. 4]. Under this form of assessment I need to find out what it is I enjoy doing. For example, do I like routine or variety; or do I prefer to work in a team or by myself. Am I introverted or extroverted. Am I a thinker or a feeler? Do I enjoy competing or cooperating?

I also Need to examine my experiences and extract lessons from them. I have learned through the book of Deuteronomy 18 vs. 2 - They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them; that forgotten experiences are worthless [Gal. 3vs. 4]. Only in hindsight will I be able to understand God’s intended purpose for the experiences that I have gone through [John 13 vs. 7].

So since God knows what’s best for me, I need only accept His decisions [Rom. 9 vs. 20 – 21 - But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this”? Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use]. Not to resent or reject the gifts He has given me, or how He has created me. So instead of trying to be someone else I’m not, I need to celebrate my “shape” [Eph. 4 vs. 7 – But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it]; and recognise my limitations. As I am not created to be good at everything [Gal. 2 vs. 7 – 8; 2 Corith.10 vs. 13]. To stay focused on the race God has given me to run [Heb. 12 vs. 1; Gal 6 vs. 4]; and not to compare myself with others, as this will affect my walk [2 Corinth. 10 vs. 12];

Lessons learnt on day 32

God expects me to make the most of what He has given us. To cultivate my gifts and abilities, to keep my heart aflame, to grow my character and personality and broaden my experiences, so that I am able to increasingly become more effective in my service to Him [Philip. 1 vs. 9; 2Tim 1 vs. 6]. To use my talents or run the risk of loosing them [Matt. 25 vs. 28; 1 Tim. 4 vs. 14–15; 2 Tim. 2 vs.15; 1 Corith.9 vs.25]. To practice to do our best.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day 31 – Understanding my SHAPE, understanding me

Understanding my SHAPE, understanding me

Today’s lesson continues from yesterday.

I have found that since I have been uniquely made, no other person God created could play the role the Lord created me for, so if I don’t play the unique role He has created me for in the body of Christ, no other person will [a truth that must be at the back of our minds constantly] – [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 4 – 6 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.].I also understood that God equipped me with Spiritual gifts and a Heart (passion) as part of the capabilities used in serving Him.

In today’s lesson the rest of the capabilities will be looked at: Ability, Personality and Experience.

I found that my abilities are the natural talents that I have been born with, such as my natural athletic abilities and excelling in physical co-ordination. For others their capabilities include solving problems mathematically or mechanics. Still others include artistic capabilities, all abilities that come from God given to us to be used in serving Him [Ex. 31 vs. 3-5 - ; Rom. 12 vs. 6- We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith]. The only difference between these and the previously mentioned capabilities is that it is given to us at birth; and our ability if used properly (i.e. not misused) can be used for the glory of God – [1 Corinth. 10 vs. 31 - So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God; 1 Corinth. 12 vs. 6].

With this in mind we need to find where we can use our speciality to shine, to be used for the glory of God [Even in making money through business Deut. 8 vs. 18 - But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today; Deut. 14 vs. 23; Malachi 3 vs. 8 – 11 ]; since He has already equipped us with our abilities for His purpose – [Heb. 13 vs. 21]. With this in mind, in order to discover God’s will for my life I therefore need to seriously examine what am good at doing and what I’m not good at, since He will never ask me to dedicate my life to a task I have no talent for. Subsequently, the talent I do have are strong indications of what God wants me to do with my life, which are clues of knowing God’s will for my life. I know for example that I am good at drawing or organising, I guess it safe to assume that God’s plan includes these skills, because He doesn’t waste abilities [1 Pet. 4 vs. 10].

The Next capability I looked at was Personality. I found that since we are as individual as our DNA, a variety of people with different combination of personalities - [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 6]; we will sometimes have interpersonal conflicts. This is why our personality affects how and where we use our gifts; and why mimicking others will not work for each of us, however, we can learn from their examples, but need to filter what we learn through our own capability.

Finally our Experience is also a vital capability, as; most of our experiences which have been beyond our control have shaped us in one way or another – [Rom. 8 vs. 28 – 29 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.]. So in determining our SHAPE for serving God we need to examine: Family experiences (what we learned growing up); Educational experiences (our Favourite subject in school); Vocational experiences (what jobs have we been most affected in and enjoyed); Spiritual experiences (what have been our most meaningful times with God); Ministry experience (how have we served God in the past); and finally Painful experiences (what problems, hurts, thorns and trials have we learned from?).

Examining our painful experiences to a great extent, is important, as God uses these experiences the most to prepare us for ministry, since He never wastes a hurt [When we think about it, who can better minister to someone battling with lust except for someone who fought that demon and found freedom]. So God intentionally allows us to go through painful experiences to equip us for our ministry to others – [2 Corinth. 1 vs. 4 - who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God].

In summary – If I really desire to be used by God I must understand that the very experiences that I have resented or regretted most in life – the ones I’ve always wanted to hide and forget are the experiences God wants me to use to help others – [2 Corinth. 1 vs. 8 – 10]. So I ask you, what will you do with what happened to you?

In concluding, I am told I will be most effective when I use my spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of my hearts desire, and in a way that best expresses my personality and experiences. As the better the fit, the more successful I will be.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day 30 – I was shaped for serving God

I was shaped for serving God

Following from yesterday’s topic on our assignment, we all as God’s creation have been shaped with a particular area of expertise. And before we were created our intended function and how we are to serve God was already determined and planned by God – [Eph. 2 vs. 10]. Each of us have been custom designed a one-of a kind original master piece carefully formed with a unique way to serve God – [Psalm 139 vs. 13 – 14; 16 - 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. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be]. This is why nothing that happens in our life is insignificant, as God uses it all to shape us for our individual service to Him. No ability, experience, gifts interest are waste as God intended to use them all for His glory [An example here, could be my very post here on blogger where I was asking if I had taking the wrong route. I am now assured that I couldn’t possibly have because it was all part of my shaping process]. So only by identifying and understanding them can I discover God’s will for my life.

Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish them with. The list of capabilities include: Spiritual gifts, our Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience.

We as believers each have spiritual gifts that God has given to us – [Rom. 12 vs. 4 – 8; 1 Corinth. 12; Eph. 4 vs. 8-15; 1 Corinth. 7 vs. 7 - I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that; 1 Corinth.2 vs. 14 - The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned]. We did not earn these gifts [Eph. 4 vs. 7 - But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it] neither did we choose them, God gave them according to how He shaped us – [1 Corith. 12 vs. 11 - All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines; 1 Corith. 12 vs. 29 – 30].

And the gifts were given to us for the benefits of others, just as theirs are given for my benefit – [1 Corith. 12 vs. 7 - Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good]. This is why it is important to discover our gifts so that others are not cheated. Also so that we are not dissatisfied with what God has given us and become resentful or jealous of how God uses others – 1 Corinth. 12 vs. 5 - There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. However our gifts are not the total picture of what God has given to us.

The other is our heart, which motivates our hope, interest, ambition, dreams and affections we have [Prov. 27 vs. 19 - As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man]. It our heart that reveals us, determines why we say the things we say and do, how we feel and act, and not what others think of us [Matt. 12 vs. 34; Prov. 4 vs. 23 - Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life]. This is why we are unique from each other. The nature of our heart is revealed through what we are passionate about, experiences or activities that turn us on and captures our attention, or circumstances that interest us – not to ignore our interests, but to consider how they might be used for God’s glory, because there is a reason why we love and have them in the first place. This reason being to used them to serve God with all our hearts, passionately and dutifully – [Deut. 11 vs. 13; 1 Sam. 12 vs. 20; Rom. 1 vs. 9; Eph. 6 vs. 6 - Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart]. To use our natural interest to serve Him, as people rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about.

Lessons learnt on Day 30

Not to settle for achieving the life others perceive as good, but for the better life for which God has given us gifts, interest, experience and circumstances to motivate and keep us focused on. Because there is a reason why we feel passionate about them and only through use of them can we express our heart, the heart God gave us to serve Him for His glory.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day 29 – Accepting my assignment

Accepting my assignment

What is my assignment here? And why has God placed me here on earth. This series has been particularly useful in helping me answer this question.

From my bible, I am told that:

I have been put on earth to make a contribution. I was created to serve God [Eph. 2 vs. 10 - For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do] with a service of good deeds. So whenever I serve others I am serving God [Col. 3 vs. 23-34; Matt. 25 vs. 34-45] and this is my special assignment – Jer. 1 vs. 5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations

I was saved to serve God. God redeemed me to do His work which is holy, to be of great significance and value to His Kingdom – 2 Tim. 1 vs. 9 - who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time; so since I have been purchased at a cost by Jesus having to loose His life for me, with deep gratitude for what He has done, I will follow Him [1 Corinth. 6 vs. 20; Rom. 12 vs. 1 - therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship; 1 John 3 vs. 14] and desire to serve others, since I have been blessed to bless others.

I was called to serve God. Each and every one of us has been called for service. This is because our call for salvation included our call for service regardless of our Job or career. My bible tells me that I have been called for full time service [Eph. 4 vs. 4 -14; Rom. 1 vs. 6-7; 8 vs. 28-30; 1 Corinth. 1 vs. 2, 9, 26; 7 vs. 17; Philippians 3 vs. 14; 1 Pet. 2 vs. 9; 2 Pet. 1 vs. 3]. So by using my abilities that God has given me to help others I am fulfilling my calling – Rom. 7 vs. 4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God; because I am a very important and integral part of the body of Christ – [1 Corinth. 12 vs.27 - Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it]; as my service matters, and if I refuse to do my part, the body suffers. Can the kidney decide to go on holiday without affecting the rest of the body, so is the significance of my part to the body of Christ.

I am commanded to serve God. For me service is not optional, or something to spare time for, since the heart of my life is in Christ. So since Jesus came to serve and give to others, not just to sit and take, why should I have to warm benches or pews in church [Matt. 20 vs. 28]. So as I mature in Christ, the focus of my life should increasingly shift to living a life of service.

Lessons to bear in mind

Since God when I see Him will evaluate the time I spent on myself compared to the time I spent on others, isn’t it time I start taking my life in service very seriously – Rom. 14 vs. 12- So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. I have also been told that only when I help others I’m I alive [Mark 8vs. 35; Matt. 10 vs. 39; 16 vs. 25; Luke 9 vs. 24; 17 vs. 23] which is the truth and was repeated five times in the Gospels.

So to summarise, if service is the pathway of real significance, then it is through service that I will discover the meaning of my life [Rom. 12 vs. 5 - so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others]. Because as I serve with others in God’s family, my life takes on an eternal importance [1 Corinth. 12 vs. 14 – 19 - Now the body is not made up of one part but of many]. As God wants to use me to make a difference in the world, to know that the duration of my life is not what matters but the donation of it. To have and use no more excuse for not being able to work in His Kingdom.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day 28 – Growing up in God takes time

Growing up in God takes time

We as individual are always in a rush and we need to learn that the development of Christ-like character in us and the fruit of the Spirit cannot be rushed because like physical growth and cultivated fruit maturing takes time. So if we burden ourselves with the worry of how fast we grow, our God in heaven is only interested on how strong we grow and how we grow – Philippians 1 vs. 6being confident of this that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Therefore, since discipleship is the process of conforming to Christ, the bible tells us that until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attending to the whole measure of the fulness [Eph. 4 vs. 13] – being Christ like is our final destination, a journey that will take us a life time to achieve. So far in our life we have seen the journey through believing (through worship) and belonging (through fellowship), but maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving it is, as it’s a gradual process – 2 Corinth. 3 vs. 18 – And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. So although God could instantly transform us into being like Christ, He chooses to do it little by little – Deut. 7 vs. 22 - The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you, so that we are not overwhelmed. As He prefers to work in incremental steps in our lives since:

· we are slow learners – we often need to relearn a lesson many times to really get it, as no sooner have we learnt it have we forgotten it. The history of the Israelites illustrates this, how quickly we forget lessons taught to us by God.

· we have a lot in us to unlearn – since most of our problems and bad habits didn’t develop overnight it’s unrealistic to expect them to go away over night, this is where taking off old self and putting on new self comes in – [Rom. 13 vs. 12; Eph. 4 vs. 22 – 25 - You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; Col. 3 vs. 7 – 10, 14]. So since we have been given new nature at our conversion we still have old habits that needs to be worked on.

· we are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves - even though we know the truth will set us free, the fear of what we might discover if we honestly face our character defects holds us in bondage, so unless we allow God to shine His light on our failures and hang ups, we cannot begin to work on them, so we need to have a humble, teachable attitude.

· growth is often a painful and scary process – we need to know that there is no growth without change and no change without fear, to let go of old ways in order to experience new. Not to fear that we may loose our identity if we let go of our habits which will ultimately slow us down.

· habits take time to develop , as character is the sum total of our habits - we can’t claim to be faithful if we are only some of the time, or to have integrity if we are not honest. So to develop habits of Christ like character we need to practice them – 1 Tim. 4 vs. 15 - Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress; so if we practice things over time we are bound to get good at it.

Lessons learnt on Day 28

So as we grow spiritually we need to believe that God is working in our lives even when we don’t feel it, to expect gradual improvement – Ecc. 3 vs. 1 - There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; to try and keep a journal of lessons we’ve learnt – Psalm 102 vs. 18 - Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD; 2 Tim. 3 vs. 14 - But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it; and review them – Heb. 2 v. 1 - We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away; to be patient with God and ourself as God’s timetable is not the same as ours and is always on time – as great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering – James 1 vs. 4 - Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything; and for us not to be discouraged, as a delay is not a denial from God – Hab. 2 vs. 3 - For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Day 27 – Defeating Temptation

Defeating Temptation

We might feel sometimes that temptation is too overwhelming for us to bear, but we need to keep in mind that it’s a lie from the devil, because God always filters whatever that comes our way and will not allow more than we can bear.

To do our part in defeating temptation:

we need to refocus our attention on other things and by doing this resists the devil. This is because if we were to resist the thought this strengthens the thought, as the more we fight the thought, the more we give thought to it; and since temptation begins with a thought what better way to fight it than to place our mind and channel on other things, since the battle of sin is won and lost in our mind – James 4 vs. 7 - Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you; Job 31 vs. 1 - I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl; Psalm 119 vs. 37 - Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

we need to focus our attention on God, as ignoring the temptation is far more effective than fighting it. We need to implore affirmative measures, to literally take ourselves out of tempting situations [a one time it is ok to run], such as walking away from a group that is gossiping, as spiritually, our mind is our most vulnerable organ and need to be occupied with the word of God – Rom. 12 vs. 2a - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; Heb. 3 vs. 1 - Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess; 2 Timothy 2 vs. 8 - Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David

we need to be selective of what we put in our mind – 2 Corinth. 10 vs. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ - which will require a life time of practice. To reveal our struggle to a godly friend or support group, not to broadcast it to the whole world, but to at least one person. To request the help of others if struck in a repeating cycle of good intention, failure or guilt, as we wont get better on our own. This is because some temptation can be overcome with the help of a prayer partner who encourages us – Ecc. 4 vs. 9 – 10 - Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up; James 5 vs. 16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective; not to repress the temptations that trouble us but to confess it, not to conceal it, but revealing it.

we need to expose our problems instead of allowing them to grow in the dark, because in darkness that’s where they become bigger – 1 Corinth. 10 vs. 13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it; to remember that we all have fallen [Rom. 3 vs. 23], and if we chose to hide our faults its due to our pride, and it signifies its spiralled out of control. To bear in mind that whatever the problem is if we could handle it on our own we would have been out of it. Reminding us the need of others that can love us unconditionally and hold us accountable of our actions.

Lessons learnt on Day 27

We need to ask ourselves questions concerning what we’ve been pretending isn’t a problem in our lives, or afraid to talk about, since we are not be able to solve them on our own. It is hard to admit our problems to others, and we are told that it is lack of humility that keeps us from getting better – James. 4 vs. 6-7 - But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble”. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you; but in order to be held accountable of our actions and to pray with us concerning our problems we need others, godly friendly trustworthy others. Therefore in resisting the devil, after we humble ourselves and have submitted ourselves to God we can defy the devil – Eph. 6 vs. 17 - Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. In order to do this we need to accept God’s salvation for our life, to accept Jesus, as without Christ we are defenceless against the devil. Only then can the devil not be able to get to us to do anything he suggests. And finally, to use God’s word as a weapon against the devil. Not to try arguing with him, but to know and memorise the word of God to be used as bullets against the enemy. To know we are vulnerable, not to be over confident or to think we are beyond temptation is also a godly way of defeating temptation – Jer. 17 vs. 9 - The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?; not to think we are beyond temptation; Prov. 14 vs. 16 - A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless; 1 Corinth. 10 vs. 12 - So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Day 26 – Growing through temptations

Growing through temptations

Today’s lesson is about temptation, recognising it and trying to grow through it. We are told today that every temptation is an opportunity to do well, a form of stepping stone to our success instead of a stumbling block. We ought to see it as an opportunity of choice to do good, so while temptation is the devil’s weapon of destroying us, God uses it to develop us. As each time we choose to do good rather than sin we are growing in the character of Christ – Gal. 5 vs. 22 – 23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Thereby, producing fruit of the Spirit, a characteristic that is not produced in us over night, but will mature and ripens slowly. We also need to be aware that God develops the fruit of the Spirit in our life by allowing us to experience circumstance in which we are tempted to express the exact opposite quality. To remember that character development always involve a choice and a temptation, an opportunity to choose to learn peace through trusting God in circumstances in which we are tempted to worry or be afraid and not relying on our own idea of peace. To bear in mind that each time we defeat a temptation we become more like Jesus. But this is all easier said than done.

Therefore, in order for us to defeat temptation, we need to have an understanding of how the enemy works – 2 Corinth. 2 vs. 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. It will greatly help us to know that the enemy is predictive in all his ways, he uses the same strategy repeatedly since he started his job and is not original at all.

he first of all identifies a desire in us [maybe a sinful desire] and suggests it with a thought that we give in to an evil desire or fulfil a legitimate desire in a wrong way, like short cuts. An important thing we also have to know is that temptation doesn’t lie around us but begins within us, as if we didn’t have that internal desire, the temptation could not attract us. It always starts in the mind – Mark 7 vs. 21 – 23 - For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean’; James 4 vs. 1 - What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

The next thing the enemy does is he tries to get us to doubt if what we are about to do is really sin – Heb. 3 vs. 12 - See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. he is the father of lies – John 8 vs. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies; so after creating a form of doubt, he’ll try to offer us a version of what he says God is really trying to tell us i.e. we can get away with it. Which will cause us to act on the thought that we’ve been toying with in our mind, and then give into his lies – James 1 vs. 14 – 16 - but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed? Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.

Now that we know how he works we need to refuse to be intimidated by his tactics and not to feel ashamed just for being tempted as we will never outgrow temptation. We also need to see temptation as a sign that satan hates us and not a sign of weakness or worldliness; as we will never be able to avoid it completely – 1 Corinth. 10 vs. 13 - No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it; and its not a sin to be tempted – Heb. 4 vs. 15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. With all this in mind we ought to treat it as a distraction because the enemy fears you.

We also need to recognise our pattern of temptation and be prepared for it; the enemy knows what trips us up and will make sure to use them all the time, be it women, money, he knows – 1 Pet. 5 vs. 8 - Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Therefore we need to ask ourselves questions to find out situations we are most likely to be tempted (I’m not even going to try and front I KNOW situations when I’m more likely to be tempted - so this right here has been a great help!!) this could be when we are tired, bored, depressed and many different situations. We need to identify the pattern and be prepared; to anticipate it and be ready – Eph. 4 vs. 27 - and do not give the devil a foothold; Prov. 4 vs. 26 – 27; 16 vs. 17 - The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life..

And finally we need to request God’s help – Eph. 6 vs. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; to cry for help when we find ourselves being tempted, and God is able to help us immediately. It is important for us to turn to God more often for help, because He is willing to help us and He never gets irritated by our inability to rise from the same temptation – Heb. 4 vs. 16 - let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Because God’s love is everlasting and His patience endures for ever, so even if we fall it is not fatal – James 1 vs. 12 - If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day 25 – Being Transformed by trouble

Being Transformed by trouble

Yep you read the title correctly. Today’s topic is on being transformed by trouble. Whenever we find ourselves in a situation or very sticky circumstance, we need to remember that behind every problem we face God already has a purpose, and uses each of the circumstances to develop our character. We also need to bear in mind that life is a series of problems and we are not insulated from them – John 16 vs. 23 - In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name; and every problem we face are all significant growth process for us in God – 1 Pet. 4 vs. 12 - Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you; we should not be surprised as God uses them to draw us closer to Him – Psalm 34 vs. 18The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Lets be honest with ourselves, it’s during this period of suffering that we pray honest to God prayers.

Through out the bible, there are many people who found themselves in situations that God could have prevented from happening to them, to name a few Joseph when he was in prison (Gen. 39 vs. 20 -22) and Daniel when he was put in the lions den (Dan. 6 vs. 16 - 23), yet the Lord allowed it happen. Isn’t interesting that we will never know that God is all we need until He is all we have to get us out. That regardless of what we face God intends to use it for our good even if the enemy intended it for evil. That because every day of our life has already been planned by God nothing takes Him by surprise – Psalm 139 vs. 16 - your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be; Rom. 8 vs. 28-29;

We need to know that In our difficult times our hope should be based on the truth that God is in control of our lives and situation and He loves us; that His plan for our life involves all that happens to us, including our mistakes, our sins and our hurt; As He can bring Good out of the worst evil as His purpose is greater than our problems, pain or worst sin. That all that we go through is a process of being like His son Jesus.

Every problem is a character building opportunity and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for growth – Rom. 5 v. 3-4 - not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope, as our circumstance is temporary but our character will last forever – 1 Pet. 1 vs. 7 - These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed; only when we are refined by fire can people see Jesus’ reflection on us – James 1 vs. 3 - because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance; and since its God’s intention to make us like Jesus we will pass through the same experiences – Heb. 5 vs. 8-9; Rom. 8 vs. 17 - Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Therefore, we ought to respond to our problems the way Jesus did, not be embittered, and remember that God has our interest at heart – Jer. 29 vs.11; Gen. 50 vs. 20; Isaiah 38 vs. 17; Heb. 12 vs. 10; and to stay focused on God’s plan not our pain or problems like Jesus did – Heb. 12 vs. 2 - Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God . We have been shown through the bible and through Jesus that the secret of endurance is to remember the pain is temporary and reward eternal – Heb. 11 vs. 26; 2 Corinth. 4 vs.17 - For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

To summarise - to give thanks in all our circumstance regardless of what we find ourselves in, yep its not easy, but because we know the situation is only temporary, we have hope – 1 Thess. 5 vs. 18 - give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus; to rejoice in the Lord for what He will turn out from our problems and pain – Philip. 4 vs. 4 - Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice, Luke 6 vs. 23 - Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets; to rejoice because He is with us in the problems because He will never leave us alone. To try and be patient and persistent, refusing to give up – James 1 vs. 3-4; So if you are facing problems right now like I am, decide to stop asking pointless questions like why me, but what do you Lord want me to learn from these? Then trust God – Heb. 10 vs. 36 - You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Day 24 – Being transformed by the truth

Being transformed by the truth

Spiritual growth is the process of replacing lies with truth – John 17 vs. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth; through sanctification which requires revelation, and the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make us like the son of God. So to be like Jesus we need to fill our lives with His Word – 2 Tim. 3 vs. 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. For God’s Word is aliveHeb. 4 vs. 12 - For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart; [Acts 7 vs. 38; 1 Pet. 1 vs. 23; John 6 vs. 63]. This is why when God speaks, things change, and all creation including everything around us exist (come into being) because of the spoken word of God – I am alive today because of the spoken word of God [James 1 vs. 18]. God’s word is more than a guide book, it’s a LIVE word that generates life, creates faith, and produces changes…

WE simply cannot live without the word of God, and must never take His word for granted as its essential food [Job 23 vs. 12], our milk [1 Pet. 2 vs. 2] our bread [Matt. 4 vs. 4] our solid food [1 Corinth. 3 vs. 2] and our desert [Psalm 119 vs. 103]. To be healthy disciples of Jesus we need to feed on His word, to make it a first priority in our lives. Jesus called this form of feeding abiding – John 8 vs. 31b - if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples, and in order to incorporate this into our daily activities we must accept the authority of the word of the bible as a benchmark for evaluating everything and for our living, to have the first and the last word in our lives [Prov. 30 vs. 15; 2 Tim. 3 vs. 16]. We need to resolve to find out when making decisions what the bible has to say on the matter, and do what the word of God tells you to do regardless of if it makes sense or not – Acts. 24 vs. 14b - I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets. It is not enough to believe the bible to be the truth and not reading it leaving it on our shelves to gather dust, we need to fill our minds with it, and let the Holy Spirit transform us with it daily. We need to receive it, read it, research it, remember it and reflect on it daily.

Receiving the word of God is not the same thing as being around when a word was preached. We need to receive the word of God with an open attitude. So whenever we feel that we are not learning anything from a sermon (be it boring or life less), let us search our minds and find out why we are not receptive. Could it be due to our pride here? – James 1 vs. 21 - Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

We also need to fill our minds with God’s word by reading daily it keeps us in range of His voice – Deut. 17 vs. 19 - it is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.

Researching or studying our bible has been told to us as another way to receive blessings from God, if you want to be blessed daily study His Word – James 2 vs. 25 – But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. I know I want to be blessed, an extra blessing not part of the guaranteed, show me the way Holy Spirit.

Remembering the word of God is really not a difficult task. If one can remember those things that are important to them, then remembering the word of God should be a trivial thing to do, because we know of its importance in our life. There are many benefits for remembering the word of God to name a just few includes, resisting temptation, making wise decisions, reducing stress and worry; unimaginable happiness and countless more [Psalm 119 vs. 11; 119 vs. 105; 119 vs. 49 – 50 - Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life; Jeremiah 15 vs. 16; Prov. 22 vs. 18; 1 Pet. 3 vs. 15; Col. 3 vs. 16].

And finally we need to reflect on God’s word, this is known as meditation – focussed thinking on the word of God. If we all can worry (focus our thinking on our problems), then meditating on the word of God should be effortless too. However, the difference between the two is, the focused thinking on the word of God is a healthy habit to have as it transforms us into the likeness of Christ. It is also the key to answered prayer and the secret of successful living [Acts 13 vs. 22; Psalm 119 vs. 97; John 15 vs. 7 - If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you; Joshua 1 vs. 8; Psalm 1 vs. 2 -3].

Lessons learned on Day 24 – Filling my mind is a very important habit to have in my life, but is no good if I don’t apply the principles to my life, as they are useless without application and implementation – James 1 vs. 22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says; Matt. 7 vs. 24 - Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.To remember that I will be blessed by simply choosing to apply God’s principles laid out in His Word in my life – John 13 vs. 17 - Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. It may be difficult at first, but I need to bear in mind that the truth is the only thing that can set me free, even though it makes me miserable at first [John 8 vs. 32], and to make sure that I share His word among others. We have been posed this question, what has God told you to do in His Word that you have not done yet? I know I need get on with a few, what about you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day 23 – Growing up in and with God

Growing up in and with God

Like every parent wishes and looks forward to their child or children being grown up and all mature, it is our heavenly Father’s goal for us to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Sadly many of us grow older never intending to grow up, thinking that spiritual growth is automatic refusing to believe that it an intentional commitment. To make that decision to grow it requires effort; and to do so we need to be discipled. Discipleship is the process of becoming like Christ which always begins with a decision in the form of a response when we are called by Jesus – Matt. 9 vs. 9bFollow me He told him and Matthew got up and followed Him, even if we don’t understand the implications of following.

We all know in our walk of life that a decision can make or break you; can develop or destroy you; but ultimately they will define you. We are what we are committed, and it is at this period in one’s life that many miss God’s purpose for their life. Many are afraid and just drift through life, others make half hearted decisions which leads to frustration; still others make full commitment to worldly goals and end up disappointed and bitter – so I ask you this question, what are you committed to today? Every choice has eternal consequences so we [you and I] had better choose wisely – 2 Peter 3 vs. 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way what kind of people ought you be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.

As we learned from yesterday’s lesson that spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between us and the Holy Spirit, we have been shown through that lesson – and Philip. 2 vs. 12 – 13Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose, that God works with us not just in us. Because He wants us to grow. So now that God has given us a new life it is our responsibility to develop it with a serious attitude with ‘holy fear and trembling’, for the reason that when we are casual about it, it shows that we don’t understand the eternal implications.

In order to grow spiritually, we need to be careful concerning the way we think; in other words to change our life we need to change the way we think - Prov. 4 vs. 23above all else guard your heart for it is the spring of life, and allow God to transform us – Rom. 12 vs. 2b. – but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. This is the first step in our spiritual growth, as change always start first in the mind, and the way one thinks determines the way one feels and subsequently the way one acts - Eph. 4 vs. 23 - to be made new in the attitude of your minds. Therefore to be like Christ (make it personal) I must develop His mind which is known as REPENTANCEmeaning to change your mind - Philip. 2 vs. 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, which is also a command.

In other words, to stop thinking immature thought which are self centred and self seeking – 1 Corinth. 14 vs. 20 - Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults, as this form of thinking is the source of sinful behaviour – Rom. 8 vs. 5 - Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires, and to start thinking maturely such as focusing on others, not yourself [which is a mark of maturity] 1 Corinth. 13 vs. 11 - When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

Lessons Learnt on Day 23 – That spiritual maturity is not measured by the amount of biblical information or doctrine I know, as the Christian life is far more than creeds and convictions, as it also includes conduct and character; that my deeds and beliefs must be consistent and backed up with Christ like behaviour. That it’s all about my relationship with Christ which is core in the way I treat others – Rom. 15 vs. 2 – 3 - Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. That thinking of others is the heart of being like Christ – and the best evidence of spiritual growth, so even though this is an unnatural rare and difficult attribute I have hope, because I am not alone as the Holy Spirit is here to help me – 1 Corinth. 2 vs. 12 - found that the Lord had opened a door for me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Day 22 – I was created to become like Christ

I was created to become like Christ

The Last six lessons had dealt with my relationship with others, but in today’s and the lessons to come I will be learning about my third purpose.

I am created to be more like Christ [Gen. 1 vs. 26 - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground] made in God’s image a privilege that dignifies me. So as part of God’s creation I posses ‘part’ of the image of God and explain why murder and abortion is wrong – [Gen. 9 vs. 6 - Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man; Psalm 139 vs. 13 – 16; James 3 vs. 9 - With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness]. So why ‘part’, this is because Sin distorts mine and your image and because of that we are incomplete. So for this reason Jesus Had to come [2 Corinth. 4 vs. 4; Col. 1 vs. 15; Heb. 1 vs. 3]. Therefore the goal of our creation is to bear the image and likeness of God – Eph. 4 vs. 24and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, but not to be God – Gen. 3 vs. 5 – For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Yes God created me to bear His image, but not to become a god. To be godly, take on His value, attitude and character - Eph. 2 vs. 22 - And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. His ultimate goal for me is to develop my character and to grow spiritually and become like Christ. He does this by transforming my character not my personality [Matt. 5 vs. 1- 12; Gal. 5 vs. 22 – 23; 1 Corinth. 13; 2 Pet. 1 vs. 5 - 8]. And whenever I forget that character development is part of the purpose for my life, I will become frustrated. Therefore, I am supposed to have a difficult time because it enables me to grow. So since I exist for God’s purpose, it is the job of the Holy Spirit to produce Christ like character in me – 2 Corinth. 3 vs. 18 - And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit; this process is known as SANCTIFICATION, and I cannot reproduce the character of Jesus on my own strength, only the Holy Spirit has the power to make the necessary changes God wants in my life – Philippians 2 vs. 13 – For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

The Holy Spirit makes these necessary changes in different ways, not always in the signs and wonders we have seen and known but sometimes through a gentle whisper – [1 Kings 19 vs. 12]. To be Christ like is also not produced by imitations but inhabitation – Col. 1 vs. 27For by Him all things are created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. And how do we achieve inhabitation, through the choices we make. We need to choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s work, by taking a step of Faith [like Joshua did in Joshua 3 vs. 13 -17], as obedience unlocks God’s power. God wants us to act first; I don’t need to wait for when I feel confident or powerful, To move ahead in my weaknesses in spite of my fears or feelings; so while efforts has nothing to do with my salvation, it has everything to do with my spiritual growth – [Luke 13 vs. 24; Rom. 14 vs. 19; Eph. 4 vs. 3; 2 Tim. 2 vs. 15; Heb. 4 vs. 11; 12 vs. 14; 2 Pet. 1 vs. 5; 3 vs. 14].

Therefore, in order for me to be like Christ, I need to first let go of my old ways of acting, to change the way I think because I can only be transformed by the renewing of my mind – Rom. 12 vs. 2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. To put on the character of Christ by developing godly habits as my character displays how I habitually act. So how will God develop my habits? By moulding me through His word, people and circumstance, as God’s word provides the truth, His people the support and the circumstances I face the environment for my growth.

Lessons learnt on Day 22 - I ought to apply God’s word in my life, connect with people regularly (believers) and trust God in difficult circumstances. To remember that loving Jesus is a long and slow process of growth, and will take the rest of my life – Eph. 4 vs. 13 - until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. To bear in mind that I am a work in progress – 1 John 3 vs.2 - Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; and that God is far more interested in building my character than anything else. So in whatever I do to do it for the glory of God [1 Corinth. 10 vs. 31 - So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God; 16 vs. 14; Col. 3 vs. 17, 23] .