You know the person who criticizes you most quite intimately.
This critic's voice is always in your ear, pointing out what you should have done, mocking what you have done, and ignoring your rebuttals. While others may contribute to the criticism, usually we are own worst critics. We hold ourselves to an impossible standard that keeps us scrambling on a cycle of trying harder, failing, feeling ashamed, on and on. Throw in constant comparisons to others and the ups and downs we're bound to experience each day, and it's no wonder that we often struggle in our faith.
When we accept the free gift of salvation and embrace God's loving forgiveness through Christ, we no longer face condemnation from any source. Even when it seems easier to believe God has forgiven us than it is to forgive ourselves, we must learn to quiet our critic. As we grow in our faith, we become more aware of our true identity, God's child created in his image for good works.
God says you are worthy. Confidence comes from swimming in the depths of God's love. Don't believe what anyone else - including yourself - may try to tell you.
Many people think of themselves as "good" , …. willing to treat others kindly and to do what they can for the world around them. Many people fear that they're not "good enough", and so they try to do extra service and show extra kindness to others. However, if we're totally honest, no one is really good - at least , not in the sense the God is good.
No matter how nice, kind, caring and compassionate, we are still sinful. In this lifetime, we'll never reach perfection even as we're transformed by the power of God's Holy Spirit dwelling within us. We simply have to remember that God is the source of our goodness. He provides the standard as well as the power for all we need to do.
Although we'll never be perfect, we're already more than good enough...…. because of what Christ has done for us.
We can share this good news with others, so that others may experience God's forgiveness, grace and love.
Often we think of doing good as ….
- always saying the right thing,
- being prepared for any response or action from others, and
- always having something to give to those around us.
In short, " doing good " gradually becomes " being the best ". BUT... this is not what serving God and others requires. We don't have to be perfect. There's no competition and no "best" to achieve.
Doing good simply means.... living a life based on God's love, guidance, and generosity. It means just treating other people the same way you want to be treated. It's an attitude of compassion, understanding and acceptance that reflects the grace you've been given.
You don't have to be perfect. There's no "right way" to do everything in your day. You're only required to offer wholehearted efforts fueled by your love of God and his creation.
… Doing your best, you can rest in Christ's perfect love ...
- Gourmet cooking shows hosted by celebrity chefs.
- Kitchen utensils, tools, and implements for every imaginable culinary need.
- Countless recipes and cookbooks.
- Restaurants catering to virtually every culture and palette combination under the sun.
We have so many great ways to enjoy food that we sometimes forget to credit the source. Each time we eat or drink we're given an opportunity to taste God's goodness and thank him for his bounty.
Whether you are enjoying apple cider and olive bread or a fresh green salad, it's not hard to savour the delicious flavours of spring. There's a bounty of produce and preparations to be made for the coming season. Many people still make their own preserves, jellies, jams, and preserved fruits and vegetables. They know there's nothing like the taste of homemade marmalade made from their grandmother's recipe.
Today, we reflect on the food you eat with an extra measure of thanksgiving and an extra appreciation for those who grow, harvest, produce, cook, prepare and serve your meals.
Today, we have GPS apps and map software available on our phones, or even installed in our car - few of us have to stop while driving and ask others for directions anymore. However, we still benefit from the knowledge and wisdom of other travellers. When we visit a new region of our country or travel overseas, we often consult guidebooks, reviews from other travellers, and recommendations from experts.
Our spiritual journey is the same. We can benefit so much from the hundreds of years of wisdom and experience that other Christians have left us as their legacy. When we read the writings of ancient pilgrims of the faith, we are able to look into the heart of another brother or sister in Christ. We can understand their struggles, appreciate their insight, and learn from their timeless faith in the Lord.
The wisdom of other Christians provides us with a bigger road map on our journey. We can see beyond what we've experienced and realize that we will be stretched and called to venture into unknown territory, places that have already been blazed by other believers who have gone ahead of us.
We are never traveling alone.
While the right words at the right time can be as sweet as honey, they must also include a little spice. Without seasoning, most foods would remain bland and flavorless. Salt brings out the flavour in virtually everything - meat, bread, soap, crackers, even sweets such as salted caramels.
Grace filled conversations are the same way. They're not only sweet tasting, but flavourful and challenging, with just enough of an edge to inspire, encourage and motivate. When we speak the truth of God's love and mercy, we are seasoning and bringing out the life changing flavour of the gospel.
When our speech is both sweet and salty, we offer a message to those around us that's irresistible.
Does what you do during the course of the day match the words that you speak during that same day? Does what you say align with what you're actually doing? As followers of Jesus, we all want to "walk the talk" and not just give lip service to our faith. But, to put a fine point on it, this is easier said than done!
Words can flow easily, almost effortlessly at times. We tell people what they want to hear and get on with our day. Problem solved, issue sorted, and case closed. And yet, do our words reflect the grace of God and the truth of his Word? And does our behaviour match our message?
It's easy to say one thig and do another. The real evidence of our commitment to following Jesus emerges in the synchronicity between our speech and our actions.
Today, let your Christlike actions speak louder than anything you say.
Fear has a way of creeping up on one. It often begins with some small detail getting derailed or something we counted on going awry. One thing leads to another, with the problem getting bigger and more out of control. The insignificant ripple we had tried to ignore becomes a full blown tsunami.
Many children are afraid of the dark. When they awake from a bad dream and cry out, a loving parent goes to them and their fear of the darkness disappears. The dark doesn't disappear, but the FEAR does. WHY? It is because someone is with them, holding their hand.... the fear dissipates.
In the same way, even in the darkest times of our life, when we are in the shadowy and dark valleys, the LORD is still with us (PSALM 23). No matter how large or small your concerns, he wants to comfort you, and calm your heart. He know about emotions - after all he created us in his own image.
He is not only with us, He will not only help us, He will not only strengthen us...….
but He is the one who's holding us in his hand.
When a garden has been well planned, well tendered and maintained, it becomes a work of art..... And it obviously requires work. Young trees have to be staked so they grow strong and tall, undeterred by the forces of wind and rain. Hedges must be trimmed and shaped rather than allowed to grow at odd angles. Flower beds require weeding to make sure that only the desired blooms receive the nourishment the soil has to offer. Gardeners know their tasks produce health, beauty, and fruit in the plants and trees they're devoted to nurturing.
Our Christian faith requires the same kind of attention. We need nourishment from God's Word, the light of his presence, and the Living Water of Christ's love. We also need pruning from time to time, straightening and correcting. We must weed out temptations and harmful influences that would pull us away from our first love.
As every gardener knows, their craft requires daily practices.
Today, make sure that you're tending your soul with all that it needs to flourish and bloom.