Archive for the ‘ Peace ’ Category

God-Esteem

I grew up in the midst of a relatively new social experiment that has taken hold of our society.

Self-Esteem

I know many people who struggle with self-esteem and/or have struggled for a long time.

It sounds so good!

“Believe in yourself!”
“Find your self-worth!”
“You are beautiful!”
“You are precious!”
“Look within yourself to find happiness!”

It all sounds so great, until you get to that last one.

Self-esteemers are big on finding what is good in you and latching on to it. “It is the good in you that gives you a good self-esteem!”

My pastor recently shared with me some information he read. It looked at the claim that so many people are in prison because of low self-esteem. After surveying several inmates, it was deduced that they did not lack self-esteem. If they lacked anything it was a proper distinction between right and wrong or guilt over what they had done. Many were confident in and of themselves. The only real hit they took to their egos was that they were arrested.

Self-esteem was not the issue.

(We might even find many of them were told they are great and can do anything as they were growing up.)

It can also be tough overcoming low self-esteem you are constantly told about how great you are, how much you can accomplish, or you are basically good, and find out how untrue these can be.

Children may be told time and again that they can do whatever they want, yet poor children are often told that they are worthless by much of society.

So many are told they are able to do great things, yet they are not always given the opportunity to learn or try (for myriad of factors) and are left in their failure.

We are told that we are basically good, and then we struggle with our imperfections and failures.

And what do we find when we look inside ourselves?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

It is easy to see that most of us are not that good. We feel the truth of how not good we can be when we get cut off in traffic and yell at “YOU IDIOT!” We feel the truth of how messed up we are when we see injustice in our world and want to destroy those who perpetrate it. We feel the truth when we break a rule “because it is silly, anyway” (like when we drive 5 mph over the speed limit).

It gets worse when we read the next verse in Jeremiah:

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Many of us might say, “Yeah, but I have not done as many bad things as others?”

a) But we still understand we are not as good as we like to think.
b) If we have to justify ourselves by comparison to others, that becomes a self-evident point to our not-goodness.
c) By God’s standard, all sinful deeds are choosing our own will over His, they are disobedience.

We have little within us to make us completely happy.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6

There is hope for us, though:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20

Our worth is found through self-esteem. It is found when we esteem the Creator and Lover of our souls who saved us from ourselves!

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:4b-14, NIV

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 02/09/2014

As we lead up to St. Valentine’s Day, understand living a godly life through some wisdom on the godly woman at Proverbial Thought!

It is fitting that this poem should come this week, the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, because it refers to our Lord as “our Lover”.

To make sure it is understood properly, “our Lover” is not a term that means “the one with whom I have sex,” nor is it a term that means “my boyfriend/girlfriend.” He is the One who loves our souls and lives so much that He literally gave His life to ensure we could be with Him, and then He rose from the grave to prove He was God AND SO THAT He could prove it was possible to be with Him.

And that should give us peace and hope.

how can we understand

a peace beyond understanding

not at all

but our Lover promises His Peace

 and His Peace and Love

are all encompassing

our Lover offers it

to all who seek

Christmas Bells – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Listen to the wisdom of proverbs at Proverbial Thought!

Last week I shared with you why “The Little Drummer Boy” is one of my favorite Christmas carols, and the one I have enjoyed the longest of my favorites.

This week I look at one of my newer favorites: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I fell in love with this song in 2009 when I heard Casting Crowns’ version:

In truth, I had heard the carol when I was much younger, but I had forgotten about it.

For now, you cannot go wrong with Andy Williams singing the song:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

This site does a great job of relating how the Bible is associated with this poem turned song.

My Thoughts

This carol relates the work of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

The great thing about this song is that it tells us that our Lord is greater than our circumstances.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his poem “Christmas Bells” on December 25, 1864, it was over three years since his wife burned to death in a freak accident in which he was injured trying to save her, and he had recently learned that his oldest son had been shot in back (fortunately surviving his wounds) during a battle in the American Civil War. This man had many reasons to feel sad and angry.

Yet, while he was sitting in his house that cold Christmas morning, he could hear the bells ringing down at the church. It reminded him that our “God is not dead” “nor doth He sleep” and will one day bring about “peace on earth, good will to man”!

Though we may face troubles, heartbreak, and pain, our Lord is able to overcome our situations and give us peace and joy, and One Day He will restore all of Creation including our bodies to perfection!

All we must do is completely trust Him and give all of our worries, pains, heartbreak, joys, dreams, and love to Him.

And He helps us.