Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why Was I Created?

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of times so that we should walk in them."

I have often overlooked this verse but God spoke to me through it during morning devotions the other day. In my previous post, I had asked "Who am I" so this post seemed a natural follow up in answering "why" I was created.

The Apostle Paul says we are His creation. In a world that places so much on the superficial and appearances, it is nice to note that no matter what we look like, no matter what our skin color, no matter where we came from, we are His creation. There are a lot of things that I do not like about myself. However, God in His Word seems to hold a much higher opinion of me that I do. I guess the real reason there are things that I don't like about myself is because the world and its standards have blinded me to the peace that I can relax and be who I am because it was Him, God, who created me.

When our children struggle with self-esteem issues, we want to take them in our arms, muss their hair up and say, "don't you know that you're the most beautiful thing to me?" Isn't this what God does with us? Doesn't he laugh to Himself when we fuss with our outward appearances never happy to see what we see when we look in a mirror? "For we are His creation..."

The world says you and I need the right "look" to be successful, happy, _____ (you fill in the blank). God says, I created you not for what the world considers acceptable but "...in Christ Jesus for good works..." Interesting thing is that I was not created to look good but to do good. It's a different perspective. (And a comforting one!)

There's nothing wrong with looking good unless it takes precedence over our being and doing good. God created us first and foremost to do good works. And these "good works" are in turn to be blessings to others so that they may see Him in us and in the end, come to know Him better.

Why was I created? To do good works that lead others to Jesus.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Who Am I?

In 2 Samuel 7:18 King David says, "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?..."

Are you ever overwhelmed at the goodness of God? In the last few months, I have been more and more thinking about how incredibly blessed my life has been. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife/soul mate and three great, loving children. We have now added two more with a son-in-law and daughter-in-law who both bring us utmost joy.

I am blessed in my work and ministry through Baptist Global Response (BGR). I work with some of the most committed and dedicated men and women that anyone could find anywhere.

I am blessed in the good things that God constantly brings into my life and leadership with BGR. I describe myself as, "the accidental leader", meaning the one who seems to bumble and stumble but yet God continues to lead and bless.

I am most blessed with good friends and a privileged life whereby I am getting to do what I feel I was created to do: helping people in need both physically and spiritually.

So, I ask along with King David, "Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?..."

There are trials along the way. There are periods of intense pain and hurt. But overall, there is an amazing amount of grace and mercy flowing from God's throne to my life that I utterly and simply stand amazed.

Who am I? I am His and for some strange reasoning of His choice, He is mine!

I am truly blessed.

Thank You, God...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving: A Whole New Meaning...

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone but it was a much different experience for me this year. As it always seems, I was traveling during the holidays and working in my role as BGR Executive Director.

I spent Thanksgiving this year in the Horn of Africa. On a holiday that we in the USA traditionally gather with friends and family and enjoy some of our favorite festive foods, I was visiting work with our BGR partners who were unselfishly ministering to the poor and needy of the Horn. Many were coming for food; they were refugees from Somalia looking for relief from the terrible drought that plagues their country and a safe refuge from the armed conflict going on.

One morning, during my quiet time, I was reflecting on the differences between where I was and my home in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are some of the contrasts that I jotted down...

Thanksgiving in the Horn of Africa -
* Missing my family but being with the extended family of God that is serving in a difficult area of the world
* Missing turkey and the trimmings but helping to feed the hungry people of the Horn
* Not watching the traditional football games on TV but getting to see first-hand the amazing movement of God among some unreached people groups
* Not a citizen of this country but in truth, not a citizen of this world

As we were working with feeding stations and some health care clinics, one of the local workers made the following statement...

"We are learning day by day how to be a friend of the poor."

Jesus is a friend of sinners. He is also a friend of the poor. I am thankful that in His abundant grace and mercy, He reached out to me in my sin and in my poverty.

I am thankful that He allowed me to re-experience Thanksgiving in a whole new light.

Did I forget to say, "thank You, Lord"?