Friday, July 21, 2006

Handmade by God

Have you ever stopped to think about whom you are and what God made you to be? And have you ever really thanked God for making you just the way He did?

Most of us don't like who we are right now. Most of us would rather be someone different. We wish we could step into someone's shoes and be another person who is totally different from whom we are right now.

There are some people who consider themselves as "failures." They think that they haven't got any talent or special ability. They think that they are a "mistake."
But that's not true.

"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"

Psalms 139:13, 14 says: "You knit me together in my mother's womb; I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Isn't that a wonderful verse!
Whenever I see a baby, I always feel a breathless awe of how the baby looks. Every little finger and toe...and the tiny heart beat! Only God could have done that! Only God can "knit" each piece into place.
God created you; He formed you, and knew everything about you even before you were born. He knew what you were going to look like and He designed you with special gifts and talents that He wants us to use for Him (Romans 12: 6, 1Peter 4:10).

"Accepted - Failures and All"
God knows your strengths and weaknesses. He accepts you as you are, despite your failures, your mistakes, and the times you give up. He forgives you if you sin against Him (1 John 1:9).
Everyone fails, one way or another. But in spite of that, God will never give up on you. He will never reject you or turn His back on you. He is always there to help you up when you fall; He is always there to give you the strength you need. Isaiah 41:10 says: "...I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee..."

"Shaped to Serve God"
Up to now, God is still shaping you to be more like Him. The Potter lovingly molds you into the shape He had in mind (Isaiah 64:8). All the trials and difficulties that you are experiencing now are molding you into the person God wants you to be.
You weren't "just made"; you were made for a purpose - a special purpose - and shaped to serve God with your talents.


I don't deny the fact that there are still times when I wish that God had made me someone else - someone who was more patient and didn't lose her temper so easily.

It is hard to accept who you are sometimes. We're imperfect. We make mistakes. We fail and come short of everyone's expectations. Yet God made us just as we are and in spite of all our terrible faults, He sees us as beautiful.

God made you who you are. He formed you to be who you are, and He is still forming you to be more like Him.
So, the next time you wish you were someone else, remember Psalms 139:13, 14. And remember that you were handmade by God.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Every person has a "comfort zone" - a 'place' where everything is just the way they want it: snug, cozy, and peaceful. It's a condition where they don't have to make an extra effort to do something difficult, something new, if they don't want to. It's a state where they can sit back, relax, and enjoy themselves.
Many people don't venture out of their comfort zones. Why should they? After all, it's where they know they can handle everything in their own way. It's where they feel comfortable enough to do the things they like doing.

Often, we Christians are used to serving God inside our comfort zone. If challenges arise that would mean stepping out of where we enjoy life the most, we refuse. If we know it might change the way people view us, we refuse. If we know it might mean exerting a little more effort to do something we've never done before, we refuse.
Ask yourself: Why am I afraid to venture outside of my comfort zone? Why am I afraid to accept the challenges outside them?

Perhaps it's because you're afraid of what people might think of you. If that is the reason, then you need to ask yourself "Who am I doing it for?" Are you doing it for yourself - to gain fame - or are you doing it for the glory of the Lord?
Perhaps you think it is too hard and you can't do it. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." There is nothing too hard that you can't do with God's help. Ask Him for the strength you need; He will give it to you (Psalms 29:11).
Perhaps you are afraid of failing the challenge and failing in your service to God. We aren't perfect; there are times when we feel we've failed God and everybody else. However, even though you feel that way, God doesn't think you are a "failure". We may fail the challenges in life, but God will never think less of us. We can always rely on Him to give us the strength we need to get up and go on.

Gideon was a man who God called out of his comfort zone (Judges 6:11-7:25). He was the man God chose to deliver Israel from the Midianites. At first, Gideon was hesitant and unwilling to leave the safety of his comfort zone. But by and by, he learned to look to God for strength, and he leaned to trust God to help him defeat the Midianites.

Before I leaned about The Rebelution, I never ventured out of my comfort zone. I never accepted the challenges outside of it. I enjoyed things the way they were - quiet and peaceful, an average life. If someone asked me to do something which would mean putting a foot out of my comfort zone, I would refuse and say "It's too hard."
And then I came across The Rebelution. "Do Hard Things" was the first thing that caught my eye. Days after, I re-committed my life to God, caught the Fire of the Rebelution, and stepped out of my comfort zone. Since then, my life has never been the same. True, there are times when I have second thoughts about doing something new, but I've learned to rely on God to lead my through all the challenges.

Like Gideon, we need to step out of our comfort zones, to where we can serve the Lord wholly and use all our talents unreservedly for Him. Keep in mind that you are doing this for the Lord - not for anyone else, not for yourself, but for the Lord.

I am writing this and challenging you to step forward, away from your comfort zone. It won't be easy, especially after you've gotten used to living life relaxedly. There are times of struggles and of failures, yet always remember that you can rely on the Lord for strength and courage to face them all.

So, from what you are used to doing, do something new. Do something difficult. Something hard.
Go beyond your comfort zone.