Monday, January 15, 2018

Intrinsic Value

Currencies have value because people say they do.  A piece of paper with a picture of some dead guy (or lady) and a number has value because people will accept in exchange for other similar pieces of paper or for goods and services.  Now we even have bitcoin, which is a made-up currency for the digital age. People have value because God says we do. Our value is derived from the value God Himself has placed in and on us.  If we are designed to be God’s human representations, what does that mean for you and me?

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, both male and female.

Things to think about:
·       In light of this, there are obviously tremendous implications for us as Christians. This study will not do justice to the topic but I hope there are some important takeaways for us.

Your Value to God
·      Your value is not based on people’s opinion of you, your achievements, your assets, or your “goodness”
o   Which of these do you think people tend to look to?
o   Is there something you used to rely on for your worth?
·      What is it about being made in God’s image that connotes value?
·      How do you see your value in the context of His love, mercy, grace, sacrifice, and resurrection power?
·      2 Corinthians 4:4  - The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God
o   Paul identifies the image of God with Jesus Christ, so as we think about what it means for us to reflect God’s image, we should turn our attention to Jesus, doing our best to embody His ideals in every aspect of our lives. (from John Adair, cited here)

Your View of Others
·      ALL men are created in the image of God, not just the people we like or who are like us
o   How does seeing the value God places on others affect how you see them?
§  2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
§  Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Your Vocation
·      The word vocation has its roots in the Latin for “calling”.  As God’s human representation, we are called to embody His qualities.
o   1 Peter 1:16 – “Be holy for I am holy”
o   Luke 6:36 – “Be merciful as I am merciful.”
o   1 John 4:7-8 - Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 
·      How does this high calling we have to see ourselves and others in God’s image challenge you and inspire you?

·      All human life has value.  How we live our lives says much to the about the value we place on our lives. Let us pray to see the intrinsic value all people have and act accordingly.

Monday, January 8, 2018

LOVE = TIME and the TIME is NOW

The greatest use of life is love.  The greatest expression of love is time.  The best time to love is now.
 - Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

1 Corinthians 14:1a
Let love be your greatest aim.

Things to think about:
·       Those three simple sentences above have really captured my thoughts since reading them.  Simply and succinctly they sequence the essence of God’s purpose for your life and mine as it relates to our interactions with one another. 
·      “Love comes from God” – 1 John 4:7
·      1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is, that Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
·      Faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love. –             1 Corinthians 13:13
·      Without love, all of our gifts, works, accomplishments are worthless – 1 Corinthians 13
·      God could have picked any attribute to place the highest value on but He chose love.
o   Why do you think this is so?
o   When is it easy to love?
o   When is it a challenge?
·      What inhibits us from making love our greatest aim?
·      Our title is Love = Time
o   Have you ever noticed that “time saving” innovations just tend to make us busier and have less time???
o   Our most precious commodity is time.  We can’t make any more of it, can’t buy any more of it, and we can't stockpile any of it.
o   How we choose to invest our time says everything about what we prioritize.
o   God prioritizes relationships above all else and they are the strongest signal to a watching world that the Good News of Jesus Christ is true.
§  John 17:21 - My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.
o   How do our jobs, hobbies, outside commitments, etc. divert us from our highest objective (love?)
§  Who do you think revels in seeing us fritter away our time on things lower than loving others?
o   Who in your life would treasure your focused, undivided attention?
§  What less important thing can you give up to give them this gift?
·      We are not guaranteed our next breath. That is a very sobering reality that if we meditated on should heighten our sense of urgency to our calling.
o   Regret is a terrible feeling, knowing that we could have done something but failed to when we had the opportunity.
§  Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone. – Galatians 6:10
§  Use every chance you have for doing good. – Ephesians 5:16
§  Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Never tell your neighbor to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now. – Proverbs 3:27

o   How is God prompting you NOW to invest your life, your time towards loving others?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Reflections and Renewal

What better time than the turning of the page to a New Year than to reflect on all that God has done for us in the past year while also anticipating what great things He has in store for us? 

Psalm 66:16 - Come and hear, all you who fear God, let me tell you what He has done for me
Isaiah 43:19 - See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

Things to think about:
·      Looking back over 2017
o   What is the best thing that happened?
o   Your biggest disappointment?
o   How have the circumstances of the year, both the good and the bad, drawn you closer to God? 
o   How have they served to strengthen your faith?
·      As we consider 2018
o   What is your greatest hope for 2018?
o   When we sit here one year from now (God willing), how would you hope your relationship with God has developed?
o   Who do you want to see come know the Lord this year?