Posts tagged ‘Christian ‘




Who am I?

I have been exploring and discussing this concept of “identity” in a variety of different venues and for different reasons over the past several months, and it has been an interesting and irritating process.
It is certainly an important thing for a person to consider – and I am not for a minute suggesting otherwise. I typically enjoy “processes” and learning and exploring concepts and definitions. I find that it helps me broaden my understanding and opens my mind to fresh ideas and opportunities. I am also better with details than big picture thinking, so it is with some surprise that I find myself “tired” of the process and wanting to look at the concept of identity from farther away. But sometimes I wonder if we don’t get so focused on the specifics that we miss the wonder and awe of the larger picture. And I ponder how we can preserve one while exploring the other – because they are both important and serve us in different ways. I could go on and on, but the point of this post is just to answer this question as succinctly as I can:

Who am I?

 I am someone who has chosen to accept the gift. Beyond that, who I am as a child of God is an identity that has been given to me. It is not something I have developed or have chosen to take on myself.

If you are a Christian, I invite you to just sit with that for a minute – re-read it if you like.

If you have read this post and are not a Christian, you may not have a clue what I mean. So let me explain – by gift – I mean the gift of salvation which is offered by God to all. The Bible says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only son (Jesus) that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) and also that “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) – Once we accept this gift we become children of God and enjoy a new identity which includes being forgiven, greatly loved, holy, blameless, alive in Christ, victorious, a light, redeemed, … and much more. These qualities, traits, and truths are given to us as God’s children.

(For a great list with scripture verse references, see: https://www.ficm.org/handy-links/#!/who-i-am-in-christ)

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1 comment March 22, 2014

Gratitude

A Grateful Heart

The definition of gratitude is: “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” 

Many inspirational speakers encourage a person to start a “gratitude journal” and develop a personal practice of taking note daily of things we are grateful for.  Several studies on gratitude suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression.  They also have more positive ways of coping with difficult situations in life. “Gratitude and well-being.” Wikipedia.  So gratitude is not only good for the “soul” but also the body, which leads me to wonder – does showing gratitude benefit me more than the person I am expressing it to?  My motivation in expressing gratitude is to impact someone else’s emotional state in an encouraging way, to make them feel appreciated, or helpful.  I do it because I was raised to have good manners; it’s almost automatic (most of the time). 

Writing a gratitude journal sounds like something that would have a positive impact on my life, and at the very least be a FUN thing to do.  Ultimately though, I am challenged to answer the bigger question:  “Am I grateful for the things I feel I deserve?” Is it this type of gratitude that could significantly impact my life?  Change my attitude?  Alter my perspective and focus?  It is easy to be grateful for a gift from a friend, or a surprise blessing, but what about my pay cheque?  Do I put it into the same “gratitude” category as a spontaneous note received from my sister?  Or do I feel because I “earned” it that I don’t need to be grateful? 

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 says:  “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)  So here I am given CLEAR direction.  “All circumstances” means my gratitude should not be attached to my sense of entitlement.  How humbling is that?  How do I begin to experience this in my daily life?

The word “quality” is used in the above definition of gratitude, and the definition of a quality is: “an attribute or characteristic possessed by someone – it can serve to identify.”  This gives me HOPE, as an attribute is something I can develop.  I can choose to look for and recognize ALL my circumstances, and have an attitude of gratitude.  It is something I can learn, and practice… with practice I should get better at it.  I would love to have an “identity” of gratitude.  I wonder at how phenomenal an impact this would have in my life, in how I feel about God, myself, and others.

I invite you to join me in developing this characteristic.  I intend to start with a lively dinner conversation this evening about gratitude and ask my family to identify things they see in my life that they think I should be grateful for.  I’m going to ask the Lord to reveal to me more and more when my attitude needs to change from one of entitlement to one of gratitude.  And I’m going to practice being grateful in ALL my circumstances.  What will you do?

6 comments May 27, 2011

20/20 Vision

They say that hind sight is 20/20 meaning that when we look back on a situation we see clearly things we didn’t see while we were floundering around in the midst of it.  We have a “bigger” picture and see the story as a “whole” instead of being stuck in one chapter.   

The story of Easter is one that we look at with 20/20 vision.  Jesus life and ministry is culminated in the miraculous, hopeful, wonderful redemptive story of his death and resurrection.  We sing songs of praise and gratitude for His sacrifice.  We read the account in scriptures and are awed at the measure of His love for us.  We marvel at the disciples lack of faith and wonder – how did you not understand when He told you what was coming?

We somehow overlook the fact that they were still in the middle of their story.  They had just seen the most phenomenal human being they had ever encountered, their Teacher, their Leader, their Friend, the man they had walked miles with, eaten with, and loved, handed over to the authorities by one of their own. They watched as He was beaten, humiliated, and crucified, without saying a word in His own defence.  Imagine the shock and disbelief, their fear and uncertainty about what they should do, the despair and grief that it was all just OVER.

I can picture them sitting together shaking their heads in confusion and saying “what?!?” Trying to wrap their brains around the trauma they had just witnessed.  The next 3 days must have felt like a lifetime, existing in a fog, going through the motions, not eating much, asking each other –  “What should we do?  Should we have done something differently?”  Perhaps they were thinking about getting revenge on the Romans or even Judas  and possibly feeling guilty about those feelings as Jesus message had been one of love and forgiveness.

Can you feel the tension, can you sense the conflict raging within them, the disbelief, the hopelessness, the devastation as they tried desperately to come to grips with reality even as they wondered what kind of nightmare they were living.  And then – the resurrection – ahhh the sweet wonder of seeing their Lord ALIVE – what?!? Maybe some 20/20 vision started happening, but maybe not, their story wasn’t over yet.  

Where are you at in your story?  Are you at the beginning of a new discovery, looking forward a promising future and a happy ending? Are you looking back with 20/20 vision having come to the end able to see clearly the irritations and “whys” of the middle? Or are you in the midst of 3 dark days, barely able to tell which direction is up, not understanding why all this is happening, what to do, and wondering if it will ever end?!?  What will your response be – can you choose to believe that at some point in the future you will be able to look back with a different perspective than the one you have right now?  Can you cling to the TRUTH you know and try to hang on with the knowledge that the 3 days of darkness won’t last forever?  The Easter story is one of HOPE – it shows us that our God is all powerful, and we can take that hope into our own lives knowing that our story here on earth is not over – the end of our story has not yet been revealed.  Right now only God has 20/20 vision.

11 comments April 17, 2011

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