Extreme Makeover

When I was young I hated my nose because it didn’t look like Hollywood’s definition of beauty. I wanted to change so many things about my appearance.  I even questioned God why He made me the way I was.

Insert Vol 96 America's next top model

Insert Vol 96 America’s next top model (Photo credit: Insert Magazine)

I grew up in Los Angeles, California, next to “Hollywood” where looks and image are extremely important. Surrounded by the world’s standard of what I should look like, I got discouraged when I didn’t look like America’s next top model. I could not emulate Hollywood’s standards of beauty, intelligence, and success.

As I began to grow in the Word, I began to see myself more through the eyes of God. Those things that I didn’t like about myself, especially my nose became the things that made me special and unique.

If I had continually used society’s yardstick to measure my life, I would come out as lacking. I would not have been able to fulfill my own destiny if I continued to try to live someone else’s life.

The world defines success as the attainment of wealth, goals, position, or honors; but the biblical meaning of success or Sakal-Hebrew, actually means to prosper, wise and understand.  (Read Joshua 1:8)

Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

God definition of success is different from the world. It is not about the attainment of physical beauty, wealth, position and honors, but about having wisdom, understanding and flourishing as a person. His Word was my extreme makeover. Mediate on God’s Word daily and you will be on the road to success.

Prayer of Healing: 

Father, I thank you that I am a beautiful and unique person. In Psalms 139, You said that I am fearfully and wonderful made. Your works are wonderful and that is what I determine to see about myself.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others and judging myself by worldly standards. Today, I live in the reality of who You have made me.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Forgiving Difficult People

I have found in my many years of ministry that the greatest need is a need for forgiveness. We just don’t want to let go of some issues. More than often, we don’t really know how these issues are affecting us in our present situation, and as individuals, we aren’t able to deal with too much at a time.

Forgiveness lesson from flowers

Forgiveness lesson from flowers (Photo credit: juliejordanscott)

I remember early in my Christian life when I talked to the Lord and said, “I’m tired of dealing with this stuff over and over. Let’s get it all straight NOW.”

As I went to prayer, the Lord saith, “You can’t.”

I said, “Why not?”

“Because you couldn’t handle it right now,” He continued.

God is so wonderful. He gives us just what we can deal with at this time as forgiveness is a lifelong practice.

I had to forgive someone in authority. He was constantly critical of my work and demanding. I couldn’t do anything to please him. My friends and family didn’t like the way he was treating me. It was hard to forgive him as I had once held him in high esteem. I had looked up to him as an exemplary and godly leader.

God said to me, “You cannot move out of this job, until you have forgiven until him.”

As I forgave him, the Lord began to show me how to forgive him, and to release honor to the office he held. Because from God’s point of view, even when the person is unreasonable and demanding, you can forgive him, release him and take it to the cross. We are like an onion peeling off the layers. My unforgiveness came off layer by layer.

Forgiveness is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be worked through, and God has to give you the right perspective. We can honor the position, even when the person is wrong. God moved me from that position only when I was able to forgive that person.

After I forgave him, God released me and provide a new job that lead into a new business.

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your remembrance anyone you need to forgive, this can include people living or deceased. Just because the person is deceased doesn’t mean it is over. Remember forgiveness is more for you than for the other person.

Write down all the names of the people you need to forgive and the offense.

You may be saying, “Wait just a minute. Do I have to think about the offense they did also?”

Yes, because the more specific you are, the freer you will become. After you have composed your list, repeat this Prayer of Healing for every name and the offense.

Father, I thank you that you have made it possible for me to experience freedom through forgiveness. The way to receive forgiveness is to give forgiveness. I forgive ________________________ (name) for _________________(offense). I forgive him/her for hurting me and causing me pain. I release him from any debt I thought he owed me. I also let go of trying to get even or judging them, and I placed them in the hands of Jesus and His work on the cross. Amen.

Take all of these hurts and and pains, and put them at the foot of the cross, where Jesus washes them away with his blood.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

Forgiving Myself

“Broken relationships, hurts, pain, disappointments, friends who didn’t like me…” 

One of the greatest hindrances to fulfilling our destiny are the undealt areas of unforgiveness in our lives. It is not what happened to us that really affects us the greatest, but it is our perception of the incident. Instead of looking at God and who He is, we spend time focusing on the person who offended us, and become like them.

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

Why become like the person who offended you?

God made us with the capacity to love Him with all our heart soul and  mind. We only have one emotional focus and it should be used to focus our attention on loving God. We become what we look upon the most. It takes time and energy to keep remembering and looking at the offense that someone has done to us.

But time is too precious.

In the days of the Roman Empire, if a person killed another, the dead body was strapped to the body of the one who killed him. Over time, the decay of the dead body would began to seep through the pores to the one who carried it. It would eventually poison the person carrying the body, and he would die.

Living in unforgiveness is like strapping the unforgiven person to you. The poison of holding him will eventually seep into your own life and poison you. When you hold onto unforgiveness, you are spiritually tied to the very thing that you hate. Forgiveness is setting the other person free so that you can also be free.

Forgiveness releases both parties. Sometimes, the party you are angry with in this present situation, might be someone in your past that you have never forgiven, and you are reminded of him.

One of the greatest healing moments in my life is when I listed all the things that I didn’t like about myself, and the hurts that I had caused to myself and others. I somehow felt that I didn’t measure up. I went through the list and said to God, “You forgive me, Father, and I forgive myself.”

I expressed how I felt, and God listened.

Write down all the areas in your life that you want to be forgiven for. After writing them down, cross each one out and write, “God forgives me, and I forgive myself.”

“Father I thank you that your word says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Because You have forgiven me so much, I choose to forgive myself for all the pain that I have caused to myself and others. I will no longer hold these sins as debts in my life. Thank You for your forgiveness.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Remembering Rick Warren’s Son

My heart really goes out to Pastor Rick Warren and his family. Matthew Warren, Pastor’s Warren’s youngest son was only 27 when he ended his life prematurely after a lifetime of struggle with mental illness. Many times we put ministers above the natural things that happen in life, when they are people just like us. Tragedy does not come in a perfect size, shape or form, but it affects all of us who live in the real world.

One of my students went on the mission field and coming back, she died holding her seven-month old baby.

I questioned the Lord, “Why did this happened?”

I had no answer, just a quiet assurance that even when we don’t understand, God still reigns.

Some situations have no answers in this life. When we know the Lord, we know that He reigns in every circumstance of our life.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

The bottom line is to know that God’s love is greater than anything we face.

Many things about our salvation are beyond our comprehension, but not beyond our trust. – A.W. Tozer