Friday, August 7, 2015

None by Comparison

There is a tendency to compare ourselves with others in today's society. Whether it's done intentionally or not, it's difficult not to do so at times. The world tries to pressure us by putting all kinds of images and stereotypes out there. They try to tell us you have to look a certain way, act a particular way, do this, do that, or whatever else.

As difficult as it may be at times, there is a better way. It's God's way. He doesn't want us to compare ourselves with others.

He made us all unique and special. We all have different spiritual gifts. First of all, we each have a general purpose but we were also created with individual specific purposes. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-30)

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, he talked about being made alive in Christ. He mentioned our individuality and overall purpose.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Paul wrote another letter to the churches in Galatia and encouraged them to do good. He wanted to make sure that they weren't deceived when helping each other though.

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else..." (Galatians 6:4, NIV)

In a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul defends his ministry. He spoke about his letters being “weighty and forceful.” (2 Corinthians 10:10)

He wanted the people to know that he was the same whether through his writing or in person. Also, Paul was not like others.

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV)

Within the body of Christ, sometimes there is a tendency for us to compare ourselves with others who have similar spiritual gifts, ministries, or the like. However, this part of the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Corinth serves as a great reminder for us not to do so.

He continues, "We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:13-14, NIV)

We need to remember that we have a certain sphere of service God has specifically assigned to us individually. Therefore, we need to keep our focus on our particular sphere and not anyone else’s area.

And when we do work, we need to do it wholeheartedly as well as do it unto the Lord and not people. (See Colossians 3:23-24)

In addition, the Apostle Paul talks about the sphere of activity within his ministry. It can also be applied to our own sphere of activity in our ministries and work for the Lord.

"Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. (2 Corinthians 10:15-16, NIV)

We do not need to go beyond our assigned territory and limits God has given us. Of course, we can hope that our regions will greatly be expanded as our faith increases just like the Apostle Paul. He goes on to talk about boasting in the Lord.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, NIV)

Knowing that it is the Lord who commends us and no one else will help us work much harder for Him and rest much easier in Him. We do not need to compare ourselves, our journeys, our paths, or ministries to anyone else or anything of theirs. There is none by comparison.

We can trust God with our ministries, our purposes, our callings, our assignments, and anything else He has for us. For God who has called each of us is faithful, and He will complete that which He has started in us individually. (See 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 2:12-13)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Lord, What About Him?"

Jesus finished having an important conversation with His disciple, Simon Peter.  During this particular conversation with Peter, He asked him if he loved Him.  Not once, but three times.  Peter told Jesus that he loved Him.  Then, Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.  At the very end of their conversation, Jesus said, "Follow Me!" (See John 21:15-19 - paraphrased and emphasis added mine)

Let's pick up now with verse 20.

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (v 21)

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.  (John 21:20-25, NIV)

Let's go back up to verse 21.

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Peter asked Jesus an important question that day.  One that requires a little more attention on our part at this time.  "Lord, what about him?" 

How often do we ask Jesus that same question?  "Lord, what about him?"  Or..."Lord, what about her?"  "Do you seeing what he is doing?"  Do you see what she is doing?"  "Do you seeing what he is not doing?"  Do you see what she is not doing?" 

Did you notice Jesus' first response to Peter though?  “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 

In this particular instance, Peter is very much like many of us within the body of Christ.  He seemed to care more about the other disciple's response or lack of response to Jesus.  He was too concerned about the other man's response and not his own response to the Son of God.  In part, he was comparing himself to the other disciple.  He was too busy thinking about the other person's business and not taking care of his Father's business.

It is much more important to concentrate and focus on what Jesus is telling us than being concerned about what others are doing or not doing for Jesus.  We need to pay more attention to Jesus and His instructions to us.  We also need to pay less attention to whether others are listening to Him and obeying Him.

We have all been given a specific calling, assignment, and task in God's purpose and plan.  We are all accountable to Him and only Him.  Therefore, we need to do our own part and not concern ourselves with everyone else.  We need to be about our Father's business.  Allow God to take care of all the other disciples of Jesus Christ.  He is very capable.

When we stand before God on judgment day, He will not ask us what others did for Him.  He will only ask us about our part.  He will only ask us whether we were obedient and faithful to what He had called us and equipped us to do for Him.  Let's decide today to only be about our Father's business, and let Him take care of everyone else's business.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 1: "Selfie" Video



I have never done a "Selfie" video before.  It's not my cup of tea so to speak.  However, this is not really about me.  It's about Jesus and what He has done for me.  It's about Him and what He wants to do for you.  It's about God, my faith journey, and my God-given ministry.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 3: Show & Tell

This is my current work space for writing, blogging, seminary assignments, or whatever else.  It's a little messy at the moment.  However, it's an organized mess.  I know where everything is now in the stacks on the desk. 


 
 
 
 
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 2: "Is This You?"

You are a Christian lady who struggles, strives, and endures through hardships, trials, and difficulties in life.  Perhaps, you are a perfectionist who procrastinates on projects.  Maybe, you are a Type A personality who is very driven, demanding, strong, independent, and confident.  You have got it all figured out.  You are a success.  You really enjoy your work.  You are so productive.  You are making a contribution in this world.  You enjoy life.  You want to understand others more. 


However, you may be putting up a front and keeping up the charade.  You are just putting so much time and effort into everything.  You feel like you are getting nowhere fast.  You keep spinning your wheels in life.  You are in a rut going around the same hamster wheel.  You are going around the same old mountains in life.  You believe that you have to be everything to everyone.  It is so difficult to do it and keep it up though.    


Welcome to Dawn Freeman Ministry!  You are the right person.  I can help, serve, encourage, educate, inform, and inspire you.  Go to my website at www.dawnfreeman.org.  Email me at dawn@dawnfreeman.org and get on my email list.  Thanks!  
 
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This will be a Sign to You...

I love the story of the birth of Jesus for many reasons.  We can learn so much from this story in God's word.

I have been thinking and meditating on one specific part of His birth story though. 

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  (Luke 2:12, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Before that scripture verse, there is a lot to read and understand---much depth.  We can gain knowledge, insight, and wisdom from this particular passage. 

Let's pick up with this story, starting in v8.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  (Luke 2:8-15, NIV - emphasis added mine)

An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and they were terrified.  Does that remind you of anyone else in the Bible? 

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:20-21, NIV - emphasis added mine)

An angel of the Lord also appeared to Joseph in a dream.  This angel also told Joseph to not be afraid.  However, in this case, the word was spoken to Joseph to take Mary home to be his wife.  This prophecy was given by the angel to Joseph about his future with his wife, Mary.   

The previous passage in Luke was also a prophecy from the angel foretelling future events regarding the birth of Jesus.  However, in this specific part, the angel spoke to the shepherds about the expected environment surrounding Jesus' birth.   

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved----and that by God.  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."  (Philippians 1:27-30, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Paul wrote this letter to the believers in the church at Philippi.  He was encouraging them to live worthy of the Gospel.  He wanted to make sure that they knew to stand firm in the spirit and strive together in the faith.  He told them that it would be a sign to them.  Their opponents would be destroyed, but they would be saved by God. 

We are not to live by signs in this natural and physical world.  However, God does speak to us as His children.  Often throughout scripture, He uses phrases such as "This will be a sign to you."  God prophesies through other people.  He spoke through the angel to the shepherds regarding Jesus' birth.  He also spoke through an angel to Joseph in a dream.  In addition, He spoke through the Apostle Paul and foretold what the Lord had told him to the people in Philippi.  God tells us, His children, what is to come regarding His purpose and plan for us. 

Some people need signs in this natural world, before they will actually believe God and His promise to them.  However, God does not want us to live that way.  Neither does Jesus as He spoke about signs and wonders in John's account. 

"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."  (John 4:48, NIV)

Jesus had said this to a royal official before the man's son had actually received his physical healing from Him.  He seemed somewhat 'put off' or irritated by the man's doubt and unbelief beforehand.  He wants all of us to trust and believe Him.  We just need to take Him at His word.  Additionally, we need to know that He first reveals things to us by His Spirit before they manifest in this world.

"...What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"---the things God has prepared for those who love Him---these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things even the deep things of God.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV - emphasis added mine)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Feed My Sheep"

Read John 21:1-14 for more of the background story beforehand.

Jesus' disciples had just caught some fish---153 large ones.  Upon Jesus' request, they brought it to Him.  He told them to come and eat with Him.  This was the third time He appeared before His disciples after He was raised from the dead.  (See John 21:10-14)   

After they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” (See John 21:15 - emphasis mine)

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.” (John 21:16, NIV - emphasis mine)

The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  (John 21:17, NIV - emphasis mine) 

In this specific passage, Jesus wanted to know if one of His disciples named Simon Peter really loved Him.  Before Jesus was crucified on the cross for the sins of the whole world, this particular disciple had denied even knowing Jesus---not just once but three times.  (See John 3:16; John 18:15-18, 25-27)

Years ago, Jesus spoke to my heart about feeding His sheep.  I did not completely understand it at the time.  However, it has become more clear since then. 

If we really love Jesus, we will do what He wants us to do and go where He wants us to go. 

What is He speaking to you about now?  Whatever it is, know that He loves you.  Ask Him to help you to go and do whatever He is asking of you.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV) 


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.