It's not about me.
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As   we   learn   more   about   Jesus   Christ,   we   learn   more   about   ourselves.      Jesus   is   not   only   our   savior   and   Lord—He   is also   our   example;   He   is   our   directional   compass;   He   is   the   light   that   reveals   the   darkness   within   our   heart   and   soul; and He is the light that exposes the darkness that surrounds us. J esus   spoke…   “I   am   the   light   of   the   world.   He   who   follows   Me   shall   not   walk   in   darkness,   but   have   the   light   of   life.”     John 8:12 I t   is   important   to   understand   the   objective   of   this   message   is   to   enhance   understanding   of   Jesus   and   ourselves.     However,   when   we   open   our   heart   to   guidance   and   correction   by   the   Holy   Spirit…it   can   sometimes   be   “painful”   when the   depths   of   our   sin   are   revealed.      Remember...we   are   forgiven   because   of   the   sacrificial   blood   that   Jesus   shed   for us;   because   we   believe   Jesus   Christ   died   for   our   sins;   and   because   we   have   accepted   Him   as   our   Savior.      Jesus filled   the   gap   between   who   we   are   and   who   we   should   be—and   we   are   justified—or   “just-as-if-I’d”   never   sinned.     Proof   of   God’s   grace—and   our   adoption   as   His   children—is   evidenced   by   His   promise   He   would   give   us   a   new   heart and a new spirit.  I    will   give   you   a   new   heart   and   put   a   new   spirit   within   you;   I   will   take   the   heart   of   stone   out   of   your   flesh   and   give   you a   heart   of   flesh.      I   will   put   My   Spirit   within   you   and   cause   you   to   walk   in   My   statutes,   and   you   will   keep   My   judgments and do them.  E zekiel 36:26-27 Consider   for   a   moment   who   you   were   before   you   accepted   Jesus…and   who   you   are   now.      Consider   the   changes   that have   occurred   in   your   heart,   changes   in   your   behavior,   changes   in   your   thoughts,   changes   in   how   you   view   others, and   changes   in   how   you   view   the   world.      All   of   these   changes   have   occurred—and   will   continue   to   occur—because God keeps all of His promises! For   we   ourselves   were   also   once   foolish,   disobedient,   deceived,   serving   various   lusts   and   pleasures,   living   in   malice and   envy,   hateful   and   hating   one   another.      But   when   the   kindness   and   the   love   of   God   our   Savior   toward   man appeared,   not   by   works   of   righteousness   which   we   have   done,   but   according   to   His   mercy   He   saved   us,   through   the washing   of   regeneration   and   renewing   of   the   Holy   Spirit,   whom   He   poured   out   on   us   abundantly   through   Jesus   Christ our   Savior,   that   having   been   justified   by   His   grace   we   should   become   heirs   according   to   the   hope   of   eternal   life.      Titus 3:3-7 Each   one   of   us   can   attest   to   the   transformational   power   of   the   Holy   Spirit   because   we   have   individually   witnessed   an increasing   dislike   of   our   sinful   nature;   a   repulsion   towards   the   darkness   that   is   in   the   world;   and   a   desire   to   spiritually grow, increase knowledge of our Lord, and to become more like Him.  What’s more, we are not motivated by fear.  But rather, we are pulled towards Him by His grace and love. Love and fear are mutually exclusive.  As one increases, the other decreases. When someone is motivated by fear…you can gain obedience…but you will not win the heart. When someone is motivated by love…you can gain obedience…and win the heart. When   we   step   back   and   look   at   the   big   picture…this   is   a   life-long   process   as   God’s   grace   transforms   us   into   an image of His Son…in the same way Jesus was an image of the Father. But   we   all,   with   unveiled   face,   beholding   as   in   a   mirror   the   glory   of   the   Lord,   are   being   transformed   into   the   same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:18 So, let’s introduce the topic our discussion by watching a humorous video. (Click the graphic below.) The   single   word   of   the   song   (sung   by   the   Muppet   character   Beaker)   reveals a     basic     truth     about     human     nature     in     that     we     are     self-centered.       Unfortunately,   the   words   me,   me,   me,   me,   me,   me,   me,   me…often   defines an   undesirable   source   of   human   motivation;   and   is   a   subliminal   influencer   of what    we    think,    what    we    do    and    what    we    say.        Note    how    the    various characters   of   Beaker   harmoniously   sung   the   song;   how   he   beat   his   own drum;    how    he    used    a    violin    to    accentuate    the    song,    how    the    intensity increased;   how   he   became   distraught   as   things   got   out   of   control;   and   how destruction occurred in the end (all of which correlates to the lifecycle of sin). A   predominance   of   “me”   will   influence   two   different   perceptions:   external   an d   internal.     Both perceptions will often have little to no regard for others. From   an   external   perspective,   self-centeredness   will   influence   how   we   perceive,   judge and   communicate   with   other   persons.      Our   focus   on   “me”   will   also   initiate   emotional   responses.      Plus,   it   influences our willingness to engage others based upon similarities (social status, education, and so forth). Chuck   Smith—founder   of   Calvary   Chapel—looked   beyond   himself,   yielded   to   the Holy   Spirit,   and   reached   out   to   those   who   were   considered   social   outcasts   and rejects.      Here’s   a   wonderful   video   that   reveals   some   of   the   reasons   why   Calvary Chapel   has   continued   to   grow   since   the   1960s.      The   video   is   of   Chuck   introducing Love   Song   in   2009…as   he   shares   the   story   of   the   first   time   he   met   them.      Click   on Chuck’s picture to launch the video. From an internal perspective, self-centered thoughts usually begin with an “I” or end with “me.” I want it. •   What’s in it for me? I am angry.          •   What will others think of me? I was disrespected. •   Are there personal costs to me ? Unfortunately,   this   is   our   “normal”   thinking—which   we   all   experience.      Simply   stated,   “me”   permeates   and   influences our thoughts.  What’s more, it is extremely rare when a “me-driven” person will consider such thoughts as: Will this please God? Will this glorify God? Will this benefit someone? Is there eternal value? When   you   think   about   it…this   is   very   odd   thinking.      And   if   someone   acts   upon   these   types   of   thoughts   it   will   often   be perceived   as   abnormal   behavior,   and   to   some   shocking—and   will   ask   themselves   “why   would   you   do   that?”      The reason…this    type    of    behavior    conflicts    with    the    desires    of    human    nature,    is    in    direct    contrast    against    today’s marketing   messages,   is   contrary   to   movie   portrayals,   opposes   just   about   all   social   norms,   and   pretty   much   “messes" with everyone’s minds and expectations. This   type   of   behavior   is   known   as   altruistic.      Altruism   may   be   defined   an   unselfish   act   to   enhance   the   welfare   of another   person—without   anticipation   or   expectation   of   personal   recognition,   or   personal   reward,   or   personal   return.         In   addition,   this   type   of   behavior   is   not   easy   because   it   usually   involves   some   form   of   cost.      And   yes,   there   are   times when   altruistic   behavior   is   “me”   driven:   to   make   one   feel   better   about   themselves.      However,   it   is   quite   different   when altruism   occurs   for   the   glory   of   God.      This   type   of   behavior   requires   heart-transforming   revelation   by   the   Holy Spirit—followed   by   a   personal   decision—and   continual   reminders   and   reinforcement   (via   prayer   and   reading   God’s word)—in   that   this   whole   thing   of   living…and   the   reason   I   exist—is   not   about   me!      This   is   when   one   discovers   a mystery…in that living life to the fullest is about loving God and serving others. Jesus   said…”   You   shall   love   the   Lord   your   God   with   all   your   heart,   with   all   your   soul,   and   with   all   your   mind.’      This   is the   first   and   great   commandment.      And   the   second   is   like   it:   You   shall   love   your   neighbor   as   yourself.      On   these   two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40 Take some time to contemplate the following statement: Everything Jesus Christ said and did during His life and death exemplified “it’s not about me.”  His life was about seeking the will of the Father. His death was for us. Let   this   mind   be   in   you   which   was   also   in   Christ   Jesus,   who,   being   in   the   form of   God,   did   not   consider   it   robbery   to   be   equal   with   God,   but   made   Himself   of no   reputation,   taking   the   form   of   a   bondservant,   and   coming   in   the   likeness   of men.   And   being   found   in   appearance   as   a   man,   He   humbled   Himself   and became   obedient   to   the   point   of   death,   even   the   death   of   the   cross.      Philippians 2:5-8 Let   nothing   be   done   through   selfish   ambition   or   conceit,   but   in   lowliness   of mind   let   each   esteem   others   better   than   himself.      Let   each   of   you   look   out   not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4 Click on the picture above to hear a wonderful song by Shelly Nirider. As   we   go   about   our   daily   lives…as   we   encounter   other   persons,   and   as   we   make   choices…it   is   beneficial   to   ask ourselves the following questions. Will this please God? Will this glorify God? Will this benefit someone else? Is there eternal value? These   questions   encapsulate   the   ministry   of   Jesus   Christ.      What’s   more,   they   will   illuminate   your   heart;   they   will reveal degrees of self-centeredness; and they will reduce the influence of me. All for His Glory! Harold D Thomas
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As   we   learn   more   about   Jesus   Christ,   we   learn   more about    ourselves.        Jesus    is    not    only    our    savior    and Lord—He    is    also    our    example;    He    is    our    directional compass;   He   is   the   light   that   reveals   the   darkness   within our   heart   and   soul;   and   He   is   the   light   that   exposes   the darkness that surrounds us. J esus    spoke…    “I    am    the    light    of    the    world.    He    who follows   Me   shall   not   walk   in   darkness,   but   have   the   light of life.”  John 8:12 It    is    important    to    understand    the    objective    of    this message    is    to    enhance    understanding    of    Jesus    and ourselves.        However,    when    we    open    our    heart    to guidance    and    correction    by    the    Holy    Spirit…it    can sometimes   be   “painful”   when   the   depths   of   our   sin   are revealed.      Remember...we   are   forgiven   because   of   the sacrificial    blood    that    Jesus    shed    for    us;    because    we believe   Jesus   Christ   died   for   our   sins;   and   because   we have   accepted   Him   as   our   Savior.      Jesus   filled   the   gap between   who   we   are   and   who   we   should   be—and   we are   justified—or   “just-as-if-I’d”   never   sinned.      Proof   of God’s    grace—and    our    adoption    as    His    children—is evidenced   by   His   promise   He   would   give   us   a   new   heart and a new spirit.  I   will   give   you   a   new   heart   and   put   a   new   spirit   within you;   I   will   take   the   heart   of   stone   out   of   your   flesh   and give   you   a   heart   of   flesh.      I   will   put   My   Spirit   within   you and   cause   you   to   walk   in   My   statutes,   and   you   will   keep My judgments and do them.  Ezekiel 36:26-27 Consider    for    a    moment    who    you    were    before    you accepted   Jesus…and   who   you   are   now.      Consider   the changes   that   have   occurred   in   your   heart,   changes   in your    behavior,    changes    in    your    thoughts,    changes    in how   you   view   others,   and   changes   in   how   you   view   the world.      All   of   these   changes   have   occurred—and   will continue    to    occur—because    God    keeps    all    of    His promises! For   we   ourselves   were   also   once   foolish,   disobedient, deceived,   serving   various   lusts   and   pleasures,   living   in malice   and   envy,   hateful   and   hating   one   another.      But when    the    kindness    and    the    love    of    God    our    Savior toward   man   appeared,   not   by   works   of   righteousness which   we   have   done,   but   according   to   His   mercy   He saved    us,    through    the    washing    of    regeneration    and renewing   of   the   Holy   Spirit,   whom   He   poured   out   on   us abundantly   through   Jesus   Christ   our   Savior,   that   having been    justified    by    His    grace    we    should    become    heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7 Each   one   of   us   can   attest   to   the   transformational   power of     the     Holy     Spirit     because     we     have     individually witnessed   an   increasing   dislike   of   our   sinful   nature;   a repulsion   towards   the   darkness   that   is   in   the   world;   and a   desire   to   spiritually   grow,   increase   knowledge   of   our Lord, and to become more like Him.  What’s   more,   we   are   not   motivated   by   fear.      But   rather, we are pulled towards Him by His grace and love. Love    and    fear    are    mutually    exclusive.        As    one increases, the other decreases. When   someone   is   motivated   by   fear…you   can   gain obedience…but you will not win the heart. When   someone   is   motivated   by   love…you   can   gain obedience…and win the heart. When   we   step   back   and   look   at   the   big   picture…this   is   a life-long   process   as   God’s   grace   transforms   us   into   an image   of   His   Son…in   the   same   way   Jesus   was   an   image of the Father. But   we   all,   with   unveiled   face,   beholding   as   in   a   mirror the   glory   of   the   Lord,   are   being   transformed   into   the same   image   from   glory   to   glory,   just   as   by   the   Spirit   of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:18 So,   let’s   introduce   the   topic   our   discussion   by   watching   a humorous video.  (Click on the picture below.) The    single    word    of    the song   (sung   by   the   Muppet character   Beaker)   reveals a   basic   truth   about   human nature   in   that   we   are   self- centered.        Unfortunately, the    words    me,    me,    me, me,        me,        me,        me, me…often    defines    an    undesirable    source    of    human motivation;   and   is   a   subliminal   influencer   of   what   we think,   what   we   do   and   what   we   say.      Note   how   the different    personas    of    Beaker    harmoniously    sung    the song;   how   he   beat   his   own   drum;   how   he   used   a   violin   to accentuate   the   song,   how   the   intensity   increased;   how he   became   distraught   as   things   got   out   of   control;   and how    destruction    occurred    in    the    end    (all    of    which correlates to the lifecycle of sin). A    predominance    of    “m e” will    influence    two    different perceptions:     external     and internal.      Both   perceptions will    often    have    little    to    no regard for others. From    an    external    perspective,    self-centeredness    will influence   how   we   perceive,   judge   and   communicate   with other    persons.        Our    focus    on    “me”    will    also    initiate emotional   responses.      Plus,   it   influences   our   willingness to   engage   others   based   upon   similarities   (social   status, education, and so forth). Chuck     Smith—founder     of     Calvary     Chapel—looked beyond   himself,   yielded   to   the   Holy   Spirit,   and   reached out   to   those   who   were   considered   social   outcasts   and rejects.      Here’s   a   wonderful   video   that   reveals   some   of the   reasons   why   Calvary Chapel   has   continued   to grow    since    the    1960s.      The    video    is    of    Chuck introducing   Love   Song   in 2009…as   he   shares   the story   of   the   first   time   he met them. Click on the picture above  to watch the video. From    an    internal    perspective,    self-centered    thoughts usually begin with an “I” or end with “me.” I want it. I am angry. I was disrespected. What’s in it for me? What will others think of me? Are there personal costs to me? Unfortunately,   this   is   our   “normal”   thinking—which   we   all experience.          Simply     stated,     “me”     permeates     and influences   our   thoughts.      What’s   more,   it   is   extremely rare    when    a    “me-driven”    person    will    consider    such thoughts as: Will this please God? Will this glorify God? Will this benefit someone? Is there eternal value? When   you   think   about   it…this   is   very   odd   thinking.      And if   someone   acts   upon   these   types   of   thoughts   it   will   often be    perceived    as    abnormal    behavior,    and    to    some shocking—and   will   ask   themselves   “why   would   you   do that?”      The   reason…this   type   of   behavior   conflicts   with the   desires   of   human   nature,   is   in   direct   contrast   against today’s    marketing    messages,    is    contrary    to    movie portrayals,    opposes    just    about    all    social    norms,    and pretty     much     “messes"     with     everyone’s     minds     and expectations. This   type   of   behavior   is   known   as   altruistic.      Altruism may   be   defined   an   unselfish   act   to   enhance   the   welfare of   another   person—without   anticipation   or   expectation   of personal    recognition,    or    personal    reward,    or    personal return.            In   addition,   this   type   of   behavior   is   not   easy because   it   usually   involves   some   form   of   cost.      And   yes, there   are   times   when   altruistic   behavior   is   “me”   driven:   to make   one   feel   better   about   themselves.      However,   it   is quite   different   when   altruism   occurs   for   the   glory   of   God.     This     type     of     behavior     requires     heart-transforming revelation    by    the    Holy    Spirit—followed    by    a    personal decision—and    continual    reminders    and    reinforcement (via   prayer   and   reading   God’s   word)—in   that   this   whole thing   of   living…and   the   reason   I   exist—is   not   about   me!     This   is   when   one   discovers   a   mystery…in   that   living   life to the fullest is about loving God and serving others. Jesus   said…”   You   shall   love   the   Lord   your   God   with   all your   heart,   with   all   your   soul,   and   with   all   your   mind.’     This    is    the    first    and    great    commandment.        And    the second    is    like    it:    You    shall    love    your    neighbor    as yourself.      On   these   two   commandments   hang   all   the   Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40 Take some time to contemplate the following statement: Everything   Jesus   Christ   said   and   did   during   His   life   and death exemplified “it’s not about me.”  His life was about seeking the will of the Father. His death was for us. Let   this   mind   be   in   you   which   was   also   in   Christ   Jesus, who,   being   in   the   form   of   God,   did   not   consider   it   robbery to   be   equal   with   God,   but   made   Himself   of   no   reputation, taking   the   form   of   a   bondservant,   and   coming   in   the likeness   of   men.   And   being   found   in   appearance   as   a man,   He   humbled   Himself   and   became   obedient   to   the point   of   death,   even   the   death   of   the   cross.      Philippians 2:5-8 Let   nothing   be   done   through   selfish   ambition   or   conceit, but    in    lowliness    of    mind let    each    esteem    others better   than   himself.      Let each   of   you   look   out   not only   for   his   own   interests, but   also   for   the   interests of     others.          Philippians 2:3-4                      Click on the picture above to hear a wonderful song by Shelly Nirider. As   we   go   about   our   daily   lives…as   we   encounter   other persons,   and   as   we   make   choices…it   is   beneficial   to   ask ourselves the following questions. Will this please God? Will this glorify God? Will this benefit someone else? Is there eternal value? These    questions    encapsulate    the    ministry    of    Jesus Christ.      What’s   more,   they   will   illuminate   your   heart;   they will   reveal   degrees   of   self-centeredness;   and   they   will reduce the influence of me. All for His Glory! Harold D Thomas