How Do Our Lives Reflect the Image of God?

Old ways don’t lead to new roads. If we want to see different results in our lives, I believe we need to reimagine ourselves in the way God sees us. Scripture informs us that the Lord created us as His image bearers. Like the moon reflects the sun, we reflect the God we serve and follow.

As 21st Century believers how do we reflect the image of the Lord in our daily lives?

Genesis 1:24-31 (ESV)

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

We mirror God when we bring order where there is chaos. We don’t add to the chaos. We serve as peacemakers. Our role is helping to calm the storm, not stirring the pot. In our turbulent times, amid the divisive discourse, hidden behind the curtain of social media, it is easy for us to get caught up in the seemingly endless controversies that grab our attention. We quieten the chaos by remembering the facts and sharing the truth. God is for us not against us. He loves all of us and seeks a deep, personal, one-on-one relationship with Him.

woman-571715_1920

Our lives reflect the Lord when we shine light into the darkness. We bring hope where there is no hope. We walk with people as they suffer and we shower those around us with love. We strive to walk in light and love, always. We have all met people who beam love from the heart of their being. They ooze God’s love from every pour. We feel good in their presence. They make us feel safe. We know they are people we can trust. As people of love, we seek to treat others as we would want them to treat us. When we do that, God is glorified and magnified through our daily walk with Him as our guide.

As image bearers of God Most High, we speak life in all situations. What does it mean to speak life? It means our words encourage; they don’t hurt. Words are like bullets. Once our mouth fires them off, there is no putting them back into their chamber. We use our words to lift and heal others. We don’t wound or discourage people with our speech. Our words match our deeds. Both reflect the God we serve and the Lord we love. 

As I take a personal inventory of how I live my daily life, I am faced with answering these 3 questions:

1.  Is my life today marked by order or is my life one that creates chaos?

2.  Do I shine light into the lives of others and deliver hope into the darkness?

3.  Do my words lift and encourage others or do I wound and discourage people with my tongue?

When you ask yourselves these questions, what answers do you come up with? 

church-768613_1920

As we seek to know God and to make God known, I pray that our lives would reflect the image of the Lord and that through our words and deeds we would mirror the God who created us.

Peace be with you.

The Devotional Guy

Why Do I Pray “In Jesus’ Name” ?

Have you ever wondered why Christians pray “in Jesus’ name”?

Awhile back, a friend of mine and I attended a luncheon bringing together people from different faiths to explore working together for the greater good of the community. The spacious banquet room was filled with about sixty representatives from every faith you could imagine. Naturally, the Big 3 (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) were scattered around different tables. Catholics sat next to Protestants, who came in full-force, hailing from different denominations. Methodists sat next to Baptists, Baptists sat next to Presbyterians. You get the picture.

All in all, it was a pretty cool scene. Once it became time to start, an event organizer opened the meeting with a prayer, ending his prayer in what I consider to be the traditional “in Jesus’ name.” This quickly drew the ire of a Rabbi attending the meeting, who happened to be sitting at our table. He expressed his preference that we forego ending prayer in the name of Jesus as he found it deeply offensive. He pointed to an Imam who sat one table away from us and explained that ending prayer in this manner was disrespectful of his faith as well. The Rabbi pointed out that not everyone believes in Jesus and praying to him is blasphemous in the traditions of some faiths. Needless to say, my friend and I, who are both Christians, were taken aback by the Rabbi’s request. Neither of us had ever considered not praying in Jesus’ name. Had we ever ended a prayer without closing it that way? Yes. Could we not pray that way? Well…NO.

While we did not expect the Rabbi or the Imam or any non-Christian to pray in the name of Jesus, being told that we as Christians could not do so was completely a different story. Thankfully, when push came to shove, the agreement was reached that each person would pray according to their faith traditions while respecting the manner of prayer of others in the room. Whew!

praying hands TDG

As a Christian, have you ever wondered why you pray “in Jesus’ name”?

Often, we use phrases in a religious, ritualistic manner without understanding why we do what we do. This is certainly true of praying in the name of Christ. So why do we do it? As believers, the Scriptures serves as our go-to source for biblical insight and faith. So what exactly does the Bible say about praying “in Jesus’ name”?

The Devotional Guy_sharing Gospel

Let us take a look at a few verses:

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He follows that up in verse 13 saying, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” And finally, in John 16:23-24, Jesus shares, “In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul points out that through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we have “boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him” (Ephesians 3:12). The writer of Hebrews states, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heaves, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Why Do I Pray

These verses reveal the biblical foundation for praying ‘in Jesus’ name’.

As broken and fallen people, we can only access God through faith in Christ because Jesus died in our place and took our sin upon Himself, bearing the penalty and paying the debt for our sins. Through the atoning work of  Jesus we gain access to God. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life through whom we can connect to the Lord. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are adopted into the Kingdom and become children of God. Jesus has made all things new and brought life where once there was only death.

John 1624

Jesus is our advocate. In anticipation of his death on the Cross, Jesus instructed his disciples to pray to God, the Father, in His name. Our faith in Christ opens the door to a personal relationship with God. It is our relationship with Jesus that gives us the privilege of not only entering into God’s presence through prayer, but the assurance of our prayers being heard. He makes it possible for us to have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father.

This then, is why we, as Christians should pray. “In Jesus’ Name”.

 

May the Lord fill your life with abundant blessings.

Amen.

RB 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is our acknowledgement of the blessings and gifts we have received over the course of the past year. Scripture denotes the importance of giving thanks to God for all his multitude of blessings and  wondrous works, recognizing our dependence on him and gratitude to him.
      Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95:2 (ESV)
As Christians, we have a lot to be thankful for. We honor God by giving thanks to him for the gift of his salvation, that we have received by grace through faith. Through thanksgiving, we recognize that God is at work in our lives and all around us. Our job is to find where God is at work and join him, working as his co-laborers in Christ, to bring in the harvest.
And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.  And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.
Mark 8:6-7 (ESV)
We have lots to be thankful for on a daily basis. It is easy for us to take basic things for granted in our culture. We are so blessed that sometimes we can forget that these basics are not something all people have. I woke up today in my warm bed, with a roof over my head, food and beverages in my fridge. I am not worried about what, where, or when I will eat today. My wife and I are blessed with plenty. We are debt-free, we are able to pay our bills, meet our needs, and acquire our wants. We are blessed with family and great friends.
How about you? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?.
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:15 (ESV)
As you go about your busy life today, be sure to pause this week and give thanks. You do have something to be thankful for.
god-with-us