By: Celine Nice
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and more loved than you know.” Guess who said that? Well, if you guessed “Winnie the Pooh,” you were correct.
Hello, on behalf of the ladies of Living Grace Foursquare church in N. Las Vegas, NV, I have the pleasure of bringing you a word of encouragement this month, September 2022. You know, there was a lot of mining that occurred in Nevada’s history.
Each month, we’ll be “mining for precious metals and gems” directly from God’s word, so please, hit the subscribe button. That way, you won’t miss out on future talks. And when we’re done, if you’ve been encouraged, then please hit the “like” button, send us your comments or prayer requests, and feel free to share this blog with family and friends.
If you’re ever on YouTube, surely you’ve heard a new buzzword. The word is “hacks .” What hacks are are shortcuts, tips, and things that will help you to create things that are helpful and often economical. These are shortcuts you might never have thought of by yourself. There are hacks for all sorts of things and stuff. Well, I thought, what if we were to call these gems from God’s word “life hacks”? What do you mean by “life hacks”, Celine? I mean tips, advice, shortcuts, if you will, that are sure to help you live your life with more joy, more enthusiasm, and a renewed vigor for life’s challenges.
So, in this blog, I’m going to present three “life hacks”, if you will, that I hope you will find helpful and easy to implement in your life. It is my prayer and hope that these “hacks” that we’ll be “mining” from God’s word will not only grow your faith in our heavenly Father, but also grow your love for yourself and others.
But before we dive in, let’s pray.
Prayer – “Our gracious and Heavenly Father, we ask that you bless this talk time, that it may bring a word of encouragement to someone today. Only you know, Lord, the paths we walk, the challenges we face, the sadness, joys, successes, and failures that we’ve had in various areas of our lives. But right now, we just lay it all down before you. Open our minds and hearts to receive from your Word, understand these “life hacks,” and find the “gems” that we are seeking. In Jesus precious name, we ask, Amen!”
So, “Life Hacks”!
Life Hack #1 – Know your value – How do you see yourself? There are many people out there, especially women and minorities, who lack a healthy self-esteem. They view themselves as “less than” or undeserving, unworthy, not good enough, and the list goes on. Why? Well, there are many reasons for that. They may have grown up with a lot of negativities, neglect, or even abuse. I’m not just talking about physical abuse, but emotional abuse, which isn’t always visible on the outside, but it is surely present on the inside. When people we love and trust say things like, “you’re always this,” or “you’re always that,” or “he’ll, or she’ll never amount to much,” or “you stupid idiot,” “she’s a little slow”? If we hear that often enough, especially as children, those words can take root in our minds, and we believe them. We then live out our lives as teens/adults as if they are all true. But let’s look at what God says about our value:
In Genesis 1, verse 26, reads, “Then God said, Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” Verse 27, “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
Wow, let’s think about that. We were created in the image of God. Imagine that. Let’s break down the human being. The Bible teaches that there are three parts to us: body, soul, and spirit. It is the spirit part of us that is identical to God, and that connects us to our creator. It is also the spirit part of us that lives forever. The question is, when our bodies become old and tired and can no longer go on living, what happens to our souls and spirit? Where do they go? We’ll discuss that later.
Where else in the Bible does God talk about our value?
Psalm 139:13, 15-16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Verse 15, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” ESV
So, before we were born, God was forming us and planning wonderful things for our lives. Verse 17 of Psalm 139 says, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! Verse 18, I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!
Ok, I’m from Hawaii, and I know all about sand. There’s also a lot of sand here in the desert. People would think you’re crazy trying to count grains of sand. But I think you know what God is talking about here. The point is we are always on God’s mind. Now, if the creator of the universe is constantly occupied with thoughts about you and me, are we not valuable in His eyes?
Matthew 6:26 – Jesus is talking here – “Look at the birds. They don’t plant, or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they?”
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ESV Each one of us is a walking “masterpiece”, a “Mona Lisa”, if you will. BTW, do you know how valuable the Mona Lisa is? It is estimated to be worth about $870 million. Back in 1962, it was insured for $100 million, holding the Guinness World Record for the highest ever insurance value in the art market world. You and I are worth way more than that to our heavenly Father. How do I know that? Because the creator of the universe sent his son to die for you and me, to save us from ourselves and eternal damnation. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” and “all we like sheep have gone astray .”It began with Adam and Eve. In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, humans are referred to as sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, which we all are, right? Unfortunately, we’ve all inherited that sinful nature. And the Bible says that “the penalty for sin is death.”
But, John 3:16 finds our Jesus saying, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” KJV Why would God do that if we had no value? The answer is he wouldn’t ‘ve. It is because we are so valuable to him that he did that. The question is do you believe God’s word and what he says about your value to Him? Or are you believing the lies of the world? If you’re believing society and the world, then choose to stop, right now, in Jesus name! You are valuable to God, and he cares about you and I.
Life Hack #2 – Know your purpose – Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” NLT
I love this next verse. It’s Joshua 1:8, and it says, “Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” NLT
In Matthew 22, the religious leaders questioned Jesus and said, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied in verse 37, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important; love your neighbor as yourself.” NLT He went on to say that the entire law is based on those two commandments. Well, that’s pretty easy. But that can be hard if you don’t love yourself.
Think about it, if the creator of the entire universe thinks of you all the time, he’s concerned about your welfare, about your joy about your life, so concerned that He did something so traumatic to get our attention, He sent his son to die for us, does that not speak reems about our significance to God? You need to choose whom you’re going to believe. The world or God himself? Since we live in a crazy, unjust world, I’m going to choose to believe God, and I hope you do too. So, what’s our purpose? Fear God, keep His commandments, study His word, Love God, and love others.
And finally, Life Hack #3 – Be joyful, joyful the Lord is alive! As Christians, we know the story of Calvary and how Jesus was crucified, entombed, and rose out of the grave on the 3rd day, which is the story behind Easter. So, our Jesus is alive and well, and the Bible tells us he is seated at the right hand of God, the Father. The apostle Paul wrote in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” KJV
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” NLT
Phil 4:4 tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say, Rejoice.” NLT
Psalm 31:5b, says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. “ NLT
If you’re struggling with being joyful, you know what, you’re not alone. Even Jesus wept, right? Sometimes we feel that we have more reasons to be sad than to be joyful. When that happens, it could very well be that we’re not spending enough time in God’s word, and we’re not spending enough time in prayer. So we need to check ourselves, the Bible calls it, examining ourselves. Sometimes we need to do this daily. I remember the words of Dr. Charles Stanley, who says a sad Christian is a bad testimony. Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be a bad testimony. And remember, as bad as you may think you have it, there are people suffering way more than you and I. So, chin up, in fact, like Lauren Daigle’s song says, “Look up, Child,” and remind yourselves of Your Value, Your purpose, and remember our joy is in the risen Savior. Hallelujah, Amen!
I mentioned earlier we’d talk about the spiritual aspect of being human. When our physical bodies can no longer go on, what happens to our souls and spirit? That’s up to us. We have a choice. II Peter 3:9 tells us that God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” KJV God doesn’t force his love on anyone, but he longs for all to come into the knowledge of him and to have a relationship with him so that when our time on earth is up, our spirits will make a beeline straight to heaven to live with him forever. There is a stipulation, however, and here it is. In John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So, we need to claim Jesus as our Savior in order for our spirits to spend eternity with our heavenly Father.
Before I close us in prayer, I want to say that if you’ve never asked Jesus to come into your heart, and you want to be assured that when you die, your spirit will beeline it to heaven, then I invite you to say this prayer with me:
I admit that I have sinned in my life. I have done terrible things, mean things to either myself or others. I want to surrender my life to you, Lord. I ask you to come into my heart today, cleanse me, forgive me of my sins, and make me a new creature. Help me to walk in your ways and not be distracted by the world or believe lies about who I am anymore. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, who died for my sins because you love me and want me for all eternity. Thank you, God. In your son Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen, amen and amen!
If you’ve prayed this prayer for the first time, please tell somebody. We’d love to hear from you. I want to thank you so much for joining me today. I pray that you will remember how valuable and loved you are, that you will remember your life has purpose and that God wants you to be joyful! See you next time. God bless!