Worth more than many sparrows

There are so many important things in this world, and when we compare the very details of our lives to them, they seem so meaningless. In the midst of all the catastrophes our world faces every day, in the midst of all the sufferings people go through, who can possibly care about how many hairs you have on your head? God does.

Because we think that the small things that fill our days are not of so great significance, we don’t even think of mentioning them to God. Why pray about details when there is more important at stake? So we pray for what we think God cares about, and we keep living burdened and tired because we are not doing the very thing that would set us free and give us rest.

God is the Lord of the universe. He controls stars and seasons; sets up kings and removes them; deals with angels and nations. Yes, it is the God of big things. But if He were only that, He wouldn’t be God. He is God because He controls even the most meaningless things that happen in this universe. He takes care of the tiny details of our lives. If He knows the number of your hairs, be sure that He knows your smallest dreams and cares. And because He wants you to be sure of it, He asks you to cast all your cares on Him, not the biggest one, not those that seem decent, all of them. From your weight issues to your singleness, from your work problems to your cravings, God wants to hear about them all. He cares about them all.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10: 29-31 BSB)

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A God who runs

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.(Luke 15:18-20 ESV)

I don’t know what you think about God, but I know that sometimes, many times, I have hard thoughts about Him. It is as if somewhere in the depth of my heart, I always have some doubts about His goodness. I cannot just see it, understand it: a God who runs to me because He loves me.

If I were an outstanding woman of faith, I would understand. But I am just like the other heroes of the Bible, weak, messy, and fearful. And I doubt. I doubt because I give Him no reasons to rejoice over Him, but He says He does. I doubt because He does not need me but want me. I doubt because how could He wants me, seriously? It just does not make sense.

But in the depth of my heart, I also know that it is true; that as incredible that it is, His love is the real thing. I know He is good and merciful, gracious and full of compassion, and He runs. When I come back to Him, ashamed of who I am, He runs to me. No questions asked, just His arms around me.

The Holy Spirit made it clear: the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. So we need to pray that we will understand it. There is no other way. So I pray for me, I pray for you, that we will understand that incredible love more and more and more.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Self-esteem according to Christ(1)

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (Isaiah 62:3)

Self-esteem or confidence in one’s own worth or abilities is very trendy. How we assess our worth, how we judge ourselves and our attitude toward us are deemed to be the reason we success or fail.

I have a very low self-esteem and many people tried to help me view myself differently in the past. I tried different things on my own. But even if there were some improvements, there was no radical change.  Then Christ came into that weakness of mine. He began to teach me what true self-esteem was and how to assess myself.

He told me things as:

  • You are a sinner.
  • You can do nothing apart for me.
  • Everything you have (skills, qualities, beauty), you received them.
  • You are an unworthy servant.
  • You are undeserving.

But also:

  • I planned you.
  • I chose you.
  • I love you with an everlasting love.
  • You are the apple of my eyes.
  • I died out of love for you.
  • I will never forsake you or leave you alone.
  • Through me, you can do anything.

It is not always easy to believe those last truths. But I know that when I completely do, I will be able to walk with my head held high, outside and inside.

Yes, my success and my failure depend on my self-esteem, but not on a self-esteem based on my abilities or qualities, on a self-esteem based on who Christ is and on whom I am in Him.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

 

 

Finding beauty

But even when I was seeking for God’s true beauty, I did it all wrong. I worked hard to attained perfection with my own strength. I was tired and frustrated, and sure that God did not love me or was not fair. Until I heard Him whispering “grace”. Grace is the key to true beauty. Grace gives strength to be a seeker. Grace gives eyes to see, a heart to understand. Grace shows the source of beauty. Grace helps us rest on beauty, the real one.

When life is ugly, when people seem more horrible than before, grace leads us to that place of beauty, where love reigns and where mercy abounds; where we are welcomed as we are and changed to be more like Christ. Grace gives strength to keep going when your heart does not want to beat anymore. Grace says, “You are welcomed, protected, guarded, loved and taken care of… always!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” … (Revelation 21:1-6)

 

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (Isaiah 62:3)

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

We are blessed!

He is blessed, and He has blessed us. Some of the new covenant blessings:

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29 ESV)

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.(Romans 4:7-8)

So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Galatians 3:9)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.  (1 Peter 3:14)

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14)

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelations 1:3)

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelations 14:13)

“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Revelations 16:15)

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelations 19:9)

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.(Revelations 20:6)
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelations 22:7)Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelations 22:14)

He carried our infirmities

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:2-5 ESV)

I was reminded today that Jesus understands everything I go through emotionally because He experienced all the feelings, hurts, rejections, etc. I have ever experienced. When I feel despised, depressed, distressed, alone, tired, or abandoned by God, He understands. And because He does, I can approach God with confidence in my weakness, my brokenness, and my fears. I can cry out of despair or anger, and I will never be rejected. This is also what the cross means.

Jesus the Great High Priest Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 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 ESV)

 

Your will be done

We all know that God’s will is the best for us, don’t we? Most of the time we firmly believe that His Will is good and perfect. Most of the time. So we pray  saying, “your will be done”. Sometimes God says “no”. It hurts but we can live with His “no”, most of the time. Sometimes it is very hard. We cannot see what is good in our circumstances and even the thought of eternity doesn’t help.

Or God may say “yes” and that “blessing” ends up looking more like a curse than a blessing. And we wonder why He said yes knowing the outcome. Did he say yes in His anger as He did with Israel  when they asked for a king (Hosea 13:11)?

Someone, somewhere told us that the will of God for us should always be pleasant,  should always look like a Hollywood blessing. We grew up being fed with stories telling us that being happy ever after is the norm. So we question God when things are not so good and lose our confidence, unsure of His love.

So lest we forget:

  • “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds” Psalm 145: 17. (NASB)
  • “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32: 4 (NASB)

If we believe those truths with all our heart, we will rejoice in the Lord with Habakkuk, saying, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)