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Monday, September 30, 2013

Combating The Feeling Of “It’s Too Hard”

In summary of Jeremiah 32:17 it says, “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (ESV)

Bottom Line:
God, you have made the heavens and the earth, nothing is too difficult or hard for you.

What this means to me:
God has made everything, there is nothing that is too hard for him.  In my own life, there come times when I hear myself saying, “it’s too hard!”  I have feelings of wanting to give up or to find an easier way.  Often I don’t feel I’m up to the challenge. The problem is that I’m trying to do it all on my own strength.  There will be times, when my own strength will not be enough.  This can also occur when I follow Christ and do things his way as he will likely ask me to do things I would feel inadequate of doing on my own. This is where God provides help.  He is just waiting for me to ask him.  When I do, he’ll empower me to do what he has asked me to do.  I need to remember that He is always with me.  With God on my side, I can do anything he asks.  So in summary, when I follow him and do his will, he will be there to help me.  Nothing it too difficult or hard for him.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Learning To Love People From The Heart

In summary of Philippians 1:7a it says, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.”

Bottom Line:
It’s right for me to feel this way, you are in my heart and dear to me

What this means to me:
When someone is really in my heart, I care deeply for them.  Philippians 1:7a, NCV says, “I’ve discovered that if people are not on my heart, they’re on my nerves. If you don’t have your kids in your heart, they get on your nerves. If you don’t have your husband in your heart, he gets on your nerves.” When you really love and care for someone the “getting on your nerves” part is often overlooked.  So, it’s when my care for them wanes, that “they get on my nerves.”  Truly listening is one of the best ways to show love.  Heart love begins with understanding why someone feels the way they do. This is especially true in marriage.  Ask questions, and then listen. Hear the hurt, look for the problems. I need to understand the moods of the people closest to me, why they act the way they do. If I care, I’ll be aware.  The only kind of love that lasts in spite of heartache and difficulty in tough circumstances is God’s love, the affection of Jesus Christ.  I can foster this kind of love by remembering, “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). God’s love is not something I work up. It is something that is poured into me by the Holy Spirit as I let him live in me day by day.  The key to have others in my heart, is to give my full attention to them as I listen, ask them thoughtful questions, and show genuine concern.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cultivating An Unselfish Marriage

In summary of Philippians 2:4 it says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

Bottom Line:
Look out for one another's interests, not just my own.

What this means to me:
I should not always get caught up in my own world and plans.  I need to take an interest in others and be happy to help them with their plans.  One area to not lose focus on (especially with my busy schedule) is my marriage.  Marriage is one of those areas in which adjustment in life needs to take place. Change is happening all the time. Changes could be in the stages of children as the grow, changes in jobs, changes in health, changes in financial situations. When circumstances change in life, both my wife and myself will need to make adjustments to keep our marriage on track. In fact, simply being two imperfect people building a life together requires making adjustments for one another.  A healthy growing marriage will always demonstrate the ability to make adjustments for one another. At its core, it’s really about being me being unselfish. God will teach this to me through my marriage.  Some practical ways I can become less selfish and make positive adjustments is to think about what wife needs needs most. The Bible says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT). Unfortunately, my schedule can crowd out what are my wifes needs.  Next I need to be able to submit, so that I can adjust to her needs.  This means often giving up what I really want in order to meet her needs. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” As a husband I should lead the way in service to her. It’s in the little daily decisions where I adjust and meet her needs where my genuine love can be expressed.  The test of my love toward her won’t be what I say, but more about how I can demonstrate it. This means I need to treat my wife as Jesus would. Making this decision will change everything. The definition of mature love is to treat other people as Jesus would. Jesus is our best example when it comes to love. “This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us” (1 John 3:16a GNT). I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to apply this in my marriage and if I do, my marriage will be incalculably better.  In summary, I need to constantly take a more active interest in the lives of others, especially my wife.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Learning To Let Go of Your Hurt

In summary of Colossians 3:13 it says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”

Bottom Line:
Be understanding and bear with and forgive each other. Just as the Lord forgave you.

What this means to me:
I am to be tolerant and bear with one another.  I need to have an attitude of forgiving anyone who would offend me.  I need to remember that the Lord has forgiven me.  In the same way I need to forgive others.  There will always be someone in my life who will drive me crazy. Forgiveness is tough when you think you are owed an apology.  When this happens, I’m still holding on to a hurt. The thing to remember is that person may never even realize what they done, but I would allow it to eat me up inside.  It doesn’t make sense to hold onto a hurt. Resentment will only tear me up.  It can be like like drinking poison and hoping it’s going to kill someone else. It just doesn’t work that way. I need to decide that, before anything else happens, I need to forgive that person.  Jesus said this even in the most extreme of circumstances, as he’s hanging on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34a NIV).  The phrase “make allowance” is the Greek word that means “to bear with, to endure, to be tolerant.” Basically it means to cut people some slack. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NIV). So, when I struggle with forgiving, I need to remember the great gift of God’s forgiveness.  This verse may be a good one for me to memorize and carry with me.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of chances to use it.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wisdom Yields Patience

In summary of Proverbs 19:11 it says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

Bottom Line:
Good sense will make you slow to anger, and it is a good virtue to overlook an offense.

What it means to me:
Wisdom and understanding will help me control my temper and make me slow to anger.  It would be to my honor to forgive and forget wrongs done to me instead of holding on to them. This means that when I’m dealing with people who are offensive or irritating, I need to look past the behavior, to the pain they may be experiencing. I’ve learned that everything we do is motivated by something. When people are hurting others, it’s highly likely that they’re hurting on the inside. A Hurt person will hurt others (consciously or unconsciously.)  The more I can understand another’s background, the more grace I’ll be able to show them. If I think of the people who I find the most difficult to deal with, I’ll likely realize that I probably don’t know anything about their background.  I’m likely not to cut them any slack. If I don’t know their story, I’m not showing any grace.  The Bible says in Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (NIV). Wisdom helps in with not being offended. Wisdom will allow me patience. When I understand somebody’s background, I’ll better understand the stress that person is under, thus making it easier to show grace, and giving me the patience to overlook the offense.  This is real love. The Bible says refusing to be offended by other people is actually an act of mature love. It shows how much love I’ve got in my heart. The more love I have in my heart, the harder it will be to be offended.  The less love I have in my heart, the more insecure I feel and the easier it is to be offended. The Bible says in Proverbs 10:12, “Love overlooks the wrongs that others do” (CEV). The more I am filled with love, the less I’m going to be upset with others when they are demanding, disapproving, etc. Today, if I’m dealing with a difficult person: I must choose to use wisdom; and refuse to be offended.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Maintaining Integrity Over Popularity

In summary of Luke 9:26 it says, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Bottom Line:
If people are ashamed of me and my teaching, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and with the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

What this means to me:
One day, I’ll give an account of my life before God. If I keep this in mind will it impact / change what I say, do and who I try to impress (it’s an antidote to pleasing people.)  So I need to ask myself, “Do I want God disapproving of what I just said or did, or do I want this person disapproving of what I just said or did?”  I instinctively want to be liked, and a motivation such as this can lead me to compromise, divert, punt or just leave out the truth.  Saying things that are politically correct and not offend can be a lie.  Rick Warren shared these insight on how he handles this:
1). Remember what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross. He didn’t deny me. He didn’t back down for me. He died for my sins. I owe him my life. He created me. He saved me. He forgave me. He’s taking me to Heaven. I’m not going to deny him.  
2). One day I’m going to give an account to God. And at that point God’s going to say, What did you say in that conversation at work? What did you say to your friend at school?” I  need to remember that integrity is more important than popularity. Don’t give integrity, at any cost.
3). Just tell the truth, and let the chips fall
The Bible says in Luke 9:26, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (NIV).  In summary, I never want to be ashamed of Christ.  I pray that I can be bold and truthful in all my dealings, above and beyond being liked by others.  I want to maintain my integrity in this area over being popular.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pleasing God Should Be The Highest Priority In Life

In summary of Galatians 1:10 it says, “I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”

Bottom Line:
I’m not trying to get the favor of or have people accept me.  God is the one I’m trying to please.  If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ

What this means to me:
I should not make my life about getting the favor of or having others accept me.  My goal should be to please and get God’s approval.  Often God’s ways are at odds with the worlds.  I must not let worldly values override that of pleasing God.  This notion can greatly simplify life.  In my life, I only have to please one person, my Creator, the one who made me for a purpose.  Jesus said it like this in John 5:30: “I don’t try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me” (NCV). In essence He said, “I’m living for an audience of one.”  Rick Warren explained that people-pleasing is a form of idolatry. The first commandment in the Ten Commandments is, “Don’t have any gods before me.” So anything I put before God becomes a god. So a car could be a god. A career could be a god.. Anything that becomes the number one thing in my life, that isn’t God, becomes my god.  The second commandment is, “Don’t make any idols.” Anything that replaces God in my life is an idol. Success can be an idol. Money can be an idol. A relationship can become an idol; especially If that relationship is more important than God.  If I become a people-pleaser (making it more important than anything in my life), then I have allowed something other than God to take first place. It becomes god in your life, because I’m allowing the opinion of others to matters more than God’s opinion.  I only need to please one person, God. Paul says in Galatians 1:10, “I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (NLT).  In summary, my goal should be to please, seek and get God’s approval.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Learning To Hear And Cooperate With God

In summary of Luke 8:15 it says, “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.”

Bottom Line:
The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in an obedient heart, obey it and patiently produce good fruit.

What this means to me:
God’s word provides me with what I need to live the life he wants for me.  I need to hear it, and then take it to heart and make it part of my life.  If I do, I’ll produce much fruit for His sake.  I have learned that God will speak to people who decide in advance to do what he tells them to do, not those who say, "God, tell me what to do and then I'll decide if I want to do it." When I have an attitude of cooperation, I’m more likely to hear from God. In my quiet times, I say, “God, I'm checking in with you. Anything you want to do in my life today, anything you want to tell me."  A willing mind is the good soil that is represented in this verse.  I need to be able to say, "God, I'm willing to do whatever you want me to do. Even if it seems scary or unusual or hard, I'm going to do it, and I'm going to keep at it until I bear fruit."  This is a scary notion and I have to admit, I’m not perfect at it.  Bearing fruit takes persistence and the willingness to pass it on to others; teach someone else.  Rick Warren explains that the secret of growth is that “Whatever you learn, as soon as you learn it, pass it on to someone.  One who teaches, grows the most -- because when you teach you show that you've not only heard it, but you've incorporated it and can communicate it to others.  I’m looking forward to the next semester of growth groups at my church.  I’ll be leading / facilitating a group again.  I always like to be prepared ahead of time to understand what will be talking about so that I can help guide the discussion and point out what I learn from the passages.  In summary, I need to continually get into His word.  I need to take it to heart and make it part of my life.  I need to share what I learn with others.

Monday, September 16, 2013

God Gives Real Freedom

In summary of John 8:36 it says, “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free.”

Bottom Line:
If the Son sets you free, you are truly free

What this means to me:
It’s only through Jesus that I can be restored to the father.  Knowing and following Him will reveal the truth and free from the bondage of sin.  Our world/culture would define freedom as a life without any restraint — “I can do anything I want to do and say anything I want to say without anybody telling me what to do.” You may burn everybody else, but you get to do it your own way. The world says you can have your freedom, but only by being totally selfish.  God’s word tells me the only way to true freedom is through Jesus: “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36 TEV).  Real freedom is freedom from fear, guilt, worry, bitterness, and death. I’m free to quit pretending because I’m free to be myself.  When I realize how much God loves me, I can live in true freedom. In fact, I worship God when I recognize that “God is love.” It is an act of worship to agree that he is a loving, caring, generous God and that I can “rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16).

Friday, September 13, 2013

How To Hear God

In summary of Proverbs 3:6 it says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Bottom Line:
Look for His will with everything you do, if you do, he’ll show you the right path

What this means to me:
In everything I do (how I’m a husband/father, how I lead growth groups, participate in the band, lead people and projects at work, being a student), I should look to God’s Word for direction.  God’s Word provides guidance.  If do what he has given me, then I'll be on the right path and will be listening to Him.  I need to be hearing from God on a daily basis.  When I hear from him it confirms my relationship with Him (God talks to his children.)  John 10:27 says, "My sheep recognize my voice and follow me." (NLT)  Just as a parent would talk to all their children, God talks to all of his kids. He doesn't just single certain individuals He talks to all believers, regardless of their state of maturity. It will protect me from mistakes -- If I listen to God, I'll make fewer mistakes because I'll hear him warning me in advance. Proverbs 3:6 says, "Listen for God's voice in everything you do, and everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track." (MSG)  This verse says, "in everything you do, and everywhere you go."  It will produce success in my life -- not the kind of success the world talks about where you're famous and filthy rich, rather God's definition of success - being exactly who God made you to be so that your life can have meaning.  "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8 NLT) I need to realize that the best pathway for my life is not the same as someone else's.  God has a customized pathway for me, and if I follow it I will succeed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Learning To Tune In To God

In summary of Luke 8:8 it says, “Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Bottom Line:
Seed that is sown on good soil will yield an abundant crop.  If you're able to understand this in context to what God word tells us and you allow it to soak in, you’ll be abundant as well.

What this means to me:
I need to be good soil, ready to accept and do something with what I hear from God.  Only then will I be productive for his kingdom.  God speaks and I hear Him through his Word.  He created me for a relationship with Him. This is the whole reason I exist. God wants me to know him intimately.  I won’t be able to have a relationship without communication. The problem is that communication is very easily misunderstood. I've been married to my wife for 26 years and I still don't always hear her or understand her. So if I can't even figure out somebody I've lived with for 26 years, how am I expected to always get it right hearing God?   Rick Warren explains that “The longer you grow in your relationship with the Lord, the easier it is to know when he's talking to you.” The key for me is learning how to tune in to him.  Jesus said in Luke 8:8, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (NIV) God has given you all the equipment you need to hear him.  In the next few day’s I’ll be reviewing some material that Rick Warren has provided and learn how to tune in to him.  In summary, I need to prepare myself to listen and be ready to do what I hear from God.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

He Who Laughs, Lasts

In summary of Proverbs 17:22 it says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

Bottom Line:
A joyful heart is good for, but a crushed spirit will dry you up

What this means to me:
Focusing on joy in my life will be much better and healthier for me.  Anytime I allow myself to be mentally/emotional/physical worn out will only lead to deterioration.  Many probably think that God’s word is filled with “Thou shalt nots,” assuming the Bible is about restrictions and making you lead a boring life.  But, having fun is good for your health.  God tells me in his Word that life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured. "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)  Rick Warren puts it this way, "He who laughs, lasts." So I need to learn to laugh at yourself, and put some play into every day, relax, chill out, have some fun.  We’ve been going through some high pressure situations at work.  I need to consider ways I can bring some fun back to work for my team.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Work ethic: Not Working For People, But For God

In summary of Ephesians 6:5-8 it says, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.”

Bottom Line:
We are to obey the authority we are under here on earth.  We should work hard for them, just as if Christ himself was our boss.  We work hard and serve not to please men but rather to please God.  We are to work with enthusiasm.  The Lord will reward you for doing good.

What this means to me:
This verse was written for all, whether slaves, masters or common workers, there is no distinction.  These verses definitely apply to us.  No matter what work we do, whether it be as a computer professional or in any other role; being joined with Christ calls us all to a higher standard of excellence. This translates into doing my best regardless of who I report to.  Christ is ultimately my boss and he knows and sees all and will judge accordingly.  I make it a goal in life to serve Christ in all that I do, no matter what.  These verses speak highly of integrity (doing the same thing whether visible or not visible) and doing so with a cheerful attitude and not begrudgingly.  In reality, Christ sees all and will reward accordingly.  There is nothing I do that can be hidden from him.  As such, I strive to serve as a model and examples for others and to do God's will here on earth.  The goal for my life is to reflect his character, serve his will, and bring glory and honor to him.  I must add, this is not always so easy and I fail often.  It is a conscience effort I must choose to make daily (and even hourly.)  I take my Job as a Manager, not in vain (or big headed – “I'm in charge”) but rather as a servant who serves those who report to me.  Granted I provide direction, coaching and guidance to my team, however, my job is to clear the way, overcome obstacles, and provide clarity so that those under me can do their best.  God cares deeply about this.  He designed me for a purpose and part of that is service to others and part of it is to be a model/example for others to see.  With my model/example, perhaps others will become interested, and be interested in why I am like this.  This may give me the opportunity to introduce them to their own personal relationship to Christ.  Overall, I’m not working for people, I’m working for Christ and I work towards giving my life over as in service for his purposes.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Learning To Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

In summary of Colossians 3:8 it says, “You must also rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.”

Bottom line:
We need to get rid of: anger, rage, talk that hurts people, insults, hateful feelings

What this means to me:
As a follower of Christ, I need to eliminate: anger, bad temper, bad feelings toward others, talk that hurts people, and obscene talk.  This is not so easy!  I read this verse before leaving for work in the morning.  Even reading it and briefly thinking about it didn’t help.  Slow traffic on a day when it is usually very light, seem to set me over the edge and put me behind.  I found myself being impatient and angry.  As the morning progressed it didn’t get much better, as early morning problems and people expectations at work occupied my time.  I think the same thing goes for relationships.  Things did not go as well for me that day either.  Often I just need to let go of my preconceived notion of how things should go and look at and pay attention to what’s happening around me.   I only have a certain amount of emotional energy. In a conversation where I’m trying to resolve conflict, I can either use that energy to fix the blame or I can use that energy to fix the problem. I won’t have enough energy to do both. So I need to learn to ask myself what’s more important, to find or put blame the other person or to resolve the conflict or fix the problem, not the blame.  The Bible is very specific about what’s out of bounds. Colossians 3:8 says, “You must also rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (NIV). Those are weapons of mass destruction. The reason to fix the problem and not the blame is because blaming is a form of judging, and only God has the right to judge. I’m not the judge. I can’t figure out anybody else’s motivation. I don’t even know my own motivation at times! Only God knows. Let him be the judge.  Just focus on fixing the problem.  In summary I need to get rid of weapons of mass destruction which are: anger, rage, talk that hurts people, insults, hateful feelings

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Knowing God's Truth: Jesus Christ

In summary of John 14:6 it says, "Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’"

Bottom Line:
Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life, the path to the Father is through Him

What this means to me:
Jesus himself has said that “he is the way, the truth and the life.”  The only way to the Father is through him.  Truth is a person; truth is Jesus Christ.  Jesus says, "I am the truth ." He doesn't indicate that truth is a religion, or a ritual, or a set of rules and regulations. He says "I." Truth is a person.  This is what separates Jesus Christ from every other leader of every other faith. Other leaders have said, "I'm looking for the truth" or "I'm teaching the truth" or "I point to the truth" or "I'm a prophet of truth." Jesus comes and says, "I am the truth."  People often think and say, that Jesus was just a great teacher.  But in reality he couldn't be just that: No great teacher would claim to be God if he wasn't. So either Jesus is conning 2.3 billion people who believe a lie, or he was nuts, or Jesus is who he said he was.  I'm betting my life that Jesus is who he said he was.  In summary Jesus is the truth and he is the way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Knowing God's Truth through God's Word

In summary of 2 Timothy 3:16 it says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

Bottom line:
Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,

What this means to me:
The Bible was God inspired, and useful for teaching me the truth, showing me my faults.  It corrects me when I wrong and shows me what to do. When I first considered whether I should make Christ the Lord and leader of my life I wondered how I could know that the Bible was true.  I have found that External evidence proves the Bible is reliable. There are 5,366 copies of the Bible dating from the time it was written to just 70 years afterwards. That dispels the urban legend that the Bible was changed as it passed through generations and languages. The External evidence also includes many archeological discoveries. Historians used to say that Solomon couldn't have had the horses the Bible says he had but then thousands of horse stables were found in an archeological dig. There's also the internal evidence of the Bible itself. In a court of law, a prosecutor with one or two eyewitness accounts has a good chance of making his case. The Bible is filled with eyewitness accounts. Moses was there when the Red Sea split; Joshua was there to watch Jericho fall; the disciples saw the resurrected Jesus. The internal evidence also includes the fact that the Bible tells one story with consistency though it was written over 1,500 years on three different continents by 40 different authors from every walk of life. No human being could account for that. It's an amazing example of God's abilities.  In summary, I have a book that is trustworthy and shows me the right way to do things.  It is truly the owners manual for life.  I would be wise to follow and adopt what it says.  My life may not be free of problems, but I will be able to cope with it and live a much better life and make a difference in the lives of others.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Knowing Who I Am

In summary of John 8:12 it says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

Bottom Line:
Jesus spoke saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

What this means to me:
Jesus personally told us that He is the light of the world.  If I follow him I will not walk in darkness, but rather have the light of life in me.  When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” he defined himself. He let us know that, “I know who I am.” More than 18 times in the Bible, Jesus says, “I am” and then gives a description. He described himself as the door, the bread of life, the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life. Over and over, he defines himself. Jesus knew who he was and, as a result, he was not under pressure.  As long as I’m unsure of my identity, I’ll be pressured to fit into other people's molds. They will attempt to manipulate me. They will try to make me into what they think I ought to be rather than what God made me to be. One cause of stress comes from trying to be somebody that I’m not. When I’m fearful that someone's going to find out what I’m really like, that I might not be able to keep up the facade, it causes stress.  The only way I can counterbalance outside external pressures is to have an internal sense of satisfaction about who I am and who God made me to be. You discover who you are by knowing who I belong to.  The Bible says that I was created by God. I am deeply loved by him. I am accepted as I am. He has a plan for my life. Until I settle this issue of identity, I will be insecure and I will be pressured by stress. I cannot serve other people until myself settle this issue.  Jesus constantly did things that surprised everybody else. He put himself below others and served them. None of the other disciples would have ever thought to wash each other’s feet in the Upper Room because of their insecurity. But Jesus always served from a position of strength. He knew who and whose he was, so it didn't matter that he lowered himself to serve them.  Service comes from self-esteem. Until I overcome my insecurity and feel good about myself, I won't feel like helping anyone else.  In summary I need to be secure in who God made me to be.  When I feel secure then I can effectively serve others.