Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - What Does God Think of Us

During the early 1950s, ad agencies began to push more than products. They began pushing lifestyles. It wasn’t enough to provide the benefits of a product in an advertisement. They began to tout the notion that you would be envied by your friends and neighbors for owning a particular car or wearing a certain dress. Those same ad agencies made it clear that all should worry about how others think of them. If you didn’t own a particular car or wear a particular dress, you would be a social outcast and your friends and neighbors should avoid you like the plague. Take a look at today’s advertisements in magazines, newspapers and the flyers you receive in the mail. Look at the commercials on television. If you do not eat in a particular restaurant, you are not part of the “in crowd”.

After seeing these insidious advertisements, we begin to want and desire things not because we need them, but, rather, we want them to make us look sophisticated and part of the “in crowd” Even our children are affected by these commercials. By not wearing the right sneakers or wearing the right clothes, they risk ridicule from their classmates. If they own the wrong video game console, other children will pick on them for their choice. 

It is not enough just to have nice clothes or a dependable car, you are being told that you have to have an item because it will make you look cool to your friends. Instead of concentrating on more important things, we begin to worry about our images and wonder if we are truly “keeping up with the Joneses”. We constantly compare ourselves to those on television or in magazines and strive to become those perfect individuals.

When we begin to live our lives in this fashion, we are constantly worried about what others think about us. We live our lives through their eyes and their opinions regarding our lives. We soon forget the things that are truly important to us. We begin to move away from God and concentrate on what appear to be the most important things.

When Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey on that beautiful Palm Sunday, the people welcomed him. In less than a week, many turned their back on him and wanted his execution. In John 12, Jesus talks about the people who do not believe in him completely. Starting with verse 42, John writes, “42 Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. 43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” 

Although they may have believed in him, they still let the world drive their opinions of themselves. They preferred the praise of those around them rather than the praise of the Father. They wanted to hear the words that would tickle their ears and make themselves feel good about their decisions. We act the same way even today. We still allow others to dictate how we should act and feel when it comes to doing God’s will. We will sometimes shirk our responsibilities in favor of currying favor with others and garnering their approval of our lives.

As we continue down this path, we move farther and farther away from one whose view of us should matter most. We do not seek out God, but rather we work to gain the approval of others. The more we do this; the more we fail to serve God and we begin to serve our own vanity and feed our pride. 

Instead of being slaves to the opinions and dictates of others, we should dedicate ourselves to God the Father. He created us. Let us look at the beautiful story of Genesis regarding the creation of man. Reading from Genesis 2. “7 Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person.” God created all living things, but man was special. God personally fashioned him from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. God did not do that with the fish and fowl of the seas and skies or with the animals that walk the dry land. Those were just created. God took special effort with man and made him in His own image. 

In verse 26 of Genesis 1, God says that man “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.” God places man as the steward of His work and gives him power over creation. God thought that much of man. 

Let us look at Psalm 139 and see what David says about God and His view of us. “1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

God knows everything about us Jesus tells us in Luke 12, “6 'What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.'” Once again, God shows us what He thinks of us. We are so very valuable to Him.

If we examine Psalm 139 again, David tells us that God delicately knitted us together in the wombs of our mothers. He knew us before we were born and laid out each step of our lives. David sums it up best. “17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” God thinks about us every single moment of every single day. He guides our every step without fail. His love is unending and everlasting. 

To show you how much He loves you. Let us look at possibly the most quoted, memorized and profound of all Bible verses, John 3:16. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God provided for our salvation by giving us His son as our sacrifice for our sins and transgressions. That is how much He thinks of you. Certainly more than all those around us.

When we concentrate on God and seeking His approval, we make Him the center of our lives and live as He intended that we should. We no longer allow others to judge our lifestyles and do not seek their approval.

If you do not have a relationship with God who loves you more than you can ever imagine, listen to your heart. If you hear someone knocking on the door of your heart, that is Jesus asking to come into your life. He wants to give you something that others cannot give you. He wants you to know about a love that is everlasting and undeserved. It is love that will engulf you completely and give you a wonderful peace.

When you have God in your life and His love that will fill you to overflowing, you will know just how much God loves you and be able to stand firm in His grace.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. 
~ Numbers 6:24-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

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