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BY ELIZABETH BERRY

 

We are created in the image of God. Our lives are designed to reflect—to image—pure perfection: the Creator Himself. The human identity was always intended to be found in Him.

The curse of sin has ruined many things for mothers—we experience infertility, miscarriage, difficulties in childbirth, heartbreak, death, and so much more—but one of its most devastating effects is the corruption of how we perceive identity and worth. Though we were meant to be God’s, sin tricks us into believing that we are better on our own. We forget Whom we were created to image. We forget where our true and better identity lies.

Sin may prevent us from perfectly reflecting our Creator in this life; but when we believe Christ in repentance and faith, His transforming work is able to salvage glimpses of His glorious image in us—even on our most ordinary days.

So, Momma—remember who you really are.

To the mother who has lost her identity:

Your once-prioritized dreams lie buried deep beneath diapers, nap schedules, athletic events, schoolwork, and never-ending requests for more snacks. The drudgery of the mundane induces a zombie-like resignation to your family’s needs, and you lifelessly go through the motions with little or no joy.

Momma—find yourself in Jesus, who gladly laid down His life for yours. You will image His selfless sacrifice as you joyfully lay down your own life in this season of service to your family.

To the mother who has too many identities:

You juggle your mom hat with your career hat, your social hat, your hobby hat, and your fill-in-the-blank hat—but this balancing act is unsustainable, and you end up dropping hats left and right. The only hats you really seem to keep up with are your guilt and shame hats.

Momma—rest in the only One who is able to do it all. In fact, He already did it all. You will image His finished work of salvation as you rest in the freedom He offers: freedom to remove the unnecessary, to lay aside the expectations of others, and to acknowledge—as you rest—that God is God, and you are not. 

To the mother who has her identity figured out:

You pride yourself in your ability to manage the bubble you have carefully crafted for your family; but if some unthinkable event were to pop that precious bubble, your entire identity would be crushed—overwhelmed by despair, depression, and emotional breakdown.

Momma—Jesus is better. When your seemingly-perfect world falls apart, He remains, in true perfection and glory. Look for your value and identity in Christ’s performance—not your own—and nothing can shake you.

“The only esteem that will suffice
is one that is rooted in Jesus Christ.”
Max Fernandez

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:2


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BY DON OVERPECK

 

Stress is generally caused by fear of the unknown or a real or perceived loss of control in one’s life. How will I pay my bills? How will I cope with my disease? Sometimes we do things we should not, which creates stress. I must speed and weave through traffic unsafely to get to my appointment on time. Will the doctor still see me if I am late?

So how do we cope with uncertainty and stress? When we were children and became frightened or stressed, what did we do? Where did we turn? Most often we turned to a parent or sibling or friend who knew more than we did, who saw things in a more mature light. Those people would teach us and comfort us about whatever was going on in our lives. We had faith that they would guide and protect us.

The one-word answer to the question is Faith. Everyone experiences stress of some kind. How are Christians supposed to handle stress? Faith, Faith in our loving, all-knowing, always in control Father God and in Jesus Christ our Saviour and mediator.

Christians have a Heavenly Father who is the creator and sustainer of life itself. We have a Saviour in Jesus who is the one true mediator between man and God. We have God’s Holy Spirit indwelling us. We have the written Word of God to guide and comfort us. We also have God’s Church: Christian people assembled by God to facilitate God’s will on earth. God’s Church exists for the purpose of glorifying Christ, encouraging and teaching the believers, and spreading the Gospel around the world.

So, you see, Christians have all these great aids at our disposal that non-Christians do not. Both Christians and non-Christians have the same problems dealing with stress; they just handle it differently. Christians have the promises in the Word of God and the very Spirit of God to help and guide them. Non-Christians need to be taught about these things, so they can have access to our Holy God through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Access is through faith in the finished work of Christ alone.

Both Christians and non-Christians have the same problems dealing with stress; they just handle it differently.

In the beginning, God gave man a paradise. Our world is a broken and sinful place because of man’s rebellion against God. God wants us to have everlasting life with Him. God also wants us to have inner peace, even while living in this broken world. He enables both to become reality for us through Jesus.

“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.”
John 3:16

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 14:27


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BY ALEX FLANAGAN

 

To say that there are a multitude of different worldviews in our modern society is certainly a given. A quick glance at the world around us is all that is needed to confirm it. Indeed, differing ideas and opinions seem to be almost as plentiful as there are people. Amidst all these, Evangelical Christians make the very exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to God. Is this true? If so, why? And what makes the Jesus of the Bible so unique?

Before we can answer these important questions, we must ask ourselves much more fundamental questions. Who is God, what is truth, and how many possible ways are there to God? First, God is the self-existent, transcendent, all powerful, morally perfect, Creator of all things. God must be “maximally great” by definition; otherwise, He is not God, but some inferior being. Second, truth is that which corresponds to reality. Truth is, by definition, exclusive. In other words, a claim is either true or not, but it cannot be both. (Some may wonder why truth needs explaining, but I have found that it is often poorly understood in today’s culture.) Third, although there are many different religions, there are primarily two categories of possible ways to God. Either we must work our way to God, or we cannot work our way to God. Most religions would fall into the first category; I only know of one religion that falls into the second category. You can probably guess which one.

God must be “maximally great” by definition; otherwise, He is not God, but some inferior being.

Now that we have defined God, truth, and possible ways to God, we have already made great progress towards answering our initial questions. Either we can, in some way, earn God’s favor, or God’s favor cannot be earned and must be freely given. As it turns out, God’s favor cannot be earned, because we have already chosen to rebel against Him. Thus, we have willingly alienated ourselves from Him. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

But that might be difficult to swallow. You might say, “Sure, I’m not perfect, but I’m certainly no Hitler. Really, I’m a pretty good person.” Allow me to explain. The problem has to do with whom we like to compare ourselves. God is perfect in every way. He will not judge us according to some arbitrary standard of our own; He will judge us according to His standard. And His standard is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). That is a pretty tall standard, and it shows us very clearly that we are not good. In fact, we are proud, rebellious sinners who hate God and love ourselves above all others. Our own conscience bears witness against us. We have forfeited God’s favor and stand condemned before Him. We are desperately in need of His mercy, forgiveness, and grace, but He cannot let sin go unpunished. His justice forbids it. Sin must be paid for. Thankfully, this is where the bad news ends.

God saw man’s desperate plight, and in His great mercy, sent His Son Jesus Christ from Heaven to Earth so that we might be saved. He lived the perfect life we could never live; He took the punishment for our sins by suffering and dying on the cross; He rose again from the dead the third day that we might be eternally reunited with God. All who believe in Him are forgiven and pass from death unto life. God gives them a new heart with new desires, and He sends the Holy Spirit to indwell them, commune with them, and empower them to live out the Christian life. This beautiful message is what Christianity calls “the gospel.” In the original language, it means “good news.” I hope you can see why.

So why are Christians so dogmatic about the claim that Jesus is the ONLY way to God? Because we are sinners, and Jesus is God’s ONLY provision for us to be saved from our sin. There is none like Jesus; He stands alone.

Jesus is God’s ONLY provision for us to be saved from our sin. There is none like Jesus; He stands alone.

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 4:12

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
John 14:6


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BY JAKE TAUBE

 

Christians affirm that Jesus is God. Sound a little superstitious? After all, Jesus lived a long time ago, and we can’t really put this claim to the test, can we? What proof do Christians have that Jesus is God?

But, really, how long ago Jesus lived isn’t the biggest problem. If some person today claimed to be God, what experiment could you use to show that he or she was wrong? There is no “God gene.” It’s clearly not as simple as running a paternity test! How do you prove that someone is not God?

So, are we stuck here? “Jesus claimed to be equal with God, eternal like God, the very Son of God—but our tests were inconclusive. We can neither confirm nor deny it.”

There is something more we can say, though. If we knew some things about God himself—what he was like, what he was capable of—then we could at least say whether or not Jesus’ claims were credible. If, for example, Jesus did things that only God could do, that would be an argument in his favor.

But who knows what God is like? This is the place where we have to start, then, isn’t it? Who knows God? Who has heard him speak?

What proof do Christians have that Jesus is God?

For millennia before the birth of Jesus, it was the Jewish people who were the world’s foremost authorities on God. They had history with him. God had revealed himself to them—his character, his power, his promises. So, if we want to know if someone is God, we’d better ask the experts.

You might be able to convince some Greeks or Romans that you were equal with the gods. (The Roman emperors claimed as much for themselves.) But perhaps nobody in history was less likely to believe that a man could be divine than Jews in the first century A.D.! They were the people who knew what the difference was between Creator God and created humanity. The world worshiped idols, but the Jewish people said that God alone was Lord over all the universe, and he alone was worthy of worship.

And yet… all of Jesus’ disciples were Jews. The early Christian movement was a Jewish movement. It was some of those strange people who said that there was only one God who confessed that Jesus was one with God!

How did this happen? As the New Testament records show, these Jewish people heard Jesus speak, they saw his miraculous works, they witnessed his unprecedented character… and they recognized him! They said, “We know who this is!

I know who this is: true God from true God!

After all, very few individuals in history have claimed to be God, and very few people have taken them seriously. There is a grand total of ONE such person who has won hundreds of millions of believers. And not just the loonies and the disreputable. A shocking number of the brightest, strongest, and noblest members of our human race have also bowed the knee before Jesus and said, “I know who this is: true God from true God!”


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