Do you believe in yourself? Do your friends believe in you? Do your parents believe in you? Do your siblings believe in you? Does your spouse believe in you? Do your kids believe in you? Do your coworkers believe in you? Don’t stop doing what is good and what is right just to receive acceptance for others! Do what is right! Do what is good! Do what you are called to do! And let’s make a difference in this world around us!
God believes in you, so you need to believe in yourself?
What if the answer were no? Today’s reading starts on just such a note, not that nobody believed, but that Jesus’ brothers did not…
Jesus and His Brothers
1After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee; he did not want to travel in Judea, because the Jewish authorities there were wanting to kill him. 2The time for the Festival of Shelters was near, 3so Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave this place and go to Judea, so that your followers will see the things that you are doing. 4People don’t hide what they are doing if they want to be well known. Since you are doing these things, let the whole world know about you!” ( 5Not even his brothers believed in him.)
6Jesus said to them, “The right time for me has not yet come. Any time is right for you. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I keep telling it that its ways are bad. 8You go on to the festival. I am not going to this festival, because the right time has not come for me.” 9He said this and then stayed on in Galilee.
–from John 7
Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated, but rather do what God has called you to do! Not just what but how He has called you to do it. It may not be the easy way! It may not be pain free! But if we do it God’s way, He will provide a way through it and we will gain the rewards in eternity with Him!
Suffering as a Christian
12My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. 13Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed. 14Happy are you if you are insulted because you are Christ’s followers; this means that the glorious Spirit, the Spirit of God, is resting on you. 15If you suffer, it must not be because you are a murderer or a thief or a criminal or a meddler in other people’s affairs. 16However, if you suffer because you are a Christian, don’t be ashamed of it, but thank God that you bear Christ’s name.
17The time has come for judgment to begin, and God’s own people are the first to be judged. If it starts with us, how will it end with those who do not believe the Good News from God? 18As the scripture says, “It is difficult for good people to be saved; what, then, will become of godless sinners?” 19So then, those who suffer because it is God’s will for them, should by their good actions trust themselves completely to their Creator, who always keeps his promise.
–from 1 Peter 4
Let’s live lives that point others to God! Let’s live lives that shine so bright people wonder what it is about us that allows us to live with such joy, no matter the circumstance or situation! God is trust worthy! God keeps His promises! If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it!
Today we continue into the Songs of Song…
1What a magnificent young woman you are! How beautiful are your feet in sandals. The curve of your thighs is like the work of an artist. 2A bowl is there, that never runs out of spiced wine. A sheaf of wheat is there, surrounded by lilies. 3Your breasts are like twin deer, like two gazelles. 4Your neck is like a tower of ivory. Your eyes are like the pools in the city of Heshbon, near the gate of that great city. Your nose is as lovely as the tower of Lebanon that stands guard at Damascus. 5Your head is held high like Mount Carmel. Your braided hair shines like the finest satin; its beauty could hold a king captive. 6How pretty you are, how beautiful; how complete the delights of your love. 7You are as graceful as a palm tree, and your breasts are clusters of dates. 8I will climb the palm tree and pick its fruit. To me your breasts are like bunches of grapes, your breath like the fragrance of apples, 9and your mouth like the finest wine.
Then let the wine flow straight to my lover, flowing over his lips and teeth. 10I belong to my lover, and he desires me. 11Come, darling, let’s go out to the countryside and spend the night in the villages. 12We will get up early and look at the vines to see whether they’ve started to grow, whether the blossoms are opening and the pomegranate trees are in bloom. There I will give you my love. 13You can smell the scent of mandrakes, and all the pleasant fruits are near our door. Darling, I have kept for you the old delights and the new.
–from Songs of Song 7