Other posts related to bible

Your Identity In Christ

 | September 12, 2009 9:42 PM

Your Identity In Christ » Blog » Greg Boyd (Christus Victor Ministries) This is from Pastor Greg Boyd’s blog. I added in links to all the Scripture references.

Your Identity In Christ

In response to one of my messages I told some folks I’d post a sampling I have of what the Bible says about our identity in Christ, so here it is. I encourage you to take each truth on this list and not only SAY it throughout the day, but SEE it and HEAR it and LIVE IN it.  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).

In Christ you are …

  • God’s beloved child (Jn 1:12; Eph 1:5)
  • Christ’s dear friend (Jn 15:5)
  • Declared perfectly righteous (“justified”) (Rom 5:1)
  • Free from condemnation (Rom 8:1; Col 2:14-16)
  • United with Christ, “one spirit” with Christ (I Cor 6:17; Eph 5:31)
  • A member of Christ’s body (I Cor 6:15, 12:27)
  • The Temple of God (I Cor 6:19)
  • Filled with the “fullness of God” (Eph 3:19)
  • A “holy one” [saint] (Eph 1:1)
  • Blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)
  • Holy and blameless (Eph 1:4)
  • Bought with an infinite price and forgiven (I Cor 6: 20; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14)
  • Bathed with wisdom and understanding (Eph 1:8)
  • The recipient of an eternal, infinitely rich, inheritance (Eph 1:11, 18)
  • Possessed with the mind of Christ (I Cor 2:16)
  • Inseparable from God’s love (Rom 8:35-39)
  • One who will NEVER be abandoned (Mt 28:20)
  • The beautiful bride of Christ who “ravishes” the heart of God (Song of Songs, 4:1ff; 6:4ff).
  • One over whom the Lord rejoices, sings and claps his hands (Zeph 3:17)
  • One for whom the Lord throws a party (Zeph 3:17; Lk 15:7-10)
  • A recipient of God’s own peace (Jn 14:27)
  • Filled with the peace and joy of God (Rom 14:17)
  • One in whom Christ’s joy is fulfilled (Jn 15:11)
  • Given direct access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18)
  • Seated with Christ in heavenly realms (Eph 2:6)
  • Seated “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” with Christ (Eph 1:21).
  • Hid in Christ in heavenly realms (Col 3:1-5)
  • Crucified, Buried and Raised with Christ (Rom 6:1-11)
  • Made perfect forever (Heb 10:14)
  • Made complete in Christ (Col 2:10)
  • Indwelled by a fearless Spirit (2 Tim 1:7)
  • One of God’s precious works of art (Eph 2:10)
  • Indwelt by a spirit of power, love and stability (2 Tim 1:7)
  • A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
  • Predestined to look like Jesus and see him in his glory (Rom 8:29; I Jn 3:1-5)
  • One in whom God is working to bring good out of evil (Rom 8:28)
  • Salt of the earth (Mt 5:13)
  • A branch chosen to bear fruit (Jn 15:16)
  • A co-worker with God (I Cor 3:9)
  • An ambassador of Christ and minister of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:17-20)
  • A priest of the most high God (I Pet 2:5-9)
  • More than a conqueror in all things (Rom 8:37)
  • One who knows Satan is a disarmed laughing stock (Col 2:14-15).
  • One who knows the truth and is set free (Jn 8:32).
  • One who can do all things in Christ (Phil 4:13)

I encourage you to reprogram your mind meditating on these truths.  Further help on being transformed by the mind can be found in Seeing Is Believing and (with Al Larsen) Escaping the Matrix.

Be Blessed !

Maybe I should try memorizing some of these verses.  Want to join me in memorizing them?

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To the Dear Leader:

This is my first letter I am writing to you.  Please forgive me for presuming I could even begin to write a letter to you but I do hope you will find this letter interesting.

You may have already realized this but the recent story of Choson, North Korea, bears a striking resemblance to the story of Babylonia in the Book of Daniel in the Bible.  I am sure you are well aware of the Bible, your grandmother was a Christian and your father received a Bible from Billy Graham.  This Bible might even be in the museum dedicated to your father along with the many other gifts he has received from world luminaries.

The Graham Family Legacy in North Korea

One story in the Book of Daniel is about how Daniel was falsely accused by high ranking officials of Babylonia.  King Darius was forced to sentence Daniel to death by being thrown into the lion pit but an angel of God saved him.  The next day King Darius was overjoyed to see Daniel safe and had him taken out of the lion pit and the accusing officials thrown in instead.

Daniel 6:19-22

Today Euna Lee and Laura Ling stand falsely accused by your government.  They are not spies, they are journalists.  They had no intention to harm North Korea in any way, in fact they wanted to help your beautiful country.

Officials in your government are trying to profit from this false accusation.  They coerced a false confession from Euna Lee and Laua Ling.  The North Korean courts have sentenced them to twelve years hard labor.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee face trial in North Korea for ‘hostile acts’

I ask on behalf of all who care about justice to free Euna Lee and Laura Ling just as King Darius freed the falsely accused Daniel in the Book of Daniel.

Your life is about your legacy.  Consider how great your legacy will be when you come to aid these two.  You will be praised throughout the world.

Sincerely,

Frank Kim
김성훈

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Modern Day Noah’s Ark

 | June 7, 2009 6:00 AM

My fascination with animals first started with snakes. From there I started reading books about dinosaurs, then killer whales, lions, tigers, weasels, badgers, wolverines, hawks, eagles, ospreys and every other carnivore I could learn about. I was never too interested in the herbivores or omnivores. 🙂

I distinctly remember reading in one of my books about how animals were going extinct and being absolutely stunned.  I couldn’t believe that humans would willingly cause a species of animals to vanish from this earth.  The reality is that an uncountable number of animal and plant species have already vanished because of human activity.  By the end of this century it is quite likely that there will be no more tigers, lions, elephants, rhinoceros, whales, dolphins, gorillas, monkeys, etc. except for the few kept in captivity in zoos.

Some entrepreneurs are recognizing this and taking advantage of it.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to MercyTigers?  Even the estimated five thousand still in the wild aren’t safe.  They, too, live in small and broken remnants of forest in India, East Asia, and the Russian Far East.  As their numbers decline, their market value as “aphrodisiacs” only rises, so that a single dead tiger is today worth a fortune, and it would take a Secret Service detail to protect each one of them.  African poachers today are killing off lions, too, and storing up the powdered bones and other parts in expectation of the day when all the tigers are gone and these become the next-best alternative for the Asian market.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 372.

Scientists are recognizing this bleak possibility and are planning for this.  Humans are again playing God but in this case they are doing this by creating a genetic Noah’s Ark.

I had a glimpse of this strange new world myself in April 2001 on a visit to the widely heralded Project Noah’s Ark at Texas A&M University.  It’s one of those genome banks storing away the DNA of endangered species…

Within these tanks … are the sperm, embryos, and skin cells of animals headed for the brink.  Humankind does not yet have the technology to clone all of them … though in theory it can be accomplished one day through the use of surrogate mothers…  Now, while gene pools are still sufficiently diverse, we must go forth and collect samples of the type.

Each tank, a kind of ultimate wildlife refuge, is filled with fifteen gallons of liquid nitrogen…  A cloud of vapor rose as Dr. Kraemer removed the lid to show me the green plastic straws stored inside.  The straws have a label bearing the name of a species expected to die off: Chimp. Lowland Gorilla.  Baboon.  Giraffe.  Bison.  Bighorn Sheep.  Oryx.  Kudu.  Tortoise.  Other straws contain the makings of Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo.  The sperm, embryo, and skin cells of an African elephant will be arriving soon…

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 374.

In the beginning when God created everything that lived and said it was good and to multiply, I don’t think he ever intended this.  Maybe the Bible foretold of this in Hosea 4.

The Charge Against Israel

1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites,
       because the LORD has a charge to bring
       against you who live in the land:
       “There is no faithfulness, no love,
       no acknowledgment of God in the land.

2 There is only cursing, [a] lying and murder,
       stealing and adultery;
       they break all bounds,
       and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

3 Because of this the land mourns, [b]
       and all who live in it waste away;
       the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
       and the fish of the sea are dying.

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Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

In those pre-Fall days, after all, animals were off the Garden menu:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  Genesis 1:28

In the very next breath man is told to keep his mitts off the critters (and vice versa) and be content with the herbs and the fruit of the trees:

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.  Genesis 1:29

If any passage in Scripture lends credibility to the writers, it is this, for of course they were not themselves vegetarians.  The alternative vision must simply have seemed inconceivable – a world in which it actually pleased our Maker to see His creatures stalking and slaying and absorbing one another.  The Catholic “meatless Friday” … came to us … from this same idea of predation as a consequence of the Fall and corruption of the world, as does the “grace” before meals.  Indeed there was a time when Christians fasted from animal products throughout all forty days of Lent…

The next step seems obvious to me.  If sanctity is the goal, and the flesh-eating a mark of the Fall, the one is to be sought and the other to be avoided.  Why just say grace when you can show it?  …. I am betting that in the Book of Life “He had mercy on the creatures” is going to count for more than “He ate well.”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 44-45.

Mr. Scully, like Mr. Webb in On God and Dogs, argues that vegetarianism is an ideal that Christians should seek.  And I think that slowly Christians are starting to listen.

Pastor Greg Boyd, senior pastor of the evangelical megachurch, Woodland Hills Church, blogged a year ago about the five reasons he became a vegetarian.

  1. God Told Me To
  2. Increasing the Capacity to Love
  3. Seeing the Sacred Beauty in All Living Things
  4. The First Fruits of the Coming Non-Violent (and thus, non-carnivorous) Creation
  5. Compassionate Dominion and the Factory Farm Industry

Of the five of these, increasing the capacity to love appealed to me the most.  It might have been coincidental but I remember that at the moment I made a decision to reduce my consumption of meat I found myself forgiving certain people that up to that point I could not completely forgive.  Greg Boyd mirrors this experience in his own life.

Almost immediately after making this pledge I began to understand why the Lord had wanted me to make it. Scripture says a little yeast leavens all the dough (1 Cor 5:6). Well, I discovered that the little yeast of my willingness to engage in violence towards animals and other creatures for self-serving reasons (e.g. appetite, convenience) was polluting my heart and to some degree compromising my capacity to love. It felt like – and still feels like – my commitment to total non-violence has had, and is yet having, a purifying effect on my heart.

Along the same lines, my commitment to purge violence completely from my life has increased my sensitivity to the ugliness of violence, both in my own heart and in the world…  I have found that my commitment to non-violence has helped me wake up to all of the violence I have in my thoughts and speech, which in turn has helped me get free from this ugly violence. And this, in turn, has deepened my capacity for love.

Five years ago I never dreamed there was a connection between eating meat, anger in the heart and my ability to love. But for me at least, there definitely was. A little yeast leavens all the dough.

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Dominion

 | June 1, 2009 2:31 PM

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to MercyIn fact, let us just call things what they are.  When a man’s love of finery clouds his moral judgment, that is vanity.  When he lets a demanding palate make his moral choices, that is gluttony.  When he ascribes the divine will to his own whims, that is pride.  And when he gets angry at being reminded of animal suffering that his own daily choices might help avoid, that is moral cowardice.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 121.

This paragraph I think sums up the book Dominion for me.  As a society we have created systems, the most egregious being the factory farms, which cause unspeakable abuse of animals yet are designed so that we never have to know about any of these abuses.  Matthew Scully’s book brings to light the myriad ways we cruelly exploit God’s creation for profit and/or pleasure.

Though not a Christian book, this book gets it title from Genesis 1:26.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

God gave man dominion over the earth and Scully argues, convincingly in my opinion, that man has abused this privilege almost beyond redemption.

I first learned about this book in 2003 after reading a review of Dominion in Christianity Today.  Afterwards I endeavored to only purchase meat that was humanely raised.  But over time my concern for the bottom line became stronger than my concern for animals so I slowly stopped doing this and tried to justify it in many ways.

However I never forgot the image on the cover of Dominion.  And recently I became convicted again to reassess the moral implications of what I eat.  So I requested Dominion from the library and read it cover to cover.  You can read much of Dominion for free online.

I will be writing a few more posts about different things I learned from Dominion.  I hope you will enjoy them and/or find them thought provoking. Thanks to my vegetarian friends for inspiring me.

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Psalm 119

 | May 25, 2009 7:45 AM

Psalm 119:34

33 Teach me your decrees, O Lord;
I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35 Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
36 Give me an eagerness for your laws
rather than a love for money!
37 Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.[a]
38 Reassure me of your promise,
made to those who fear you.
39 Help me abandon my shameful ways;
for your regulations are good.
40 I long to obey your commandments!
Renew my life with your goodness.

41 Lord, give me your unfailing love,
the salvation that you promised me.

This morning, after the children had finished their homemade waffles courtesy of Ji Seon and settled down to watch Toy Story 2, I read Psalm 119.  It captures some of my recent thoughts, my longing to have the courage to follow God and to be filled with his love.

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On God and Dogs

 | May 24, 2009 9:52 PM

on-god-and-dogs

Recently I was inspired by Pastor John March and his post Animals: Another Other to Love (Or, Why I’m a Vegetarian) to read the book On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals.

Halfway through Chapter One I realized Pastor March is much smarter than me and that this book is far too academic for me.  However just in that short amount of reading I felt I had learned quite a bit.

Stephen Webb’s audience for this book is those that are interested in animal rights and those who study Christian theology.  These “two different audiences … ordinarily do not read the same books.”  I happen to be a Christian who is not too interested in theology but is becomingly interested in animal rights and how they affect my everyday decisions.

It is obvious that Mr. Webb’s love for animals originated with the special relationship he had with his pet dog as a boy.  The moving story of his elderly arthritic dog painfully climbing up two flights of stairs to comfort a sick boy caused me to reflect about whether we should get a family dog.  We have had three dogs and for various reasons gave them up which reflects on what poor dog owners we were.

Mr. Webb is a vegetarian which seems to be typical for people who care about animal rights.  The trend of vegetarianism seems to be growing, even within Christian circles.  This is a trend I can no longer ignore even if I do enjoy so much the taste of meat.

Mr. Webb’s book’s goal seems to be to explore the relationship between people and their pets and to expand that.  However I did not really get very far in that exploration but instead read the beginnings of understanding how God cares for not just humans but all of his creation.

The Genesis account of creation provocatively portrays a vegetarian world (“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’”  Genesis 1:29) in which the humans exercise authority over the animals but do not use or kill them.  Indeed, land animals are made on the same day as humans, showing their similarity to humanity, but they are also made before humans and pronounced good independently of humans, showing that they too are created out of love…  The use of the phrase “all flesh” in Genesis joins together the human and the animal in a basic kinship of creatureliness under the shared providence of a merciful God (Genesis 6:12, 13, Genesis 9:11, 17).

Meat eating is later permitted but Mr. Webb argues it was far from the ideal.

In Deuteronomy 12:20 God seems to allow meat eating due to the uncontrollable cravings of the Israelites…  When Deuteronomy 8:7-10 describes the ideal land and diet for the Hebrews … meat is excluded (also see similar descriptions in Jeremiah 29:5; Amos 9:14; and Hosea 2:22).

I don’t think any of the above verses are particularly persuasive for arguing that vegetarianism is Biblical but no one could disagree that until after the flood God did not permit meat eating which seems to point to a vegetarian diet being at least Edenic.

Eating and animals are thus more than symbols; food becomes part of the daily struggle of obeying God.  The Book of Daniel … Daniels and his friends … ate only vegetables, and at “the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” Daniel 1:15.

Mr. Webb goes through the Bible pointing out various places where the rights of an animal and creation itself were to be considered.  The most interesting to me was Hosea 4:1-3 which pictures a time of immorality evidenced by the land mourning.  The “beast of the field and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea are dying.”  This sounds remarkably like current times.  Many of the other verses Mr. Webb highlights I think are not necessarily as much about animal rights as about being practical, for example including animals in the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10).

Interestingly Mr. Webb says Jesus was often described as “a lover of animals.”

… Jesus declares his Father’s love for the sparrows (Luke 12:6, Matthew 10:29), portrays God as a feeder of birds (Luke 12:24; Matthew 6:26), and compares himself to a hen gathering together her brood under her wings (Matthew 23:37) ….

However Mr. Webb would not say the same thing about Paul.

Most Christians follow Paul in showing little concern for the world of animals, although with Paul, too, the evidence is ambiguous…  Paul established the very influential idea for Christianity that vegetarianism must be a form of superstition and that Christian freedom must mean the complete secularization (and thus indifference) of food preparation and consumption (see, for examples from the Pauline tradition, 1 Timothy 4:4 and Colossians 2:16-17)…  Paul’s influence continues today, when many North Americans look at the mass production of animal flesh in factory fams as one of the chief signs of our country’s freedom, prosperity, and equality.

Mr. Webb concludes that the Bible is favorable to animal issues and compares it to how the Bible implicitly opposes slavery.

Clearly, it is possible to interpret the Bible (especially the Hebrew scriptures) favorably on the issue of animals but not without a struggle with the dominant theological tradition.  After all, animals are used, eaten, and traded in the Bible, and humans are clearly the main focus of the biblical narratives…  Gary Comstock has stated: “I have come to interpret the Bible’s views on the killing of animals in the way I interpret its views on the owning of slaves.  Even though each practice is implicitly, if not explicitly condoned, the practice is still shown to be wrong by the larger story of salvation in Jesus Christ…”  Jonah 4:11 is a most revealing scripture.  Here God reprimands the recalcitrant Jonah, saying, “Should I not be concerned about Ninevah,” a great city with thousands of people and “also many animals?”

Mr. Webb then talks about the Christian tradition and how some “equated gluttony and flesh eating.”  There were vegetarians like St. Benedict, James, the brother of Jesus (according to some traditions), John Wesley, etc.  But most of the time these Christians and their groups were considered on the fringe or even heretical.

At this point I stopped reading the book and picked up Dominion which was much easier to read.  I appreciate though what I learned from Mr. Webb within the first thirty-seven pages of his book.

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The Okay Samaritan

 | September 16, 2008 3:43 PM

Almost everyone knows the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  Our church, GrX, is currently doing a sermon series called Transformission and the whole series will be about this parable.

In the first sermon, The Call of Mercy, Pastor David Chae said he thought of having someone lie outside on the way to church just to see how many people would stop to help.  I told Ji Seon I don’t know if I would have stopped and Ji Seon said she thought I would.  I do think of the Good Samaritan though, specificially the priest and the Levite, when I drive by people stopped on the freeway.

After service I asked one of my friends if he would have stopped and he said “Yeah, I would have stopped.  I stop for people all the time.”  When I asked him a little more about it he said he doesn’t stop for people that will probably be helped soon, like people on the freeway, but he stops for people stuck in more deserted areas, like in the mountains on the way to Tahoe.

This past Saturday, September 16 we were late for lunch at the Fung’s place.  As we drove up the exit ramp from 101 to Montague Highway.  I saw a car with two women sitting on it.  As I passed by I read the sign which said “Need a push.”  I thought of the sermon, stopped the minivan and walked over to the two women to see what happened.

It turns out they had run out of gas and wanted a push up to the top of the bridge.  From there they planned to coast down to the gas station at the bottom of the bridge.  I thought to myself “There is no way I and one woman will be able to push this car while the other one steers.” but I didn’t say anything.  We started pushing the car and we made a little bit of progress.  But then the car would start rolling back, I think because the other woman I think was losing strength.

During this whole time I was thinking “That Dave Chae, why’d he have to preach about helping our neighbors.” and “God, you’d better be happy with me.”  And when the car was rolling back I thought “Wouldn’t that suck, being running over, having my legs crushed, because I stopped to help someone.”

Finally I said to the woman that we are not going to be able to push this car to the top of the bridge.  She then suggested I move my minivan behind her car and push it that way.  At this point I started thinking “Boy, you’d ask for anything.”  I then suggested “Why don’t I drive you to the gas station and you get some gas and bring it back.”  She then replied “I don’t want to buy a gas can.”  Getting a little more annoyed I said “Well, the gas can is only going to cost like $5.”

At this point I was getting the sense of the relationship of the two women.  The one pushing was the mother and the one steering was the daughter.  They were black and the mother was really annoyed at the daughter, swearing at her and saying she wanted to kill her.

I finally convinced the mother to go with me to the gas station and she was about to get into our minivan when two other guys walked up.  She asked them for help and together we all managed to push the car up the bridge.

Once the car started coasting down the hill I turned it around and ran back to the minivan (I figured it’s not safe leaving a minivan parked on an exit ramp) and then we drove off.

I thought of how a Good Samaritan would not have been annoyed with the people he was helping, how he would have made sure they got to the gas station okay, that he would have offered them money for the gas.  But in the end I’m not a Good Samaritan, I’m at best the Okay Samaritan.

The next day after my Okay Samaritan incident Pastor David Chae made an interesting point in his sermon, The Necessity of Mercy.  He said that we help people with felt needs, not people who are needy.  I would classify the people I helped that day as needy.  They could have easily walked to the gas station but instead they preferred sitting on their car waiting thirty minutes for someone to push them so they didn’t have to buy a gas can.  They wanted to be helped instead of helping themselves.

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Masterpiece

 | August 7, 2008 6:34 PM

In a recent sermon Pastor Andy Fitzgerald asked the question “Who are you?”  There were many answers from the audience.  The first thought that came in my head is “I’m Korean.”  I am not sure why, I can’t even speak Korean and everyone tells me I look Chinese.

Anyway, Pastor Andy’s point is that our identity should come from our creator.  He based this off the famous verse Ephesians 2:10.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 (New International Version)

Pastor Andy said that “masterpiece” could be substituted for the word “workmanship”.  And he said that God looks at us and says “Wow, what a masterpiece!” like when we look at great art like this famous Rembrant painting of The Return of the Prodigal Son.

Often we find our identity, who we are, in other things, our circumstances.  Pastor Andy told the story of an eaglet who fell out of his nest and was raised by a hen.  As the eaglet was growing up he saw an eagle flying in the sky and wished he could fly like the eagle.  What Pastor Andy failed to mention was the end of the story, how the eagle realized who he was and ate all the chickens.  Just kidding. 🙂

An actual real life story is that of the red panda being raised by a cat.  It will be interesting to read a follow up story in a few years about what the red panda thinks it is.

Anyway the point is we are God’s masterpiece, all different, but all special.  And it’s something I need to remind myself always, to look at myself the way God sees me.

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