Friday, May 28, 2010

All of Me

God made the world. It's all His, when He made it, He declared that it was very good. And he made it beautiful and enjoyable. He gave Adam the job to work in it and take care of it. Adam's whole life glorified and enjoyed God even when he was working or playing (I bet he did things for pleasure). Since then sin has corrupted our desires. We seek our own purposes. But Jesus's redemption covers our whole lives, therefore every part of our lives can reflect Him.

God isn't just interested in our Sunday worship service or our set apart quiet times. Those are very important, but He claims our whole lives. This means that anything we do we must do to the glory of God. Our work, our leisure, our family time are all part of our lives and therefore we do them to His glory. We can make art to the glory of God. Or pick up trash cans, or work in an office, or take care of the home. We can glorify God by acknowledging His grace in every area of our lives. Even the parts of us that we might think don't count.

Sometimes its the little things that he calls us to. In my family, one of the kids might have complained, "But I want a more important job", refering to his mundane task of picking up leaves in the yard or sweeping the floor. "Why can't I mow or paint?" Of course, as we all got older, we realized that work =work, whatever chore it is and that the more "fun" chores were usually harder. But I also learned that the little tasks are just as important as the big things. And vice versa of course :) But somebody has to get their hands dirty, so next time you are doing some thing not so fun, remember that this thing too is for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Relationships with those around us are a special part of this. In our daily living, we interact with others. And if we are working hard with a good attitude and praising God, somebody might take notice. And then we would have a reason "to share the hope that is within us"!

This is what the Christian life is all about: LIVING in Christ. He touches every area of our lives. In all we do, we give thanks to God. After all, our lives were bought by His death. Since we are not our own, we belong to Him and every area of our lives already belongs to him.

We owe it all to Him!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Perfect Everlasting Love

1 Peter has really gripped me lately, so I decided to share :)

1 Peter 1:17-25

17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,
18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.The grass withers,and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And THIS word is the good news that was preached to you! ~ESV Study Bible

Isn't that just exciting? Just think: God who is outside of time, eternal and unchangeable, created us, and knows us. He has rescued us with the most precious of all things: the blood of the imperishable Christ who died for us. Because of this perfect love given to us, now we can truly love each other. Because we are born of the WORD everlasting!! He has given us the most perfect gift of all (Himself) and it will last forever!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Distant Shore

Sometimes I am beset with this sense of restlessness and desire to be somewhere else, anywhere else than I am now. Going there (wherever “there” is) does not fix it. I become discontent and unable to settle down to my work without thinking that I'd rather be playing tennis,... or talking to somebody,....or alone, often I don't even know what it is I am longing for. I am looking for something on a distant shore; I can't stop squinting my eyes at the horizon longing for a glimpse of that ship. What am I wistful for?

The Lord wants us to be content in Him. He wants to be our everything. And since He made us, he gave us a built in desire for Him. His presence is so much greater, so much more rich and fulfilling than anything we try to replace it with. So that is why nothing else will satisfy.

But as a Christian, why do I still experience this restlessness? Well, I am still a sinner with earthly desires until glorification. This causes a twofold effect. One, as a sinner I still fall into making idols of other things, trying to find satisfaction elsewhere. This cannot do anything but but make my impatience grow as these things fail. Second, I am not yet in His presence the way I will be in Heaven. So part of that longing will always remain while I am yet apart from my Father.

There are places I can go where I find quiet from this impatient spirit. Reading Scripture, praying, and often drawing or painting are some of the ways I spend time with my Maker allowing him to restore my soul. God made us specially with souls that want to drink of the deep. We are eternal beings. Sometimes we want this longing. In the words of C.S Lewis:

If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other
good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must
bear at best only a symbolic relation to what will truly satisfy. ... We
cannot tell it [the secret] because it is a desire for something that has
never actually appeared in our experience. ... For they [memories, idols]
are not the thing itself ; they are only the scent of a flower we have
not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we
have never yet visited.

I am content with where I am in my life. And I pray that the Lord would give me ability to appreciate each moment he gives me even now. If I focus my desires on growing closer to Him, then not only will my contentment grow, but also my longing to be with Him. And that would be a good thing :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Living Book

Hi! :) I want to share a few Bible verses today. This Book is so amazing: it is the living Word of God that speaks to us every moment. Lately, I have noticed this afresh. Whenever I open it, I think, "Wow, this is as perfect for today as it was 2,000 years ago!" The Bible is the love story of salvation (all of it points to Christ), the Law, our guide to how to live, a dependable source of wisdom and of strength. It is the book that contains the most wisdom, tells the sweetest love story, the truest history, and the most amazing truth, is the most encouraging (to believers), the most necessary exhortation, and the best theology! It far surpasses any other book because it is the WORD of God. When we study it, we are in His presence in a special way.

Ezekiel 3:2
So I opened my mouth and he fed me this scroll, And he said to me, "Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your body with this scroll I am giving you." Then I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then He said to me, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them."

Matt. 6:47
Everyone who comes to me and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

Thy testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul observes them. The unfolding of thy words it gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Thy commandments.

2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then brethren, stand firm and hold to the tradition you were taught whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our father, who has loved and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

True Joy: With Pain?

There is so much more to life than we realize. How often are we just going through the motions? There is so much that we are not taking advantage of. And so much more that we can BE. This is not works to please God or obligations to fulfill in order to assure our worth or status in anyone's sight. But it is a more full realization of all that we can be in Christ. We can be living examples of his grace. We can show and share Christ's love. We can be immersed in his joy and peace that turn the bitter pills of life into true gladness. I believe that it is the ultimate joy to be not just happy because nothing is wrong, but be glad because something WAS wrong but now is whole. Pain is still here, but so is our Savior.

It is my experience that people who must go through hardship in their lives are often more joyful than those for whom everything seems to go well. They have learned, by the grace of God, to trust him more fully because they have nowhere else to go. Being in complete reliance on God enables us to have joy because we are no longer trying to be good enough or find joy within ourselves. Those who need God more, who see their sin, their pain, their hurt, have a joy that goes deeper. They are connected with the bigger picture
of eternity and salvation.

Life is so big and so special, but this time (before heaven) is short. It means so much because it is a part of eternity. Eternity doesn't begin when we get to heaven, it begins now! How can we live like we understand this?

photo by Anna Lofgren