Friday, January 28, 2011

Living in Light of Eternity

“Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”            1 Peter 1:8-9

Sara Young in her book Jesus Lives says, “No matter what you suffer in this life your soul is absolutely secure!” 

And that is what is truly important.  It should drive our perspective and our core belief.  The soul of a Christian is secure in Christ but the opposite is true of those who don’t know him as Savior.

A few years ago, I heard a radio interview of a young man who had been a drug addict and through his addiction had contracted AIDS .  After getting AIDS he came to know Christ as his Savior.  The interviewer asked him if he ever questioned God about why he had allowed such a horrible thing to happen to him.  The young man replied, “Yeah, I ask God why all the time.  Why out of all the people in the world you chose me!  Because now I’m going to spend eternity with You!”

What the young man was saying is this life is short (and even shorter for him now that he had gotten AIDS) but eternity was forever and he was going to spend it with the God who had saved his soul!

What an amazing perspective.  The world looks at this young man and grieves that he was so young and he had such a short time to live.  But we as believers KNOW that now he is really living, living in the presence of the one who gave His life to redeem him!

Are you willing to say, “God, you do whatever it takes in this “inch” of time, so that ______________ (you fill in the blank) will be in eternity with you?”

Because that’s what it means to live in light of eternity.  Are you willing to pray that for your children? 

I was willing to pray that until it really happened to me.   I was living in a world of fear because my teenage son was going his own way and living a pretty destructive lifestyle.  Crying out to God, I said “Lord, he could do something terrible and spend the rest of his life in jail!”  And the Lord said, “And so what if he does and He comes back to me and his soul is saved?  Wouldn’t it be worth it?  Isn’t that what’s really important?”

Living in light of eternity isn’t always easy BUT it does set us free!  Living in light of eternity causes us to focus on what is truly important – not the furniture we own, the clothes we wear, the places we travel or that the Green Bay Packers are going to the Super Bowl – plain and simple – it’s the salvation of our souls and those around us!

So remember . . .

“Though you have not seen him, you love him and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”     1 Peter 1:8-9

Friday, January 21, 2011


“I can’t please you!  It doesn’t matter what I do, it’s never good enough!”

I remember those words so vividly even though they were said to me over 20 years ago.  They were spoken to me by my husband at the end of an argument we were having.

Those words rang in my ears and pierced my soul because I knew they were true!  And even to this day I cringe when I remember . . .

Harold and I were married on a warm sunny day in Riverside, California and we set out on our life of “bliss” with our family and friends waving goodbye.  However, it didn’t take us long to realize it wasn’t all wine and roses.

I felt our entire problems were because of Harold.  If he would just love me the way I wanted to be loved . . .  If he would just meet my needs the way I wanted my needs to be met . . . than all would be right.  I wasn’t the one with the issues, it was him. 

It wasn’t until Harold spoke those words to me that day, that I began to contemplate the idea that maybe, just maybe our problems stemmed from me.

As I opened my heart to that possibility, God began to show me that I was expecting my husband to meet all my needs and desires and that is just too big a job for one person to do.  And expecting Harold to meet those needs in my life, lead to deep rooted anger, which then propelled us into a vicious cycle that slowly began to push him away from me.  Think about it!  No one likes to be around a needy person.  Needy people repel others rather than drawing them.  And that’s what I was, a very needy individual.

But what was I to do about my needs and desires?!!  I knew that they were important.

God gently began to show me that He was the one who could meet my needs and that He desired me to give them to Him.  I struggled with what that would look like.  How do I give my needs to a God I can’t see?  Is that really going to work and if so, how??

In the midst of my questioning I felt God saying to me, “Just do it!”  So this is how it played out in my life:

I told God that I had this need to be protected and loved and I said, “I give this need to You.  I don’t know how you are going to meet it but I’m no longer going to look to my husband to meet this need.  I’m looking to You.  I know You are great and powerful and fully capable of meeting it.” 

As I said that prayer, I felt an immediate release of the burden.  I can’t explain it, except to say that this insatiable desire to be loved and protected was lifted.

As I began to acknowledge my needs and give them over to God, it freed up my husband to love and protect me the way God had intended him too.  And I no longer felt like it wasn’t good enough.  I was able to appreciate it.
God set me free that day – the day I surrendered my desires to Him.  The turmoil that was of my own doing in our marriage was gone and we were able to build a good solid foundation that has continued for 25 years.

Is everything perfect? - Far from it.  Do we have our issues and problems?  Yes.  But I have found God’s Word to be true.  Psalm 37:4, says, “Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit everything you do to the Lord.  Trust him, and he will help you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jesus Paid It ALL

 Jesus Paid it ALL
 All to Him I owe
Sin had left a Crimson Stain
He washed it white as snow

We sang that old hymn this morning at church.  If I’m going to be honest, I wanted to sit down and bawl my head off.  Maybe it is just PMS but I don’t think so . . .

I grew up in a Christian home; in fact my parents were missionaries in the frozen tundra of Alaska.  I was the oldest in my family and a people pleaser.  I never did drugs, never drank before I was 21 and basically kept my parents from feeling like they weren’t terrible at their job.  I never really saw my true depravity and that lead to a pretty arrogant and superior young woman.

Every once in a while, I would realize I wasn’t perfect.  Like the time I tripped and fell down a whole set of stairs after an older gentlemen had praised me for my “maturity”.  But it really wasn’t until I began to have children of my own that I began to see myself for who I really was.  My children brought out this monster in me that I never knew existed!

I began to see that I truly did need a Savior and that my heart was dark and evil, and wanted to go its own way.  I was in desperate need of a Redeemer.

This terrible place of seeing how depraved I was as a mother was the moment of change for me.  God began to show me that I was just as much in need of a Savior as anybody else, that my sin was just as evil and destructive as the next person.  He slowly softened my heart and I became less judgmental.  (How can you judge when you know in the deepest darkest place in your heart it’s just like theirs or even worse. . .?) Evil is evil, sin is sin and it all turns us away from God. 

So remember:
                Jesus paid it ALL –
I did nothing to save myself
                All to Him I owe –
I owe Him everything!
              Sin had left a Crimson Stain
The stain on my heart I could not in my own strength make clean
                He Washed it White as Snow! -
                                God did EVERYTHING

What can you say to that?  In the words of another hymn, Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded

                What language shall I borrow?
                To Thank Thee dearest friend
                For this Thy dying sorrow
                Thy pity without end

                Oh, make me Thine forever
                And should I fainting be
                Lord, let me never, never
                Outlive my love for Thee

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What time I am afraid . . .

1 John 4:17-18 says (NLV) . . .
“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid . . . Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”

What is the opposite of Trust?  I think it is fear. . .

When I’m afraid, when I take my eyes off of Jesus and put them on my circumstances or on myself – I have now given fear the power to overwhelm me and my trust recedes into the distance.

How do I trust?  I think it is by getting to know this God that died for me. . .

 If I don’t know Him, his character – that He is intrinsically good.  How can I trust Him?

As I write this, I know that this is Truth and I’m reminded of how much I have failed to Trust.  I say I trust God but I tend to find myself living in a world of fear and worry.  And then the worry and fear lead to anger and control.  Because I think that if I can control things, everything will be okay – is that warped or what??.  It is such a vicious cycle – and one that I struggled to break free from until I began to realize what I was actually doing and saying about God by my actions and words.

When I worry, (if I’m going to be truthful) I am really saying “God, you don’t know what is best for me but I DO!  I don’t think I can trust You to handle this – so I’ll handle it!”  Ouch!  Ugh!

What I have actually been saying by living in the world of worry and fear is, “God I believe and trust that you can save me from my sins (which Jesus pointed out wasn’t any different from healing the sick or raising the dead) but even though I know You are the God who created everything, that has power over life and death and then came to earth to die for me – I can’t trust you with the every day things of my life.  I can’t trust You in the living out of my faith.  That sounds absurd when you put it on paper but that was what I was saying every time I have taken matters into my own hands.  Every time I have worried.   Every time I have doubted, and every time I did not TRUST Him.

“Love casts out fear. . .”  That’s what the Bible says and it’s true, do I believe it?  If I know and comprehend this crazy love that God has for me – there is no room for doubt or fear or worry.

Lord, I love the fact that You are TRUSTworthy!  That I can place my worry, fear and doubt on You and I don’t have to carry that burden any longer.  You never intended me to carry it in the first place.  You love me.  You died for me.  You sent Your only Son so that I could know You!

How AMAZING is that!