Eternal outlook in a temporal world

With so much focus on our pursuit of it, life seems complex.  After all, there are a multitude of choices to be made along the way and consequences (good or bad) that follow.  Health and illness, career paths, dreams, heartbreaks, opportunities: those are just a few of the variables we encounter over the weeks, months and years.  But in the minutes that make up each 24 hour day, it’s easy to find ourselves in the “daily grind.”

But what if life is much simpler than we thought?  That doesn’t mean it’s any easier, but what if understanding God’s purpose for our lives while on earth is much less complicated than we’ve made it out to be?

That has been my thought/question while recently reading in the book of Revelation.  In Revelation, there’s a very humbling picture of the end times.  There are many parts of the book that I don’t understand, but what I do know is this: God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a holy and just god that truly will condemn the wicked and come to save those that have been eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28).

What does it mean to be “eagerly waiting for him”?  What should that look like in our daily lives?  Let’s look at a picture of that from Revelation 19…

Revelation 19.6-8,11

How did the body of believers wait eagerly for the Lord?  They prepared themselves as His Bride!  Then with His arrival, they rejoiced and praised God!  I bet everything else of their previous lives–whatever pains or struggles or costs for living selflessly and radically for God while on earth–was swept away from their minds as they gazed upon the majesty and glory of the Lover of their souls.

Have you been saved by grace through faith, which is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8), then rest in the assurance that your Bridegroom is coming for you!  Go out into your workplace or classroom, neighborhood, city, state, country and world to teach others of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) and the assurance of the hope that you have in Him (1 Peter 3:15).  In doing so, you’ll be preparing yourself as the Bride of Christ, dressed in the fine linen of righteous deeds done for the spread of His glory.

So maybe this blog post didn’t make your life simpler by giving you an exact answer on a big decision to be made or a specific situation that you find yourself in.  On the other hand though, I hope it will serve to remind all of us of the eternal outlook and perspective we must maintain while living in this temporal world.

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

sarah

EXTRA READING:

  • Matthew 28: 16-20
  • Ephesians 5
  • 2 Timothy 4:1-5
  • 2 Peter 3
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Tim Timmons- “Cast My Cares”

In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, You are my song
You’re my hope, when hope is gone

(Chorus)
I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You’re good
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You love me
You love me, oh because You love me

In the middle of the night
When worry finds me
In the middle of the fight
When strength is gone
In the middle of a fire
When fear is closing in
You are, You are my song
You’re my hope, when hope is gone

 

I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You’re good
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You love me
You love me, oh because You love me

God of glory
You are able
Through Your power
To be faithful
God of mercy
Every moment
You are near to me
God of glory
You are able
Through Your power
To be faithful
God of mercy
Every moment
You are near to me

I will cast my cares on You the almighty
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You’re good
I will cast my cares on You ‘cause You love me
You love me, oh because You love me

In the middle of the night

I’ll pray with confidence

In the middle of a fight

you’re greater still

In the middle of a fire

Your love is holding me

You are, you are my song

You’re my hope when hope is gone

“Here I raise my Ebenezer…”

We can be such forgetful people, right?  Well today I have a project for us all to do.  The first step is this: go outside and pick up a rock.

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I’ve got mine, and I hope you grabbed one too!  Here’s why I asked you to do this.

Because we are forgetful people, we need reminders.  We have alarm clocks to wake us up in morning.  We have timers to let us know when the cookies are done in the oven.  We even have stomachs that will growl to let us know that it’s time to eat.  After all, who can honestly work at something with full effort and concentration while his stomach is saying, “Hey man, I’m hungry… grrrRRRrrRRRRrrrrr!”

So what is our reminder about God and His reign over our lives?  In the midst of our day, what do we do or what do we have that stops us and reminds us of God’s constant presence?

from: http://www.dodsonlumber.com/Acts242/

For the Israelites, they set up an “Ebenezer.”  This account in 1 Samuel tells how God protected the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines.  After the great show of God’s mighty power and goodness, Samuel set up a stone in that place and named it Ebenezer as a reminder of how the Lord had been their help thus far (1 Samuel 7:5-12).

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So today, I’m making my own ebenezer and encourage you to do it too!  Keep in mind the following VERY important points:

  • Only faith in the Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior leads to salvation (see Ephesians 2:4-10)
  • Works alone do not save us or make us more acceptable to God (Philippians 3:7-9, Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Intercession on our behalf is performed by the Spirit of God dwelling within believers (Romans 8:26).
  • An object (or person or ideal) becomes an idol whenever we place trust in it and give adoration to it

No object, even a rock with a biblical name like “Ebenezer” or a “prayer rug”–like the one I received in the mail the other day–can bring us closer to God.  Only Jesus is the way to the Father (John 14:6).   So here’s a warning–In the moment that you or I rely on the rock (or anything else) as a means to access God, throw it away!

While we’re at it, here’s another heads up. If you are saved (see Ephesians 1:13-14), the Holy Spirit is the one that marks you as a child of God and communicates with Him on your behalf.  Carrying a rock around as a reminder of God’s word does not belittle the Holy Spirit’s presence or the position that He has in your life.  This is true as long as you use the ebenezer with the same purpose as Samuel: to be a reminder of God’s goodness and supremacy.

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Above are some of the verses that I’ve written on mine so far!  Read through your Bible and write down verses that seem to be especially true and convicting in this season of your life.   Maybe even keep that piece of paper with you and make it a goal to memorize the verses on it.  After all, the Psalmist writes…

“How can a young man keep his way pure?

By guarding it according to your word.  

With my whole heart I seek you;

let me not wander from your commandments!  

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119: 9-11

Christ be with you!

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

Faithful to finish?

Tonight I had a realization.  I’m great at starting projects.

But do I finish them?

green and pink blanket

 

This is one of the first blankets that I ever started to make…. 8 or 9 years ago.  While making it, I ran out of the pink yarn that I was using.  After that, I never really went back to it.  I had a pretty good excuse, though, right?

In this near decade, so much has changed.  In the years since I started it, I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated with a Bachelor’s, and  started a Master’s degree.  With such pursuits, my priorities had to change in order to complete each stage.  Still I kept the blanket wherever I went and thought that I would someday pull it out and finish it.  So why is this story so significant?

Tonight, I pulled that blanket back out.  The greatest concern I felt while staring at this unfinished project wasn’t about the blanket itself.  Sure I felt the conflict of “Should I keep it or should I throw it away?  Wouldn’t that be a waste of all that time that I spent before to make it?  But when will I ever have time to finish it with everything else that I have going on?”

And that’s when it hit me.  Is this the same mentality that I’ve had, have, or will have towards ministry?  Is it just a hobby on the side that I will one day set down because I believed that I didn’t have the right tools, time or energy to do it?  Will it get washed away in the flow of life’s other pursuits with the excuse of, “Well, I’ll get to that when I have more time and when I’m in a position where I’m able to do it… But for now, first things first…”

I don’t just want Christianity to be my hobby.  In the same way, neither should God’s will be second to anything else.  It should be “the first thing first.”  Ten years down the road, I don’t want to see a remnant of the calling I once thought I had heard God whispering to me and say, “Wow, that had a lot of potential and could have been something beautiful.  If only I would have been faithful to finish…”

Philippians 1.6

 

Praise be to God that He is faithful!  Through this scripture–and the Bible as a whole–we know that God has a purpose for everything, including every person (Proverbs 16:4).  As the Psalmist  proclaims in chapter 138,

Psalm 138.8

He tells the Lord, “Do not forsake me.”  In other words, do not reject, fail, leave, desert, abandon, depart, or withdraw from me.

But what if we’re the ones that are abandoning Him?  What if we’re the ones that daily choose to pursue someone or something else?

Tonight let’s be in prayer about our lives–our priorities and pursuits.  May God test our hearts and minds and help us to discern His will for our lives!

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah 🙂