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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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 🙂

Giving up the good to be closer to what’s better

psalm 73.23-25

If you desire to be a follower of Christ, then go ahead and expect it: you will be put to the test of sacrifice.  You will be forced to choose between your will and God’s will, between your idea of what’s right and what God says is necessary.  In those moments, hear Him ask, “Do you trust me to provide for your needs?  Do you really believe that I want is what is best for you?  Am I really your heart’s only desire?”

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?  Or what shall a man give in return for his life?'”

Matthew 16:24-26

Today we have a skewed vision of what it means to be “blessed” or “fortunate,” so when times of sacrifice come, we don’t always see them as steps in the purification of our desires and discipline of our faith.  Because of God’s word though, I just have to believe that true faith is shown through trusting God no matter what the cost. We must trust Him so much that we are willing to give up even the most precious or promised thing that we believe He’s given to us even for the sake of furthering His kingdom.  For Abraham, it was his son.  For Job, it was all of his possessions and family.  For Jonah, it was going to Ninevah, even after trying to escape that call of God.

In my lifetime I’ve never been faced with imprisonment for the sake of Christ like Paul.  I’ve never been thrown into a lion’s den like Daniel.  I’ve never walked willingly into a fiery furnace like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, saying, “God is able to deliver us from the flames, but even if he doesn’t and we die today, to Him be the glory!” (Daniel 3:16-18).

If God is calling you to make a sacrifice, don’t try to escape Him.  True love of God is shown through obedience to Him and to His Word.  If we truly trust in His goodness, then remember that it’s for our benefit to lay down our lives and all of our earthly desires in order to follow Him.

And in making such a sacrifice of what we call “good”, we will actually preserve what is better: our relationship with God, the creator of every good and perfect thing (James 1:17).

Praying your days is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature