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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Endurance

Even now I can still hear the spinning instructor… “Push it out!  10 more seconds… Sprint!!!”  It was only 6:00 o’clock this morning when sweat had already begun to trickle down my face, and we were only a few minutes into the workout.  Lord, help me! I thought to myself and felt relieved when she shouted, “Done!…”

(Me): Whoo hoo, I did another sprint!

(Instructor):  “…only 8 more to go!”

(Me): You gotta be kidding me… 

——

Have you ever felt this way before?  I’ve heard life referred to as “a rat race,” and there have been times when someone told me to push it out, to ride out the storm, and to just climb the mountain in order to reach the valley that was waiting on the other side.  While that all sounded great and made me want to shout, “Yes, I’ll climb the mountain!  I want to reach that valley!”  There was something that I needed to keep me on the journey after I had started…

.endurance.

During times when the “rat race” seems too hard and when we just want to give up, we must look to this scripture!  There is endurance and there is encouragement for you and me.  From whom?  From the Lord God Himself!  In this letter, I can imagine Paul is writing to the Romans to say,

“Look, I know that what you’re going through–the persecution, the fear of death, etc–is hard, and you feel as though you want to give up.  I’ve been there too!  BUT.  Remember the cross!  Remember what God has been doing since the beginning and what He will continue to do through us as His body.

He has given us one another to act as a BODY because each member is just as important as the other.  The only way that we can survive and then thrive is to work together as one, strengthened by the One who brought us together.  Together, we can find our joy in Him, thank Him for everything, and rejoice in His name.”

This message of hope and encouragement is just as true for us today as it was when Paul wrote this letter however long ago.  The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

*

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,

but we rise up and stand firm.

O Lord, save the king!

Answer us when we call!”

Psalm 20:7-9

*

“O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.”

Psalm 30:2

*

Trust in the Lord as your strength, your source of endurance, and your hope.  Call upon His name!

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

At the heart of worship is surrender.

I am so excited that I wish I could shout this from my rooftop:  I have an Internet connection!!!  Imagine this: since July, I haven’t had access to this blog, email, my school’s website with our classes’ websites, guitar music, iTunes music store, etc.  For some, this may not sound that monumental, but for a 2o year old in this day and age, that’s huge!  With this small victory, I write to you from the comfort of my couch with a cup of coffee in my hand and a great story of worship on my heart…

.hillsong live.

This past Monday night, I lost myself in a night of worship.  The Hillsong- New York City’s pastor cried out, “Don’t leave this place the same way as you were when you walked in here tonight!” And I didn’t…

———-

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:

take your everyday, ordinary life

–your sleeping, your eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–

and place it before God as an offering…

Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.

Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

Romans 12:1-2 (the Message)

———-

What is true worship?

It is this…

…surrendering to God.

Some may be reading now and say, “Oh, but I’m not one of those enthusiastic believers that breaks out into dance, waves my hands in the air, etc.”  And honestly, I haven’t been.  I lacked courage to raise my hand even above my heart as if doing the pledge of allegiance.

But we have so much more to offer God than a pledge of allegiance.

While standing at the foot of the stage, I listened to songs like “With Us” and felt the words sinking into even the deepest places of my heart… “There’s no end to your love.  There’s no end to your love,” they sang, “You’re with us.  You’re with us.”  With closed eyes, I relished the sweetness of those words, the truth of them even sweeter than last week’s Thanksgiving dessert.  “…There’s nothing in this world/ That could take you away/ You’re with us/ You’re with us…”  In that moment, I drew near to God, and just as James promised in James 4:8, God drew near me.

What I learned Monday night is this: worship isn’t just listening to Christian radio in the car, nor is it just going to church and enjoying the solo during the offertory.  Worship–true worship of the Father and Creator of this Universe whose Son, Jesus Christ, lived as a human, died on the cross and overcame the world when he defeated even death itself–is encountering God and responding to Him.  It’s the crying out of your heart after casting your burden on Him and feeling Him not only take your burden onto His back, but take you up into His arms, as well.

Today, my prayer for you is that you offer up your everyday, ordinary life to God and ask Him to meet you in every moment.  Whether it’s a prayer that He helps you be patient with a coworker or customer, a prayer to have a greater desire for Him, a prayer to give your life over to Him, God is able.  God is able…

So what is worship?  It’s the proper response to an encounter with the One that knitted you together in the womb (Psalm 139:13), the Son that has gone before you (Hebrews 6:20) on your behalf.

Worship is surrender.

“He who began a good work…”

This past weekend, I experienced more than one type of celebration of life.  Although we celebrated life coming to an earthly end, we also celebrated it’s beginning.  Meet Parker Benjamin Bizarro, my cousin Holli and, her husband, Pascal’s three-month old baby.

“For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14

Life is a beautiful gift that God has given to each and every single one of us.  Before my grandfather passed away, I heard this over and over.  I believed it too, but not like I do now.

Seeing Parker and holding him in my arms reminded me that every single life–no matter how young or how old, well-known or unknown–is important.  God created your life with a specific purpose because He created it with YOU in mind.

I’ll leave today with a Bible verse to think about.  It’s Philippians 1:8, and it says,

“He who began a good work in you

will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Be encouraged!