Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reason # 16 - He Gives Meaning to Life

I have often wondered how non Christians can feel fulfilled in life. I am realizing now that they can't. They flat out, hands down, just...can't.

Christ and Christ alone brings purpose and meaning to our lives. I am so thankful today to know that my life is full of rich, vibrant purpose because I have the Only Reason to live dwelling inside of me!!

For a long distance college communications course I am taking this semester, I had to write a 500 word essay on my life goals. I am so glad that I was forced to take the time to do this!! :)

Thank you Jesus for being a Goal worth living for, and a Goal worth dying for.

"My goal is to live a life that is vividly marked with a wholehearted love for my Savior and Lord. That I could say in complete honesty that I have no closer Friend than Jesus. That the best part of each day would be those precious hours in the morning spent in His presence. That I would involuntarily talk with Him all throughout each day. That my eyes would light up at the mention of His Name.

My goal is to live every day of my life in the light of eternity. That I would evaluate each activity in terms of how it will appear when I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. And thus, that I will reject any activity that would be meaningless at best or shameful at worst when my life has ended and I am called to give an account.

My goal is to live my life in such a way that I would be worthy of all 4 crowns that Christ has promised to reward His children with: the crown of life for those who persevere and remain faithful through trials and persecution; the crown of righteousness for those who love the Lord’s appearing; the crown of glory for those who are good shepherds of God’s people; and the crown of rejoicing for those who are soulwinners. That as the athlete devotes his life to competing in the Olympics and winning the gold medal, so I would devote every fiber of my life to win the rewards that my Father longs to give to His triumphant children one day.

My goal is to bring with me a vast group of precious souls to heaven, who came to know Christ and first heard of His gift of salvation because I took the initiative to share with them. To unashamedly and fearlessly proclaim the love of Christ not only in my actions, but also in my words. That when I see a new face, I would have only one question: “Do you know Jesus?” And that I would choose to ask that question in all boldness and love.

In short, my goal is stop short of nothing less than a radical life wholly devoted to my Lord…nothing held back. Does my goal seem radical? Does is seem unnecessary? Does it seem unattainable?

In the eyes of most, the answers to the above questions would be a resounding yes! And yet, I am reminded: “Some goals are so worthy that it is glorious even to fail.”

I have not even come close to reaching my goals. Sometimes, it seems that dozens of lifetimes could not give me enough time to accomplish all that I hope to accomplish in one lifetime! But I do not strive alone. With the Giver of all strength and power dwelling within me, nothing is impossible.

I have only one chance at this life. My goal is to make it count! "

I love my Lord, because He brings fullness of meaning to otherwise empty lives.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reason #15 - He is a Very Present Help in Trouble

Several months ago, a dear friend of ours lost her unborn baby girl at 7 months pregnant. So many other hard things were going on in her life...and now this. There are times when God may seem so far away. A life falls to pieces, and we're tempted to wonder if God even cares.

At the time, as I thought about her situation, I was absolutely overwhelmed as I realized God's nearness in the midst of her pain. Life is hard. We have an enemy (Satan) here on earth who comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. But oh what a beautiful contrast - "Christ is come to give life, and to give it more abundantly!" And even in the midst of our pain, He has promised us that He will walk through it with us - right by our side. To be a very present help in times of trouble.

I wrote this poem at the time, and was in tears through most of it, as I marveled over God's nearness and care for His children...

A father and mother stand together
Grieving over their loss,
A child they have never known

Has left them at such a high cost.

Their hearts ache together
As they try to say goodbye
But how to find adequate words
When all they can do is cry?

But there is One Who hears pain unspoken
Who understands silent grief
Who knows the agony of each tear
And Who alone, can bring relief.

Their joy is His
Their care is His
Their love is His
More infinite, more deep, more abounding
Complete, never ending – perfect.
He Who holds galaxies in His hands…also holds each tear.
He carries in His arms the children He has LOVED:
The Good Shepherd – Who has laid down His life so the lambs may live.
And it is in these everlasting arms that He cradles their child,
Gently caressing, rocking her to sleep against His breast.

In a world where roses are few
Where thorns and briars abound,
Where clouds often cover the sun
And where pain sets in all around…

Surely our joy is not here!
Surely our hope elsewhere lies.
Surely she has found what we long for one day
The pure joy that no money buys!

What comfort is hers!
What peace –
What delight!
And we rejoice with her.
Though our hearts here grieve
We offer our grief to our Lord
And commit her to the Savior’s care.
Knowing that a child who has grown up in the presence of Jesus is the happiest child that could ever be.”

What could be harder than losing a baby? And yet, this thought came to me...our Father, too, knows the pain of losing a loved One. He too understands the pain of losing His Child. There is no hurt too great to give to Him. There is no pain so piercing that He cannot soothe it. There is no burden so heavy that He cannot carry it for us.

What a God we serve!

Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

I love my Lord, because He my very present help in all my trouble.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reason #14 - I am His Bride

"How beautiful, the hands that served the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful, the feet that walked the long dusty roads, and the hill to the cross"

This morning, during my praise and worship time, I listened to the song "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris, one of my all time favorite songs! As I let the meaning of the words sink into my heart, a certain phrase hit me and in a moment changed my perspective forever.

"How beautiful, the radiant bride, who waits for her Groom, with His light in her eyes"

It was as if, in that moment, Christ knelt down on one knee, held out His hand and whispered to me "Behold your Groom."

Instantly, I was reminded of the way that a bride eagerly waits for her groom, adoring him, cherishing in her heart every memory, every special moment. Her eyes light up every time she speaks of him. She spends much time fussing in front of the mirror before she sees him, and tries to the very best of her ability to please him - to be the woman of his dreams. Nothing could be more important to her - all her thoughts are consumed by this man.

What is her motivation?

She loves him.

And he loves her.

And with this reminder came a new realization - I am the bride of Christ! As a bride, do my eyes light up for my Savior, my Groom, my All in All? Is every fiber of my life focused on Him? Do I think of little else? Do my eyes shine when I think or talk about Him?

Do I absolutely adore Him?

Oh, more than anything else, I want to!! I want to be that radiant bride, adoring her Groom, absolutely swept off her feet, head over heels in love.

God reminded me of this beautiful verse:

"...as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." ~ Is 61:5

Ok, so I'll just admit it...I'm a girl. :) No beating around the bush...no denying it or making excuses. I love hearing fairytale love stories - I love dreamy, romantic pictures of couples walking side by side on the beach at sunset - I love going to weddings! And when I do attend a wedding, while everyone is craning their neck to watch the beaming bride walk slowly down the aisle, I love to watch the groom. That look of unspeakable delight - sheer, overpowering desire - and raw, emotional, unveiled love...there's something about that emotion that speaks to a woman's heart.

Do I dare to hope that Christ as my Groom delights in me the same way? And yet, this fact is so clearly stated in the verse above, and in many, many other passages all throughout the Bible.

2 Cor 11:2 - "For I am jealous over your with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."

Ephesians 5:25-32 -"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present if to himself a glorious church, not having sport, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy, without blemish....for no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord, the church...this is a great mystery (regarding the relationship of a man and woman) but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

What a beautiful reminder for us! I love my Lord, because He has chosen me as His bride.