While beginning my warmer weather running training tonight, the wind was brutal and causing my ears to burn…head to pound. I caught myself saying, “God, if you want this body to be a temple for you, stop this painful, cold wind.” I was brazen to become a little aggravated at God for not taking care of my needs,when I knew I was doing something He desires. As I finished my run and settled into a nice walk, I quickly realized the pain was never from the “wind.” It was just my own movement from running. God wasn’t not stopping the wind, it was me not stopping a painful action. I also realized that so many times in life, pains and troubles we are trusting God to remove are not His to remove… They are ours, and we just need to stop.
All creation in the presence of the sun reaches up- branch, leaf, flower, grass. They inherently know how to worship the Creator. So do we. Raise up your hands today and likewise praise Him who also made you. Fearlessly rejoice in the presence of the Son.
Let me see people as you see them today. Let me love them as you love them. Let me hate the things you hate, and love the things you love. Renew my mind and let me discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.
In our Bible Study group last night, we were asked did we love Jesus first and then decide to follow Him or decide to follow Him and the love grew from that decision? The scripture was, “12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”-Phil. 2:12-13
I have been pondering this question and my own journey, trying to pinpoint a time when I realized I loved Jesus. This much I know, when the truth that Hell is real was illuminated to me and further truth illuminated to me that Heaven is also real and available to me through the blood of Jesus, I fell madly in love with Jesus. Madly in love. Loving (not just obligatory) wholehearted obedience followed, as well as true repentance (not just sin “patches”). I had always believed in God the Creator, worshiped and adored him, but had struggled with the truth of the full being of God in the Trinity and Hell being real.. I fell prey in college to false teaching that hell is simply a separation from God. When I was freed from that lie, and the truth of who I really am and what Jesus has really done for me became real… Wow. The love I feel for Jesus in mind, body and spirit now is completely overwhelming. Praise Him!
I will live my life daily, not trudging through it as one with no hope, but as one who loves a God who loves me back, as one who serves THE MOST HIGH GOD. My nature and attitudes toward God, myself and others will be infused with Spirit-led joy, gratitude and wonder. I will open my eyes anew every day, beautiful Jesus. I will allow Him to make me strong in my weaknesses.
I will live into and accept the freedom of Christ each day, allowing the love of Jesus and the blood that was spilled to redeem me to set me free from the oppression of the one, Satan, who comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” I will not be conquered by evil, but will conquer evil with good.
I will treat my body as a temple of God. I will maintain a healthy weight. I will eat good food. I will stay active and strong so I can be used by God and so I can experience life with my family, friends and community.
I will seek first the Kingdom of God in all decisions I make and trust in the Lord to provide for my needs. I will praise Him with my tithe, my time and my life. I will serve in humility the body of Christ within the church, in my jobs and career, in each role I fill. Each role I will treat not just as a “role” but as a calling. Disciple, minister to others, teacher, wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister—these provide the framework for meaning in my life as I love God and others.
I will encourage others and never cease to intercede in prayer for them, their needs and their greatest need, salvation. I will build up with honest love and concern my children, my husband, my family, my friends, my church body, my students and others God puts in my circle of influence. I will not use false flattery, but will encourage by asking God daily to allow me to see others through His eyes.
I will constantly evaluate myself. Am I doing enough? Am I being a good steward of each aspect of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?
To be productive and fruitful, I will say no and I will let go… and will seek the wisdom to know when to do which and, often, both. I will remember that even Jesus said no in His wisdom.
I will continuously receive insight through study, prayer, meditation and interactions with others into ways to specifically live out my God-ordained purposes and missions in my life. I will find ways each day to foster personal growth in my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional being. I will encourage and guide others as they, too, grow and seek to discover God’s purposes and truths.
I will nurture myself and be a blessing to others by living a balanced, Holy Spirit led and filled life. I will remember that though I may not understand the how’s and why’s of life, I can always answer the who. I will daily confess and be healed. I will share my burdens with God and will help carry those of others.
I will worship the Creator, not the created.
I will lose my life to gain it, meaning my decisions will not be based merely on selfish desires, but on the truths of scripture and the Spirit who illuminates those truths. I will live in such close relationship to the Good Shepherd that I will only recognize his voice, that I will immediately recognize all others as the voices of strangers and I will flee back into the arms of the Shepherd who gave His life for me and loves me.
If you haven’t already been outside tonight, I encourage you to toss on a jacket, go stand outside under the light of the full moon and be very, very still… listen to see what God has to say to you. A perfect night to break free from your “cages” [Wild Goose Chase ref.] It’s a beautiful night. Be still and know that He is God.
So last night, I was reflecting on how much I love John. Not only that, but how much I really like him and like to be with him and how I enjoy every emotion he elicits in me. We have so much fun living life together, and it occurred to me that we most likely won’t have the same sort of relationship in Heaven. I began to wonder if it will be possible for our relationships in Heaven to be as passionate as the ones we have now if we no longer have any bad to make the good so much more so? If he wipes every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:3) and all things are made right, than we will no longer have that experience of the good things seeming so much better because we have a reference of the worse counterpart. For example, I absorbed the warmth of the sun Friday with extreme thankfulness because I had experienced the 18F low just a few days before. The feeling of the sun made me so much happier and blessed feeling because I hadn’t had it. The ice cold water after a long day working hard in the sun is so much better because of the thirst. The same goes for me in relationships and the really great emotions that go along with them. I wonder if we will be able to FEEL the love, the joy, the peace, the happy things in Heaven with the same depth of emotion we do now. We will no longer have the opposites of those to compare to. I love so much and feel love so much because I have felt invisible and unloved. I am so thankful for God’s peace because I have lived in turmoil, darkness and confusion. So, I appreciate and feel these positive emotions so deeply because of their darker counter-emotions.
A part of me feels a little sad to think we might not be able to have these same deeply felt feelings for each other in Heaven…that it might not be possible to love John, or my kids, or my friends and family the way I do now. But, I have no doubt that the way we “feel” in Heaven will be beyond any human emotion we have experienced. It will be new and amazing. And more passionate, more joyful, more everything wonderful than what we now know. A perfect God would have it no other way.