When you decided to commit your life to Christ, this was a choice you determined to make. No one can do this for you; following Jesus is a personal commitment and a personal decision. For many, this is the only choice they will make. In reality, we must choose repeatedly throughout our lives to follow Him. Being a disciple is not a one and done kind of deal. We choose to commit our lives to Him, and then we must spend the rest of our lives choosing to follow Him. When the rubber meets the road, many choose to take the off ramp. Making a onetime decision is easy; a lifetime commitment is something exponentially more.
What does it mean to live with passion for the sake of Jesus Christ? Those of us who seek to follow Him would probably agree that it is our desire to live a life full of passion, a life fully alive in Him. In practice, however, our resolve can wane and we end up swept away by the tides of life.
As long as we are focused on ourselves, we will never come to terms with what it means to live a life of devotion. To experience the life of joy found only in Christ, our focus must be on Him and Him alone. [Read more…] about Living with Passion
Faith and fear are the closest of cousins; both deal with our believing things we cannot see. Through faith we possess the power to hope for all that is possible; it allows us to persevere through dark days and tough times. In fear we find a lack of motivation to move; it paralyzes and keeps us trapped in our despair and inner anxiety.
We all live in various states of these two conditions, and usually cling to a little of both. Jesus came to offer His grace to cover our fear and encourage our faith. As His disciples, we need to let go of the things that scare us and take hold of the possibilities afforded to us through the power of Christ. [Read more…] about Faith vs. Fear
Some people wait their entire lives for permission to do the thing they were created to do. They make excuses of being too young and then too old; too inexperienced and then overqualified. It seems like there are always a million reasons not to do the very thing we know we should be doing. Some wait to reach a certain level of financial security, while others convince themselves they don’t deserve to live the life of which they dream.
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As followers of Christ, we have to understand that time is both finite and fleeting. We have been called to carry out the mission of Christ, yet we hesitate, waiting for a sign or the stars to align. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, “Go”. What are you waiting for? [Read more…] about What Are You Waiting For?
I am often compelled to pray prayers of gratitude in the morning as I reflect on all the blessings in my life. One of the main triggers for me is a warm shower. It is at once soothing and invigorating, yet I am reminded of all those who don’t have warm water or any water at all. We often take such simple luxuries for granted. Last week as I was thanking God for His kind provision, I was moved to add the words “in this season” to my prayer. Instead of saying, “Thank you for the warm water you have provided for me”, my prayer became, “Thank you for the warm water you have provided for me in this season.” The change was subtle, but both freeing and eye-opening. It added a lack of permanence to the blessing. I actually became more grateful as I understood that at this time in my life I have been blessed with warm, running water. Tomorrow may be different; tomorrow I may find myself in a situation where I do not have such a luxury. By praying, “in this season”, I believe that should I find myself without this particular blessing in the future, I can look back on this time with a sense of sincere gratitude rather than a sorrowful longing over what I have lost.
I think it’s easy for us, particularly we who live in the West, to assume we will always have at least what we have today. Ours is a society that has been marked by consistent improvement throughout our history. But today is no guarantee of tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1); life can change in an instant for any of us through a variety of events or circumstances. The key then is to learn to be content in all situations, just as the apostle Paul learned to be (Philippians 4:11-13). By being thankful for what we have been entrusted with “in this season”, we can hold loosely to it, realizing the temporary nature of all earthly blessings. When we move into a more difficult period of life, we can then find things for which we are thankful in that season as well as joyfully reminisce about the good things we have been allowed to experience in seasons past.
When we assume that all we have today we will have forever, it becomes easy to take those things for granted. This makes us somewhat arrogant, because we come to expect that which God has elected to give us as a blessing. It becomes easy to lose sight of why we are blessed and who has blessed us. At that moment we are not only ungrateful, but we are also becoming prideful. All of this is in stark contrast to the person God calls us to be. Instead, we should humble ourselves to the point of being overwhelmed by everything He has entrusted to us. As we recognize the various blessings we have in the current season of our lives, we can better see how to share those blessings with others who are in different seasons.
Holding loosely to luxuries is a wonderful experience. No longer are we afraid to lose that which we cannot keep. Instead we become joyful for being able to experience it for the moment; we become aware of and thankful for the privilege. A heart that holds tightly to Christ and Christ alone is a heart that He can use for His glory. As long as we remain unaware of His blessings, our heart remains hard and our hands remain closed. God desires tender hearts and open hands so that they might be shaped for His glory and used to further His Kingdom.
I encourage you to begin being thankful for things “in this season”. In the same way recognize that the struggles you are going through are also only “in this season”. Earthly struggles and triumphs are always temporary, and both are necessary to refine us into the people we have been created to be. Thank Him for the blessings He has provided in this season of your life, as well as for walking with you through the trials you are experiencing in this season. As you develop a temporal view of earthly matters, you will come to further appreciate the eternal perspective of Heavenly affairs. All that we experience in life is for the ultimate aim of carrying on the mission of Jesus Christ. We can all be used in this season if we will only surrender everything to Him. Hold loosely to the things of this earth and cling tightly to the one who is Truth and Life. Live in gratitude with a thankful heart and the realization of what you have been given. All we experience can and should be used for His glory. Take nothing for granted, but rather live each moment in humble awe of what He is doing through you. Be thankful for the blessings you have been given in this season.