Living a life in view of eternity…

New Years EveBehold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Revelation 21:12

I woke up this morning a bit depressed. Thinking about the fact that 2013 is coming to a close and a New Year is on the horizon.

As I thought back over the past year, I wondered at what was accomplished.

Most of our year was spent waiting on the Lord. Praying for an open door and asking God to show us what He wanted for our family.

Now as the year ends, we are still in the same boat. Still waiting, still praying, still asking.

Our yes is on the table and we have surrendered to whatever He wants.

But this doesn’t change the fact that our New Year will begin the same as last year.

Maybe you woke up feeling like me. A little depressed as you looked over your last year, not seeing a whole lot accomplished.

Can I encourage you as the Lord encouraged me?

As I read His Word this morning and listened to a sermon, I was reminded that this past year was merely a drop in the bucket in light of eternity.

I was encouraged that He has used this past year to shape, mold and make me more like Christ.

He brought joy to my heart as I finished the book of Revelation and was reminded that He wins!

I was reminded that He is coming soon and one day all the pain, sorrow and problems of this life will be over.

The Lord challenged me with His Words, “Behold I am coming soon.” As I thought on this, I realized just how short this life is and the passion I have to make His great name known was renewed. 

So as this year ends and a new one begins, I have resolved that despite my circumstances I want my life to count for His glory.

I want to live as if He could return today, because He could.

I want to live of life dressed in readiness for His return.

We can do this despite the drama of our lives.

We can do this by daily surrendering to Him. Daily being filled with the Spirit and daily relying fully on Christ.

So I challenge you as the Lord challenged me…. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Let us live our lives sold out in obedience to whatever He has called us to.

Let us really know that He is coming soon and He will make all things new!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!

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A cup of coffee and a good book (Top books from 2013)

Probably two of my favorite things are…….

A good strong cup  of coffee and a good book.

Combine those with a warm fuzzy blanket and I’m good for a few hours.

Here are some of my favorite reads from 2013

This book will amaze you as you read countless true stories from the most persecuted about how they are able to keep their faith in the midst of intense suffering. As well as unbelievable salvation stories of some of the most unreached.

insanity of God

 

 

 

 

Follow Me: A Call to Die.  A Call to Live.

A convicting read of what Christ has truly called us to. So much more than a quick prayer and church on Sundays. This book will help you understand that there is so much more to following Christ.

follow me

 

 

 

 

 

Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games

An incredible true story of how God saved and used a young boys life for His glory.

running for my life

 

 

 

 

 

Marks of the Messenger: Knowing, Living and Speaking the Gospel

I heard Mack Stiles speak at the Gospel Coalition Conference and he is the real deal. He is living what he speaks and touching and shaping the lives of college students in some of the most hard to reach places of the world. A challenge to me to know, live and speak the Gospel.

marks of the messanger

 

 

 

 

 

Because He Loves Me

This book is deep and yet simple as Elyse shows us who we are in Christ and the wonderful freedom found there!

because he loves me

 

 

 

 

 

Loving God with All Your Mind

A challenge to use our minds for His glory and to think upon truth.

loving god with all your mind

 

 

 

 

 

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

How often do we forget about the Holy Spirit? How many of us truly understand who He is? This is a great read, simple yet profound.

forgotten god

 

 

 

 

 

The Pursuit of God

This is a classic that I have read and re-read. An excellent reminder of the God who loves us.

the pursuit of god

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home

What our family, what we all need is grace. An excellent understanding of how to show God’s grace to those we love.

glimpses of grace

 

 

 

 

 

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

We all feel desperate some times as we raise kids. A wonderful encouragement to moms.

desperate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy curling up with a good cup of coffee or tea and one of these good reads! Enjoy!!!

The Afterglow of Christmas

after christmasIs it just me or does Christmas day bring a cosmic let down? It seems we spend weeks planning, preparing, running around getting ready for Christmas. Hours picking out gifts and wrapping them just so. We bake and we cook, striving to somehow make this the best Christmas ever.

Then Christmas arrives, boxes are torn into in minutes, food that took hours to prepare is eaten in no time and the let down settles in.

Each year, it seems we experience this to some degree and we wonder why do we go through all the trouble? Is it all worth it? What’s missing? More and more I’m convinced it is because we have forgotten the purpose of Christmas and just added the Christmas story to the mix. Somehow we have made it all about us. The focus has become having a “perfect Christmas” instead of the Christ Child.

How different the first Christmas was to all the fanfare involved today. A simple stable, a feeding trough, and a baby – The Light of the World.

Jesus came to give and to serve. He came to bring life. His focus was not on Himself, nor on impressing others. Jesus humbled Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, not considering equality with God something to be grasped (Phi. 2). Jesus came to die! Daily He served and put His own human needs last. Daily He sought to honor and please God.

I’m convinced more and more, the older I get, that Christmas should be a day we not only serve our families and friends. But a day we give and serve the least of these. Jesus said, He had come to seek and to save the lost. He explained to the disciples that it wasn’t the healthy who needed a doctor but the sick.

The greatest fulfillment to be found is in the serving and giving of ourselves. As a New Year dawns, my greatest prayer is that of John, “More of You Jesus and less of Me (Mark 1:7).” I want to live a life of service and love as Jesus loved. I want to truly put the needs of others above myself, serve the lost and be a shining light pointing these to Jesus. Like Paul I long to pour my life out as a drink offering – taking my eyes off of myself, my trials and focusing instead of Christ.

How about you? Have you experienced the let down of Christmas? Are you struggling with what the New Year may hold? I challenge you as the Lord has challenged me to focus my eyes, my mind and my thoughts upon Him. To serve as He served, to love as He loved and to live a life pleasing to Him.

 

 

The Women of Christmas: The Least of These

geneology of christToday many have a fascination with their family history and there are numerous online sites to help one find their ancestry. Yet, if we are honest, when it comes to the ancestries mentioned in the Bible, most of us skip that passage of Scripture and move right along. All of the begets seem to run together and we don’t know who most of these people are.

Years ago I was working in the inner cities of Memphis and a sweet lady and I taught Bible study each week at a girl’s home. One night, Patricia taught on Mathew 1 and it came to life. No longer was this just a boring passage of names,it was living and active.

Mathew 1 gives us the family line of Christ. As she taught this passage and I read along, the names of the women mentioned blew me away. We read of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.

Tamar, if you recall, tricked her father in law to sleep with her so she could have children.

Rahab was known as the town prostitute in Jericho. Yet, she believed in the God of the Israelites and hid the spies.

Ruth was a Moabite and the Moabites were unclean and despised among the Jews.

Bathsheba was an adulterer and one of the wives of King David.

Mary was a simple Jewish girl, no one special.

Yet, amazingly these are the women God used to bring about the Son of the Most High God. These are the ones chosen and used greatly of God to fulfill His perfect purpose.

but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord (I Cor. 1:27-31).”

So before you ever think God could never use you. Before you discount yourself based on your sinful past.

Remember who God chose to fulfill the lineage of Christ. Remember that it brings Him great joy, pleasure and glory to use those the world would never expect.

For when He does, He gets all glory.

Let us then surrender our lives to the Lord and allow Him to use us, the least of these, to bring Himself glory, honor and praise!!

Women of Christmas: Mary’s Servant Heart

mary and josephOur stories of Christmas paint a beautiful picture of Mary riding a donkey, giving birth in a stable surrounded by the glow of candles with the animals looking on. Yet the reality of this wonderful night, is far different from what we normally perceive.

It all began one night, when Mary, a young girl betrothed to Joseph, is visited by Gabriel. All of the sudden her normal Jewish life is changed forever. The angel calls her the favored one, and tells her not to be afraid,though I’m sure the news shared stirred fear and wonder in her heart.

For she is told, that though still a virgin, she will have a child. And not just any child, but the son of God, whose name will be Jesus. For He will save His people from their sins. I always stand amazed at her response, for though her life will never be the same, she says, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your Word (Luke 1:38).”

Amazing, instead of fearing what others may think, much less what Joseph will say. Her immediate response is to declare she is God’s servant. Mary recognized that her life was not her own. She understood that as a servant of the Lord, she had no say in what the Lord called her to. Mary knew she had no other choice than to trust in God, and to truly present her body as a living sacrifice unto Him.

The days and months that followed could not have been easy. I’m sure Mary’s ears often burned with the gossip that floated around town about her and Joseph. Her family and friends surely questioned if this could really be true.Then in her final days, a decree is issued and now very pregnant, Mary must journey with Joseph all the way to Bethlehem. This was no easy journey and though the pictures often show  Mary riding on a donkey, there is no mention of a donkey in the Bible. It could easily be that she like Joseph had to walk all this way as well. Regardless, it was a strenuous hike up and down mountains and through valleys. Difficult for anyone to travel, but especially for Mary.

Mary must have wondered at all of this.  Not understanding how she a simple peasant girl had been chosen to bear the son of God. Certainly confused at the events that followed. Wondering at times where God was and why things were so hard.

After the long journey, Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem. They go from inn to inn and yet there is found no room for them. The time has come for Mary to deliver and now she must have her baby, the King of Kings in a  stable with only the help of Joseph. This is a far cry from what she most likely envisioned. Nothing that has happened since Gabriel’s visit has been normal. Life hasn’t been easy, but Mary continued to trust in the Lord. Yielding her life to God as His servant.

O to have Mary’s servant heart. To remember that my life is not my own, but belongs to the Lord. To trust God completely even when life is hard. This is my prayer, how about you? Let us then like Mary, daily offer up our lives and bodies as living sacrifices. Yielding to the Father’s plans and trusting that the plans He has for us will be fulfilled as He has planned.

The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth’s Prayer

christmas1Could it really be? After so many years of praying, was it actually possible that the Lord had finally heard her prayers?

Earlier her husband Zacharias had come home unable to speak, making all kinds of funny signs with his hands. Exasperated,he finally found some paper and wrote, “I saw an angel and he said, God has heard our prayers, we are going to have a son. His name will be John, and he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”(Luke 1:13-14)

Still hours later she could hardly comprehend such great news. Was it possible that all the years she had been mocked and spoken ill of were to finally come to an end? Would her family finally see her as more than the barren one?

Years and years she and Zacharias had prayed, never giving up hope that the Lord God could answer their prayers. Despite what the doctors and time said, they knew God was greater and bigger.

“After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant,and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” (Luke 1:24-25)

I’m always amazed as I read the stories of Christmas. The story of Elizabeth and Zacharias is one that always brings me great hope. For years they had wanted desperately to have a baby, but as the years passed, it never came to be. I’m sure there were days of discouragement and dread of family gatherings. I know Elizabeth must have wrestled at times with the lie that God had forgotten her or that He didn’t care. Zacharia too must have felt helpless. Understanding the desire of his wife’s heart and seeing her pain. Longing as well for a son to carry on the family name. Yet, not being able to fix the problem.

The only thing they had was prayer and their faith that God was greater and bigger than their problem. Knowing that nothing was impossible for Him, they clung to hope and faithfully prayed, never giving up!

For many Christmas is just hard. And as another year comes to a close, prayers prayed that have been seemingly unanswered feel hopeless.

Yet with God, nothing is hopeless. He is the God of the impossible. He is the God who moves mountains and parts seas.

So I encourage you, don’t give up. Keep praying, keep believing because He is able. The Lord sees and knows your heart. You are not forgotten nor forsaken.