Ever wonder how, with all the transitions of life, you can feel significant and have your life count for something?
by: Carole L. Haines
My husband told me a story about a friend of his who answered an acquaintance’s arrogance with this statement, “What makes you think I want your life?” The man was a few years ahead in the same line of business as my husband’s friend, and without being asked for advice, was giving out a litany of how to become as successful as he was. He was basically telling this guy, “Do these things and you can have the kind of life I have.” A life of wealth, luxury and ease was what was being solicited to our friend. I couldn’t help but think of Satan’s Temptation of Jesus.
8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Matthew 4:8-10)
O, how the world loves to think we want to have what they have, be who they are, do what they do. We hear it from Movie-dom, Sports Arenas, Business offices, and unfortunately, even the occasional pulpit. Hebrews 12 gives us a list of what we now have in Jesus Christ:
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,23 to the general assemblyand church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,and to God, the Judge of all,and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.(Hebrews 12:22-24)Then, as if all that was not enough, God tops it off with:
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrew 12:26-29)
A kingdom that cannot be shaken. God actually desires to remove from our lives, our dependence upon the very things the world runs after, brags about and tries to peddle to us. But just look at our beautiful inheritance in Christ. I don’t want or need anything the world is peddling. I echo the sentiments of our friend, “What makes you think I want your life?” Jesus speaks the truest of Words when He says this:
31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Thank you, Dearest Lord Jesus, for the life You have bought for me, and freely given to all who believe in You as Savior.
Surprised by Beauty(Just let go and know)
By: Carole L. Haines
Have you ever planted something in your yard, walked away and forgotten all about it? You didn’t tend it, water it, fertilize it, and yet somehow, it flourished and bloomed. My son was out mowing in an obscure part of the yard and came in to say, “Mom, you’ve got to see these lilies in the corner of the yard behind the gazebo!” I walked out and sure enough, there they were, big beautiful blooms that seemingly came out of nowhere.
The Kingdom of God is like that. We are the fertile ground. God places the seed inside of us. We grow in dormancy, unseen by the world. Then suddenly God pulls back the curtain, at just the right time, and all the beauty He placed in us is displayed before mankind. He is glorified and all we can do, is fall at His feet, and say, “I don’t even remember planting that, Lord!”
That’s because you didn’t, He did! He is growing His grace and beauty inside of us, through drought and dry times. He is sheltering us from the heat of the day underneath the shadow of His wings. We don’t even see it growing inside of us, and we can only stand back in awe as He displays His glory through us for all the world to see.
We know we had nothing to do with it. We are just yielded vessels, striving to love our Heavenly Father and be grateful to Him for His great kindness; when He just blazes glory through us. Our God is so amazing. I have learned, in my many years of being a Believer in Jesus, that it’s more about being yielded and surrendering; than striving and straining. God’s Word tells us to:
10 “Cease striving (to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, withdraw, let go, to be quiet)
and know that I am God; ( Learn to know, recognize, know by experience)I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”11 The Lord of hosts is with us;The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Selah. (Psalm 46 NASB)Just let go and know, know God. Stop trying to figure it all out and get to know God. Get to know Him by experience, by taking your hands off the wheel of your life. Get out of the driver seat and become the passenger. God says: I will be exalted, I will be exalted. God is with us, He is doing a beautiful work in each of our lives. The biggest thing standing in the way of becoming God’s beauty is our own tight grip upon the wheel of our lives. Just let go and know. He will never fail you. You may be bewildered, confused, confounded by some of he ways He works, but He never, ever fails you. I know that after walking with Him for more than 4 decades now. Just let go, cease striving, and Know Him. Invest in your relationship to Him. Yield and surrender, yield and surrender.
Shedding tears in this world is not a matter of if, only a matter of when.
What does it mean to be imprisoned in Christ? Am I imprisoned in Christ? Do I really want, deep down inside to be imprisoned in Christ? If I desire so, am I willing to live so?