"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being ROOTED and grounded in LOVE, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the LOVE of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

~Ephesians 3:14-21

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Living Eternally

For most of my life, I will have to admit that I have always had a passion for reading. I remember at a very early age hiding under my parents staircase in the basement and getting out my paper and I would write stories of what I thought at the time was a book. I remember I had these two imaginary friends names Marcy and...I cannot even think of the other friends name (mom and dad I need a little help here). As I grew up- it was the Baby-Sitters Club and all the Judy Blume favorites. Books can have a special way to touch your heart or emotions that you never thought you even had.

I am saying this because one day I ran across this book entitled Not A Fan written by Kyle Idleman. I will have to admit, that this book has really made me look at my life...where I've been and where I am heading. The sad part is...I realized for most of my life- I have only been a FAN of JESUS...not a FOLLOWER. Sometimes it is hard to swallow some of the words that I read in this book. Sometimes if I really sit back and think about CHRIST and all He did for me...how could I have let the world and so many things get in the way.

I remember telling my church family about how for so many years...church was just something to do on Sunday morning- it was what our family did. I still remember the day I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was twelve...but as I look back now...I realized I only gave God part of me. When being a Christian was easy or comfortable- I was all in, but God don't ask me to give up this or that- God what would my boss think...God my friends are around (and they don't believe)...God, life is going good now...I will do it when this gets done. God, let me do it my way...I will only SIN a little- I am nothing compared to this person when it comes to living in sin. Then as I got older, it turned into STUFF and having more...more things...taking MORE time away from God. Even the so called "good things" got in the way- wanting my kids to be apart of every sports program, volunteering, and helping others out here and there...

The more I read the Bible...and seek His word and will for my life...nothing makes sense of what I thought being a CHRISTIAN was or being a FOLLOWER of CHRIST. How can I honestly read His words and compare my life and see CHRIST? To be quiet honest, my life has been mostly about outside appearances. What do you think of me? Am I involved enough at church or do I pray the right way when others are around me...do I REALLY care if someone was dying and going to hell (tormented day and night) - separated forever and ever without CHRIST. If I was real with myself and God...and I believe one day we will all have to answer for this and how we lived our lives when we were here on Earth...I would have to say for most of my so called Christian life....the answer would be NO. (I realized a few years back, that if I looked back on my years of being a Christian, I could not even count on my hand how many times that I had actually shared with someone else who Jesus Christ was and how to accept Him as your Lord and Savior). That was about 18 years of my Christian life. To put it in another perspective, that was about 157,000 hours of living day by day pursuing wordly passions or things I deemed more important...and only a few hours of sharing CHRIST...but I called myself a follower of CHRIST.

I firmly believe that we all live in a world full of DECEPTION. I firmly believe that Satan knows exactly how to try to set us all up for failure....MONEY, JOBS, BIG HOUSES, INTERNET, STOCK MARKET, LUST, RELATIONSHIPS THAT TAKE TOP PRIORITY, SPORTS...the list can go on and on. The reality is, it is not like all these things are bad in itself...but if we all stop and ask ourselves one question. WHAT CONSUMES MOST OF OUR TIME AND EACH OF OUR DAYS? For many of us, we always have a good excuse. This needs to be done, or I am so busy I have to take care of this...this person needs me or I need to work 50-60 hours a week to support and take care of my family (even though your child is begging you at home to spend more time with them).

BUT...at any moment, your life can END. All of the sudden the reality will hit for all of us on how short our time was here on Earth. I met a pastor this week and he reminded me of what Jim Elliot once stated (this is a man who was a missionary who gave his life and his time on Earth reaching many in Ecuador):

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."

Put it in a different way, who cares how much wealth, material possessions, time you spent "working" and not with your family, time you spent enjoying your hobbies and not reaching others for Christ, hours you spent on the internet chatting or on Facebook....on and on and on...NONE of this is going to matter...when you take your last breath on Earth and cross over...NONE of these things that you fill your day with is going to matter...the only questions at that point is DO YOU KNOW CHRIST? DID YOU LOVE JESUS WITH ALL YOUR HEART? DID YOU FOLLOW HIM? WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND ETERNITY? (Our brains cannot even fully grasp and understand this concept of eternity. Unfortunately, we consume ourselves with the present...things that we can see with our EYES...living only for the moment). I love this illustration that Francis Chan presents on Living Eternally. The first time I saw this...my whole perspective of life changed! I love trying to show this demonstration when talking to small groups or when we have an opportunity to share our testimonies at churches. I wish the whole world would stop for 3 mintues to watch this video.

As I watch this video again, I can't help but think about the verses in Revelation (and please allow me to emphasize):

"Then the devil (the great DECEIVER), who had deceived them (all who followed worldly pleasures and things other than CHRIST), was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."- Revelation 20:10

Then as the chapter goes on...

"And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire." (tormented day and night forever and ever) - Revelation 20:15

I turned 34 years old this year, I am not going to be spend the rest of my life regretting or looking back and wishing I would have done things differently. This is a new day for me...a brand new day for all of us. Only you are going to determine how you are going to finish this race. God, my prayer is that You will bring us all to our knees in prayer seeking Your will for our lives...Lord, what if we all just took a moment and asked You how we can step up and lead our family, Lord, how can I best serve You at work and in my community, Lord, I know that my neighbor across the street does not know You...please give me the strength and courage to go right now and share the love and grace You offer to us all when you died on that cross to pay the penalty for each of our sins- regardless of the outcome of whether they choose to accept You or not or if they choose to never speak to me again...Lord, how can I be a better wife and mother to my children, Lord, help me with my control issues and help me to become completely dependent on You...help me to love my neighbor. Lord, help guide me to find another job that may not take me away from my family for so many hours. Lord, help me to see the things in this world that I really do not need...things that one day I know will be so meaningless...help me to share all the things You have given me for others in need or going to bed hungry tonight. Lord, help me _____________________.

Only we can fill in the blank of what we need to ask or give to God to help us finish the race strong...do not wait until it is too late. Make your life count. 

"But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." -1 Timothy 6: 11-16

1 comment:

  1. Very encouraging blog and video, Crissy. I have seen a daughter-like person as yourself,who grew up a street over turn from me turn into this awesome, beautiful young lady with determination to be outspoken in living for Christ. How happy it makes my heart to see Christ become so real in your life. Keep serving and keep in God's Word as He becomes ever more real in your life. The small red part of the rope only lasts but for a moment.Praying for you!!!! Dawnn