Created For Eternity

“When I don’t feel content with what I have, I lose sight of eternity.”

A friend shared this thought during breakfast today. It is interesting how a thread of my own thinking weaves its way through the hearts of my friends and draws us closer together. Through community, I learn that I am not alone in my struggles to be content with what God has given me. Together, we can share our struggles and encourage one another in the truth.

The lie is that we can never be content because someone always has more than what we have. Someone somewhere is living the life we wish we could have.

The truth is that there is never a reason to feel like I’m missing out because the best is yet to come. God has already promised us eternal life, a spot in his eternal kingdom. Whatever pleasures we could possibly enjoy on this earth pale in comparison to the ones awaiting us in heaven where all suffering will pass away. That is not to say that we should belittle the earthly blessings given to us or others; these can be the very things God uses to give us a taste of what is to come.

We were created with a desire for eternity. No human relationship or achievement was ever intended to completely satisfy us. The truth that I must try to grasp, no matter how difficult, is the fact that even if I do somehow acquire every earthly thing I could want, I would still remain unsatisfied: “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.” In the end, there is only one who can completely satisfy our deepest needs; there is only one in whom we can find true, lasting contentment. It is in the person of Christ.

I will not be enslaved

“‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything…

1 Corinthians 5:12–13

If I want to get a taste of prison, I will dip my feet in sexual sin. If I want to be free, I will pursue purity–pure thought, pure heart.

I love music, especially classic rock. However, if I listen too long, rock music begins to tempt me to impure thought.

Ah, Led Zeppelin! How I would hate to give you up! Bye Bye Dazed and Confused…

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

20120118-201950.jpg

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well.
Psalm 139:14

“You’re a special person. You’re really unique, you know that?”

“You’re beautiful, Ms. Tan!”

These are 2 quotes of encouragement said to me today. The first came from the math teacher down the hall, a real father-like figure to me. The second came from one of my co-worker’s special-ed kids, Bryan.

I really think God speaks through people all the time. We just don’t realize it. When I hear these words, I hear the voice of God. He is the one telling me I am a beautiful, unique creation even when I don’t feel like I’m one. When am I going to believe the good things God thinks about me? When I hear praise from a boyfriend? A spouse? Will I believe then? The truth is that if I don’t treasure myself as a beautiful, valuable creation now as a single person, no amount of praise from anybody is ever going to change my self-perception.

Singleness

Sometimes when I work out, I watch Maury. There are few shows scarier than Maury. Every time I see it, I’m grateful that I’ve never had to ask myself the question, “Who’s the father?”

Song lyrics

Here is a song I wrote:

It’s called God of Glory

I was blind now I see
I was lost you found me
My heart was so empty
Then your spirit filled me

I was walking my way
Then you showed me your way
Now I want to please you
In everything that I do

Who’s this God of Glory?
the Lord strong and mighty
Who can move the mountains
Who can calm the ocean

All creation bows down
To the One who came down
To become my savior
My Rock and my Redeemer

Even when the storms come
You beckon me to stay calm
I can trust in you
I can rest in you

In you I have my being
My body my breath singing
All belongs to you
A sacrifice to you

I Have Trusted In Your Steadfast Love

“He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Phil. 1:6

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God
Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death
Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
Lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
My heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
Psalm 13:1–6

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for:

‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.’

And this word is the Good News that was preached to you.”
1 Peter 1:6–25

A Tough Day

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

James 1:5–8

Today was real rough. I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I’m alive though. I don’t know what will happen next year, but it does not matter right now. I made it through another day.

Lord, you are going to have to help me understand why you didn’t help me more though. I asked you to help me with work, but I still ended up making lots of mistakes.

Mistake 1: I did not fully consider a child’s suggestion for a schedule change in our math class before telling her I could make it happen. I basically made a promise I couldn’t deliver.

Mistake 2: I didn’t anticipate what a headache a schedule change would end up causing me and my math dept. leader. I lost a lot more peace making schedule changes than I might have gained had I tried to work with what I was given first.

Mistake 3. I sent my kids to their new math class for one day without getting the confirmation to do so (this was before I realized I was supposed to get permission to make schedule changes).

Basically, stress has been compounded because I failed to think things through. I did not intend to add stress to other people, but I did through some hurried decisions I made.

Part of me wonders why I didn’t hear God’s warning. Was there a warning at all? Or, am I just so used to disobeying God when I want to go my own way that I simply ignored him?

20120118-215800.jpg

Love Poured Out for Me

“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” Rom. 5:2-4

“Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Rom. 5:5

Do I believe this? Do I feel that God has poured out His love to me?

The world makes me want to believe that His gift means nothing; that it costs nothing; that it’s not enough. But Christ is everything! ” For in him, we live, and move, and have our being,” (Acts 17:28). He makes me whole. His beauty outshines our cultural ideals of beauty. His beauty is like the sky, like a mountain, like a storm, like the sea. Immeasurable. Glorious. Man that knows no God knows no beauty and no peace!

Favorite Verses

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
6 and my God.”
Psalm 42:1–6

“5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:5–11

“6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth,
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:6–7

“But God demonstrates his love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

Heart of Judgement or Encouragement?

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Rom. 14:10–12

I am a pretty judgmental person by nature. It’s easy for me to focus on the flaws in others instead of the good. However, a judgmental heart is a hardened heart. Christ gave His very life to give me a new heart that loves, rather than judges.

Instead of judging others, I should remember that “we all stand before the judgment seat of God.” God does not condemn the believer, but He does expect us to become more like Him as we grow. Am I judgmental towards myself and others? Or, am I committed to encouraging myself and others to keep growing in Christ-likeness?