“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:35
This is one of those powerful lessons in the Scriptures that we often fly over and miss. “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.” Life is not something that we hang onto, Life is something that we live and in the living of life, we experience life. Life with all of it’s ups and downs is living and living is much more than just existing.
The key to really living is not trying to live life, but trying to give life, because when we give our life away to love others as we have been loved, then we really begin to live. The good news is that God loves each of us and has an amazing plan for our lives.
Don’t miss life, because you have gotten distracted by trying to make a living. Live life by giving your life to your Creator by serving and making life better for others. You will find that life is a whole lot more fun, when you focus on more than just existing…
“If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead.” I John 3:14
I have talked about this before, in a several different places. There are many different definitions and ideas about what love is. Most people in our world now a days, seem to have made themselves very comfortable with the idea that love is something that we fall into and can fall out of. This idea believes that love is some magical feeling we get when we meet the right person. If this is what you think of when you think of love, then you are probably right about it being something that we can fall into and out of.
A better word for that magical feeling that we get when we meet that person that makes us feel really special is probably attraction. Love, real love is appreciating the goodness in another person. When the Bible speaks of God’s love for us, it is God appreciating the goodness is us. You may think, but there is nothing good in me compared to God, and you would be right, but we can’t forget that God created us and we are made in His image. God sees what we can’t see and His attraction to that good in us allows him to appreciate the good that he can see and that is love.
Love is active and we can create it, just by appreciating the goodness that is in another person. This is why love really is a choice. A choice that each of us make many times and in many different ways every day.
There are in existence, what I like to think of as different flavors of love. There is “eros”, where we get our word erotic. When we accept and appreciate the beauty of the physical in another person, we experience this “eros” love. Eros love is often the next step after attraction, but it does not have to be. “Eros” love is about physical passion, gratification and fulfillment.
There is a love called “storge”. This is the love that parents share with children and children share with parents. It is only natural to look at your blood and appreciate the goodness, often of yourself that is in them. This is a love that flows almost naturally and without effort.
There is also “phileo” love. Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. This is a love of affections, a love that takes delight in being in the presence of another. This is often that warm feeling that seems to come and go. This is a love that cares about another as if they were blood.
And then there is “agape” love. This is the love that our Creator loves us with. This is love that seeks the welfare and blessing of the other person. This is a love that flows regardless of the feelings or emotions that we often get tangled up in. This truest of loves is a choice that we make, regardless of how we feel and that is why this love is so powerful.
When we love others, it is proof that the love of God has found its way into our lives. Proof that we are not dead, but alive to Him and His power that flows into and through our lives. We should seek this love and share this love, because it means that we are alive and being alive, really alive is a good thing!
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1
We know what we should do, but doing it is often the real challenge. We know what we should not do, but keeping ourselves from doing it is the really hard thing to do. I have noticed that most of the battles that take place in my physical life, take place in my mind before they manifest themselves in reality.
Learning to fight and win the battle in the mind, will save us a lot of heartache, time and trouble in the long run. What we give to God, God can take and use in amazing ways to move us to a place of blessing and fulfillment. The beautiful thing is that this allows us to give to God glory, which He is due and it allows God to give us blessing, which allows us to give Him even greater glory.
Take some time today to think about the battles you are fighting in your mind. Fight those battles and win – you will be glad you did!
My Grandfather loved his land. He bought it from his Dad and had worked it for the major part of his life. We used to walk the property lines every Sunday and he would tell me stories of things that had taken place on this sacred piece of earth.
He knew that bounty was not something that you kept in a bank, nor was it a job that you worked nine to five. Real bounty was the gifts and blessings that flowed into your life through the generosity of the ground under your feet.
The green hills provided a place of shelter, a place to belong and call home. The fertile soil with the smell of life gave fruits and vegetables. The thick forest offered retreat and comfort, while the wide open plains offered opportunity for adventure.
The land, as my Pa called it, has already provided us with all that we need to live a life of peace and joy. Our Creator, created the Heaven and the earth and they are perfect creations, doing everything that they are supposed to do. From the Heaven comes wind, rain and the bright sunlight of day. While the earth gives us a place to live, nourishment for our body, minerals for our growth, jewels for our decoration and somewhere to go and something to do.
Everything that we need is either just above our heads or right under our feet. Stop looking past the horizon, when what you need is within your grasp. Bend down, pick up some dirt and think about the significance of what you are holding. Now think about what you are walking on, claim what you have been blessed with and be careful not to miss what your Creator has given you!
It is natural to want to know our place in this world. Wisdom teaches us that knowing our purpose is not really the most important thing. The important thing is know that we have purpose. We search for answers that really will not make much of a difference in our lives.
Look up at the sky. Now, look around you at the earth. Isn’t that profound? You did not get it? Do it again! Look up at the sky, really look. Now, look around you at the earth. Did you see it? You are a spiritual being, existing in a human body. You are on the earth and Heaven is above you. In reality, you are right now living between heaven and earth.
When we look at the sky, we should contemplate heaven. The sky is above us and we are below it, what does that tell you? The sky is endless, vast, right before you and way beyond you. The sky/heaven is not some abstract philosophical concept, it is a daily reality that is ever-present in our lives.
The clouds come and go, but Heaven is always there. It is the air we breath and so much more. It is home to the sun which warms us and gives us life. We cannot live without the heaven and the earth.
Our spirit is in great need. It’s contentment comes from the unlimited vastness of the Heavenly domain. Our spirit never runs out of a new place to roam and call home. Don’t allow your view of this world and our heavenly home to become too small, because if you do, then you might just miss a very important part of your journey…
Do you ever have something the Spirit is teaching you and you get it, but you just can’t seem to communicate it? It’s in your heart and in your head, but you just can’t seem to find the words?
The Lord has been teaching me something pretty incredible lately. It’s one of those things that I have known what the Bible has to say for a long time. I could even quote the verse and I may have even gotten the gist of it, but now God is taking me deeper and I still don’t totally have it, but I am beginning to get it after a lot of lessons.
We often work so hard to try to make something obvious in the physical and the harder we work, the more hard work we have to do. It’s almost as if it is a never-ending battle. But in the spiritual, you don’t have to make anything obvious, because the Spirit does all the hard work for you. In the Spirit, the obvious is obvious to those in the Spirit!
When you are working hard in the physical to try to make something obvious, you often can’t see and have no understanding of the spiritual, because you are so focused on the physical. You don’t want to see and don’t want to understand the spiritual, because it would reveal how wrong and what a waste of time and energy your life has been in the physical.
I know this is all a little complex, but I believe it is a big part of what the Spirit has been trying to teach me over the past several months and what the Spirit was talking about when He said in 1 Corinthians 2:14 “14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Sometimes, I find myself trying to explain spiritual things to people and I think to myself, “this should be obvious to them”, but I am assuming they are spiritual, because they say they are spiritual, but if they are really as spiritual as they say they are, then I would not have to explain it, because the Spirit would and is making it clear and obvious. Many times in my own life, I have missed the spiritually obvious, because I was stuck in the physical.
So many of our conversations and discussions are a total waste of time and energy because we are wasting physical energy, while we should be living powerful spiritual lives or we are wasting spiritual energy on people who are stuck and not budging in the physical. Jesus said in Matthew 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Now does this mean that we become so heavenly minded that we don’t do any earthly good? Of course not. We will do earthly/physical good, if we are heavenly/spiritual minded, because it just comes natural in a spiritual kinda way. Galatians 5:16 puts it simply: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
I do not totally have all of this, but the Spirit is giving me new insight almost everyday and this is a very cool thing, because I have found that physically my arms and hands have come down by my side and I am experiencing a peace that words cannot explain, because I am finally beginning to understand what Jesus was saying when He told His disciples in Matthew 10:14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” It’s not your job to convince, but if you are convinced then you will find that living in the Spirit is so much better than anything physical!
We look for joy, but can never seem to find it. If and when we do find it, then we can’t manage to hold onto it. Joy is that miraculous and fulfilling gift that the Holy Spirit flows into our lives that enables us to face whatever life throws our way with hope, optimism, confidence and excitement. Joy is that special gift of God that everyone wants, but that so few are willing to really work and live for.
It may be that your biggest problem is not that you are not looking for joy, but that you are looking for joy in all of the wrong places. We try to find it in our achievements, goals and ambitions, but no matter how hard we try or what we accomplish, it just never seems to be there. We often look to others and what they do for us or what they do not do to us for our joy, but this often leaves us worse off than when we began. We sometimes even look deep within ourselves, only to discover that this is not the place, even though it sounds good.
Joy is found in one place and one place only. Joy is found in the presence of God. Psalm 16:11 says “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Joy that is bigger, better and stronger than any other thing in your life can only flow from one source and that is the pure source of His presence. If you want joy that will allow you to face and overcome even the worst that life will throw your way, then you must journey into and learn to stay in His presence.
Sometimes when I am really wanting to show my “mad skills” on the grill, I will take a piece of meat and marinate it in some liquid and spices. I literally leave the meat in the liquid for a long period of time, so that it can soak up all of the flavor that makes such a difference. In the cooking world this is known as “marinating” the meat.
We need to marinate in God’s joy by living our lives in His presence. We do this by 1.) Making it a priority to invest time in God’s Word everyday. One of the tools that I use to help me with this is youversion.com, this online Bible has a whole series of reading plans that help me to get in the Word, stay focused and enjoy His presence. 2.) Worship God Who is more than worthy on a regular basis. I have an iPod nano that I have programmed with some of my favorite music and I have a section of songs that immediately take me to a place of worship, where I can enjoy sweet communion and fellowship with my Creator. 3.) Spend time in prayer. This is a great gift that God has given to us, but it is also one of the most unused gifts. Prayer is simply having conversation with God. It means that we talk and listen. This conversation is evidence of His presence and joy can’t help but flow through it into and through our lives.
Time spent is God’s Word opens the door for worship. Real and genuine worship brings us into His presence. In His presence we have the opportunity for conversation, which will fill out lives with His joy. Hope you enjoy the joy of His presence today!