Tag Archives: salvation

YOLO

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14

Think of who you would rank as the three biggest celebrities alive on earth right now.  Whether by beauty, music, words, atheticism or acting ability, celebrities amplify an otherwise normal life to make their mark on this planet as big as they can.  Okay–now think back 20 years.  Who would you have considered the top 3 celebrities then?  (I was like 10.  My top 3 consisted of Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Rider Strong and Andrew Keegan.  HA!)  Where are those 3 now?  How quickly things change.

There’s a hit song by Drake called The Motto.  Don’t look it up.  It’s terrible.   It’s a song with the lovely Lil’ Wayne where they talk about money and sex.  Original!  In it, he coins the term “Yolo.”  You Only Live Once.  (I laugh every time I hear the word, because for me, Yolo was a podunk town that hosted a band review I use to twirl a baton in in junior high.  Go Huskies!  HA!)

The Motto.  You Only Live Once.  The banner of our generation.

You Only Live Once.  Let’s get money and take duckface pictures and waste our lives!  Let’s glorify ME!

Trouble is, it’s a lie.  Cuz guess what homies…you can only live once, or you can be born twice.

Step out and look at our world from above:

Earth-Western-Hemisphere

Yup, there’s Kim Kardashian in all her glory.  Right there in that tiny little speck of Los Angeles.  In 20 years, will anyone still be Keeping Up With her?

The name of the game is bringing glory to HIS grace.  That’s the point of this whole thing.  Glorifying who God is and what He’s done for us.  You can either be the part that brings glory to His grace by CONTRAST, or by similarity. Either way, He’s going to get the glory.  The light shines brightly in the darkest areas.  Are you the part that shines, or are you in the darkness it shines out of?

“…you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…” Phil 2:15

A celebrity can amplify their years on earth, getting as much fame and wealth and worldly significance as they can muster up, but that glory is limited.  No matter who you are, you can’t add any years to your life.  You can’t make your life more than the mist it is– a tiny blip on the timeline of our universe.  The world spends so much time trying to copy these people in their limited glory, so that their glory is a cheap imitation of glory that’s already cheap and small in relation to the big picture.

What do you want to chase?  Glory that will fade in 20 years, or glory that will last an eternity?  If my little life is just a mist that is here one day and gone the next, what is the best way I can spend it?  Is the limit of my life’s glory, the most I can muster up, the white boots and red lipstick and pom poms that I sported for a few months of my existence?  What does that look like in the scheme of it all?  Nothing!  Who cares!?

I want to make my mist-of-a-life a heavy downpour.  A rainstorm.  Something that at least generated some significance.  Here’s a few ways I can do that:

1-  Make my small life count.  YOLO as your motto?  Nahh.  How about Don’t Waste Your Life.  “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  Phil 3:8

2- Make my small life last.  “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.  Do you believe this?”  John 11:25

3- Make my small life multiply.  “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”  Psalm 103:17-18

We can make the most of our lives by making the most of Christ.  We can beat YOLO with eternal life.  We can multiply the impact of our lives by leaving a legacy through our kids and other people.  Training them up in Him so that they make the most of him, and so on, and so on.

In ancient times, people tried to build a huge tower thinking they could reach heaven with it.  We’ve been to the moon and still can’t reach it.  If we waste our lives trying to build ourselves into demi-gods, we’re just building a big tower trying to reach heaven, when our best attempts are puny at best.  He’s given us the vehicle to make our lives count, though, and it looks like this–less of me, more of Him.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Phil 2:3-8

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The Life Savers Club

When I was about 10 or 11, my little sister and my best friend Jenna and I started a club.  We were playing one day and decided that we should do something to “save the animals.”  We called our little group “The Life Savers Club.”  We made buttons.  We puff-painted T-Shirts.  We sold Country Time Pink Lemonade on the corner.  We made sandwich boards and wore them as we rollerbladed down Wooddale Avenue yelling “Save the animals!  Save the dolphins!  Save the whales!”  We met in Jenna’s backyard shed that had a little pass-through window.  I was the President, of course, Jenna was Vice, and my sister was the Treasurer.  We had a coffee can that we had to put our dues, 25¢, in every time we had a meeting.  If we didn’t have the money, no problem, we would just take a quarter out and put it back in.  I think we bought hermit crabs with the money we made.

When I think about the Life Savers Club now, I can hardly imagine myself doing all of that.  It seems so far away from who I am today.  And it makes me wonder, what happened?  When we were little, we were taught that we could make a difference, and we believed it.  If we felt strongly about something, we did something about it, even if that something was really meaningless in the scheme of it all.  Then we hit junior high or high school and start realizing that other people are watching, and it cocoons us into a “don’t do anything uncool, just try to look like everyone else” mindset.  At least, it did to me.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:16-17).  When he said that, he didn’t mean taking everything blindly and just believing it all like Santa or the Easter Bunny.  He meant the kind of faith that drives a child to make up dance routines to “Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion” and perform them at a nursing home, and to sing Psalty at the top of their lungs (don’t ask me how I knooooooow).   The kind of faith that makes a kid happily and easily invite her friends to church and youth group and summer camp, and watch as they get saved.  A child’s faith is unabashed.  How many of us, as adults, can say that?

God, in His infinite love and ridiculous grace toward you, became a man and died for you.  DIED for YOU.  Do we act like it?  Do we make that message the center of our entire livelihood, unabashedly?  Would we be caught dead rollerblading down the street with a sandwich board that read “LIFE SAVERS CLUB” on it?  Screaming, “He saved ME! He saved ME!  And He can save YOU!”  What would it look like if we put all of our energy and resources into the One who actually has the ability to Save Lives?  Or, are we too wrapped up in our self-protecting cocoon of fear to break out of it and actually fulfill His command, the Great Commission?  It wasn’t merely a suggestion.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16).  The gospel is the power that brings salvation to people.  If we are able to clearly post and voice our opinions on politics and social morality, how much more so should we be sharing the hope of the gospel?  It’s funny, the things we don’t mind offending people with, and the things we do.

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels”” (Luke 9:23-26).

So, whaddaya think?  Wanna join my club?  It’s called the Life Losers Club.  It’ll cost you everything you’ve got.  But the reward is everlasting.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9).

Exploring Your “Calling”- Part 1

Happy last day of 2012, girls!  Wow….THAT went fast.  It’s unbelievable to me how much faster things move the older we get.  I remember my 7th grade teacher telling me that it’s because as you get older, 1 year becomes a much smaller fraction of your life.  When you’re 5, one year is just one-fifth of your life…but when you’re 30, it’s one-thirtieth.  Sorry about the late blog post today, little Khloe’s got an ear infection and this mama was up aaaaaalll night long.  Yay!

So many of the e-mails and messages from you all have had to do with “calling.”  I think that deep inside each one of us, we have this desire to do something for God, to have some sort of mission and purpose.  I’ll hear things like “I just wish God would tell me what He wants me to do” or “I just want to know what my purpose is.”  That’s good, and I would say it’s something that He’s written on each of our hearts.  The Bible talks about how we are all different parts of one body, so I guess each of us are screaming out, “am I an EAR?  A BIG TOE?  An EYELASH?  A HEART VALVE? WHAT!?”  And then something like this happens– we see one of the other body parts next to us go, “Ahhh.  Thank you Lord.  You made me a nostril.  I am a nostril.”  And we get kind of this weird jealousy about it, are you with me?  It’s a good jealousy, though, we just want whatever it is they figured out.  And then we start thinking, “well, maybe I’m a nostril, too.  I can smell just as good as she can.  Yeah, that’s it.  I am a nostril.  I am called to be a nostril!” when really you are a lung, but because you’re caught up in thinking you’re a nostril, God finds a different lung to use.

SO you might be asking, why doesn’t God just tell me what it is He wants me to do?  Well, I know for a fact that God is good and loves you like crazy (John 3:16), He’s not cruel and He’s not trying to keep you from fulfillment.  The exact opposite, actually…Christ said “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  The problem is not in Him, it’s in us.

We want the “ME” without the HIM.

Just tell ME what I have to do.  I want to know what it is that you have for ME.  What’s MY calling?  What’s MY purpose?  We should be asking- How can I know YOU?  Teach me to know what YOU’VE done.  What are YOU doing?  Now, these questions aren’t something that you just force yourself to ask God.  These come from a heart that realizes how destitute it is without Him.  How broken it is without Him.  How evil it is without Him.  They flow out of a heart that preaches the gospel to itself daily.  One that can’t wait to meditate on Him daily, hourly, minute-by-minute.  One that is saturated in the GRACE that He poured out on you when he let his own son be destroyed so that you could have a relationship with Him.  But no, we want to know more about US!

If you want to know your calling, here’s where we begin.  You’re not going to know who YOU are until you know who HE is.  You’re not going to know what YOU are supposed to do until you realize what HE has already done.  Now, we’re going to look at this in sections, because it’s a long topic, but for today I want to share this with you.  First thing that you’ve been called to is SALVATION.

Ephesians 1:4-8 says, “For he (God) chose us in him (Jesus) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

If you’re reading this and don’t know if that’s you, let me just tell you that an unbeliever is dead in his transgressions, and death can’t choose life, it’s dead!  So if your heart is being stirred, I want you to know that the Holy Spirit is working in you–God is wooing you, calling you to life in Him.   If you’re a believer already and your heart is being stirred, maybe those embers that you’ve been quenching are starting to fan into a little flame action.  And if you’re a believer who’s on fire right now, well you’re just amen-ing your way through this anyway.  Just a little extra fuel for you.

So before the beginning of the world, God chose you in Christ Jesus.  He loved you so much that He sent His only Son.  All you have to do is believe in Him, and even then, that belief is a gift from God, it’s not something that you’ve mustered up.  It is by grace that you have been saved (Eph 2:5).  If you have any questions about salvation, or if you aren’t sure whether you’re saved or not, I’d love to talk with you about it.  Send me a little message through the “contact” link and we can chat.  Otherwise, remind yourself of this truth everyday.  Don’t let a day go by that you don’t remember where it is you’ve come from and what He’s done for you–you’re liable to get too busy and forget who you are.

‘Til tomorrow then!  Hopefully I will make it to 12 to pop my Martinelli’s.  (note:  I have nothing against a little glass of champagne.  However, this nursing mama’s got a sick baby on antibiotics who’s wanting to nurse all night long, and I’m neurotically cautious.  No biggie though, I really do love me some Martinelli’s!)  Looks like I may be on New York time tonight!  Happy New Year!!

*********A few of you have contacted me about doing a “read the Bible in a year plan.”  I think that is a GREAT idea, and I’m going to do it with you!  I have an awesome reading plan that is actually in the back of Casey’s Bible that he did this year and loved it!  If you are interested in the BEST New Year’s Resolution EVER, reading your Bible everyday, you can find the reading plan HERE! And let me know if you’re doing it with me!!*********