Are You Wasting Away

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. " 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

Have you ever noticed that the older people get, the more they talk about their aches and pains? I had an aunt that used to talk about someone named Arthur all the time and how he was "kicking up." It took me a while to realize that this guy named Arthur was really her arthritis. My grandma liked to talk about her bunions, psoriasis, diabetes and her old ticker.

I thought it was all gross...until now. When I hit 40, my body began to fall apart. I found out that heredity was not my friend and that many of the things the old folks used to talk about had been handed down to me.

While I do my best not to bore people with my ailments, it can be disheartening at times not to be able to do the things I once could and to know that it won't really get much better. At least not physically, but life is getting better and better in every way.

As I draw closer to old age, I draw closer to God and experience an increasing excitement that the time for us to be together forever is growing closer every day. It gives me a sense of urgency about focusing on the things that are truly important. It helps me realize that as distressing as life's problems can be, they are all just temporary. And it helps me to depend on God more and more for strength, wisdom and provision.

Growing old ain't for wimps, so while my body may be wasting away, I'm looking at those things that are unseen, but more real than what we can see - the eternal things like faith, hope, love, joy, heaven, angels, streets of gold, loved ones who've gone on before. No more bills, no more taxes, no more diets, no more pain or sickness, no more tears...

We sure have a lot to look forward to, don't we?

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

Today I am stepping across the line...again.

Because life throws curve balls, because temptation is...well, tempting, and because your life speaks volumes to others, sometimes you just gotta take a stand, make a declaration - and stick with it. 
Several years ago I made the following declaration with thousands of people at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA and every once in a while I feel the need to refocus my heart, so this is me taking a stand...
Today I am stepping across the line. I'm tired of waffling, and I'm finished with wavering. I've made my choice; the verdict is in; and my decision is irrevocable. I'm going God's way. There's no turning back now!

I will live the rest of my life serving God's purposes with God's people on God's planet for God's glory. I will use my life to celebrate his presence, cultivate his character, participate in his family, demonstrate his love, and communicate his Word.

Since my past has been forgiven, and I have a purpose for living and a home awaiting in heaven, I refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting, or faithless worrying. Instead I will magnify God, grow to maturity, serve in ministry, and fulfill my mission in the membership of his family.

Because this life is preparation for the next, I will value worship over wealth, "we" over "me," character over comfort, service over status, and people over possessions, position, and pleasures. I know what matters most and I'll give it all I've got. I'll do the best I can with what I have for Jesus Christ today.

I won't be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by praise, frustrated by problems, debilitated by temptation, or intimidated by the devil. I'll keep running my race with my eyes on the goal, not the sidelines or those running by me. When times get tough and I get tired, I won't back up, back off, back down, back out, or backslide. I'll just keep moving forward by God's grace. I'm Spirit-led, purpose-driven, and mission-focused, so I cannot be bought, I will not be compromised, and I shall not quit until I finish the race.

I'm a trophy of God's amazing grace so I will be gracious to everyone, grateful for every day, and generous with everything that God entrusts to me.

To my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I say: However, whenever, wherever, and whatever you ask me to do, my answer in advance is yes! Wherever you lead and whatever the cost, I'm ready. Anytime. Anywhere. Any way. Whatever it takes Lord; whatever it takes! I want to be used by you in such a way that on that final day I'll hear you say, "Well done, thou good and faithful one. Come on in, and let the eternal party begin!"

Originally shared by Rick Warren at Angel Stadium, April 7th, 2005. Rick Warren is pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of The Purpose-Driven Life. This covenant may be reprinted for nonprofit use as long as the following tagline appears: "This article is printed from the website Copyright 2005 by Rick Warren. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
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*photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc 

A Grandmother's Legacy

My beautiful grandmother, Mable Glaze
A blogging friend of mine posted this verse on her blog today...

I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4

It brought back wonderful memories of my Grandma Glaze. She was a colorful and fiesty lady and I loved her spunk. When she passed, I inherited her Bible. While thumbing through it I came across this same verse in 3rd John. It was underlined and "My favorite verse" was written in the margin.

My Grandma gave birth to 14 children. When she passed, she had 52 grandchildren. I've lost track of how many great-grandchildren, but it's very near 100 and now we're into the great-great generation - maybe about 35 so far...and almost all of them are believers!

Never underestimate the power of a praying mother and grandmother!

The greatest thing you can do for your family for generations to come is to pray them into the Kingdom of God and never, ever give up.

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

How Soon We Forget!

photo courtesy  ba1969,
I was reading Psalm 106 this morning. It tells the story of how God delivered the children of Israel from slavery and led them out of Egypt. He allowed them to escape the pursuing army by parting the Red Sea, enabling them to cross on dry land. What a time of rejoicing that must have been!  They were finally free and headed toward the Promised Land. God had performed many miracles to bring them to this place, and yet, the Psalm goes on to say…

But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.” Psalm 106:13
When I read this, I just want to shake my head. After all God did for these people, it says they soon forgot what he had done and instead of waiting for his plans for them to unfold, they started making plans of their own. When God didn’t seem to be working fast enough for them or in the way they thought he should, they began trying to figure things out on their own – with a bunch of mumbling and complaining thrown in, I might add.  Isn’t that just crazy?
Uh…isn’t that just what we do?
I’m raising my hand…guilty as charged. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.
Just recently my husband had to have complete knee replacement surgery. The cost to us was going to be over $4000. (and that’s with insurance!)
I don’t know about you, but we don’t have that kind of money laying around. We had no idea where we would get it, but God had it all under control. We received checks that we did not expect, friends started giving us money, co-workers took up an offering, we auctioned off a few things and they brought in more money than we dreamed they would.
By the time his surgery came around, we had it all paid for – and that was God’s miracle to us. But, what happened next?
Our income changed and we were bringing in $400 a month less than we had been.  What did I do? Did I remember the financial miracle God had just performed? Did I relax and wait for his plans to unfold for us?
Nope!  I started wracking my brains for ways to earn extra money, spent scads of time on the computer researching different small business possibilities, and began to let worry and anxiety creep in. Until this morning, that is. Until God led me to this passage of scripture and showed me that I was behaving exactly like the children of Israel did. Those people that I was so quick to judge.
So, now I’m back on track, but wondering…
Does this kind of stuff ever happen to you?
If so, let me encourage (read strongly urge) you to go read Psalm 106. I can pretty much guarantee that once you’ve read it, you won’t want to travel the same road the children of Israel did. Remember how long it took them???
 -------------------------------------------------------Previously published as a guest post on Encourage 365

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Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)