To die is gain!

I have not lost, I have gained.

Philippians 1:21-22a (NIV)

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  22a If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. 

Over the past month, I’ve encounter an end, a loss, let go, a resignation and a possibility.  Each thing representing something that I loved or wanted to love. Each thing having a specific meaning with time and space in my life.

In my singleness, I’ve learned to become independent. I’ve learned to rely on myself with God’s help.  Taking care of children, a house, a car, finances, serving others, friendships……always putting others first.  When faced with the upside downness of the past month, I realize that each of these things have taken my independence away and made me more dependent on God.

I have prayed and studied God’s word and put things aside to pursue God more and more.  I have been happier and found more joy in my sorrow and pain than at any other time in my life.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. (Philippians 1:21-22a)  I desire to be closer to God and learn how He wants me to live and who He wants me to be for this season of my life.  He has sent each of these situations to me to gain perspective, discipline, consistency, motivation and love.

I want to be wanted, chosen, cared for, loved, respected and pushed.    In each situation, God has shown me that even when something is worldly lost, gone, done or taken, He is still here, waiting, wanting,  pursuing, loving, providing, protecting. I have not lost, I have gained. I have gained more with Him than I can ever gain with another person, job, or success.  I have gained love, joy, peace, mercy, grace and everlasting life! Nothing I could ever gain with a person, job or success. Therefore, I have gained it all! I have gained Jesus!  I have won!

True Friendship

I had been on vacation a missed a couple of Sunday services at my own church, but had gone to my sister’s church where I was visiting.  This was my first Sunday back at my own church.

I had missed some of my friends who I get to see every Sunday, but everyone needs to refresh themselves with a vacation.  Thinking about one of my best friends I usually sit with and hoping he would be there this morning made me extra excited about worship.

As I was walking in with my grandson, I was greeted by friends with smiles and great love.  I was already feeling awesome and this just took me over the top. Suddenly, I seen him and he had seen me.  We ran to each other and hugged for a long time. It was awesome. It was like seeing an old friend after an extended period of time.  I asked him to wait so I could take my grandson to children’s church, so we could sit together.

Once in the service, we made sure we found seats together and began worshipping our Heavenly Father together.  What a great friendship to have with someone. I am thankful for our friendship and I thank God for him.

This made me think about my friendship with God. This is how God feels about me!  He loves me and misses me when I’m distant from him. And when I “let go and let God”,  I run to Him and He catches me in His arms and we hug for a long time. Then we sit and have a long conversation about how much He missed me and how He wants me to stay close to Him.

Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. God teaches us to love Him and love others.  Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)

God brings people and takes people out of our friendship circle.  People who love us, support us, pray for and with us, who are honest with us and stick by us.  He loves us and wants us to be reminded that we are loved, cared for, and wanted by Him and our friends.

 

If you are seeking that kind of friendship, God wants you to know that He is waiting for you and He loves you!

Reality Check

People go around saying you need a reality check.  Well, what they don’t realize is that everyone’s reality check is different.

Whatever you are living, whatever your goals, whatever your dreams are, is your reality.  If you get off track, then your reality check is to reassess your whatever’s and get them back on track.  What you do will be different from others and how you get them back on track will be different. You can’t look at other people and do what they do.  You have to do what is best for your whatever’s.

Make a list (pro/con), think with your heart and your head, write down your goals and dreams and how you will get there.  Dream BIG! Make sure these are your ideas and not someone else. Devote time to prayer and ask God what His goals and dreams for your life are.  His plans are way better than yours and His journey is way more exciting.

Jeremiah 29:11  New International Version (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ephesians 2:10 New International Version (NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God has already prepared and planned our lives for us.  We just have to follow him to follow our destiny. Now that’s a Reality Check!