Friday, September 30, 2011

(day seventy-three) the question of the quality of life

A few things today have got me thinking about the quality of life. If we could remember what our first thought was when we entered the world as a baby, I wonder what it would have been? Perhaps you would feel valued... like you were worthy enough to be created and born. Then imagine, over time, the different things that could happen that would strip you- the child- of the very God-given value placed on your life before the first breath was even taken. Some believe that as soon as a baby comes into the world, skin to skin contact with the mother and father is most important. In some ways I suppose it would solidify that value to the child. There is so much that is exchanged in this intimate moment. Something I've learned in the past few years is that our cells can actually hold memory. So whether we think a newborn is too young to remember or not, it's very possible that each cell in it's body is either remembering the love and worth or wanting to forget the rejection and abandonment.

Best case scenario: a child is born into a loving family who raises it the best possible way they know how (regardless of it's financial situation). Worse case scenario: the child is rejected, unwanted, abandoned, and unloved. Either case eventually allows a chance for the child to know and receive TRUE heavenly and perfect value from a Father that accepts, desires, protects and loves. Because He does. If God is completely God all of the time then we are always valued by Him. Right? So what's the problem? Well, the enemy hates when God's creation knows how much He loves them because then they delight in God, worship, praise, and thank Him for who He is no matter what. Then we understand the price He paid and the value He placed on our lives and we see the value in others... no matter where they are in their journey. Devil despises this stuff. When we recognize the value God has placed on our lives before the beginning of time... we begin to then question the quality of life.

So even the worst case scenario mentioned above is still better I suppose than the alternative: never being allowed the chance to live in the first place. Being rejected for no substantial reason without a voice to speak. Over the years I've asked myself all of the questions anyone does about their stance on abortion. The reasons may include: mother's right, rape, deformities, poor, or potential risk for mother. But these are all pretty much based on the worlds view of the quality of life. Every single one of us human beings are a miracle. The facts surrounding the conception, growth of an embryo, and process of birth STILL blow my mind. But I guarantee you that if we began to view quality of life as the Lord does, and believed that His power is great enough to completely reverse the possible effects of the reasons listed above... then we might see ourselves, unborn children, and worldwide injustice a little bit differently. We might actually begin standing up for life (other than just our own). We may see that one person CAN make a difference in this world, but a unified community can make an eternal impact. We don't have to make war with injustice but we very much need to rely on the power of God in and through us. His love is going to change the whole world one day... and I choose to be an active part of the journey now. Do you?

Are we just living to work to sleep to die? Or are we just surviving till the good Lord takes us home? Do we consider "quality" as having a good family, occasional satisfying vacations, good insurance, a nice retirement, good church life, nice neighborhood, pleasant routine, good morals and a fun hobby? These are tough questions I'm asking myself and these things aren't wrong in and of themselves; But as I've examined my life this last year... and started aligning it with the word rather than comparing it to others, I've been quite shocked with what I've discovered. I found that the quality of life God offers is strikingly different than the quality of life we tend to buy in to. Again, I'm not saying He doesn't want those good things for us (He does have a best in mind!!!), but what I'm saying is sometimes we settle for those things as "good quality" when He has a much greater purpose in store for us than just to live a "good" life and die. But search your own heart and His to find out what it means to you? It was disturbing and convicting for me, yet profoundly invigorating. As I began to give away the life I had bought in to... I began to catch a glimpse of the reality of my worth and how to live that out on earth... the one chance I've been given. Not only has God now let me identify with my true identity in Him, but He's greatly expanded my expectations in life, allowed me to see the true value in others, and given me a new relentless passion for the broken, dying, hungry, poor, and injustified. On top of that... I find even more fulfillment in family, church, work, relationships, hobbies, and travel when I seek satisfaction in Him first and foremost. We can settle for just those things, the "good" safe life, and die- smelling good, with money in the bank, clean as a whistle, and full of love. But really... what kind of life would that be? If we think we have the right to pick and choose what suites us to love and fight for... then we might be awfully surprised when we enter the gates of heaven scanning the crowd in search of just one person we were acquainted with on earth in the "good life". And there is a great possibility there will be people in heaven you (myself included) were too uncomfortable to hang out with on earth. It's just one of those funny thoughts to me. Could that change the way we see people now? Or do we even really SEE people that can't do anything for us? (You can thank God later for the tough questions.... haha).

Please see that God is testing my heart right now too! Writing this is not the easiest thing in the world, because I too am now accountable and vulnerable. Things like this are very hard to hear, but should also be held up next to the word of God. I know many of you that live your life with the beautiful quality God has revealed to you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being this example to me. And even if we don't exactly know or see that yet... I pray God is giving us all a revelation of His value and worth at us this very moment. I pray that we begin to intentionally walk outside of our comfort zone to SEE people, see the needs, fight for the justice, and allow God to bring freedom, healing and value in others lives through us.

If we still have an issue with trusting, believing, undermining, or underestimating God... then I'd say there are some lies we've agreed with along the way that aren't quite true of the God who tells us exactly who He is in the word. One of the great hard lessons I'm learning right now is that we will never fully understand God until we die. So often I get overwhelmed with His mystery and could actually make myself go crazy with questions. But then God gently reminds me that I am human and my human efforts and fleshly heart will never amount to anything of worth and value on its own. No amount of earthly acceptance, love, and desire could give us even a fraction of the quality of life that He places on all of us before we enter the world. This is why when we accept Jesus- the way, the truth, and the life- we are able to connect with God in such a way our true identity is revealed, our hearts are healed of the BIG LIE that we are worthless orphans in this world, and we become free to live a quality of life we never could have imagined before. But it doesn't stop there. When this happens... this love encounter with our Father... we want everyone else in the world to have the same revelation of His love and worth for them.

It's easy to repent when you begin to understand that the things you are repenting from are stealing your quality of life away. Your ability to move, breath, love, live, believe, trust, heal, give, and be free is altered and somewhat disabled when we continue to hold on to the lies and the sin that toxifies our one life. Repentance then becomes not a chore or a rule... but a beautiful thing to be desired. Yes, it's admitting you were wrong and you want to be cleansed... but it's an unbelievable opportunity (not to mention commandment) to get detoxified and have more space for God to move in your life. I don't know about you... but I don't want to be satisfied with just "knowing" more about God (which is all good), I want to have more of God inside of me!

YOU are made in His image! You are beautifully and wonderfully made! No matter who you are, where you are from, or what you have done... you are valued. If you don't know Christ... I encourage you to pray for a revelation of His love for you and to see the truth. If you do know Him... I challenge you to not settle with the worlds definition of quality. I challenge you to dig deeper into His word, into His mind and heart for you and the world... dig deeper into your personal worth. As you read trust that the words are true whether you feel them or not. If your faith is wishy washy get on your face before Him; He is the same but the world is changing and your watered down perception of the truth will be your stumbling stone as the times get harder. Let HIM be your rock! Especially when you feel like you are sinking. Some of us need to examine our lives in a manner we never have; asking deep questions of why we believe what we do. I sometimes wonder what would happen if my bible was taken away tomorrow. Would I have His word so imprinted on my heart and mind that nothing could shake the truth? Or would I begin to run out of faith because of the harsh lies penetrating my weak soul?

I know it's not all about the word.... we have the Spirit too! And we need to rely on the Holy Spirit for many things. I'm a firm believer in miracles, God's power, and all of the gifts of the spirit... and I also believe that we as Christians are not confidently collectively walking in these things. We must have a balance. We must have unity. We must find our strength, hope, faith, trust, value and love in HIM.

Now it's time to watch this very sobering, convicting, yet POWERFUL short film that should be watched with humility and grace. So instead of allowing hatred for evil people to stir up... put on your armor for the spiritual battles we are facing and hopefully become willing to let God's justice come through you to break down the enemy's authority on this earth. He comes to steal, kill and destroy but God gives us authority to override these abominable lies if we let the word penetrate our hearts and live to the greatest capacity of quality we can as humans in this fallen world until the day we die.... dirty, damaged, broken, and tired.... but FREE, valued, healed, sanctified, justified and loved- rejoicing in victory and praise with ALL of our colorful family and AWESOME God. Please take a moment to watch this....

B90: (Mark 10:35- Luke 3:20) There are just a few verses from today's reading that I'd like to highlight and let you seek for personal revelation within the scripture. For me, He's confirming through His word what He was speaking to my heart today.

Jesus said to the disciples who were inquiring about their "seating arrangement" in heaven, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

When asked which of the commandments is most important Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your HEART, and with ALL your SOUL, and with ALL your MIND, and with ALL your STRENGTH. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Read the "widow's offering" Ch. 12:41-44

Read Mark Chapter 13: 5-13. Good stuff... too much to type out. It's late ok? Ha.

"Stay Awake!!!" Chapter 13: 36 (exclamation marks added for emphasis)

And don't forget the power of the Great Commission at the end of Mark :) Go Jesus!

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