Monday, April 14, 2008

Life without regrets

There's a loaded statement! Life without regrets? Is that even possible?

As I look back over my life I see many things I wish were not in my past but alas, there they are sitting there like big sores on my life!! YUCK! How did they get there? Well, unfortunately, I put them there. In some cases, I lacked parental leadership, spiritual maturity, role models, etc. Well, I can blame whoever or whatever I want but ultimately, I did it!!

I see in my family that with every generation the spiritual maturity deepens and the resources available to us to grow in Christ have become greater. Now let me clarify that we've always had the Bible and that should be our first resource for any problem in life but I do believe God uses great men and women who are surrendered to the Holy Spirit to help us along the way with great books that are full of Biblical advice and ways to help us get through difficulties and learn how to make wise decisions. There's nothing wrong with that. I could have used some of those earlier in my life and some more mature leadership.

When I look back to my high school years, and some beyond, I am amazed at what a poor job I did of living out my faith before others. I would probably be ashamed if I met one of them today and asked them who they thought I was then. I knew the truth and had received the gift of salvation offered me through grace alone. Though most of my peers knew I was a "Christian" I'm not sure they knew what that meant in my life. I made bad choices and today I live with those choices in the way of regret and shame and wish I could make them go away. That however, is the natural consequence of sin.

I can redeem those wasted years by living fully for Christ in the now. As I do have contact with those from my past I have the opportunity to tell them that my life is different today and that whatever they saw in my earlier in my life should in no way reflect who I am in Christ today. Am I bold enough? Do I have enough courage? You bet I do! I brought shame on the name of my dear Savior who redeemed my life. How could I do less than proclaim Him now? I just publicly proclaimed it on a website where my high school friends can freely read it. I pray they do! By taking every opportunity to share with those around me the truth of the Gospel I can leave my regrets at the cross and go forward, pressing toward the goal. Satan would love to bog me down with my regrets but Christ died to free me from my past.

Got regrets? Turn them into opportunities for the Gospel. Let Christ dwell in you richly so that you can do no less than shout from the rooftops that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and mean it with your life! Live for Him in obedience to His Word, taking every resource available to grow and learn how to glorify God with your life. This is a life with no regrets!

Living every moment to the full for Christ,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy!

Remember that old song we sang in Sunday school? Where is that joy supposed to be found? Down in my heart!!! I think for many Christians today their joy has gotten buried under the rubble of crumbling marriages, wayward children, broken friendships, job losses, financial ruin, etc, etc, etc. I see them walking around and their faces do not reflect what should be in their hearts. Where is their joy? They have allowed the circumstances of life to rob them of their joy, at least on their faces. The joy that comes from knowing Christ cannot be taken away. It's there forever!

The problem is people are looking in the wrong places for their fulfillment in life and it's affecting how they reflect the joy they have in Christ. We will never find our fulfillment in fallible, sinning people. They will always let us down, disappoint us, do us wrong, and so the list goes on. If we are looking for our jobs, spouses, children or anything else to fulfill our desires in life we will always come up short. The joy in Christ means nothing in this life should ever be able to keep us from experiencing that joy daily. If our eyes are on Christ and our desire is to honor Him with our lives, then nothing should keep us from experiencing joy everyday because we are looking to Him Who is the joy giver. He is the only one we have to please and if that's our goal then all other things in our lives will pale in comparison and joy will be the prominent expression on our faces each day because we are serving the King of Kings!

Does that mean we will never be sad or disappointed or not affected by our circumstances? Most certainly not! However, our reaction to those circumstances are the determining factor in how much joy we reflect. Yes, we will cry sometimes and be sad but wallowing in that circumstance is different. We will be able to get through those times with the joy still in our hearts and go on to bring God glory out of those situations.

Do people see that we turn to our precious Savior for comfort when bad things happen? Or do they see us fret, worry, wallow, or stress over the things that happen to us? What kind of testimony are we portraying? When we worry we say that we do not trust God and that our circumstance is beyond Him. Do they see a joy that nothing can rob us of no matter what happens? Do they see someone who can rest in the work of the Cross and leave our worries there? Do they see someone who is committed to giving God glory in all things? Look at your face in a mirror when things aren't quite going the way you think they should. What do you see? Can you honestly say that your hope rests in Christ? If so, no matter what He brings your way will you will rejoice and be glad, and give Him all the honor and glory?

I pray that my life will reflect that kind of joy. I pray people will always be able to see that my hope and joy is in Christ and nothing else. He is the only one that will not disappoint me and He alone can fulfill all my desires. If we are right with Christ our desires will be His desires and He has promised to give us the desires of our hearts if we seek Him. Don't let the enemy, or anyone else for that matter, rob you of the joy that's yours in Christ. Guess that old song, "Don't Worry. Be Happy" has some value!!

So, dear friend in Christ, let your joy spill out on those who see you!

For His glory,