Tuesday, September 25, 2012

walking through the gospel: walking in joy with an eternity mindset

This is our final week of Walking Through the Gospel! Can you believe it? :)

This week we're talking about a crucial part of a believer's life: walking in joy with an eternity mindset.

What does that really mean though?

It means we can walk daily with Him in great peace and with joy while looking forward to what is to come in eternity. Because we know who God is, we remember what Jesus did for us, and how the Holy Spirit helps us, we know that God is GOD.

He is fully capable of taking care of us, and He is more than trustworthy. He is God, sweet friends!

When we know who He is, we realize that we cannot do anything outside of His power. Nothing is out of His control. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things!

Whatever you are walking through in your life right now, He knows every detail. If you're going through an awful trial or a time of great blessing right now, He knows what is happening and He knows what will happen.

walking in joy

That's how we can walk in joy: we know that God is fully in control of our lives and that He is working for His glory and our good.

Joy comes when we relinquish control.

When we live for God, whatever He brings is what He brings. It's what He wanted.

Isn't that freeing?

And even better, when we trust Him, when we let Him take the reins {not that He isn't going to anyway}, and stop worrying about what will happen next, we can be free to focus on the present, and we can do it with joy!

Philippians 4:4-7
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What has God put in your path today? How will you accept it? With joy or with anxiety?

Every. Single. Day. is a gift from God. We can focus on today, and when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can move to the next day, and the next day, and the next day with Him, until we get to the other side of this life. Eternity with God!

If you are a believer, it helps to think of this life as a marathon- one that requires endurance to the end so that you might receive the prize:

1 Corinthians 9:24-25
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Hebrews 12:1-2
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do you feel weary in your race? Are you slowing down...wondering why God has hidden His face from you? Do you feel like God doesn't really care what happens to you?

Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

If you are growing weary in your race right now- don't give up!

Seek Him- tell Him you are weary, that you need His help to continue following Him. Wait for Him to do it. Trust in His Word. He promises to help you- to give you strength when you seek Him.

When you feel tired, cry out to Him, and give thanks to Him for what He has done. He knows what is happening- He knows you. He planned everything long, long ago:

Isaiah 25:1
O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

God can give you strength to face each day with joy- even the hardest of days. It's not as much a smile on your face as it is a deep heart happiness- it's knowing that God's got this. Really though, this kind of joy cannot even be described. It doesn't make sense to the mind.

I think He wants us to rejoice in who He is and what He has done for us, in spite of our circumstances and trials. And that deep faith- believing in the promises of God- produces hope, which brings us this inexpressible joy that this life is not the end.

Eternity lies ahead of us.

walking with an eternity mindset

It's so, so important that we keep that in mind.

Whatever our situation, God has called us to live for Him in this life we've been given.

He calls us to obey His Word. To follow Him with all of our hearts. To love others like ourselves. To preach the Gospel to the nations. To run the race with endurance.

It isn't as complicated as we'd like to imagine- He wants us to live our lives fully for Him.

And He's empowered us to do His will with His Holy Spirit.

When we follow Jesus, we do what He says.

We will mess up. We will sin. It's not a pretty or easy transformation to become more like Jesus. {In fact, the longer you walk with Him, the more sin you will see and repent from in your heart.}

It's hard to become like Him, but at the same time it is so easy because of what He did on the cross!

If you aren't walking with God, please, please realize that it's the most important thing that you'll ever do.

We have no promise or guarantee of how long this life will last. If you've been putting off a relationship with God, please realize there may be no tomorrow for you.

Oh, hear this: God loves you. He redeemed you by spilling the blood of His precious Son.

Don't reject Him. Don't harden your heart today.

If you don't follow God's Word- if you don't seek after God- chances are, you aren't a follower of God.

If God's Word isn't changing your life, you're not experiencing what you should be.

I can't tell you what you are or aren't by any means, but take a deep look within your heart. You know what is true. And if you can't see it, ask God. He will show you.

There are no perfect people other than Jesus, so we all experience ups and downs in our walk with God. But if your spirit is consistently dry, and you rarely pray or read God's Word {even if you go to church and work in Sunday School}, you are missing out on knowing the one true and living God.

Now is the time to seek Him. 

Not later.

Don't let the stirring in your heart go to the wayside.

Go and sit today and pray for God to show you. God hears the cries of His people. He knows your heart, your sin, your struggles. He wants to be your God. He is jealous for your heart- don't let your job, your school, your spouse, your busyness, or even your parenting role get in the way.

You have a call on your life- one to bring God glory with everything you do.

Don't chase after yourself. Chase hard after God- His joy is so much better than we could ever imagine.

And we haven't even talked about what will happen in eternity!

When we seek after Him- when we give our lives to Him in faith, believing His Word is true, that His Son has defeated death and sin, and that we have the Holy Spirit, our lives will be changed.

The outcome of our faith is a royal inheritance: our salvation and life in eternity with God in Heaven:

1 Peter 1:3-9
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Our faith will be tested. Will it stand? Will it result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus returns?

Do you love Him even though you haven't seen Him? Do you rejoice in who God is? Do you know Him? Does He know you?

He is able to change your life. He is able to see you to your final day- to complete the work that He began in you:

Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

If there's one thing you could take away from this series, it would be this:

You have one chance to live for God on this earth. Love Him with all your heart- seek after Him with everything you have. Even if it means losing everything that you know. He is more than worth it. Seek Him as if life depended on it, because it does.

And to those of you who are already walking with Him, Jude encourages you:
Jude 1:20-21
 20But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

He will return for His people. He is coming back, and we don't know when.

My prayer is that we will be faithful until the end. Don't let sin overtake your life and cause you to live apart from God. You can't be a follower of God if you don't follow God.

Hebrews 12:12-14
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 

Those warnings keep us awake, keep us seeking God, don't they? They don't give us cause to fear- they remind us of what our purpose is here on this earth.

We can believe with great confidence that God is able to keep us from sin and able to present us blameless at the end. He chose us before the foundation of the world!!

He set us apart to be adopted in Christ as part of His will! He has even promised to give us a guarantee of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit:
Ephesians 1:3-14
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined usb for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9making knownc to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteed of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,e to the praise of his glory.

This is the very essence of the Gospel. God redeeming the broken- changing lives. Taking sinners and making them His children, making them blameless before God, and freely giving them salvation and life with Him and eternity!

How could we possibly not want to give Him all of us???

Oh, Lord, we thank you for your gift. You are so, so good to us.

HE can do it. In fact, He already did.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. 
Jude 1:24-35

If you want to share a testimony of what God has done in your life, please do in the comments!! I love, love, love to hear what is happening in your life!! God is so good!

Also, if you have any lingering questions, I would love to try to answer them! You can email me at mandy @ biblical homemaking.com if you have anything you'd like to share or even a prayer request! I've said it before, but the community of sisters here is incredible- it is such a blessing that we can share with each other and encourage each other over the internet!

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