If only…

Have you ever played that mind game with yourself, “If only….”? Maybe you have even played it with your closet friends talking aloud or seeing someone win the lottery on the nightly news.

If only, I lived there instead of here. If only, I had a million dollars I could follow my dream. If only, I were thin and beautiful like her I would have a lot of friends. If only, I were different than who I am now.

What it means to follow Jesus

There have been plenty of times, I played the “if only” game throughout my life. I wondered why God placed me in the most useless place or circumstance. As I measured myself against others, I would sigh and wonder when it would be my turn to be happy, to be at peace, or to feel fulfilled. It is so easy to fall into this “if only” game with social media showing us how much fun or how happy others seemingly are by their vacation, party photos, and joyous announcements.

The “if only” game is a trap we must avoid at all costs.

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:21-25 (GW)

Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was the greatest use. He did not think the way we do, but how God thinks. He never defended, argued back, or vindicated Himself because He knew God’s character and understood His purpose.

What then is my purpose where I am planted now?

“So I can guarantee that God’s angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts.” Luke 15:10 (GW)

I find it freeing in Jesus’ example of never defending or arguing about God’s character. He went about the purpose God put Him on earth to accomplish. He suffered and died for me to save me from my sins. Why must I complain? We never have to play the “if only” game with God. Christ accomplished our “if only.”

”If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

So then, those who suffer according to God’s Will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:14-19 (GW)

I must never measure my life against another person. God is the director of my life. We each have our own place and purpose for the glory of God. When I refuse to play the “if only” game as a follower of Jesus, I am totally incapable of judging where I am to be. I satisfy His heart when I make others strong and mature in God.

mulberry tree

My Prayer

“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, I pray that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that no evil may have power over me. Amen.”

(Adapted from Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God.

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts.

God’s Blessings to You,

sheri-clear-glasses
Sheri

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved

Common Sense and Spiritual Sense

“Aren’t five sparrows sold for 2 cents? God does not forget any of them. Even every hair on your head has been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12: 6-7

Whose life is it anyway?

I have been praying for a family member who has succumbed to the highly addictive drug, meth. She has abandoned her children, stolen thousands of dollars of items from her parent’s home, and friends have shunned her presence. She is homeless roaming the streets with men who care only for what she can provide them.

Family members remark to one another the potential she once had – she was bright, intelligent, and artistic. She had psychotic episodes and hospitalized briefly as a teenager, assaulted her mother, and has been jailed periodically over the years. Unwed, she gave birth to 3 boys who seemed to have given her purpose to positively move forward with the responsibility of parenthood. Yet here she is continuing to battle demons made worse with drugs.

Common Sense and Spiritual Sense

Common sense is a gift of nature. Spiritual sense is a gift of Jesus Christ. So, when I think of people like my family member or others and I ask myself, “Where is their common sense?” Nature gives way to the desires of the body and the mind. Therefore, when each of us encounters everyday issues of life or battles of the mind as an ordinary human being, we must never allow common sense to become so prominent that it forcefully pushes Jesus to the side.

While I am not a psychology professional, I believe mental illness and drug addiction robs the person of nature’s common sense. But can that person whose illness has robbed them of common sense still be transformed by the gift of spiritual sense from Jesus Christ?

Jesus brings Lazarus back to life

Verse 4: “When Jesus heard the message, he said, “His sickness will not result in death. Instead, this sickness will bring glory to God so that the Son of God will receive glory through it.”

Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead in John 11:41-44 and Jesus has the power to bring back those who are still living in the body but are dead in mind and spirit.

Jesus prayed inside Lazarus’ tomb: “So the stone was moved away from the entrance of the tomb, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I have known that you always hear me.” Verses 41-42

Jesus Christ never gives up on anyone.

Is Jesus Christ being given his opportunity to work in me?

Is Jesus Christ overwhelmingly satisfied with my life, or am I walking in spiritual pride before Him?

Am I living in such dependence on Jesus Christ that His life is being exhibited moment by moment in me?

Jesus Christ has never given up on me. My ordinary abilities will never worship God unless I am transformed by Jesus Christ. I am worth more than many sparrows and so is my family member. She is worth more than many sparrows too. Jesus will not give up on her and neither will I. We must always keep in touch with people and not only with common sense, but with spiritual sense if we are to use the Word of God skillfully among them.

The Prayer Shawl ppt

My Prayer

“O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, I humbly pray for all who are sick in mind, body and spirit. Look upon them with the eyes of Your mercy; comfort them with a sense of Your goodness; preserve them from the temptations that take them from You; and give them patience under the grip of their affliction. In Your time, restore them to health, and enable them to lead their life to Your glory; and grant that finally they will live with You in life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

(Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Prayer.)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God. 

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts.

God’s Blessings to You,

sheri-clear-glasses

Sheri

 

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved