Sunday, January 27, 2013

A New Season of Parenting

I've been aware - somewhat painfully - that my life is on the short end at this point. Less ahead then behind and all that jazz. Of course, it is true that the best is yet to come, for those who trust in Jesus forgiveness and grace. But this life is more and more spent. I pass large houses that excite me with the thought of a dozen young children running up and down the upstairs hallway with shouts of glee. I think of large tables filled with young faces smiling over piles of chocolate chips being artfully arranged into smiley faces. Then I remember. My turn for such adventure is done. Over.

But as of late a new adventure is being revealed. Young pastors, vibrant men of God just starting the adventure of church building and family raising, are turning to my husband for guidance, for mentoring, for counsel. And this new adventure includes me and their wives. It's a package deal, an occupation for a foursome. And I love it.

It's not the same as having young children. Nothing quite compares to that. But I must admit, it is thoroughly exciting: kingdom advancements on new fronts, joining the battle in various locations, linking arms those leading the charge. Pioneering once again - I love it!

May we be a strength, an encouragement, and a help in advancing His kingdom - til the end of our days.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Happy Pilgrim

I've discovered a truth about modern day Americans. We are on a quest for personal happiness. Perhaps this is not true of only 21st century North American dwellers. I am not going to do an exhaustive study (I would tend to think it is not exclusively American ideology, but here we are, and so I will confine my thoughts to this.)

I have learned few things, but this I know: the Christian life is not about self-seeking. If you sign on thinking to reap your own benefits and fulfill your personal desires you will be sadly disappointed. But if you come with a desire to seek Him and find Him only, walking in His ways and not your own, making Him your home and love and passion, your rewards will be unending happiness and joy.
 Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. Psalm 84.5
Here we find a declaration. Blessed (happy) is the man whose heart is set on pilgrimage and the ways leading to God. That man finds his strength in God alone.

pilgrimage - any long journey, especially one undertaken as a quest or for a votive purpose or in accordance with a vow

This lifetime, this earthly existence, is to be considered a pilgrimage. We are to be those...
... who, having placed their happiness in God as their end, rejoice in all the ways that lead to him, all those means by which their graces are strengthened and their communion with him kept up. They not only walk in these ways, but they have them in their hearts, they lay them near their hearts; no care or concern, no pleasure or delight, lies nearer than this. Note, Those who have the new Jerusalem in their eye must have the ways that lead to it in their heart, must mind them, their eyes must look straight forward in them, must ponder the paths of them, must keep close to them, and be afraid of turning aside to the right hand or to the left. If we make God’s promise our strength, we must make God’s word our rule, and walk by it. (Matthew Henry Commentary Psalm 84)
 This world is not our home. These relationships are not eternal. Treasures here will disappear. He alone is the goal, the prize, our home, the only true lover of our souls.

If you want to find personal happiness, stop seeking it and seek Him. To reach for personal gain, to grasp your own desires will leave you with empty hands and hollow hearts. Desire Him, His ways, and serve them only. This is the way to personal happiness in the end.
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. Mark 8.35

Happy New Year to you. May you find Him and walk in His Holy Way!