What Am I Doing?

God’s timing is not my timing. Frankly, I don’t know what God’s calendar looks like. I don’t have access to it via a supernatural internet portal. I do know that none of us are promised tomorrow. Perhaps that’s why Scripture encourages us not to worry about yesterday’s spilled milk. Yesterday is done and gone. There’s no do-over in life; only repentance and forgiveness.

Having placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we make a conscious effort to turn the course of our life around. We commit to living differently today than we did yesterday. We strive to be kinder, gentler, and humbler.  We submit to God’s will and His plan and are grateful that it includes us in any way, shape, or form. We strive to be more faithful.

We don’t deserve to be included in God’s plan. Grace and mercy aren’t spiritual entitlements. Yet, God freely offers us grace and mercy. We can’t earn them. We can only receive them and having received God’s gift we can only pass it on so that others might know the reason for our new-found optimism. Being redeemed, we desire to imitate and model Christ so that other’s can see the light of life that shines in us because of Him.

We don’t know what the future holds either. Life is truly but a vapor, just like Scripture teaches us it is. We’re here one minute and gone the next. If the last several days have taught me anything it’s to cherish every moment. Love God. Love others. Better.  Deeper. Stronger.

And 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.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31 (ESV)

Our pastor, Jeff Miller, captured many of our thoughts accurately when he delivered the sermon Sunday. Our hurting, grieving congregation screamed at God from the depth of our collective souls “What are you doing?” Reeling with inexplicable pain that crushed our hearts last week, we were hurt, angry, frustrated, and confused due to the completely unexpected passing of our beloved friend and Worship Pastor. We felt blindsided. We were caught off guard. But we know at the end of the day God is still good. Indeed, God is good all the time and all the time God is good; even in our heartache. He is still worthy of our trust. He is still faithful. Therefore, my focus shifts. It’s not “God, what are you doing?” that I need to ask but in clear view of experiencing a life lived well, I must ask a different question.  What am I doing? That’s the question now.

From the ashes beauty will rise just as in the darkness a light continues to shine.

As I mentioned earlier, it starts with loving God and loving others better, deeper, and more strongly than I did before God called my dear friend home. The guest speaker at Mark’s funeral was right; the world was better with Mark Walton Jones in it. But God called Mark home. Our friend is now celebrating in Heaven. Mark’s work here on Earth is complete. Mine remains unfinished, incomplete. I still have work to do. So do you.

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In the days ahead, I pray and hope to share the Gospel more boldly, more readily, and more frequently than ever before. I pray and hope that my words minister to those who are still lost and lonely and those who feel they are the last and the least in this often times grim world we inhabit. I pray that I can write a story that glorifies God and reaches people for the Kingdom. I hope that I can shine at least a fraction of the light my friend shone in his brief time here on Planet Earth.

As I ask God what He is doing, I have no choice but to look in the mirror and challenge myself and ask, “What am I doing?”

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We are not promised tomorrow. We only know tomorrow will come. We do not know when Christ will return. We only know that He will return.

In the meantime, ask…

What am I doing?

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

Mark 12:29-31 The Message

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Life is downright hard some days. You juggle multiple irons burning in the fire at near lightspeed and manage to accomplish the laundry list of to-dos without overstepping your boundaries or hurting anyone. All day, you’ve managed to keep all four wheels between the lines as you truck down life’s highway. And then life deals you an unexpected blow or smacks you in the face with all its force for no other apparent reason other than because it can. You know—those moments where life takes your breath away but not in a good way. As people of faith, we are not immune from these valleys we stumble into along our journey. Life hurts. Yes, Virginia: the Struggle is real. 

What do we do?

As believers, we are called to continue on, faithfully, walking humbly, acting gently, being grateful, and nurturing a spirit of forgiveness. In our words and deeds, we show love, blessing even those who curse us. Even when it hurts. Yes, we mourn, and we grieve. Yes, we fervently pray, begging God for relief from our struggles. But it doesn’t end there. We get up and go on, moving forward, towards the prize, running the race with all our might until the very end.

As redeemed children of God Most High, we are all in recovery, rescued from our shortcomings, no longer bound by the chains of sin, while all the while, day by day, learning how to live life because He lives. It’s not easy. We aren’t perfect. But we are changed, no longer the same. Like new creations learning to find our way, we stumble, and we struggle, getting up after each fall.

God is SO good. Even on our worst days, He shepherds us, providing all we need to maneuver through the trials and tribulations this earthly life brings, from time to time during different seasons. In our plight, we turn to the Lord, showing our dependence on Him to traverse the storms life brings our way.

Jesus Calms a Storm Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

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