Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Soap.

My body wash promises me a 'Touch of Happiness'. My shampoo claims to invigorate my morning. My Coke Zero vows to keep me on the path of losing weight. Romantic movies would have me believe that my marriage should complete my life, that my husband will always buy me flowers and lay his coat over puddles for me to walk across safely. Special K cereal is sure to make me thin, and Revlon will make my lashes luxurious and long. Shea Butter is the next big solution for my wrinkles, and my Spanx will squish and squeeze me into a size 8...or so they say. American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance promise me fame, and who wouldn't want that!??! With all this help, I am the next big thing.

There's a little verse in Luke. It is tucked away between Christ's prophesies of the temple's destruction and His impending Crucifixion. This tiny little verse says so much, so sweetly, so succinctly.

By standing firm you will gain life.Luke 21:19

I get caught up on the promises of life here. My eyes wander to shiny things and promises of wealth, beauty, fame, and happiness. I forget my commitment to stand for Him. I often just stand for me.

In Matthew Jesus asks a question that no product or promise of earth can answer.

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  ~ Matthew 16:26

There is nothing wrong with my delightful orange body wash. I happen to like it. There IS something wrong with buying into the promises of earth for happiness and completeness. Nothing completes us like Christ, and if we spend all our energy on standing for what makes us happy then what is left for the one who offers us more than this life, more than shiny hair or soft skin? If all our time is wrapped up in the means of happiness in life. Often our focus is not on the end. Are the means worth the failure at the end?

What is worth your soul? Is your earthly pleasure and good times worth your soul?

Give up the fight for earthly winnings. Give up trying to fit in when maybe we shouldn't.

Stand firm and gain life.
       Say no to anything that pulls you away from your commitment to Him.

                       Do good.

                                       Be different.

                                                             Focus on holiness and not your personal happiness.

Gain life and stand firm.   
           Say yes to helping others, to worshiping more, to serving your community.

                     Be good.

                                      Look different.

                                                               Let your happiness grow from your holiness.

Why can't Christ be our all? This is what standing firm means: making Christ our all; making Christ our full-time occupation. All other endeavors are temporary, and I promise it will only fulfill you partially.

Only one can promise you eternity. Only one can promise you life. Stand firm and rely on that promise.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In Their Youth.

On Saturday evening I stumbled upon this verse:

May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace. Psalm 144:12

This is what I noticed.

Our sons in their youth should be like full grown plants. In their youth, our sons should provide like a full grown plant provides food for a family. In their youth, our sons should already have a maturity and a focus to provide for their family.

Our daughters, likewise, should be strong enough to hold up the home in their youth. They should be pillars of strength, strong enough to hold true even when winds blow and the rains come. Some pillars maintain their stature after thousands of years, and this is what the writer of Psalms dreams for his daughters in their youth.

My goal as a parent is to raise my children to be responsible. As much as my selfishness aches for my children to constantly need me (and they do right now), my job as a parent is to raise them so they do not need me, so they can stand on their own in every way. I believe this is supposed to happen sooner rather than later.

My goal as a parent is to raise my children to know the I don't want to wait for them to acquire this knowledge on their own. I take ownership of their spiritual maturity because more than any other dream I have for my children whether it be a vast education, marital bliss, professional success, or the scientific discovery of cancer's cure, I want my children to know their creator, to bow in humble thanks at their Savior's feet.

I believe this can happen in my children's youth. I pray it can. The choice is theirs to hold the hand of Jesus or to hold the hand of the world, but as long as I have breath I will love, I will pray and I will lead them toward the Savior. I have witnessed the other option, and I plead with the Lord daily that my children avoid it.

When Christ is the goal, then the sewing of wild oats is never acceptable. It may happen, but should not be the common accepted norm among Christians. We should aim higher for our children. They are worth the effort. We will set our children on the path of success in many ways, right? We force them to get up for school. We sign them up for every athletic endeavor. We encourage them to love God and country in scouts. We aim for our kids to be good people, good athletes, good students, and good loyal patriots. Do we aim for them to be spiritually their youth.

The psalmist would suggest that in their youth children can do strong amazing things. I hope and pray that the path I set my children on leads them to become pillars and full grown plants in their youth rather than consumers and pleasure seekers expecting the world to provide all needs. I hope and pray that the path I set my children on leads them to seek God above all else because He IS the provider of all things.

Father, protect my children. Please give me the words and wisdom to train my children in your ways. I cannot do this on my own. My failures discourage me. My inadequacies silence me. Give me the strength to reveal your love to my children. Please give my children the courage to love you in their youth.