Faith

Holding On

 

Free stock photos of soil · Pexels Pexels3872 × 2592Search by imageMy prayer for you is that you find that something worth holding onto. Cling to it through all the darkness that is and that lies ahead. And may you come to see this shadow is a passing thing. In the end, light will always prevail.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photos of soil · Pexels

13 Reasons to Live: Lest We Forget

For the past thirteen weeks, I’ve been focusing on the many reasons we have to live. It all started with an article I read about the potential negative repercussions of the show 13 Reasons Why, and how its depiction of suicide could influence those struggling with suicidal tendencies to take their own lives. My desire has been to help people to look beyond, to remember all we have to live for.

The world gives us so much to be depressed about, if that’s all we focus on. Even people of faith get depressed, because we see the world as it could be and should be and is not. When we lose focus on the hope we have, it’s tempting to wallow in the mire of misery.

If you are among those who have considered leaving this world behind, please take these words to heart. If someone you love is battling with thoughts of ending their life, please help them to reconsider. The list below contains highlights from the past thirteen weeks. I’ve put them all together in hopes of saving someone’s life. And more important, of helping you find the only one who can truly save you both for now and for eternity…

Reason #1: Life is Worth Holding On To
While we could use the evil of the world to deny purpose for life, what about the good? A history of suffering men and women found enough good in this world to keep living, to keep moving forward. Would we be here now, if not?

Reason #2: It’s Not About Me
Maybe if we adopted this grand mission of putting even the smallest pieces of our own corners of this world back together, we would find our purpose is far greater than ourselves. And we would find that is more than enough reason…to live.

Reason #3: The Promise of Redemption
We may think that all the suffering life brings is reason enough to end our own. But the knowledge that we have a God who is able to bring beauty from ashes, joy from tears, and praise from despair is reason enough to live.

Reason #4: This Ain’t Hollywood
The most influential, significant person in history lived the most humble life and died the most despised of deaths, giving not just hope…but LIFE, abundant and everlasting, for the world. For generations to come. In his eyes, you ARE significant. And in his hands, you FIND significance—not in pursuit of the world’s applause. But in living the life you were created to live, surrendering to sacrifice for those in your own sphere of influence, however small it may be.

Reason #5: Tenacious Beauty
Where there is beauty, there is hope. And if there is hope, there is reason to live.

Reason #6: It’s Not Over
What carries us through the daily warzone? The knowledge that we’re in the midst of redemption’s story, in which the Author of all life is the Author of our lives, working every scene together for good.

Reason #7: There is Freedom
God our Father understands our daily battle with temptation, and yet, because he has overcome, he is able to help us to overcome.

Reason #8: You Are Not Forgotten
If you feel forgotten, know that there is a God whose name is El Roi, “the God who sees me.” When no one else sees. When no one else cares to see. His eyes invade our hearts with light powerful enough to split the darkness and birth new life.

Reason #9: You Can Be Repurposed
Nothing is useless, and nothing is wasted. In the hands of a master craftsman, even what most would view as junk can be turned into a priceless treasure. A skilled artist can transform the most useless items into something of matchless worth. And that’s what our loving God is able to do with the most hopeless pieces of our lives.

Reason #10: It’s Not in Vain
The things of the earth are fading, failing—a mere chasing after the wind. But it is NEVER in vain to pursue the things of heaven while here on earth. Because there will come a day when we will finally see eternity. And it’s gonna be worth it.

Reason #11: We’re Not Home Yet
When we follow Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life, we have hope of eternal life in heaven, where there’s “no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.” The best things on earth are mere shadows of the best things of heaven.

Reason #12: You’re Here for a Purpose
God has placed you here on this earth for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to contribute your gifts, your personality, your talents, and your life to community. You are needed and you are necessary. You’re here in this generation for a reason.

Reason #13: You’re Not Alone
Unfortunately, there is no promise that life will be pain and problem-free. If anything, we’re told, “in this world, you will have trials.” Yet we can’t neglect the words that follow: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Freedom comes in knowing we’re not alone in the midst, and there is one who is stronger, and able to carry our every burden.

As I’ve said before, please take these words to heart. Print them, share them, remember them. Always know you are loved, you are needed, and the God who created you is able to keep you.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Snake River, Waterfall, Nature – Free Image on Pixabay …

When Things Start to Change

When we finally humble ourselves and ask for the help we’ve needed all along, things start to change.

 

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13 Reasons to Live: Not Alone

I bring my bookbag with me wherever I go under the faulty notion I might have time to read while the kids are at the park, or at their appointment, or wherever else we may be. Last week we were at the playground when we discovered a nearby pathway, which I presumed would be a short distance and not worth running my bag to the car first. A half mile into our journey, we realized the path looped the entire lake. Achiness nagged my back from the now unnecessary load of unread treasures. My husband and kids were well ahead of me when I considered turning back, only to realize it would be the same distance returning to the car as it would to complete the loop.

After about a mile, I finally asked my husband if he could carry my bag for me. Relief flooded over me when the weight of my baggage finally released. Something about walking free from the heaviness of my belongings allowed me the liberty to enjoy my surroundings. A few miles into our trek, my daughter and I were well ahead of my husband. By now, he was not only carrying my bookbag, but my son as well. And my daughter was asking if he could carry them both.

What a picture of what God does for us! He invites us on a journey, our path encircled by beauty and undiscovered wonders. We launch a few cautious steps into the adventure only to realize we’re burdened by all we carry with us—whether it be our past, our habits, our bad decisions, our broken relationships, or anything that weighs heavy upon us. Thinking we’re alone midway through, we consider turning back.

But when we finally humble ourselves and ask for the help we’ve needed all along, things start to change.

Our Savior is so willing to take our burdens from us, he identifies himself as a burden bearer. Everything that hinders, everything that holds us back from life that is truly life…he’ll take it all. His load is easy and his burden is light, freeing us for the path marked out for us.

Unfortunately, there is no promise that life will be pain and problem-free. If anything, we’re told, “in this world, you will have trials.” Yet we can’t neglect the words that follow: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Freedom comes in knowing we’re not alone in the midst, and there is one who is stronger, and able to carry our every burden.

My friend, do not give up on life, thinking you’re alone and forgotten. There is a God—the Creator of heavens and earth, who knit you together for a purpose. And he will walk with you, carrying all that weighs you, holding you if that’s what it takes. All you need to do is cry out for help from the one who is able, willing, and ready to intervene. Release your burdens to him.

 

Photo Credit: Path – Free images on Pixabay

For a Reason

You’re here in this generation for a reason. Ask God to show you that reason, and to fill your life with his purposes. Ask him to lead you to strong, healthy, life-transforming community. And when you find it, you’ll find you have reason to live.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Nature, Seeds, Plant, Autumn, Faded – Free Image on …

Bearing One Another’s Burdens

Community is not just being under one roof at the same time. It’s sharing in one another’s joys and sufferings. It’s bearing one another’s burdens.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Luggage, Packed, Travel, Trip – Free Image on Pixabay …

13 Reasons to Live: Longing for More

It was sunny, a pleasant day for a picnic. We were surrounded by people and laughter and food. The kids were enjoying themselves on the playground. And I wanted to cry.

Our friends had invited us to this African community get-together, where ethnic music soared joyfully from the loudspeaker, competing only with the friendly conversations at the surrounding tables. The warmth of the weather was matched only by the warmth of the relationships. There were still crowds gathered beneath the pavilion when we finally left, after the sun had disappeared behind the trees.

It’s been a few weeks since that day, and I still haven’t quite pinpointed what it was that triggered me to near tears in the midst of it all. In some ways, it was the beauty of the day stirring up a longing in me. You know, that empty ache in the soul that can’t quite be explained.

What struck me most, beyond the abundant variety of delicious entrees, the relentlessly happy music and the overwhelming number of people in attendance, was the strong sense of community, and the joy in the midst. The people were open, welcoming, loving, embracing. Everyone seemed to enjoy one another’s company.

In the midst of the busyness of modern culture, we’ve lost this appreciation of community.

I think much of the depression we face today is due to this lack. We bury ourselves in work and technology and things, all in unconscious effort to avoid what we most desperately need. In our pursuit of the world’s definition of success, we fail in what’s more important: relationships. If you find yourself longing for more, maybe part of what you’re longing for is meaningful connection with others.

We were created for community. And we’ll be lost until we find it.

Community is not just being under one roof at the same time. It’s sharing in one another’s joys and sufferings. It’s bearing one another’s burdens. From what I know of those who gathered at the picnic that day, they’ve celebrated together, but they’ve also suffered together. And that suffering builds strength in relationships. And overcoming together breeds genuine joy.

God has placed you here on this earth for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to contribute your gifts, your personality, your talents, and your life to community. You are needed and you are necessary. You’re here in this generation for a reason. Ask God to show you that reason, and to fill your life with his purposes. Ask him to lead you to strong, healthy, life-transforming community.

And when you find it, you’ll find you have reason to live.