Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reflecting on Truths from 2007

By Charlotte K. Lowrie

Oh, the joy in knowing that Jesus is with us, as near as our breath, wise beyond comprehension, loving us without reservation, guiding, teaching, consoling, encouraging us in every single thing that we do. He is the perfect teacher, the perfect friend, the perfect Savior, the Holy Lamb of God.

Thinking toward a New Year and reflecting back on the past year, I take stock of my daily walk with Christ. Of the many, many truths that He has taught me during 2007, one truth in particular resonates with me, and that is to stop worrying. During the past months of writing two books, I learned much more about trusting the words of the Lord in Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV), excerpted here.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store way in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

It seems that no matter how much I’ve learned in the past about not worrying, there is always more to learn. I’ve learned that because worrying is one of those “human things,” it’s also one of those things that I have to give to the Lord over and over again. Despite my knowing for certain that He will provide for all of my needs, I still periodically fall back into my old habit of worrying about people, projects, and plans.

Most recently, I learned that when I worry, I lose focus on Jesus. When I fill up my mind with concern about a project or a task, there is no room for Him. And, predictably, I go my way instead of His way. And it’s at the end of “my” road that I need Him to step in and fix my mess. I’ve learned that if I stay on-focus with Jesus, all that I would otherwise worry about never becomes an issue of concern.

I’m reminded that it’s my job, my life’s work, to follow Jesus. The more I follow, the more my heart becomes like His heart. That change of heart represents true change, not simply a rote reminder to follow Him, but rather a change in who I am and how I respond to all of life’s experiences.

I’ve also been reminded that it’s not the approval of others that I work for, but rather I work for His approval—and that changes everything. The Lord reminded me that, “I didn’t call you to follow the crowd. I called you to follow Me.” Enough said. Human approval—whether it’s from the editor reviewing my latest book, or approval from my friends—means nothing in the Kingdom of God. What means everything is doing all work as unto Him.

I’m reminded that when I let go of my worries and minor obsessions and give them to the Lord, that He will give those situations back to me with His victory. Every time I give Him my worries, I can watch in awe as His perfect purpose is accomplished.

And most of all, I’ve learned again that on other side of worry is His perfect peace—now and always. Could I ask for more?

Wishing you a closer walk with Jesus Christ in 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Perfect Christmas Gift

The day of Christmas dawns.
We celebrate the gift of the Father,
His only Son, Jesus Christ,
Come to earth to live among us;
Mighty in strength,
Full of love,
Full of righteousness.

He came to bear our burdens,
To lift us up
From our trouble.
He came that we may have life;
The life the Father intended
From the beginning,
The life that leads from
Glory to glory.

It is the Father’s heart that
None would be lost,
But that all would come to Him,
Reconciled and redeemed,
Worthy of sharing His great glory.

He gave the gift in love,
A love greater than we can imagine,
A love that stretches through eternity.
The only requirement is that we believe.
And in believing, we have life,
Life that springs from the Father,
Life that is ever-lasting.

As Christmas dawns,
Think on that gift.
Think on the Holy Son of the Father.
He came freely,
And at no cost to you or to me.
He came that you might have life.
Think on it.
Rejoice in it.
Share it with others.

So great a gift.
So great a love.
Can we do less
Than praise and honor Him
Now and forever?

Can we step outside ourselves
And celebrate this great gift?
For only if we step outside of ourselves,
Will we see the true gift of Christmas
That was brought to all of mankind.
And having seen it,
We see that we must
Live this gift of love in our lives.

We did nothing to deserve such a gift,
Nor can we earn it.
Rather it is ours to receive,
To live, and to share.

A transforming gift of love;
A gift that never wears out,
A gift that grows more beautiful
With use year after year.

Celebrate with JOY
This matchless gift from God.
Dance and sing with abandon
For you will never receive
Anything of greater value
Than the gift of that first Christmas—
Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

There is only one God,
And He reigns eternal.