Monday, June 22, 2009

A Message Worthy of an Encore

Reading through my Message Bible yesterday, this passage stopped my heart. The Lord had some work to do in me.

It was pause-worthy.

1st Peter 4:7-11
"Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless--cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: If words, let it be words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything--encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!"
So many applications jump out at me, and I'm caught off-guard by the depth of them. 

"Stay wide awake in prayer."
This doesn't mean stay up all night. Rather, each situation I face can be one in which to pray through or over. Every person I meet can be one to bathe in prayer. Of course I'm not necessarily going to grab their hand and start praying out loud with him or her, but in my mind, heart & soul, I can pray to the One who knows them intimately.

"Love as if my life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything."
It's intentional. Urgent. Insistent. Christ's love in and through me is miraculous, and it is to be showered on others. This kind of love is really important to the Lord, and it is the kind of love He lavished on me.

"Be generous with the different things God gave me..."
I always want to give my money away and buy people things, but am I generous with my words? With tangible help? With prayer? With His message? Am I generous in love?

All of it is so that "God's bright presence will be evident in everything." 
I pray that I will never feel entitled to someone else's applause or love in return to what I give out. When I'm serving others because I love Christ, then I expect nothing in return. If I'm loving His way, the receiver experiences God's presence. Period.

I pondered:
How many times do I "love" someone until they say something that hurts or offends me? 
How often do I count what others have or have not done for me based on what I've done for them?
Do I hope deep down for applause? An encore even?
Have I grown complacent in praying for others?
Am I sometimes numb to the needs of others?

Even more deeply, I pondered:
There is so much pain. How can I possibly meet all the needs around me? What are the boundaries?
Are there things I spend my time on that are fruitless which could be shoved aside to obey in these areas?
How are these verses lived out practically in my season of life as well as the way He's wired me?

I praise the Lord for helping me come up to answers to these things inside my heart and mind, at least for now.  I'd share them, but His answers may be different for you.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that I pray my hands & feet & mouth & heart & mind would give the Lord the renown He is due...that His light would beam through me, making His sacrificial love evident to all.

May it be so, Lord. I lift my hands in praise, giving You an encore with my everyday living. You are mighty to do so in me as I stay surrendered to You.

How do these verses cause you to ponder in your life? 



13 friends shared a comment:

Runner Mom said...

Wow! Lauralee! This post is truly making me ponder about God's Word this morning. I have to pick up the boys from cross country--then to swim team! I'll be back to reread and think about this one, chickadee! Thank you!

Hugs,
Susan

Amy Bayliss said...

Wow. That is some good stuff to think about... I really have to meditate on it awhile.

Thanks for making me think!

Sita said...

All of the applications are for me today..God has been unearthing old pain and it hurts...need Him...thank you, Laura...

Toia said...

I love how you pour your heart out to the Lord. You have a humbling, willing, and inspiring spirit. Thanks for sharing what was on your heart. Blessings to you always.

Dana said...

As usual, you have some really good stuff here. My thoughts...
The last half of the first sentence grabbed me in light of the rest of the passage.
"take nothing for granted"
I am so guilty of this. I take for granted that someone else will take a meal to the family who just lost a loved one or to the mom who just had a baby. I take for granted that someone else will be generous or will speak up. I take so much for granted and as a result I cannot radiate HIS light to others. But when I recognize and grab the opportunities given by the Spirit to show the love of my Lord to others, He gets all the credit and is knows as the One mighty in everything and I am so blessed! WhooHoo!

Denise said...

Such an awesomely beautiful post my friend, love you.

Betsy Markman said...

Excellent post! I do hope that someday you'll feel led to share with us how the Lord helped you address the questions of boundaries. That's one of my concerns, too. In fact, it often interferes with my starting to serve, for fear I'll get swamped if I even try.

devita said...

It strucks me like a thunder. How bad I behaved! Thank you for reminding me, sister. God's word is always worth.

Patty Wysong said...

Much here to think on.
Hugs!

Lisa said...

I loved your paragraph about "God's bright presence." How difficult is it to not expect anything in return for our sacrificing? Such insight you have and a right-on perspective!! Very convicting verses..

Richard said...

How far can we go if we live like this? Is it truly possible to shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life? Php 2:15

Praise and Coffee said...

Beautiful post, thank you!
Sue

Mary said...

Great post!
Encore for the Lord and for you my dear!
Mary