Seeking Perfection

Another long day has finally come to an end. You lay your head on the pillow and think, “Today was such an amazing day. I have such a perfect life!”. What? Not your average day? Maybe you can’t remember the last time you had that thought.

Some of you believe your life is so far from perfect that you’ll never see perfection in your lifetime.

But maybe I can help you see it a little differently.

 

Most of us would define perfection as follows:

a: being entirely without fault or defect :flawless <a perfect diamond>

b: satisfying all requirements :accurate 

These definitions are certainly accurate and I would agree that they are impossible to achieve in our earthly lives. We can’t satisfy all the requirements that each day holds, and living in a sinful world we can’t possibly be flawless. But there’s another definition that caught my eye:

d : faithfully reproducing the original; specifically : letter-perfect

Now THAT is reachable perfection, even in our earthly lives! For we have a perfect example to follow and emulate. When Jesus Christ left a perfect Heaven and came to earth to live as a man He faced stuggles just like ours and never sinned. As we faithfully follow Jesus we also become perfect. 

We also have promises from God’s word:

Hebrews 10:5 tells us: “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

When we allow Christ to work through us we have His promise that we are perfect. In His eyes we are already perfect as we trust in Him and allow Him to make us holy.

James 1:17 tells us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

The perfection God promises us doesn’t mean that every day will be a great day by earthly standards.

The perfection God promises doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle.  

But the perfection God promises means that when we lay our heads on the pillow each night we can be satisfied that in His eyes we are already perfect.

And that’s a peace we all can use at the end of another long day.

blessings!

Paula

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Full, Empty…or Running Over?

I started out life as a glass “half full” person. I looked for the good in everything and chose to see the positive over the negative. As I put more and more years behind me I began to get bogged down by all that I experienced and I started to view the glass as “half empty”.  I looked at what I saw around me and what I was able to do in my own strength instead of having the faith to see how God could work in the situation.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”- Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Too often we think that we are not ‘worthy’ of God’s blessings. We have to work so hard for everything else in our lives that we may believe working hard and being ‘deserving’ is necessary to receive good gifts from God. Reading this verse from Hebrews, I often stopped my brain after the first 9 words, seeing only that I had to work hard at faith in order to please God. The reality is that all God requires is our faith in Him, and for us to “earnestly and diligently seek Him”. It is a promise from God, not a rule!

In her book “Battlefield of the Mind”, Joyce Meyer says:
This powerful Scripture says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I rejoiced when I finally saw this! I know I have made many mistakes in the past, but I also know that I have diligently sought the Lord with all my heart. That means that I qualify for rewards. i decided a long time ago that I would receive any blessing that God wanted to give me.

When we choose to focus on the negative, challenging things in life instead of the positive, good gifts God offers we are essentially throwing His gifts back in His face, telling Him we don’t want them. But when we approach each day looking for blessings we will ALWAYS find them. Not only will we see our glasses as half full, but as running over with goodness and blessings!

It may sound king of silly, but every day can be like a treasure hunt…finding good gifts from God throughout the day. And that’s much better than only finding the challenges in each day! And who knows, maybe the treasure will be cookies to go with our glass overflowing!!

milk and cookies 

I hope you’ll join me and hunt for treasures each day. If too many of them end without cookies, let me know…I’ll send you some of mine!!

blessings to you!

Paula

The Rewards of Sacrifice

What are you willing to do for God? Many of us would be quick to say we would do anything. We would serve the hungry, help build homes for the homeless and perhaps even travel to the ends of the earth. But how much are we truly willing to give up?

Abraham was a man who loved God with all his heart and was given the promise that he would father many nations. Abraham was faithful throughout his life, but still had to wait 100 years for the promise of a son to be fulfilled. We can only guess at Abraham’s elation and joy at the birth of his son. The love and pride he felt must have made him want to burst, and I imagine he immediately began making plans for who he hoped his son would become. As Isaac grew Abraham soon learned that his time of trusting was not over.

Then God said, `Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. The he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.                                                                Genesis 22:2,9-10 NIV

God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son – to give up the fulfillment of his promise in order to prove his love for the Lord. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked myself why God would ask something so unthinkable of a man who was so faithful to Him.  It is often difficult to understand why the Lord requires from us things that we don’t understand, even things that seem downright cruel.

But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”  “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.                                       Genesis 22:11-12 NIV

Abraham and Isaac’s story has a happy ending. God provided a ram for the sacrifice, and Isaac lived to tell of God’s provision.

As I read the story of Abraham and Isaac I am compelled to ask myself, “What is the Lord requiring me to sacrifice?”

Is it my independence?

My pride?

Is it the desire for my dream job?

To grow old with a Godly man who loves me almost as much as he loves the Lord?

What is He asking you to lay down for Him?

No matter what God calls us to sacrifice, we must be willing to give it up; to lay it down on the altar in front of my Lord and slay it…proclaiming that even our most precious possessions on earth or our strongest desire is not stronger than our love for God and the choice to obey Him regardless of the cost.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.                                                                              Psalm 37:4 NIV

This promise came generations after Abraham’s faithfulness, but I believe is still true for us today. When we delight ourselves in Him our desires will align with God’s and we will be blessed by them. We may find our desires remain the same as they have been for years or they may change. But we can cling to God’s promises and know that our faithfulness and sacrifice will be rewarded. No matter what the outcome we must focus on God and our faithfulness to Him, not on the reward waiting for us some day.

This promise gives me peace in the puzzle of life. I hope you find that peace today as well.

blessings and peace to you…

Paula

Awe & Wonder

This Monday morning on my drive to work my mind was all over the place. I wondered where the school bus was that’s usually in front of me, anticipated what was in store for me at work and questioned whether or not I could finish mowing the lawn when I got home. Somewhat distracted, I rounded a curve and gasped in awe!

Suspended above me was a hot air balloon, gracefully gliding in the sky.  Turning my head to the left I was awe-struck again by two more balloons, one on its way down. I was thrilled! As I glanced to my right, two more balloons appeared! I could hardly believe my eyes.

What a wonderful beginning to my morning! The thoughts in my head changed from the worries and cares of the day ahead to rejoicing and thanking God for this special “lift” on a Monday morning. I began to concentrate on praising the Lord for my blessings and praying for friends, family and even strangers and what they were facing in life. Truly a weight was lifted and my heart began to float like the balloons I left behind.

As my car began its ascent into the hills where I work I was suddenly filled with wonder. Over the weekend God had used His paintbrush on the trees all around me.

 

As the sun danced on the leaves I was at a loss for words. I attempted to cry out to God in thanks for the beauty around me, but was truly awestruck at the wonder of His glorious creation and the fact that He put it all there for ME!

I was reminded of the Psalmist’s reflection on the awe and wonder of the Lord:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.              – Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

On days like Monday it is easy to worship God. But some days it’s not. Some days I’m hurried, harried, or just going through the motions of life. I see no awe or wonder when life feels monotonous and I’m struggling to get through the day, physically, mentally or emotionally. 

It’s not that the awe and wonder aren’t there.

It’s just that I’m too self-centered to look around me and see it.

In his book “Crazy Love” Francis Chan gives a similar perspective:

“It may sound ‘un-Christian’ to say that on some mornings I don’t feel like loving God, or I just forget to. But I do. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.”

I agree with Francis that this is the key. I am committing to swim against the tide of apathy and ordinary and wake up to the wonder around me.  I have promised God that I will be more intentional in looking for areas of awe and wonder.

Every day is filled with awe…we just need to allow ourselves to see it.

Wonder is all around us. I wonder why we so often miss it.

Peace in my life’s puzzle includes finding awe and wonder in each day, and remembering to give credit to the God who created it. I wonder if you’ll look closer too.

Blessings and peace to you…

Paula