Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kingdom Thoughts

You are the Kingdom encounter this world needs. - Pastor Derek Coy. 

Think about the words above for a few moments. Ponder it. Let it sink in. If you're like me, all the turmoil in the world has probably had you thinking, "What do we do? What's next?" The answer is in those words that our youth pastor shared with us today. As Christians, we need to live our faith bolder and louder than ever before! We need to rise up, get involved, serve more, and take our jobs as Christians more seriously. It's time to BE what we want to SEE in the world around us!

Nearly two years ago, I shared on my fitness blog about hearing testimonies at church. The youth of the church were sharing about how they were "Kingdom workers." It was very inspiring to me! We need to have that attitude; the attitude of servanthood. We need to be happily working to see the Kingdom come and God's Will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). After all, is there anything else that will yield as much fruit as laboring for the Lord? It's like another phrase that came to mind from another sermon I heard several years ago. It was something like, 'you can either build His Kingdom, or you can build your own.' Which makes more sense? Which one lasts? My friend, Karen, once put it this way, "What will weigh more in heaven?"

I'm blogging these thoughts and putting them out there today because I felt very stirred to do so. There was a time where I blogged very regularly. I enjoyed it and felt like God was inspiring and fueling me to write and share with others. My life has drastically changed since those days and I haven't blogged as much for a variety of different reasons. Aside from obvious factors (such as simply not having the kind of downtime that I used to) another big one has slowed me down: self-worth. Even though there have been times where God has had me encouraging and sharing with others that it's never to late to serve and be the kind of person He's called you to be, those very words have been hard for me to embrace for myself. I keep comparing myself to previous versions of who I was. I often reflect on my teen years (where I was growing in the Lord the most) as well as in the years right before my divorce. I think more highly of those Melissas than I do this one; even though I never thought I was good enough THEN either!

Derek's message today strongly emphasized that we need to embrace our identity in Christ and reject any lie that would contradict the truth of who we are in Him. I think the main thing that I deeply need to comprehend is the fact that I am NOT unusable by God! At every age and stage of my life, I felt like I never had the kind of faith or testimony to be the kind of person that I THOUGHT I should be. I have been like Moses; chosen by God but reluctant to be who He says I am because I don't see what He sees (or think that I'm "almost" there, but not quite and therefore can't do it). So many things have been on the back burner of my life for all sorts of reasons, but none of them more than the stupid lie of, "He can't use me anymore. My life isn't what I think it should be, so I'm done."

What I need to focus on now is not in who I was or who I think I should be. The only thing I should EVER be focusing on is who HE is and whatever HE wants to enable me to be! God brought the Luke 19:26 to my mind as I was pondering all the Kingdom thoughts during the service.
These words of Jesus have always been a little confusing to me. I have never fully understood the meaning until God showed me today how it directly applied to me. In the five years since my divorce, I have tried to wrap my brain around how God could still love or use me after I've committed my personal "unforgiveable sin" (divorce). To me, it doesn't make sense how he could forgive me when I don't fully forgive myself. Beyond that, how on earth could He be so GOOD to me when I still don't feel deserving? For three years, I was running and drowning in pain and grief until I made faith my foundation again in 2013. In no time, he was accomplishing the impossible for me: He found me the perfect job, a house of my own (right next to my parents), an amazing boyfriend (whom He quickly revealed to me was to be my husband), followed by a wedding, the selling of my new house for a profit, and another new and amazing job!

1st Wedding Anniversary Selfie   

Everything keeps getting better and better; and that's where that verse comes in! I truly believe that faith and thankfulness is what has brought about the blessings in my life! Just like Job, He didn't "take away" anything from me to punish me or anyone else, but to give me a better life; not because I deserve it, but because He truly loves me! He gave Chris and I to each other because we have content, grateful, and faith filled hearts. We appreciate what He's done and continue to give thanks for what He continues to do in our lives. We strive to pay it forward and bless others as we have been blessed. This is also where the other part of that verse makes sense as well. Chris and I were rescued from lives where His work was hindered by the bad choices and attitudes of the people we were with. They were not content with anything they had (including us) and so they lost the blessings that they never knew they had because it was never enough for them. They thought they had nothing, so that "nothing" was taken from them but has become EVERYTHING to us! Chris is a priceless treasure to me that I feel grateful for every day! It kind of feels like finding something precious or rare that someone else discarded; you just wonder how someone couldn't know what they had when it was theirs! Sometimes, they figure it out later on, but it's usually too late. God will give the blessings to the people who treasure and appreciate them!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I hope that someone is blessed by reading this because I was certainly blessed today! Remember, be a Kingdom worker because that is the type of person and encounter that this world needs! We will begin seeing changes in our communities and all over the world if we continue to advance the Kingdom of God instead of just trying to build our own castles in the sand. We MUST put our time and energy into the people and things that will weigh the most in heaven! YOU matter to the Kingdom! God can and will use you to bless others and He will bless you right back as well! May your faith fuel and fill your heart with contentment and joy! God bless you!