Friday, February 10, 2017

Aging Grace & Living Loved

The week before heading to Cuba, I sprinted Way-Up-North to speak for a women's conference at a church in the Toronto area.
It was spur of the moment.
The event hadn't been on my calendar.
I hadn't been on their calendar, either, for that matter.
The scheduled speaker had to cancel due to an unplanned visit to the hospital with pneumonia.
So all of us re-arranged our schedules, even though I'm confident it was all part of God's plan.
He wasn't surprised.

I put together a new series to fit the already-planned theme: God's Call.
Then I sort of blew in, blew up, blew out, in a 32-hour turnaround.
I loved the women.
I love sharing life.
I love speaking Jesus.
But then, by now, I think you know that...

This, too, had been a part of God's-creative-imagination for me.
A surprise gift...with an added bonus.
The Lord took me all the way to Canada to learn a little "ziqna and seba" lesson...
Such thoughtfulness on His part!
Such a perfect way to say, "I love you."

After I'd finished my third speaking session on that particular Saturday, I had the privilege of meeting
twin sisters.

These fun, outgoing women had been instrumental in obtaining the intended-speaker (which I did not hold against them, thus making me a second choice). As we conversed and laughed together (as well, they presented me with the sweetest hand-crocheted-prayer-shawl, which I have on as I type), these gals told me about their mother. Mom had just recently passed, and her home-going was celebrated with obvious grace and beauty. These ladies had been blessed with a terrific spiritual heritage. Mom was a well-loved, godly woman, who lived life to share Jesus with all who intersected her world. As they talked, the sisters shared one thing that jumped out and grabbed my heart. Mom had told them all:

I'm not afraid to die; it's just that I love living! 

As a follow up to this, at her life-celebration, her grandson added:

"...and, gramma lived love!"

What a testimony for doing this thing called "ziqna and seba" with grace! What a story to emphasize how we are to "keep/guard our spirits" (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). This mom had learned an important life-lesson and passed it on to all she met.

First truth: I must fully comprehend, fully KNOW-WITH-CONFIDENCE how greatly loved I am.

I am loved.

This is basic Christianity 101.
God loves me.
He loved me enough to John 3:16-me!

He sent His son who died on my behalf.
Because I am a messed-up-sinner, I needed a Messiah.
So, Jesus came to my rescue.
To pay the penalty my sin deserved.
He swallowed up my death.
Victoriously conquered the grave.
Rose gift me new life (2 Corinthians 5:17).

God demonstrated His love in this, while I was still a sinner, Christ Jesus died on my behalf.
Romans 5:8

Yes, I am loved.
You are loved.
Why do I ever doubt it?
Why do you ever doubt it?
We do, you know. And, it shows.
It shows when I don't follow up with the second side of the coin to the knowledge of being so greatly loved.

When I grasp this truth, it spills over.
There is no fear in death. Hebrews 2:14-15.
Perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18.

So, I love to live...and I have a want-to to live it to the fullest capacity.
I raise my crowned-head (after all, I am a child of the Most-High-King-of-Kings), and stand tall as the royalty I've become (John 1:12).

In other words (second truth): I live-loved!
When I live-loved, I turn around and live love!

To the extent I know I am loved, I show love. 

Here's the first key to creating space for God to faithfully work out 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (see last week) in our lives. This is part of His road map for aging with grace.

Know your God.
Live in His love (put that crown on your head every morning!).
Walk confidently in your Christ-given identity (not self-identity or self-confidence - two totally different animals) - live loved.
Then, live love!

Even to your old age and gray hairs, you will be "kept blameless." He who is faithful will see to it.


Thank you, Joy and Japhia for sharing your mom's story. I hope it was OK to pass it on! (Picture me with a small smile that begs forgiveness for not asking you first.)

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