Saturday, March 29, 2008

Live in Today

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally published in "A Healing Moment"

I'm reading a book about St. Francis of Assisi. Because of my love for Creation, my neighbors call me Saint Francine. I'm sure I'm far from what the Catholic church would require for that title, but the Bible does call all the believers saints, so I guess it's okay.

© 2007 Donna L. Watkins - Great Spangled Frittilary
The book mentions this about Francis: "In his sincere desire to wholeheartedly apply the Gospel to his life, Francis embraced persecution as the emblem of God's love. From the beginning of his religious life (when townspeople jeered him, threw things at him, and called him a madman), to his later years (when he took risky journeys to visit Muslim rulers to talk to them about the Christian faith), Francis saw persecution as the smoke that accompanies the fire of a burning love for God.

In his own life, he accepted persecution with joy. And in his instructions to members of his movement, he portrayed pain as part of the package that goes with a thoroughly spiritual lifestyle."

Embracing persecution as an emblem of God's love! That's a tough one, but the Bible talks about sharing in Christ's sufferings in I Peter 4:12-13,"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation."

Do not be surprised! With much of the world and media trying to tell us the 100 things we need to do to be ultimately and blissfully happy, we tend to think that's what life is supposed to be about. But it's not. It's about preparation for our true Home and our Eternal Life. It's not about ME! It's about glorifying our Father until Jesus returns and being a disciple that we might lead others to eternal life also.

Happiness is based on happenings. Joy is available from within through the Spirit. We can be sad about something and still have joy!

People will notice if you are different! Anybody can go through trials downcast and sad and depressed. When we walk through with the peace and joy that we have available to us in our "new man" we can shine His Light for a lost world to see that He truly does make a difference. It gives people a reason to be drawn to Jesus.

We must know that our trials are our tests in this classroom of life and that we should desire to pass the test the first time around. In many areas, I've seen that I've taken some classrooms of life many times. Like a child left behind in the same grade, I have not given my best and applied myself with the tools that I have.

Now that I see life as a classroom with many subjects to master, I feel more disciplined and capable of being a better student by knowing that God is in control and all will go well if I just rest in His love for me and His power to take care of me.

Adam and Eve sinned because they thought they were missing something. We today think we can control our own lives and destinies by having more knowledge and power, but it only leads to sadness, anger and frustration that things don't go the way we planned. Francis, in the book I mentioned above, taught that joy comes from abandoning ourselves into the hands of God.

It sounds like we don't get to have a life when we do that, but this submission actually connects us to life more deeply and more passionately. When we "give in" to seeing every event and circumstance as a gift from God, whether it be a lesson book, or a sweet treat, we can rejoice in every event. Considering it all joy as Scripture instructs us to do.

Live in the moment. I believe that 95% of our stress, anxiety and fear will be gone when we can live in today. You do not know what will happen tomorrow. "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14)

We cannot control our lives or the lives of our family. Stop ruining your physical and mental health trying to do it. Let go! We do not see things clearly and what we understand is not always Truth. Believe in Him and allow Him to lead you through each day focusing on that day - not the future, not the past. Live in today! Live in Him.

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