Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Life Verse

For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, but it is better for you that I live. - Philippians 1:20-24 (NLT)

What I find fascinating about this is that Paul longs for death in this world to be with Christ which mirrors my desires in a poignant way. Yet his desire for this is not sin...it is simply the truth; and while he longs to go and be with Christ, he is willing to remain to continue Christ's work upon this earth. Also, while he was personally longing for the reward of Heaven, this was written during his first imprisonment in Rome. He did not realize that he would eventually be released, have many further encounters with people to share the Gospel, and be imprisoned once more. His desire to go to Heaven was not sinful because he was willing to be patient and obedient to Christ to wait.

Three times God has spoken to me, and all three times, He has used one word. Yet within each word contained a full, rich story & instructions for me. The three words were:


Photo by Jon Sheppard. Used with permission.
Twelve years ago, I went to the mountaintops with the full intention of not returning. It was a difficult time in my life, and I simply wanted to be done with it all and enter into the Presence of Christ. When I reached my destination and made camp, a thunderstorm entered the mountain bowl, and I was suddenly surrounded by lightning. Those of you who've been in the mountains understand how intense this can be. For those of you who can't, check out Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Frasier. The lightning storm in that movie that forces them to flee into the cave for safety was really not far-fetched in terms of just how intense it can be.

So, here I was, in the mountains, wanting to leave my mortal shell, and I became surrounded by lightning. My guilt over my desire left, and I was at peace with the idea that I would die but not by my own hand. I was filled with enough peace (and exhaustion from the hike) that I actually fell asleep in the midst of the storm.

When I woke and realized that I wasn't taken, I was upset. I asked God why He didn't choose to take me when He had the perfect opportunity. His answer was: WAIT! This one word was filled with encouragement, instruction, purpose, and peace.

  • The day would come when I would receive the reward of Heaven, but I needed to be patient.
  • I was willing to die for Christ; I needed to be willing to live for Christ.
  • I came up to the mountain with the intention of giving my life to Christ, and that is exactly what happened, but not in the way I had planned. Instead, because my life had been spared & because of my relationship with Christ, every day belonged to Him.
  • God has the ability to remove me from this world at any moment He wishes. Because I am here, my time here has purpose.
  • My purpose for every day I am on this earth is to love my Lord, love others, and make disciples.

So within this passage of Scripture, I once again find the words already spoken for something that is crying out in my heart. My life is to honor Christ in every way, and when the day comes when I am allowed into Heaven, it will be cause for celebration for I will receive the reward for which I have waited for so long because my work here is finished.


  1. I'll selfishly say I'm glad God had His way and not you yours. ;)

    Thanks for sharing. It's a really thought provoking post and I really love that verse.

  2. Grrr... ;-] But I WANT to be in Heaven. /whining

    Seriously, thank you to both of you. I'm so thankful that the Lord would give me such an amazing wife and an amazing friend. Love to you both.

  3. What are tornado of emotion. You wrote this very beautifully. It is better for me that you live.

    I remember in high school wondering why we would be introduced to such an evil world. I see so much pain, selfishness, abuse (of one another and of power), hatred and the sick animalistic things people do for money. I struggle with the idea that we are suppose to live a life as "happy" as we can muster but really there is so much pain and suffering it hurts to live each day.

    At this moment in my life, I am not accustom to the shit that continues to happen day in and day out. I do not see a greater reason to get up in the morning, but for some reason I do anyway. The idea is to live to serve, but with the crappy things the church has enforced I have a hard time going back there. I am jaded from a church in Wichita, KS. Enforcing aggressive male behavior not only towards women, but his kids too. Enforcing his parents to treat him the same way when he as a child. I refuse to partake in something that serves a political purpose. I refuse to be apart of the pain and suffering people feel.

    Now with that said, you sir have brought me hope. Glimmers of hope throughout my life. You give unconditional love a new meaning. You give light to the dark things happening around us. You also shine the light of Christ, with no selfish reasoning to do so.

    Thanks for being you and thanks for being here.

  4. Kate, I read your comment and was overwhelmed. I am humbled to tears that God would choose to speak to you through my little blog post. (However, it did have a passage of Scripture in it, so I guess it had an extra zip to it. =] )

    I've been praying that God would give me the words to respond to you in Love and to give you encouragement and Hope. I slept on it, and I have to be honest: I don't have anything, but I felt lead to start typing and see how the Spirit reveals Himself.

    My first encouragement to you is that God does NOT want you in an abusive relationship in any way. If need be, get counseling to help you through something like this that would never be just a "quick fix." In the Bible, if one takes verses out of context, a woman can be made to appear as nothing more than a possession of man to be treated as his whims & mercies deem fit. This is as far from the truth as imaginable. When you read the Bible in full and see passages within context, you see how precious and cherished women are to the Lord. Deborah was the one Judge of Israel with the most dignity and least shame. In Ephesians, Paul challenges husbands to love their wives as Christ loved to Church...this means to lead by serving with a loving, tender heart to the point that a man should be willing to die for his wife if need be. The Father entrusted Mary, a very young woman with a pure heart, to bear His Son. Christ was continually so gentle and caring to the women He would encounter. When He rose from the tomb, He allowed Himself to first be seen by women...an honor beyond our comprehension.

    My second encouragement to you would be to FIND ANOTHER CHURCH! Find a church that preaches the Bible without shame. Find a church that focuses upon Service, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, and Evangelism. If the church deviates from that (such as getting into politics) it is being disobedient to the point of even breaking the law (which, again, is disobedient). Rick Warren said that he is a conservative, but to demonize liberal Christians and to lionize conservative non-Christians is to place politics before Christ which is idolatry. There is no place for that in the church. You'll never find the PERFECT church because we are all imperfect people, but if the focus of the church is to remain upon Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness & Self-Control, and the Church is not ashamed of the Bible or of our Savior, Jesus Christ, it is a good church. You were never meant to go through this journey of life alone, and being involved in the fellowship of believers is critical to our relationship with Christ. It may seem difficult or even impossible to believe, but there are other believers who focus on Christ and His Love and do not deviate from that focus.

    Finally, my encouragement to you would be to HOLD FAST! You've read my story, and you see that I deal with depression and anxiety and self-esteem issues. I can honestly say without a doubt that without Christ, I would not be alive today. Hold fast. Cling to Christ and choose to abide in Him. There are times as I am abiding in Him where I simply do not have the strength to hold on to Him, so He chooses to hold on to me and provide ALL the strength so that we remain together. (That's part of another story which involves the word He gave to me of REST.) You are here. You are precious. You are cherished. You have value. God does not NEED any of us, but He Joyfully chooses to use us. If you are still here on this earth, this means that you still have Purpose and your life has meaning that may mean all the difference to someone who may need to hear your story and experience your love to be able to hold on just a little bit longer.

    Know that I have been and will continue to pray for you as you choose to move forward in your relationship with Christ. If there is any other way I can help, please let me know.

    Your Loving Brother in Christ,

  5. Jake,

    I have always been frustrated at the idea of structure in spiritual journeys. I do choose to follow Christ. I may or may not be able to find a good church, that requires a lot of energy since I don't enjoy new places. Especially places loaded with new people.

    I do see the light shine through you. I also hold you and Sara to a high level of honor and respect. Not only do you believe, and teach but you lead by example. I saw this with Chaz and Christy as well. Loving couples, leading by example as best as their human ability will allow. It is also a blessing to see love, marriage work, and a partnership that is positive.

    I will tell you a secret, you had me at hello. When people teach, I don't look at words. Words are not my friend, I have always struggled with written concepts. I look at actions. With that said, it might be a while before I can attend a church and feel like intentions are pure. I enjoy little groups, like Younglife, to give me the spiritual connection with other people. With that road behind me, I just live my daily journey with a personal growth in mind. That may be selfish, but I know that it is exactly what I need in the healing process.

    Since my journey to CA, I have come to a difficult part in my journey. However, you seem to swoop in at the perfect possible moment and say the perfect possible thing. With my support group (you included) I am making it through this journey more at peace then when it started.

    I appreciate your encouragement. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving! The world is happy to see you.

  6. Oh, Kate, my Kate...you little trickster. ;) I love you, my friend. Now that I know WHICH Kate you are, I'm filled with relief that you are who you are, and in certain ways I do not need to worry. However, I am also filled with a new sense of urgency in my prayers for you, this time in your life, and your journey with Christ.

    It's interesting because I had no idea who you were or the circumstances of your life. Sara and I prayed for you with all our heart, and as I think back on the prayer, even though we didn't know the details, God does. Because of the Holy Spirit, the prayer we lifted up for you was appropriate in ways I can't even explain. It gives me relief to know that I don't need to fret the details and that in the way we were directed to pray, it is clear that God has you firmly in His grasp.

    Love you so much, Kate!!! I'm so thankful for you on this Thanksgiving holiday.

    Your Big Brother in Christ,