Sep 302013

Do you remember the message you heard at Church this week? Was there something that really stood out to you? Take a few moments to do a Sunday Rewind! It’s a chance to take what’s been heard and really let it sink in and be applied to your life. If you can’t really remember the message, may I encourage you to be intentional in listening for God to speak to you through the message next week. Share what you are learning using the hashtag #SundayRewind. It can be a word that stood out to you, a phrase, a verse, or even write your own post. Share it, tweet it, pin it, whatever – let’s just make sure we take the time to Rewind it into our lives.

What’s your perspective on life right now?Put it in Perspective

Is the glass half full with lots of good things in store for your future?

Does it look half empty as you focus on all the stuff you can’t do, and haven’t done, and will never be able to accomplish?

Do you even wish your cup looked half empty – because where you are standing it doesn’t even appear that way?

I’ve had all 3 perspectives at some point in my life – and to be completely honest with you I’ve been flirting with the last two a lot more lately than I’d like to admit. And God really drove this point home to me yesterday and this morning.

I’ve been allowing my perspective (my fear and understanding of the future) guide my thinking, my feelings, and my actions. There are a whole lot of “mys” in that sentence!

By nature I’m a planner – I like to know the answers, and what I’m going to do before I take any action. I often have multiple back-up plans thought out as well. This often drives my decision-making processes. I like to evaluate all the variables, calculate the different possible scenarios, weigh my options carefully, and then choose the best option. But far too often my perspective is so limited and I get frustrated that I’m missing something or I can’t calculate some of the variables.

Can you relate?

My pastor pointed out yesterday in his sermon that this is very common in our culture. (Click to listen to it “The 12 – Foundational Scriptures for Understanding God’s Word” – Week 12). We feel the need to know everything, and understand all the variables. The Scripture we looked at this week was 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, it deals with the end times and the 2nd coming of Christ.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

The end times and the 2nd coming are often highly discussed topics of debate and curiosity. Everyone wants to know the date and the hour that it’s going to happen – but honestly to what purpose would it serve? Would knowing the exact date of His return give us a different perspective on life? Maybe, but most likely not.

The fact is this: our perspective should be changed based on knowing that He is returning, that we will be with Him in all eternity – this is the end – no matter when it happens.  <<<—- Click to Tweet

So often we find ourselves focusing on our perspective of things – our end, or the end of some project or season that we are in. We allow fear and discouragement to overtake us. But we can take courage in the remembering that these ends are not the very end – and while we may not know these ends, we do know the very end.

More Encouragement of Who Holds our Ends

I’m going through the She Reads Truth – Daniel study on YouVersion right now. The focus yesterday and today was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the fiery furnace.

These 3 men were brought before the king of Babylon because they refused to worship the gold statue he had erected and commanded everyone in the kingdom to bow down and worship. Their punishment for disobeying the kings orders was to be thrown into a fiery furnace.

I don’t know about you, but my perspective on this whole thing wouldn’t have been too good. And I’m sure they were terrified of the flames – but they were more concerned about their eternal end than their earthly one. Take a look at their reply to the king when he questioned them about their disobedience.

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”’Daniel 3:16-18

In a rage at this response the king ordered the furnace turned up even hotter, and the 3 thrown in to it immediately. The furnace was so hot that it killed the soldiers who got close to it when they threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in. But we know the end of the story – the 3 were unharmed in the furnace and were joined by an angel while there.

In fact the 3 were more than unharmed, those around them “saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:27)

We can have this kind of perspective.

These men trusted God with the outcome – regardless of the variables. They didn’t know Jesus yet, but they trusted God with their deliverance. And while they still had to walk through the fire, the came out the other side unharmed.

We’re all going to go through fiery trials, and we may not be unscathed by them this side of heaven. But ultimately, we can be encouraged that this will not be our end – for our end is already foretold: We will rise again with Christ Jesus. We aren’t going to miss it, we can’t screw it up, we can’t plan for it, or make it come any sooner or later. We just have to wait for it, and trust Him with our lives right now where we stand – and know that we don’t have to know everything.

Lord Jesus, thank you that our perspective is not limited by what we see happening around us, or the plans we devise, or what knowledge and understanding we have. Help us to see our cups as half full, not based on our feelings, or our situations, but by the fact that You are the one holding the cup. Forgive our fear, doubt and forgetfullness that causes us to try to take the cup out of Your hands. Help us to move on from this point with the faith and perspective of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – that You will deliver us, if not this day than in the end. Thank you for taking our cup on the Cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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What perspectives do you need to change today in light of this message? For me this means I need to surrender my fear of making decisions and what decisions my husband chooses to make.

Thank you Vijay for the photo. This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons License for Attribution, Non-Commercial, and Share-Alike.

  4 Responses to “Perspective {Sunday Rewind}”

  1. Crystal, thank you so much for this great post! I have always loved the story of the three men in the fire and now I will think of it in a new light. I like what you said about them trusting God regardless of the outcome. I need to trust that God will provide no matter what happens.

  2. Oh, Crystal, I am touched. I haven’t read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in so long, but it is one of my favorite old testament stories! I love that they trusted God with the outcome–regardless of the variables, as you said. This is something I reeeeally need to work on! I tend to want to know what the plan is going to be ahead of time, too. Thanks for the reminder to just trust.

    • We just need to remember who’s in charge of our plans – and submit them to Him. We have our timetables, agendas, and wants – He has His – and His are always better in the end!

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