Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise!
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
~2 Corinthians 4:5-18 (MSG)
Intentional. Doing what God intends for me to do, not necessarily always what I want to do. Remembering that I am part of God’s story, not that God is part of mine. I’m doing everything I can do as I live in this jar of clay and allow His love and light to shine through me.
Loving others more. Loving myself less.
Intentionally speaking less and listening more. Seeing opportunities that God presents to me and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me to do his bidding inside the moment.
Watching. Waiting. Praying. Seeking. Being still. Being quiet.
This is a life of intention. This is the life I seek to live. Am I always able, in my human weakness, to follow this prescription for an intentionally peaceful life? No, but the creator knows that, because he made me that way. What’s more, he’s provided for me, because it is in my wastelands that his grace explodes.
I fall down. Grace reaches out with gentle hands and catches me. I am lifted up, set back on the good path, the right path, and with perseverance born of faith, I begin again.
I’ve had a bad fall or two or ten. Yes, I’ve had scabby knees, emotionally speaking. It was hurtful. I was misunderstood. Living in a broken world as we do, that often happens. You’ve doubtless experienced this yourself. Sometimes other people have other agendas, other perceptions and often have deep emotional bruises that we did not inflict, yet those wounds still affect our relationships in the here and now. I’m on the other side of it as I write this, because I’ve asked, and received, forgiveness, as God always expects us to do. Forgiveness must abound and resentment must be squelched in the intentional life.
It’s often so complicated, isn’t it? We attempt to anticipate another person’s response to our best intentions. We pray, we contemplate, we make our best effort and still fall short. This is when I throw up my hands and simply give it all to God, which is what I should have done in the first place.
Romans 12:1-2 says:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Friends, that is intentional.
No pressure…breathe it out…God loves you unconditionally. You don’t have to be perfect. You are God’s precious daughter. Visualize yourself standing at the foot of the cross. Say these words with me, “Thank you for paying it all.” Christ’s death was enough.
Today’s post was written by Cindy Koopmans.
Cindy is married to her college sweetheart, Brian, for going on 38 years. She has three grown boys, two sweet daughters-in-law and a gorgeous little grand-man named Oliver Brian. Cindy teaches fifth grade at Sorrento Elementary and serves at the Mount Dora campus as their Worship Coordinator. Cindy’s passion is music, so her happy place is at the keyboard. She also enjoys reading (so many books, so little time), thrifting, and hanging out with Kramer the wonder Bichon. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Mount Dora campus.