Attending to the Temporal, With Intents of the Eternal

I love Psalm 29:11 because it reminds me that true peace is not the absence of conflict with people. True peace, is the absence of conflict with God. And for anyone who has received the peace of God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, know that there must be conflict with people  in this life, for the Gospel is an offense to all who live in their pride, rather than in Christ.

For 45 years, God has granted me His peace, and considered me worthy of sharing in the sufferings of my Savior. For 13 years the Lord graciously endured me through brutal persecutions, beatings, and slander for proclaiming the Gospel of God's grace, and refusing to denounce the name of Jesus Christ. Because the Spirit of Christ lives in me, I couldn't deny my Lord who suffered and died to be the propitiation and expiation for the sins I committed against the one and only living and holy God.

In the past 14 years, God has considered me worthy of bearing the scars of my Savior. The scars were provided by the 13 years of persecutions. I've had the joy of witnessing the strength of my Savior's grace through 10 surgeries, 4 CT myelograms of my spine, multiple other invasive testings and ER visits and hospital stays, and more specialists than there are colors in the rainbow. I have 16 titanium screws, 2 titanium rods, 1 titanium plate, and 5 artificial discs holding my spine together; sick sinus syndrome that's accompanied by three other arrhythmias (SVTs, PVCs, and PACs); oral lichen planus; degenerative disc disease; osteoarthrosis of my left jaw, bilateral articular disc disorder; severe Vitamin B12 and D deficiencies; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; secondary hyperparathyroidism due to my Vitamin D deficiency; and a host of other serious medical issues. Due to these things, I'm in daily pain (sometimes debilitating) and therefore must daily take nerve pain medications (and sometimes other pain medications) in order to function as normally as possible. I suffer from depression (and am currently on an SSRI), and rarely have much strength or energy to do my daily chores, let alone serve and love others as unto the Lord Jesus. I have specific things I must eat and drink daily, as well as daily perform physical therapy exercises to help my body function as best as possible.

I don't share any of this to garner sympathy or empathy for myself. I share all of this to display the glorious and mighty works of God in my life (Jn 9:3). Because you see, although my temporal state may seem quite grim, it's not! In spite of all my physical weaknesses and sufferings, I still get to do ordinary things like laundry, cook healthy and tasty meals for my family and many others I lovewith eternal intentions. I get to keep my home clean and orderly so that I may continue to produce a peaceful, restful, and loving atmosphere for all who live and visit here. I get to run errands and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with store clerks and other shoppers with whom the Lord graces me with opportunities to love in Jesus' name. I get to make and take meals to the sick, encourage the fainthearted and admonish the idle  (1 Thess 5:14-15). And I get to share the goodness of God with medical staff and other patients and their families and friends at every hospital and medical facility in which the Lord assigns me. I get to do all these things with the strength God supplies me in Christ Jesus (1 Pt 4:10-11)that all may be enlightened with the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6).

This is why I gladly boast about my weaknesses. I love to urge and encourage all saints in Christ to daily carry their crosses in order to die to self, and to live all the more abandoned to Christ, our awesome and majestic Lord and Savior (2 Cor 9:9-12, Acts 20:24).

Every one of our lives is a mist. My mist may not last as long as yours. But no matter how short or long God chooses our lives to be, He commands all His children to redeem the time He's given us. We are called by God to live like the wise and not like the unwise. For only the children of the Most High have been given the sight to see—that the days are surely evil (Eph 5:15-17).

It is often said that those who are heavenly-minded are of no earthly good. But this sentiment, in accordance with God's Word, is erroneous. The truth is, it is only those who are heavenly-minded, that can be of any earthly good. For it is only those who perceive all things in this temporal life (relationships, vocations, ministering to others, communicating in person and social media, etc.) with eternal intents, that consider God's will for them and for others, before they proceed with any action. Not that any of us does this perfectly, but intentionally seeking to work out Ephesians 4:29 and Romans 12:1-3 (as well as many other Scriptures) in our lives, ought to be the greatest desire of every saint in Christ.

I close with a prayer from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. And I pray that your mind, heart, and soul is strengthened today to love God and others with God's eternal will, rather than with your temporal desires and perspective.

"I commend my heart to thy watchful care,
    for I know its treachery and power;
Guard its every portal from the wily enemy,
Give me quick discernment of his deadly arts,
Help me to recognize his bold disguise as an
     angel of light,
  and bid him begone.
May my words and works allure others to the
     highest walks of faith and love!
May loiterers be quickened to greater diligence
     by my example!
May worldlings be won to delight in acquaintance
     with thee!
May the timid and irresolute be warned
     of coming doom by my zeal for Jesus!
Cause me to be a mirror of thy grace,
     to show others the joy of thy service,
may my lips be well-tuned cymbals
     sounding thy praise,
Let a halo of heavenly-mindedness
     sparkle around me
   and a lamp of kindness sunbeam my path.
Teach me the happy art of
     attending to things temporal
     with a mind of intent of things eternal."