Did you ponder on last week’s story of keeping the Lord and loved ones present in our lives while enjoying the blessings of summertime and writing good news stories that glorify God and give us joy on our journeys?
Summer season brings opportunities to ‘get out of the boat’, be passionate, and experience blessings beyond belief. Being intentional about keeping our ‘eyes on Jesus’ while celebrating long summer days on vacation, summer camps, mission trips, even staying home is important. Stepping outside comfort zones with Christ-centered goals can take us places we never expected and put people in our paths to bless and be blessed by. Someone reading this could be a future leader of our nation by stepping outside the box and seeking opportunities (gifts from God) many people never open. Thomas Jefferson was given opportunities and gave back gifts that made a difference in the land where we live and love to write our stories.
Thomas Jefferson’s willingness to step outside comfort zones helped pave the way for Americans to enjoy peace and prosperity, giving us The Preamble to the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, serving as governor of Virginia, President of the United States, minster to France, barring slavery importation, eliminating capital punishment except for murder and treason, transforming the education system, establishing freedom of religion, purchasing the Louisiana territory, and helping progress individual rights and thoughts. Because of Jefferson’s influence and literary skills, he was chosen from a committee of five men to write the Declaration of Independence. The Preamble is considered to be one of the most thought-provoking passages (heartfelt, good news story) on human rights ever written. Most Americans learned this Preamble in school. Ponder on the powerful words in that short Preamble. Can you still recite it and remember the impact it had as you studied the history of our nation?
What impact can you and I have in our world today? We may not have a list of credits that compare to Jefferson’s or other great leaders in our nation, but we can make a powerful, positive difference in peoples’ lives and glorify God in the process. Good news stories happen when we listen to God’s calling, step in faith with passion and purpose to people and places He puts in our path, and stand firm with confidence that God will take care of us and what He is doing through us. Keeping our eyes on Jesus with passion for what we are doing is essential. Peter’s story teaches those great truths. When he took his eyes off Jesus, he could no longer walk on water. Peter did not do it all right, neither do we! Yet, his passion and love for Jesus made him the rock and trusted friend Jesus counted on to carry on and share the good news.
Billy Stewart sang a sweet summertime song with powerful passion. I can hear his message of summer living echoing across the water at Williams’ Lake. What songs are we singing and stories are we writing this summer? Are we enjoying opportunities to serve and share our talents? Are we focusing on problems and storms in our lives or praising God for providing through the storm. Our summer season might be soured by situations we never thought we would be facing. Jefferson faced tons of trials; one was leaving home as a newlywed to write the important documents necessary for our country to go forth. With pressure from national leaders and deadline approaching, Jefferson suffered from writer’s block. For days, the right words would not flow from his ink quill. Finally, a wise countryman summoned for Jefferson’s wife to be brought to the quarters where he was confined with a specific purpose: authoring a writing to declare our independence. That gift of time spent with a loved one was all Jefferson needed to get the job done. Passion and purpose go hand in hand when great things are accomplished.
Paul faced some pretty tough times too; yet, he chose to continue living for Jesus and running his race with passion and purpose…’till the end.
Let us be encouraged by Paul’s good news stories (filled with bad things that did not take precedence but were overcome by believing and being closely connected to Christ), written in love (in some tough times and desolate places) and shared in God’s Word (for you and me to read and be blessed during trials and triumphs)! God’s promises and Paul’s providence help us run our races well and write stories that are pleasing to our heavenly Father, make a powerful difference in peoples’ lives, provide joy on our journey, and propel us to a place where we can share good news stories with Paul, David, Ruth, Mary, the little boy with the fish and bread, Joseph, the thief who hung beside Jesus on the cross, our loved ones, even Jesus…forever and ever.
The good news when our time comes to leave this world would be that we had accepted Jesus into our hearts and wrote classic love stories with Christ as the main character. Stories filled with chapters of love through storms and sunshine, humility, honor for God, happiness, and help for people placed in our paths. Stories we loved to tell of Jesus and His love that touched eternity.
The bad news would be that we put off accepting Jesus, made excuses for not believing and doing what He called us to be and do, and wrote our stories without love, without enjoying life being connected to the Vine, without the promise and peace of being ready to go when the whistle blows our name. Hell is real and the enemy would love for our stories to end there. If you are reading this story and feel a stirring to accept Jesus as your Savior, or to renew your relationship with your Father, to fan flames of faith again instead of frustration and fear, or to ask forgiveness for things harbored in your heart and freely forgive those who have wronged you, or just to prune things from your life that keep you overextended – in a rat race to achieve and excel – with little time to write or tell good news stories – and only a few minutes at the end of each day (gift from God) to squeeze in one to three minutes with the Lord and loved ones.
If we stand accused, as Billy Stewart also sang, and the Bible also addresses, the good news is that we can repent, redirect our route to include Heaven as our final destination, renew our relationship with God and stay closely connected while finishing our race, rejoice for we will see Jesus and loved ones gone before us, and reap the rewards that come here and in heaven where we will live happily forever and ever. What will we do with the rest of our summer? Will we listen to His calling and open the gifts He sends?
Are we writing love stories with purpose and passion? How will our stories end? The choice is up to you and to me. Let’s keep Christ in the center and enjoy His gifts for eternity!
Becky Spell Vann is the owner and operator of Tim’s Gift and The Learning Station.