Aloha, Paradise!

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? I do. Haleiwa, Hawaii {{Sigh}}. Just thinking about it makes me dream. I have been so blessed to be able to go several times (we have family there….it helps!) Hawaii is my “happy place.” I love to be able to say Aloha, Paradise….at times I even get consumed with going back…

EPSON MFP image

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection…Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. (Philippians 3:10, 12)

Do you have a favorite vacation spot? I do. Haleiwa, Hawaii {{Sigh}}. Just thinking about it makes me dream. I have been so blessed to be able to go several times (we have family there….it helps!) And I have some lovely memories of it. One of my favorites by far is from my first trip over right after I got married. My husband’s family was having a family reunion, and we renewed our vows on the beach at sunset with his Nanny and Pappy who were celebrating 50 years of marriage. It was such an honor….and so romantic.

EPSON MFP image EPSON MFP image

Hawaii is totally a “happy place” for me. When I’m there, I get refreshed. I get to relax and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. And as soon as I get home, I want to figure out how I can get back — it becomes a HUGE purpose in my life. I try to work it into the budget. I dream about it. I research it. I spend a lot of time and effort on it. I try not to get consumed by it…but hey. It is Hawaii after all. Paradise.

Paul wrote Philippians towards the end of his life when he was in his first imprisonment in Rome. He had walked with the Lord for years. He traveled on missionary journeys. He taught hundreds and hundreds of sermons about Him and wrote countless letters about Jesus. He KNEW Him. And He knew Him WELL. But still, he wanted to know Him more…

Here we see a secret to living content like the Apostle Paul. “For my DETERMINED PURPOSE is to KNOW HIM.”

His purpose in life wasn’t to see how many ministry trips he could take, how many sermons he could preach, or how many letters he could write. His purpose in life wasn’t even to see how many people he could introduce to Jesus….although all of those things are good and right. But they are to be an outflow….a by-product….of knowing Him. They are NOT supposed to be our purpose in life.

Sometimes I wonder IF/WHEN I will get back to my paradise. I’m thankful for the trips I had…but still looking towards the future….and wondering and waiting……and maybe just a tad bit discontent.

And we can get that way in life. We are thankful for the things we have and the things we have gotten to do….but always with an eye on the future…and wondering and waiting for our paradise….our dream…..and we get discontent because we are focused on that thing that eludes us. And after all, hope deferred makes the heart sick, right? But…..what if we had a different hope?

Paul had a dream…a desire….a purpose. It was God. That is how he could live content. That is how he could be content with little and with much….content preaching on the mission field or living in prison….content being beaten and content in a season of rest. Because God was his dream, and He was with him through it all. (for more on this read Red sthlipperths and secrets)

If we find ourselves discontent in the wondering and waiting, maybe we just need get a new dream. If we make God our dream instead of making our dream our God……..we can be like Paul. We can be content no matter what state we are in. His presence truly is Paradise….and it will refresh, and relax, and satisfy like no beach in Hawaii can. What if we spend as much time chasing Him as we do chasing our dreams? Let’s do it. Let’s get consumed with Him and see how content we can be. He fully satisfies.

This is a bit longer scripture…but it fits so perfectly. Make God your dream…

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. (Matthew 6:30-34 Message)

 

 

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