Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

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To Die For

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The praise team approached the microphone stands behind the pulpit one warm Sunday morning. Called by God to inspire a congregation of worshippers, they gathered on the stage to give back and I, like many others in the church pews, was willfully ready to receive. The tempered playing of the keyboard was accompanied by the guitarist’s spasmed sound and the chest pounding thump of the drums. Each singer rocked from side to side in an uncoordinated dance; joyous, I imagined, for being blessed to see another day.

The song began with words I’ve longed to hear all week. Words that took me to a place of peace and joy. Words that encapsulated the heartbreak and uncertainty of living in a struggling world that desperately needed God’s salvation.

The choir sung with such perfection, “You thought I was worth saving. So, you came and changed my life. You thought I was worth keeping. So, you cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for.” With every verse, I was reminded of God’s faith in me. Regardless of the countless mistakes I’d made, the sins I repeated even when I knew better and the times I refused to do what he sacrificed on the cross for me to do, I was still worth saving – I was worth God sacrificing the life of his only begotten son.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He paid a debt we could never repay. We were worth dying for; we were bought with a price. What an honor to be loved so completely.

In every corner of the church, congregants sprung to their feet lifting their hands in praise. Together, we were transported to the ultimate place of worship. A place void of pain and filled with love. We were seated at the foot of Christ; worshipping him in unison. We were embodying what the praise team was called to do. Our faith – a blessing to God – was music to his ears.

My tears overwhelmed me. They were a testament to a life so filled with God’s love that I unequivocally could not take another breath without giving him praise. And while I praised him, the Holy Spirit revealed in me a path to a better understanding of my purpose on earth. I asked myself: If God thought I was worth dying for, how do I justify living a frivolous life? How can I refuse to follow God’s word?

God gives us what we don’t deserve. He redeems us. Sets us free. He took our place on the cross. He never asked for much from any of us; but he gave in abundance.

Knowing how unconditional his love is, gives me the strength to set my goals high and to see my life as a conduit to spreading God’s word. As a child of a living God, I cannot justify a meager life. My dreams must be bigger than the sky; my purpose filled with giving back and helping others. I am not here on earth to do my will, but to do God’s will and to show him that the life Christ died on the cross to save is working to be a blessing to those in need.

What are you willing to die for?

Our Christian walk is one of purpose. How we live our life and how we realize our dreams were set in motion during the long and torturous walk Christ made to the cross. His work on earth is done; he is now with God steering us in the right direction from his throne in heaven. Now, it is for us to complete the rest of the journey with God’s strength and faith beckoning us towards living a life of purpose.

But living a purposeful life is often hard to do. Knowing what’s worth sacrificing our life for is difficult to explain. That’s why I’m so happy God had no reservations about me. He didn’t look over the totality of my life, or considered my failures and sins before determining if I was worth sacrificing his only son for. He simply knew my heart and loved me despite my transgressions.

As the praise team continued, I recognized why the sweetness of their words brought me to tears. Again, in perfect unison they sang: “You thought I was to die for. So, you sacrificed your life. So, I could be free. So, I could be whole. So, I could tell everyone I know.”

I pray that on this journey we clutch hold to things worth dying for and we live our lives with principle and courage so we can do as the song writers says – be free and be whole.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of the inspirational novel, The Heart of a Man. Follow her on Facebook @AuthorMichelleDJackson. The original article was published in the October 2017 issue of The Mount Magazine.

The song referenced in this article is “Worth” by Gospel Singer Anthony Brown and group therAPy

 

 

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You Are A Masterpiece


It dawned on me this beautiful Sunday morning that over the years God has been working to get me to a place where I understand the true purpose for my life. So many times I’ve visited the graveyard to say goodbye to a friend or family member. So many long, sad walks back to my car wondering if that person, who is now with God, fulfilled their earthly purpose.

This journey to live on earth takes us through many peaks and valleys. We struggle with understanding who we are, our mission, our purpose and why God chose us. We see people who appear to navigate life with such ease and grace, and then we witness the fallen – those who struggle with every turn. 

We all have a story; we all have fears, but do we know and accept God’s purpose for our life?

What I am more and more convinced of is that the God I serve whose imagination is as wonderful and brilliant as a bright and sunny sky and as massive as the roaring sea, has molded each of us into a unique piece of art, a masterpiece.

Once we accept that we are God’s greatest work, we can live in His purpose for our life and fulfill our destiny.

You were never meant to be like anyone else. You are an original. You are the first and the last. Your purpose cannot be defined by anyone but God. Your wins and losses are all intentional paths on your personal journey. Every experience was created to help you become the person God wants you to be. 

You are a masterpiece!

Accept it. Live in it. Love with it and be blessed.

Michelle Jackson 

I Want What I Want

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I want to be a wife, I want a family of my own,

I want a beautiful home, I want an amazing career

I want wealth, I want to see the world.

I want….I want….I want… I want.

We spend so many moments each day saying what we want.  From this to that, and that back to this.  It’s a never ending cycle of desire.  But I have learned that instead of “wanting”, to speak as if it already is to draw that desire to me.  As I practice operating as if it’s already done I have one more “want”.

I want to say today “I’m thankful…. for everything”

By Pam Cook, Contributing Writer and Photographer

Keep Looking Up

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It’s 5am and I’m driving to an early morning appointment.  I’m looking ahead focused on the road. Obeying all the traffic signals, moving along routinely as always when driving.  I was first to arrive at the meeting location so I decided to check emails, missed phone calls, and scroll social media. When I finally looked up I witnessed the beautiful transition from night to daylight. God is amazing and continues to bless us in spite of ourselves (myself).  I’m very grateful to arrive at my destination early enough to watch the sun rise over the city.  To enjoy the quiet moments as the night clouds give way to sunshine.

By Pam Cook

You Only Get One…..

 

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Life is a precious gift and incredible journey. There are many distractions that get in the way of “living” life. Jobs, school, family, and bills are just a few of the many things that interfere with enjoying life to the fullest. On a recent trip to Dubai (UAE), I had the opportunity to visit the Spice Souk. The aroma of dazzling spices like saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, and peppercorn along with amazing fragrance of dried flowers for tea permeated the air. It was in that moment I was reminded I only get one life and it’s OK to slow down and just breathe.

Job33:4
The spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Pamela Cook – Photography & Inspirational Words

Hate is too great a burden to bear…

 

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I’m reminded of a moment in time (not long ago) when hate was a standard. This photo taken at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama during the 50th commemoration of Bloody Sunday (March 2015) quietly and courageously lets us know that the standard of hate is changing for the better.

Pamela Cook, Photographer

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