Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Joy of Happily Ever After

Watch any princess movie and you will see a common theme play out - the idea of happily ever after.  It is ingrained in our sweet heads and we tend to measure our lives by the idea.  We dream of the white horse with the handsome prince sweeping us off of our feet and riding away to the beautiful castle filled with fabulous clothes and gorgeous d├ęcor.

Then life...

We become adults with responsibilities and the dream of happily ever after seems far off.  Life is busy, messy, and tiring.  Don't mistake my point - life is also wonderful, funny, and full of blessings. There are times in our lives when we feel on top of the world.  We peak out of our windows and swear we actually do live in the castle of happily ever after.

But let's be honest, reality isn't the ball gown, fairy godmother, and the to die for carriage.  Some days we want to shout in celebration, while other days we want to shout in crazy frustration.  There are some people who have been so broken by life they can't even remember dreaming of happily ever after.

But Jesus...

Life can be hard, but Jesus promises us a happily ever after.  He offers us eternal life when we pledge our belief and hearts to Him.  He is the Prince on the white horse who swoops in and saves us from a life of rags.  With Him, our rags turn to riches and we have a crown of beauty.  We are the princesses to our Prince.

John 3:16 assures us of our heavenly home.  It states:

For God so loved the world in this way:  He gave His
One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will 
not perish but have eternal life.

Breathe that in and take it to heart.  God promises eternal life to everyone who believes in His Son - that means you.  There is nothing you can do - or have done - to keep you from your eternal joy in heaven.  Phew...that refreshes my heart and lets me know I am crazy loved.  Jesus sees my sins and loves me right through them and back to Him.

Oh, but read this next portion of Scripture and let it sink deep into your marrow.  Let it wrap around you and your hurts, shames, and not so happily ever after.

Revelation 3:5-9
(5) In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I 
will never erase his name from the book of life but will 
acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.
(6)  Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the 
Spirit says to the churches.
(7) Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia:  The Holy One,
the True One, and the One who has the key of David,
who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says:
(8) I know your works.  Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, 
and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open
door that no one is able to close.  
(9) Take note!  I will make those from the synagogue of satan, who claim
to be Jews and are not, but are lying -note this- I will make 
them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you.

And she lived happily ever after.

But wait, you say.  I want the happily ever after now.  I need the happily ever after now.  I hear you and so do I.  We need to know that our Prince has already arrived and desires to sweep us off our feet.  We need some fairy tale glitter sprinkled on top of our tired heads!

I have good news.  The best of the good news for our life here on this beautiful planet God has placed us on. 

I believe Scripture is God speaking directly to us.  In fact, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 solidifies my belief and refreshes my soul.  Scripture truly is God's love letter to His beauties and handsomes.  Imagine how lovingly He thought of YOU as He penned His precious words.

{ 2 Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.}

So here are 3 beautiful pieces of God's love letter that allows you to have a happily ever after here on earth.  Life may get sticky and prickly, but Jesus...

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring 
good news to the poor.  He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty
to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, 
and the day of our God's vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for 
those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair.  And they
will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify Him.

This - this burrows itself deep in my soul and causes me to rejoice in His mercy, goodness, and love.  There is so much love packed into these three verses.  Jesus came to set us free from the things that bind us to pain - to the things that we think will break us and shame us.  He came to wipe our tears and give us a crown of beauty - His beauty.  As we look into His face through prayer and Scripture reading, His glorious face radiates onto and into us.  He takes away our broken hearts (if we allow Him to) and clothes us in splendor.  And, if that is not enough, He allows His transformation of us to glorify our Father.  He takes our ugly, our brokenness, and our shame and uses it to point to the grace and mercy of the One who sent Him.  

Psalm 21:6
You give him blessings forever; You cheer him with joy in Your presence.

Joy in His presence.  What a reassuring promise.  When we spend time with Jesus on a daily basis - throughout the day, really - He assures us of joy.  Our days may be bleak but our joy is not dependent on our day, it is dependent on Jesus.  Ever heard the hymn "It is well with my soul"?  No matter what happens, we can have the confidence to honestly say it is well with our souls when we spend time with Jesus.  Spending time with Him allows us and leads us to look to Him for comfort, joy, and value.  When we look to Jesus for validation and leading, we are free from the demands of society.  And guess what that leads to - yep, happiness.

John 15: 5, 7-8
I am the vine; you are the branches.  The one who remains in Me and I in 
him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and 
it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this:  that you produce much fruit
and prove to be My disciples.

Remain.  How can we remain in Christ?  We remain in Him by nurturing our relationship with Him, by reading His word and talking to Him (prayer).  We remain in Him by opening our hearts and quieting our busy selves so we can hear His still, small - yet powerful - voice speak to us.  Oh friend, when we remain, He allows us - causes us - to produce much fruit.  This means we get to shine for Him.  We get to bask in our blessings.  Our cups overflow for the world to witness and drink from.  We get to make an impact on His Kingdom.  We get to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Happily ever after here on earth with our sweet Savior Jesus.

Yes, life can be hard.  But oh my gracious, it can also be gloriously beautiful when we walk with Jesus - when we allow Him to move in our lives and show off His glory.  We are His princesses and He is our Prince.  He's patiently waiting to grab your hand, pull you up on the splendid white horse, and take you for the ride of your life as you let His glory seep deeply into your heart and let Him move you towards happily ever after.

May your happily ever after start right now-