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Dogeared Pages

Most kids today don't have a clue what a Sears or J.C. Penney's catalog looked like. They have immediate shopping options via the World Wide Web, making these bound 'manuals of dreams' a thing of the past. When we got the latest version of the catalog, we'd pour through it over and over again, admiring the latest fashions, dreaming about the shiny appliances promising to make our life easier, and finding out just how 'empty' our toy boxes were in comparison to what was displayed within those pages. If it wasn't in the catalog, you never knew it existed. The catalog was the place you turned when you were in need of something. Yet, it wasn't 'complete', was it? You couldn't buy your groceries through the Sears catalog, nor could you buy a horse, cow, or goat (at least I don't think you could). As "complete" as that catalog was, it didn't contain all we needed. It just made it convenient to find basic things. The more complex things often required us to look further and in different places. Wouldn't it have been nice to have a true 'one-stop' experience with all we were in need of right there at our fingertips? "IN CHRIST" we have everything we need - no further away than the welcoming words, "Come, Lord Jesus".

For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ. He is the highest Ruler, with authority over every other power. (Colossians 2:9-10 TLB)

There are moments when we all look elsewhere for whatever it is we need in life. We seek love through some form of human contact. We look for meaning in life through some career pathway. We dream of fulfillment through some 'purchased product'. All these might be worthwhile pursuits when we have made Christ the first pursuit of our lives. When these pursuits become the primary pursuit, Christ taking backseat in our lives, we find it is a little like flipping through all those pages in the catalog - there are a whole lot more unfulfilled dreams than there are fulfilled ones! There are even things we will never be able to obtain through 'pursuit' as they are gifts and not something we can 'achieve' or 'obtain'. If we are honest here, we might even say we have found ourselves 'having', but not really 'enjoying'. We have 'obtained' lots and lots of things and have not even taken the time to 'enjoy' them fully. How much more can we say we have been 'given much' in Christ Jesus that we have never even experienced yet?

It is hard to come to the place of turning away from what we have fixed our attention toward for so long, but as with the catalog, we sometimes need to just put those things down and look around at what it is we already have! We might not 'have' all our mind can conceive, but what we do have far outweighs whatever it is that is attracting our attention at the moment. IN CHRIST, we have ALL of God in a human form - we have EVERYTHING when we have Christ. Those words are powerful because they tell us it isn't about us 'getting more' - it is about us learning to live with what we have been given! To enjoy fully the things we now possess IN CHRIST and learn how to appreciate what a privileged position we have in him. Christ fills the pages of our lives - he isn't found in the pages of a dogeared catalog. Yet, there is much we will desire more and more of as we experience him fully. We will find it isn't long before he 'marks' his place in our lives much like we marked those pages in the 'wish book' catalog. We are given more than we could ever pursue - so why do we spend so much time and effort on pursuits that are fleeting? Just askin!

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