High and Lifted Up

I can hardly believe its been a year since I sat around the tree with my family unwrapping presents, knowing that in a month I would be moving to Atlanta to spend the remainder of my time in college. Today I sat around the tree with friends and family, knowing that in 3 short weeks, I will be making the move to Lisbon, Portugal, for much longer than I originally anticipated being in Atlanta. I must say it was a little different. I hugged people a little longer and a few more times than normal, knowing it might be the last time I see some of them for six months.

There are so many emotions that come along with picking up my life to move to another culture by myself. I almost said I would be leaving everything I’d ever known behind, but that would be a lie. I’ve moved 13 times in the last 4 years. I’ve hardly ever met a stranger that I didn’t strike up a conversation with. More often than not, God somehow comes up in the conversation. I cannot even begin to take credit for that.

Those are things people say about me but it’s very hard for me to say them about myself. Why? Because I feel inadequate. Completely inadequate. And I am. As long as I rely on me, Amber Nicole Butler, I am inadequate. I am selfish. I do what’s best for me, which usually isn’t very kind or considerate of others. But when I take a step back, and realize that Jesus is the only hope for this life then my attitude shifts. My perspective changes and once again, I’m able to live as who Christ created me to be. Alluring. Kind. Captivating.

Honestly, I didn’t really remember it was Christmas until about 4 pm on December 23. I had been so busy rushing around doing everything else that I had completely forgotten about Christmas. I had this sudden realization at work the other day that Jesus’ birthday was in 2 days and I got really excited. I was literally overwhelmed at the reminder that EVERYTHING is about Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but his unending love for us should also be the source of our actions every day. We take this time out each year to celebrate His birth, but without His death and resurrection His life is insignificant. He chose to be born of a virgin, to live on earth, fully man and fully God, to walk through all of this life remaining perfectly pure, to suffer an excruciating death on the cross, knowing that temporary separation from God was worse than any physical pain he would have to endure, faithfully conquering death anyways, and rising again. All of that, just so that we could be restored to right standing before God and have a personal relationship with Him. There are only two responses to this – complete and total surrender to Christ, or rejection of this free gift He has so graciously offered us.

I am thankful that there are days set aside each year in remembrance of Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, but we should be celebrating and living in response to that every day. Jesus is the reason for our existence – to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  We should speak of the good news daily and our lives should be an ever shining light of His glory and praise.

Isaiah 6:1-8 is one of the scriptures God has continuously woven into this journey to Portugal. Verse 1 says “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…” I want God to be high and lifted up in my life, and I want my life to be a reflection of Him high and lifted up on the throne!

Verse 8 says “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am, Send me.'” God needed someone to go and tell the rest of the world the Good News, that a savior has come. Isaiah stepped up to the plate and now we all get to too! The Lord is sending each of right where we are. As we spend this day with our friends and families let His name be high and lifted up in our lives and in our conversations.

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