Purpose

Almost everyone has a purpose in life. Taoists say that their purpose in life is rejoining the One. Hedonists say that their purpose in life is to enjoy while they can.  Christians say that their purpose is to glorify God.

But often even we Christians seem to lose our purpose. We become listless. Our standard of work falls. We have fewer creative ideas. We can be careless of other people or their belongings. Sometimes we can lose respect for ourselves.

If we look at our human condition, that’s certainly easy to do. Our race has rebelled against God and the majority continues to defy Him. We are ruining our planet. Our personal lives are filled with suffering, mistakes and regret.

But we must look beyond ourselves. If we don’t stretch our gaze past the busyness and boredom of everyday life to above the heavens and see God, we are still lost.

Isaiah 51:6

Isaiah 51:6

I remember learning the Westminster Shorter Catechism when I was about 8 or 9. The first question and answer is this:

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

At that stage, I really had no understanding of that at all. God hadn’t yet begun to teach me to look beyond my immediate surroundings and see Him. The phrase was for me arbitrary, having no meaning beyond that of the individual words.

That changed. God began to work in my heart, first showing me my sin, and then filling me with His Holy Spirit and showing me His glory, beyond the clouds.

So then, I was filled with a new desire to seek His ways, to serve Him in all my doings. Glorifying God became the new purpose of my life. And I was enjoying it. But I didn’t understand that.

It took a few months. Then one winter morning as I was swinging my way down the South Hill, it hit me. I was enjoying God! And I was just going to keep on doing that, forever! In the midst of my sorrows and triumphs, I am still enjoying Him.

But the story doesn’t end there. My life is still going on, and I still need to examine my heart to find purposes hidden there. All which are contrary to God’s will, I have to ask Him to cut away, and all which are in conformity to His Word, I rejoice in!handshake

There’s one more point which I’ve covered elsewhere on my blog, in the post God’s Commands and Our Promises. I continue to struggle with this one. Why did I get out of bed this morning? Because I was hungry? Because I needed to be at the library before 9 am? Or was it simply because God’s Word says in Proverbs 26:14 that

As a door turns on its hinges,
So does the lazy man on his bed.

Beautiful poetry, of course. But what a strong message! The next time you turn off the alarm and roll back over, remember this!

So, on this earth and for all eternity, our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Have fun!

In Him,
Rhoda

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Obedience is Only Instant

tea towelsImagine your mum comes into your room, and says “Go hang out the washing”. Do you:
Say “Sure, Mum, I’d be glad to,” put a marker in to your book, and head to the laundry?
Say “Yes Mum,” finish your chapter, and go along out?
Say “Mmhmm”, read for 15 minutes, and then climb out the window and sneak round the house so she doesn’t see you?
Well, I’m sure you realize that only the first scenario is the right one. And it makes no difference who gave you the instruction, what it was, or what you were doing. If you don’t obey instantly, you’re not real obeying at all. And this doesn’t just apply to legal minors. This is true for all of us, no matter who we’re supposed to be obeying.
Imagine that your instructor instructs you, and then hangs round staring at you until the task has been carried out. It would be irritating in the extreme, but you would definitely get onto the job much sooner, and perhaps even do a better job, knowing that you were being watched.
I’ve just realized that God is always watching. He sees every time you sit around, slack, take too much break time, or carry out your chore with a sullen attitude or rebellious heart. God sees. And he cares.
Look up these verses, in context, to more fully understand this important truth. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Romans 2:8 “but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

An instant response to the initial prompting of the Holy Spirit, or to the commands of another authority, is true self-control. Look up 2 Peter 1 and  Galatians 5:22-23 on the subject.

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 We don’t serve God because we have to. We are freed from Satan. Serving is our privilege, and it is our work of thankfulness to God for our freedom from slavery to Satan. Put aside your pride, and become an obedient servant of God, and all the authorities He’s placed over you. And do it with Joy!

Treasure God’s Name, Part One

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Deuteronomy 5:11

“And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 24:16

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10

I would like to encourage each of you to watch yourselves carefully, as to
how you think of His name,
how you represent it,
and how you respond when others abuse it.

Being constantly in prayer can be dangerous if we forget who it is we are praying to. If you are always thinking “God, please may this matter go well for me,” and not remembering exactly who you are talking to, that could be blasphemy. It may be effectually praying to yourself, if you are only thinking of yourself.

As children of God, whose citizenship is in heaven, we are ambassadors of Christ. Anything that we do as Christians can be seen by others as representing God and His church in general. Our actions will be a good witness for Christ. Or, they can send the message that being a Christian is nothing special, that God doesn’t care what we do. We must be a good and faithful reflection of God.

What should we do when someone misuses God’s name? Well, we are not to be silent bystanders, for then it would be as if we were joining in the crime. Instead, we should speak up! Say, ” Excuse me, but do you realize what you’ve just said?” “I can’t allow the blaspheming of God’s name to go past me without saying something.” The dishonouring God’s name is not something to be overlooked.

Coming soon: Treasure God’s Name, Part Two!

God’s Commands and Our Promises

handshakeWe all make promises. We say we’ll bring something to the next meeting, or pray for a specific need, or drop by on Thursday, or put away our clean washing. We try to keep our promises, and we feel guilty when we don’t. Once we have made a promise, we’ve committed ourselves to do something.
Now, read Exodus 20: 1-17 and Matthew 22:37-40.
These verses contain the commands of God. We are to love God with our whole being, and love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Everything we do should be for the glory of God, and also to promote other people above ourselves.
Our salvation no longer depends on whether or not we live by these laws. Jesus has kept them for us! Instead, we obey them out of our joyful thankfulness for His grace.
Our salvation has never depended on honouring our promises to people on earth. We keep them perhaps to appear righteous, stay in favour with someone, or because we love that person. If we don’t keep them, we try to make it right.

We attempt to live up to God’s requirements because we love Him. We try to keep them out of thankfulness and a desire to glorify Him. But,

How hard do you try to obey God’s commandments?

And when you don’t, what do you do about it? Which do you value more, the commands of God, or your promises to men?