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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The World We Will Inherit

The world being built…
is the world we will inherit…black.tree.2

Have you ever thought about that? Just last evening in my catechism class, the elder who was taking it said to us:

I think that the world in the time you will live in will be  even worse than in mine

Help! I hadn’t thought of that! I’d always imagined my life ahead as being, while not exactly a bed of roses, pretty easy. I had seen my life stretching ahead of me, just waiting to be lived. I hadn’t considered the persecution, the sorrows, the battles to be fought on every side.

Every month, it seems, there is some fresh attack against the family, the church, the Bible, and ultimately, God Himself. More and more the leaders of our nations are straying in their ways, and so leading us away from God also. Our Western civilizations are nearing their ends. Of course, this is a result of six thousand years’ disobedience. Many other causes can be mentioned, but, as always, the matter comes back to the heart. Our leaders’ hearts are turned away from God.

But  we can’t let all the blame rest there. It’s time to look at ourselves. Who are we? What are we doing? Where are we going? Do we understand our world, the way is now, the way it has been, and where it is headed?

Let’s not be content with the direction our world is going. There’s no gain in being fatalistic. Jude verse 3 says “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

We MUST fight the good fight! God will be pleased when we serve Him in desiring his will for all the world.

To Go or To Stay

For several months now I’ve been feeling God calling me to the mission field. It began with a Bible reading: Jeremiah chapter one verses four to eight. It continued with a missionary’s newsletter, which included this verse : “And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

go

This call has only been growing stronger since then. I’ve been reading through the book of Acts, and read, spread through chapter 22, these words:
‘Get up and go, why do you delay? Get up, Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ (vv. 10, 16, 21) I wanted to go so much that I cried because of this ache I couldn’t dull. I didn’t know how, or where. But I knew that I had to go. Soon.

Then came yesterday.

I sat outside on a piece of roofing iron, crying again. (That happens when you’re growing up 🙂 ) I was wondering suddenly, whether to go or to stay.

Stay

My heart was changing… and I wasn’t sure why. This is what I wrote later that evening:  “I was wondering whether to go or to stay. Was ‘go’ a test, to see if, after being called to the mission field, I would be content to stay at home? Crying, I imagined. I imagined a wise man sitting down beside me. He spoke to me, some words of reassurance that God loved me now and forever. Then he turned and pointed to the moon. He said

“See the moon? See the white part, the part where the sun yet illuminates? That is your life, the part you have lived. You can see all of it. Now see the rest of the moon, the dark side? It’s not completely black, but dark brown. And if you look closely, you can see its outline. That is the rest of your life, the part yet to come. The white part shows the simple shape of the rest, but not the particulars. It is this way with your life. The part you have lived, you can see clearly, with all its humps and hollows, ins and outs, ups and downs. The rest, you will see as it comes.”

I had been totally convinced that the way I would be spending a good-sized portion of my life was on the mission field. And when that tugging left, it left me pondering. “Am I called to go, or to stay?” But I learned that knowing my calling isn’t the important thing.

All I need to know about the rest of my life is this:

  1. That I will sin
  2. That God has forgiven all my sins
  3. That I must live in thankfulness to Him for His mercies (Psalm 136)

So I still don’t know whether I am called to go or to stay, but It Doesn’t Matter. Not now. What matters is that I remember to be humble in all circumstances before Almighty God.

And Serve Him with Joy!

Go or Stay

Note: When I posted this, it was more than two weeks after the ‘evening’ and ‘yesterday’ spoken of here.

Casting Our Cares on Him

file0001010718196One night I lay on my bed, with all the weight of this world‘s cares, frustrations, and worries lying heavily on my shoulders. As well as this life’s usual problems, I had a couple of larger issues to deal with.

But something changed-

I remembered “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”, a verse in 1 Peter 5. And instantly they were gone – cast upon my Saviour, with whom our yoke is easy, and our burden is light.

And then I thought-

What should I care about? I’ve already discovered that my desires should be for His second coming, and for His kingdom to be extended through all the earth. There needs to be something more, however. And while we should take every thought captive, some earthly things must be thought of while we are here on earth. We cannot live without thinking of that which we are doing. But the cares of our hearts should not overwhelm us, as in Mark 4:18-19. Ask yourself, would God care about this?

With our worries in the hands of our Saviour,

knowing that we belong to Him, and that He cares for us, we are free to serve Him!

Pictures of Home

for.art.gallery

This picture was taken in New Zealand, the beautiful country which I have never left. It was just such a scene as this which I gazed upon as I returned from a family reunion in Wanaka at the end of 2012. Wanaka is in Central Otago, a dry, tussocky place, like the one shown here. After two days of fulfilling the Newton family motto, “If you’re not eating, you’re not having a good time,” my coastal eyes were homesick – for the sea.

As we drove down the Waitaki Valley (and yes, it might help if you looked this all up on Google Maps!), I felt an aching tug in my heart, because I was going home.

However, as I thought this over, I realized that where I was headed was not actually my home. Instead, this moment served as a picture of heaven, that far-off country which we cannot see. It was a reminder of that fact of my heavenly citizenship.

Whenever I see a striking part of God’s creation like this one, I see it as a glimpse and a shadowy picture of heaven. These moments come and go, but the knowledge of living where I do not belong does not.

The longing to see my home in Oamaru was soon replaced by a stronger one, that of waiting for the return of Jesus in the clouds, and our ascension into heaven. Only then will we truly be at home. Because, after all,

This world is not our home.