Thursday, March 27, 2014

What Do You Live For?

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again."
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 (NKJV)

Some people say that they live for their children, their husband, or their wife.  Others say that they live for the weekend when they have more free time, or that they live for some other activity or event.  When people say things like this they are making the statement that their life is focused on their children, husband, wife, or whatever; this person or thing gives their life meaning and purpose, it is what motivates them.  Having good family relationships, free time, and recreation are all good, but is that what our life should revolve around, is that really what we should be living our life for?

The Bible tells us that all Christians are a part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).  The Bible also tells us that each part of the body of Christ has something it needs to supply for the rest of the body (Ephesians 4:16) and that each one of us have received a gift from God that we need to be a good steward of (1 Peter 4:10).  We need to know who we are in Christ and we need to understand that we are a part of God's plan for the world today.  While we do need to take care of things in our natural life, like our family, our focus and what our life revolves around needs to be our purpose in Christ.

Jesus gave His life for us and now we are required to live our life for Him, this is what 2 Corinthians 5 is telling us.  However, this does not mean that we have to sell all of our possessions, forsake our family and friends, and go live an isolated life on a mountain somewhere. What it does mean is that because God created us for good works (Ephesians 2:10) and He has a plan for our life that we need to focus on that and make it what we live for.  God certainly wants us to have a blessed, happy, and successful life but it all starts with finding and fulfilling our God given purpose; that is what we should live for!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Responding Or Reasoning

So he, trembling and astonished, said "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
Acts 9:6 (NKJV)

When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus it was an experience that changed Paul's life.  Paul became a Christian and served God for the rest of his life and accomplished great things for God.  Paul asked Jesus the question that we all need to ask, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"  Jesus simply told Paul to get up and go into Damascus and he would be told what to do.  Paul responded by going into the city.  Jesus did not give Paul any real details, Paul had to completely trust Jesus without really knowing what he would find in the city or what was coming next.

There is a lot we can learn from this story.  One thing is that this is a good example about obedience and following God's plan for our life.  Once Jesus spoke to Paul and told him what to do Paul had a decision to make, was he going to respond to what Jesus told him or was he going to think about it for a while and try to figure out what was going on?  This is where many people make a mistake, instead of just responding to what God says they try reasoning it out and often they miss what God is trying to do.  

One thing we all need to settle in our minds is that God knows what we need to do far, far better than we do.  God sees ahead and knows where our next steps will take us.  When we hear from God, through His Word or by the Holy Spirit, we should respond to His direction without trying to figure it all out to see if we understand it, like it, or agree with it.  When God speaks to our heart we should not check in our head, we need to simply respond to His direction.  Once we take the step God gives to us He will give us another step and then another to lead us to our ultimate desired destination.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good-Bye Or Good Riddance?

"He was thirty-two years old when he became king. He reigned in Jerusalem eight years and, to no one's sorrow, departed. However they buried him in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings."
2 Chronicles 21:20 (NKJV)

2 Chronicles 21 tells about the death of King Jehoram of Judah.  He only reigned for eight years and he was a bad king who did not follow God.  The Bible tells us that when King Jehoram died no one expressed any sorrow at his passing, the people were happy to see him go and to get rid of him.  But, there are other kings we can read about who when they died the people mourned over them, they were good kings that the people were sad to see go.  It was not the position that these men held that they were honored for, it was who they were and the influence they had on the people they ruled.

We all have relationships with people in our family, at our place of work, people we socialize with, and other types of relationships.  The type of relationship we have with these people may be different, but the one thing that is the same is that we have an influence on these people.  Positive or negative we are influencing the people around us.  But, are we the kind of people who are helping and encouraging to those around us or are we a negative influence?  If our relationship with these people ended today, for whatever reason, would they say a sad good-bye or would they just say good riddance? 

We don't always realize what an impact we make on other people, good or bad.  Think about Jesus and how He lived; I am sure that He was a positive influence on those around Him.  David is another example.  He had people around him who were in distress, in debt, and who were discontented.  David became their captain and chose to be a positive influence on these people.  We all know people like this that we are happy to see arrive and sad to see leave.  But on the other hand, there are some people that we are sad to see arrive and happy when they leave.  The question for us is which type of person we will be?  Our relationships with others are important and an opportunity for us to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Staying On Course Through God's Word

"Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven."
Psalm 119:89 (NKJV)

People are looking for something to focus on and follow in life.  But there are so many things in life that you can't always rely on because of the amount of change involved.  For example, I used to listen to cassette tapes, I used to own a pet rock, and I used to wear bell bottom jeans.  At one time all of these things were very popular but they are rare if found at all today.  With all of the things that change in life it is good to know that God's Word does not change and God's Word is always something we can focus on and follow with success.

Many people have problems because what they are using as a foundation for their life is not stable and secure, like God's Word.  People try to do something to fit in only to find that as soon as they think they fit in the style has changed.  Others try to stay current with the latest popular culture or trend in the world and then they find out something "new" has come along and now they are out of it again.  If we try to base our life on all of the things in the world that are subject to change we will certainly live a frustrating life. 

God's Word is settled, forever.  There are no new updates for God's Word, it has not changed or been revised and it never will be.  God's Word is always relevant and useful for our daily lives.  God's Word is the only stable thing that we can base the course of our life on.  True success and happiness in life is only going to come by knowing, understanding, and following God's Word.  If it seems like your life has just been a series of ups and downs then get off of the roller coaster of passing fads and get connected with the Word of God, that is the only way to truly stay on the right course in life.