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Do You Know Your Purpose?

Do You Know Your Purpose?

It is perhaps one of the most common questions asked by humans throughout the ages.

“What is the meaning of life?”

Another related question for any given individual is:

“What is my purpose?”

People are born, live their lives, then they die. It’s that dash, you know, on our tombstone, the one between 1968 and 20?? (At least for me) that we’re living out.

Some people seem to love living, they just enjoy life.

Then there are others, the majority, unfortunately, that can’t wait for the weekend so that they have some time off from their work. These people would like to enjoy life but they don’t know how. In most cases, their happiness is based on being able to have time off, a better job, or having a nicer home or car.

What about you? Is your life satisfying? Are you enjoying your time here on planet Earth?  Is your life worth living? Do you have a clear purpose? Or does it seem meaningless?

How does one go from living a meaningless life to one filled with purpose?

Suppose you found a device. It’s a little electronic gadget that has some buttons and a little display. The only words on it are foreign and you can’t get it to turn on or do anything. Until you know what it was designed for, it has no obvious purpose. It seems to have been masterfully designed and looks really interesting, but it does nothing and seems meaningless.

Then along comes the device’s creator. He has something in his hand that appears to be some sort of power source. He plugs it into the device and it lights up, makes some noise and starts doing some of the most marvelous things you’ve ever seen. What the little device does is simply amazing. The technology is so wonderful and so exceptional that it makes you say “Wow, whoever designed this little thingy is a genius!”

Psalm 19
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
     The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
     night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
     their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
     and their words to all the world.

Have you ever observed the sky at night?

Did you ever look at the moon and stars and said “Wow!”? Now check this out:

Genesis 1:  14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them mark off the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Isn’t this cool? The Bible actually tells us what these heavenly bodies were made for. Though we see them day in and day out they continue to amaze us. The heavens happen to be God’s handiwork and it’s been working very well. Also, notice that they are multi-purpose, they separate day from night, one to govern the day, another to govern the night. The sun governs by affecting wind patterns and weather, while the moon governs by affecting the tides and I’m certain other undiscovered influences. All the heavenly bodies have the purpose of illumination and each is quite brilliant at that. I think it’s really cool that the moon has no light by itself, but only when we see the moon when it is reflecting the sun does it have light.

Are there any true atheists?

The people who deny God say that life and our universe happened all by chance. They see no purpose in any of it and think we’re just some cosmic accident.

Romans 1:  18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

This is telling us that even atheists know God, but they’ve suppressed the truth. This proves the point that if you lie to yourself long enough you’ll end up believing it. Their minds are really dark and confused.

Satan has a lot of people fooled these days, doesn’t he?

He does anything he can to distract us from the Living God to the point of believing that there is no purpose and that life is meaningless.

So what about humans? What is our purpose? How were we designed?

Genesis 1:  27 So God created human beings in his own image.
     In the image of God he created them;
     male and female he created them.

What sets us apart from every other living creature is that we were made in His image. This knowledge helps us a lot. This implies that, by design, we resemble God. He’s cast us to be God-like, it’s in our DNA.

But since creation, we’ve encountered a bit of a problem. Well, actually, it is a major problem:

Romans 5:  12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

Born Sinners

Humans have been separated from God since Adam’s transgression and we’re born sinners:

Psalm 51:
5 For I was born a sinner—
     yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.

Separation from God means that we cannot know or understand our purpose. Like the aforementioned device, we have no purpose until we are plugged into our Power Source, the Creator. Only then can we live in such a way that brings Him glory:

John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

This makes it clear that humans are in need of reconciliation with God. How can this happen?

Romans 5: 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Only in Jesus

Only when our faith is in Christ do we truly live and are plugged into His power.  Then we can live up to the purpose He’s created us for, which is to glorify Him.

Again, how do we glorify Him? John 15: 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

Is there a sure-footed way for us to bear fruit in every season? You betcha!

Psalm 1
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
     follow the advice of the wicked,
     or stand around with sinners,
     or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
     meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
     bearing fruit each season.
  Their leaves never wither,
     and they prosper in all they do.

This makes complete sense when you think about it.

The Bible is God’s instruction manual for us, it really teaches us how to live and how to love God. We are so wonderfully made that unlike the device mentioned above, God’s designed us so that He made us aware of our sinful nature and has given us free will and the ability to plug ourselves into His power.

John 6:  26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

This purpose of living for God yields eternal life and when this sinks into our hearts it brings true joy. The more we read His Word, the more we know how to please Him and give Him glory. After a while, our lives become simpler. We live each day making a concerted, deliberate effort with the simple goal of pleasing Him and giving Him the glory.

Paul said it best:

Romans 12:  1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Will you live for His glory?

“Dear God, you are my maker and my savior. You came before me and follow me. Without you I am nothing and have no meaning. I owe everything to you. When I consider this, I am compelled to give you all the praise and thank you for my life. Thank you in advance for the eternal life you’ve promised me! If only I can keep this fresh in my mind, I take it for granted all too easily. Please help me to get to know you better. Help me to put my complete faith in you. You are so faithful and loving, a God that will never let down all whose hope is in you. Thank you for everything! In Jesus’ name, amen”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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Have Your Friends Been Warned?

Have Your Friends Been Warned?

Are you familiar with the phrase, “You’ve gotta take the bad with the good.”?

I think that’s just the way life is, isn’t it? There is always good news and bad news. I find the Bible to be much the same way. Consider this selection of verses:

1 John 5:  12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

John 3:  18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

2 Chronicles 15: 2b The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.

1 Chronicles 28: 9b If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Notice that each of these has the “good news” and the “bad news”.  Each passage contains 2 promises, one for the righteous and the other for the wicked.  Moses sang the same tune:

Deuteronomy 30: 15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.

It’s no wonder the Bible has lost its popularity.

In a day and age where the stories are sugar coated and most people are over-entertained, it doesn’t take long when reading the Word of God before it pierces your heart.

Paul has a great way of putting it, I’ll let him speak for himself:

Romans 11:  22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.

In addition, Paul adds:

2 Corinthians 2: 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

As believers and ambassadors for God, we know we have a message to deliver. In a nutshell, it is this:

2 Corinthians 5: 20b We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

There is also a time to warn others.

Read these verses carefully:

Ezekiel 3:  20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”

I’m not necessarily saying that we need to be going around warning everybody, but when the time comes and the conversation moves toward death, “end of the world” scenarios, and future events, I’d like to think I’d have the courage to say something like “Get right with God, because judgment day is coming.”

And if they say “That’s just a ‘made up’ fable, the Bible has said it many years ago, it won’t happen” You can tell them:

2 Peter 3:  8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Great explanation, isn’t it?

My point is that people need to hear the whole truth, which is not all “good news”. Let’s learn from the master Himself, this is what He had to say about the future:

Luke 17:  26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.

 28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Here’s another warning Message from the Messiah:

Matthew 7:  21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Don’t you think it’s time to tell the truth?

“Dear God in heaven, may I say the words you give me to say. My friends need to know about the coming judgment and I don’t know how make it clear, will you help me warn them somehow? I never know what to say or when to say it, but I know that if you live in me that my words will be your words and I can rest in that. Thank you for saving me from the coming judgment. I pray that I can continue trusting in you so that you can use me to share this news with others. In Christ’s name, amen”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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What Is Holding You Back?

What Is Holding You Back?

Luke 2:49 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (NKJV)

Last week I wrote about volunteering for service. On second thought, is it really volunteering? Forgive me for this great misunderstanding. Perhaps He is looking for volunteers for special assignments as was the case in Isaiah 6, but for the purpose of our discussion of general service to God, He’s given us a clear commandment:

Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

At this point when we willingly respond to His love and actively pursue Him we are only being obedient and doing what we are told.

Psalm 32:
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

Jesus called it “My Father’s business”. Being a part of the “Body of Christ” is more than just being another family member. As anyone should know, when we grow up there are certain responsibilities that come along with being a family member. God’s family is no different!

Think of it as a business that is family owned and operated.

God is the Father/Proprietor and Jesus is the Son/Foreman or more commonly known as the Master. Then we have the Holy Spirit who is our assistant/Advocate and the angels have special roles such as messengers and guardians. Our title, at least the one that applies to all of us is Ambassador and we are joint heirs (Romans 8:17). I realize that some of us may wear many hats, but we are all Ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5: 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

I believe this role by itself if taken seriously, should have enough prestige and responsibility to make us excited about getting out of bed in the morning.

Those ambassadors in Washington D.C. have nothing on us. We are ambassadors of God Most High and we are joint heirs to His kingdom, so we should live the part.

Hebrews 3: 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

Hebrews 10: 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Obedience starts by making a conscious decision to meet with Him daily.

If we want to work in this family business it is imperative that we spend regular time with the Master long enough to know what He likes and dislikes which helps us make godly decisions more frequently. It really is that simple. For example, we will learn that when we pray a prayer, such as this little gem, in the face of great enemies…

2 Chronicles 14: 11 And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”

God listens and is willing to rescue us…

12 So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the LORD and His army. And they carried away very much spoil.

Isn’t that an awesome prayer? Read it again. Here was a man that seemed to know his God and relied upon Him. They fought the Ethiopians in His name as we should be conducting our lives, in His name.

Here’s another example. We can learn a lot from these 3 verses:

Psalm 40
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

The Lord heard his cry and helped Him immediately. Wait a minute, did I read that wrong? Oh yes, I got it wrong indeed, David waited patiently, and then the Lord turned to him. David was in despair, can you relate? Out of that despair, God lifted him out and gave him a new song to sing. How exciting is that?! Not only that but in the process “Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

We must realize and embrace the fact that our service to Him starts with our character. God wants to first change us so that we can be like Christ on earth. Have you ever served in ministry with “Christian complainers”? It’s not fun, is it? I think God would rather have His complainers go home than be poor examples and spoil others.

Numbers 14: 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Judges 7: 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

The Owner is very particular about how things operate so He gave us quite a large Employee Manual in order that we can have knowledge and understanding of His business.

Just like any other family run business, it is crucial to know all we can so that we can be successful and please the Owner.

Joshua 1: 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

This is getting on the Boss’s good side, what happens when we don’t put the effort in to know about His business:

Hosea 4:
6 My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.

This is quite sobering, isn’t it?

I think it is very important to keep these words from our Master in mind which tend to put things into perspective:

John 6: 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (NASB)

Will you join me in His on the job training program?

“Dear Lord and Master, thank you for hiring me. I pray that I will show myself to be a faithful and trustworthy servant. Please help me to speak good words, not worthless words so that I might influence others and not be influenced by them. Give me endurance Lord, so that I might not get faint or grow weary. Help me to make better choices so that I can wisely put your business first, which leads to eternal rewards. Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord and God Almighty; just and true are thy ways O Lord, for you are the King of Saints. I am humbled before you and at your service. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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Have You Got Everything Figured Out Yet?

Have You Got Everything Figured Out Yet?

2 Opinions 3: 5 Blessed are those that have everything figured out or think they do.

Don’t try to look this verse up, it’s a joke!

Does life make sense to you? Are you still trying to figure how this planet works or have you given up by now?

Let’s face it, life is confusing at times. Sometimes, just when I think I have everything all figured out, everything turns upside down. Can you relate?

Should I blame God for this confusion? I don’t think so. I believe that mankind, generally speaking, has been guided by the devil, who has pervaded our society leading us to run counter to the ways of the Lord. Sound strange?

Ephesians 2: 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Jeremiah 10: 21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord. Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered.

Adam and Eve never had this problem, they had an intimate relationship with their Creator and it all made sense to them, that is until the deceiver showed up one day. It made sense for her to take a bite of the fruit, right? As a matter of fact, she was convinced:

Genesis 3: 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.

You’d think she’d know better, the devil directly contradicts God’s Instruction, she seems to be seduced by the fruit (and by Satan) and she just had to eat it, didn’t she? Does this sound familiar to you? Can you relate to this?

Proverbs 14: 12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Did it make sense for Noah to build the boat, even though it had never rained before then? (Gen. 6)

Did it make sense for Abraham, the promised father of many, to sacrifice his son? (Gen. 22)

These are both great examples of times when God asked his servants to do something that went against logic and they obeyed God.  Let’s look at an example of disobedience:

1 Samuel  13: 7 …Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. 9 So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

He just couldn’t wait, could he? But how much longer?

10 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, 11 but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Apparently not much longer; and why did he disobey?

Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

Saul was surrounded by dreadful circumstances, but if only he could’ve waited a little longer. The message I get from this is that Saul’s heart was motivated more by fear than by God. There were miraculous events that led him to be king and he was given a golden opportunity to lead God’s chosen people and he blew it because he just couldn’t wait long enough. It’s tragic, isn’t it? But God uses this act of disobedience to set the stage for King David, one whose heart is for God.

13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

This is what I receive from this: When my heart is for God, I willfully choose to obey Him, but if my heart is hard, not wanting to submit to Him, I’d just as soon do what seems right to me and not obey Him.

This is why I think it is most crucial to do whatever we can to keep our hearts soft. I really don’t think we are much use to God when we have hard hearts. This reminds me of this:

John 15:  5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Try telling this to your unregenerated co-worker, he’d give you the strangest looks, wouldn’t he? But for the one who desires God the most, this makes the total sense.

Proverbs 20: 24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Will you trust God to give you the sense you need to stay close to Him?

“Dear Lord, thank you for loving me and showing me the way to eternal life. Before you, Lord, my life didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but with your Word, I can see more from your perspective and I can take comfort in that. For you are sovereign and are in total control. This gives me hope. Please continue to guide me down your path Lord, the one that leads to life. In Jesus name, amen.”

 

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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Are You Open To God's Teaching?

Are You Open To God’s Teaching?

Are you allowing God to teach you? If only more people would seek God for His wisdom, personally, and learn from Him how to treat others the world would be a much better place wouldn’t it?

Today I’d just like to examine a few passages that I think are great for learning godly interpersonal and parenting skills.

Are you ready to learn from the Master?

This is probably one of the most famous of Christ’s teachings on treating others. We all know it as the “Golden Rule”:

Matthew 7: 12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

I think this one verse, if meditated on, can take us a long way towards being a loving person. It simply requires some careful thought when interacting with others in your life.

Thoughts such as “My wife’s had a rough day, perhaps I should clean up around the house so she won’t have to.”

Isn’t it amazing how this one sentence covers the essence of a vast portion of the Old Testament? Yet it’s so simple!

In this next passage, I love how we can learn from God’s example. Let’s read…

Genesis 4: 8 One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.

9 Afterward the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”

“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”

What I love about this is that God knew all along that Cain killed Abel. Instead of accusations, condemnation, and anger, God simply asks a question: “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” He lovingly allows Cain to confess. He gives Cain a chance to repent. Perhaps you had or have a parent that is not so loving. A typical reaction for a parent to deal with a child who knowingly disobeyed is to yell, accuse and be quick to judge. God is not that way, isn’t that good news?

Here’s another great example of God’s perfect parenting skills:

Jonah 4: 6 And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

In verse 8 Jonah states that he’d rather be dead and he was angry. What comes to my mind are the typical responses such as “You shouldn’t be angry.”, “Why are you angry?” or “I can’t believe you’re angry.” God takes a different path and asks “Is it right for you to be angry?” This changes everything doesn’t it? It requires Jonah to think about whether his heart is right and does not invalidate his feelings.

Doesn’t Jonah remind you of a little kid? I find this exchange a bit comical, but I think it’s ignorance on my part as I cannot begin to relate to Jonah in this setting.

And then there’s Moses…

Exodus 5: 22 Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”

Exodus 6: 1 Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”

In this exchange, we read that Moses is frustrated, confused and exasperated. I’d think that God would want to defend Himself, but God does not bother. He simply tells Moses, if I may paraphrase: “Just wait, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

You may wish to read a similar exchange with His servant Gideon in Judges 6: 11-14.

This last verse sums it up, doesn’t it?

Psalm 103: 13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

What is God teaching you?

“Dear God, Thank you for your Word so that I might know how to live. Please keep me on your path so that I can continue to learn from you. In Jesus name, amen.”

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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