What’s the purpose?

 

There is a purpose for everything God does. Whether or not we see or understand the Lord’s motivation, as believers there is nothing more valuable to us than our faith… our faith to believe we are saved, God loves us, and he has a plan to fulfill a glorious destiny for us.

But what about the here and now? What’s God doing for me lately? What’s the purpose for all of the mayhem in the world? As it stands, what he accomplished on the cross in doing his father’s will is all the grace we need. The rest of his bounty upon us is just gravy. His word tells us, “My grace is sufficient,” when a troubled Paul prayed for his physical ailments. His grace of an eternal pardon and payment for our sin is the most valuable gift we’ll ever receive and the only one that will enable us into the next world, if we accept it.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28. His purpose? It’s found in the following verse… for us to come to a saving knowledge of Christ and to become conformed to the image of his son… to become part of God’s family.

Many view the world’s troubles and try to justify them as being fair or not fair. God is not so much about the fairness, but he’s all about the justice. Was it fair that Jesus suffered for something he did not do? Is it fair that some who receive riches are not always deserving of their wealth? Does the smartest person always gain the noblest position in life? The race doesn’t always go to the swiftest.

With our hearts heavy for those who lost power in the ravages of the recent hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, or lost loved ones in the horrific mayhem of Las Vegas and elsewhere, one thing is for certain. God is still on the throne.  We need to see the circumstances of life through God’s love and not judge God in light of our circumstances. That’s where our faith comes in. It’s all for our holiness.

Harvest time

The Lord makes everything beautiful in its time. In Ecclesiastes 3, we see there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. While spring brings life through the flourish of new buds, and summer lends its warmth… winter is when everything sleeps, and in autumn, its harvest time.

Cranberries, pumpkins, squash, and apples are just a few of the bountiful offerings plucked from gardens, orchards, and farm fields come this autumn season. While these are the provisions God lends to us, he also has his eye on a different kind of harvest. The harvest of souls. His potential bounty is to be gathered from all parts of the earth for the Kingdom of God.

Reaping souls for Christ is not an instantaneous thing. It takes prayer, time, and dedication, just the same as tending a garden. First, we prepare the soil, and then sow the seeds; thirdly, we tend and cultivate it through conditioning and nourishing with the right combination of sun, food, and water. In time, we reap what we sow.

What’s to be understood is that the process is all overseen by the master gardener, the Lord. While we’re called to do the Lord’s work as we’re encouraged always to do; it’s the Lord who does the ultimate regeneration of people’s hearts.

God employs his people to spread the seeds of good news. “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.”

 

Keep your focus

When Jesus hung bleeding on the Roman cross, the book of Hebrews tells us he “despised” the shame while enduring the suffering. To despise the shame in Jesus’ mind was to consider it less than worthless and something to ignore. He didn’t let it distract him because he was on a mission and knew the joy that was set before him when he would sit down at the right hand of God on the throne.

Hebrews 12:2 instructs us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith. In Philippians 3, Apostle Paul tells us he presses on and “has set his eye on the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

There’s an old story about a farmer and his son. While out in the field he instructed the young boy on how to plow the corn rows straight; he told him to focus on something way beyond the edge of the field and remain fixed on it. Later, when he returned to inspect his son’s work, he found the corn rows skewed and curvy. “What happened?” he asked. “Did you keep your eyes fixed like I told you?” The boy replied, “Yes, father, I kept my eyes fixed on one of the cows in the next field.”

The idea of keeping his eyes fixed on a roaming object is humorous but explains why we often we fail. A racehorse is given blinders when competing so that he’s not distracted from the crowd. The runner who keeps his focus on the finish line is not deterred by the hurdles that need to be cleared along the way. These are the ways to meet the goal: keeping a fixed perspective.

For the believer, there is no other goal than living for Jesus in all that we do. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and not the worldly distractions that so easily entangle us is the only way to win.

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Worship or bust

In ancient Israel, when David fled from King Saul while fearing for his life, he ran into a cave. While there, he sang praises in the midst of his terror (Psalm 57). He took refuge in the shadow of the Lord’s wings and kept steadfast in his love and worship toward him.

Like David, when we cling to the Lord, our lives take on a whole new dimension. While we may never have to endure the panic of someone wishing to take our lives, we have our own versions of travail, which give rise to our worries and fears.

At the heart of worshipping our Father is complete and total surrender. In a world whose goal is winning at all costs, maintaining a submissive, surrendered mindset is viewed as losing. Though in God’s economy, surrendering to him is where we find our ultimate success. Where we are weak and yielded, he remains strong.

Knowing our place under a loving God’s wings is where our true contentment and safety abide. In the family of God, we are fully and completely whole when we abide in the Lord for everything and give thanks to him for his consistent grace toward us.

God created each of us for the sole purpose of becoming part of his eternal family. Our true purpose is to bring pleasure to the Lord and to “lift his name on high.” The best way to do that is to allow the Lord to be preeminent in our lives.

Many in this world are living to worship themselves… to build monuments to their own greatness. Though when times of trial or struggle send them racing for the nearest cave, to whom will they turn? Will they find sanctuary through their reasoning or thoughts? Sadly, they will often put their hopes in their own self-sufficiency.

When surrendering our deepest thoughts and desires to the Lord, we will always be safe under his wings. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.”

May the Memory Never Die

Bright sun filled the cloudless, azure skies of Tuesday, September 11, 2001—a perfect morning in late summer. Later, at 8:46 a.m., things changed. The morning turned dark, and we all know what happened next.

The events on that fateful day have altered American history forever. While thousands lost their lives in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and also in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, many more lost their lives attempting to rescue the survivors. First responders, plus the aid of countess others who risked their own lives, are a testament to the heart and soul of America heroism.

Before tragedy hit our shores, terrorism hadn’t been so prevalent, at least, not in America. Now we bear the hurts and scars of the devastation that evil can bring. Those who don’t know the Lord and who are bent on spreading their evil are to be most pitied. What’s even more tragic is the death of these souls who may not have made their peace with God before they left this earth. Though even in the midst of a burning airplane or a smoke-filled building, God was waiting and willing to bring them salvation.

On Patriot Day, the country will once again memorialize the fallen victims of this tragedy. These service people’s efforts and dedication to put themselves at the forefront of harm’s way are a unique breed. We honor the dedication and spirit of these selfless people. Whether or not we know any of the victims of 9/11, all of America lost something that day. May the memory never fade.