Tag: God

Making A Life

Tom Paterson, in his book, “Living The Life You Were Meant To Live,” made a very interesting comment. God isn’t interested in us just making a living as He is in us “making a life.”

Well said! I believe a good question we can ask is are we so consumed with making a living that we have forgotten how to make a life!

In this world of “me” focus and striving to get ahead, maybe we need to take a deep breath, step back a little and get a larger perspective on life. At the end of our lives, I don’t think it will really matter how much money you and I made or how successful we were.

I think the questions we will be concerned about are did we love our God and others well? Did we make a difference in this world? It is not that success or money are a bad things, but Jesus was so right when he said that life was so much more than the things that we possess.

At the end of our lives, I think it will be more important to know we were the kind of people that loved and served others well rather than what kind of car we drove, the house we lived in or how much money we made. Did we love with God’s love and did others see in us who Jesus really is.

The reality is that there are no guarantees about time. Time is precious. It waits for no one and it’s the one thing we can never get back. If we postpone what we really want to do in this life, people we want to touch or influence, or even a trip we want to take that time may never come.

People wait for retirement to pursue a dream. Retirement comes and health fails and the dream never happens.

Are you making a living or making a life? Why postpone even simple joys another day? Why not take the time for a long walk and actually smell the roses and enjoy God’s beautiful creation?

It won’t cost you a thing and will not only renew your senses but also clear your head. Why not take time to lay hold of courage and forgive or to tell someone that you love them? Maybe its time to be a voice of encouragement to someone who desperately needs a kind word or hug.

Take the time to cultivate some new friendships or get together with old friends over coffee, dinner. What about the possibility of extending an act of service or kindness to a complete stranger just because you can.

Are you making a living or making a life? What a perspective! When we begin to be people of life instead of performing in life our lives can be not only meaningful but lived with no regrets!

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Loving

 

Our life is all about love.

God is love, and the most important lesson He wants us to learn is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like Him. Love is the foundation of every command He has given to us. The whole law summed up with these: Love God above else, and Love others as you love yourself.

Yet, learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task. It runs counter to our self-centered nature. That is why we are given a lifetime to learn it. God wants us to love everyone, but He is more particularly concerned that we learn to love others in his family.

That is one of the purpose of our lives. The apostle Peter tells us “show special love for God’s people”. Paul echoes this sentiment: “when we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it, but we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.”

God do insist that we give special love and attention to other believers. God wanted believers to get priority in loving, because God wants his family to be known for its love more than anything else.

Jesus said our love for each other, not our doctrinal beliefs, is our greatest witness to the world. He said “your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

In heaven we will enjoy God’s family forever, but first we have some tough work to do here on earth to prepare ourselves for an eternity of loving. God trains us by giving us “family responsibilities,” and the foremost of these is to practice loving each other.

God wants us to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so we can develop the skill of loving. Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people, those irritating, imperfect, frustrating people.

Lazy (Part 2 of 2)

 

Read the first part here!

 

The writer quoted Proverbs 6:10-11 (Proverbs 24:33-34) and rightly concluded: The owner was resting and sleeping when he should have been working. What began as a nap ultimately became a lifestyle of laziness and disregard, leading to decline. His laziness betrayed the God who had blessed him. The lesson was obvious: Hard work is a wisdom virtue, necessary for becoming wise and intercepting entropy.

If people walked past your house, looked in your garage, or sat in your office, what would they think? As followers of Jesus, we’re called to intercept entropy with the pursuit of wisdom, hard work, and diligent stewardship, including—but not limited to—organized and orderly lives. Let’s pursue wisdom and work hard in everything we do.

All of us are capable of being passionate, regardless of our personality type. Even the most unemotional person can be zealous about something. Some people are into soccer, for others it’s food. So the issue isn’t whether or not one can be zealous, but where a person’s devotion lies.

In Romans 12, the apostle Paul provides some instruction that includes being zealous in serving the Lord. John Piper paraphrased it this way: “Do lots of work for Christ, passionately.” The words “never be lazy, but work hard . . . enthusiastically” (v.11) emphasize being earnest and devoted in getting things done. What does that look like? Consider the following questions:

Romans 12:11 also contains this idea: Do lots of work for the Lord passionately—not being grouchy. A person passionate about serving the Lord doesn’t consider the number of hours he has clocked in for the Lord. He’s willing to do more, and he does it without complaint or protest. The reason is simple. Serving Jesus is the highest privilege in the universe for human beings.

Let’s do what we can and should today. For when we lazily put off until tomorrow what we can do today, we steal tomorrow’s joy.

 

— end –

Lazy (Part 1 of 2)

 

The Ancient Greek storyteller Aesop’s Tale of the Grasshopper and the Ant is a perfect reminder of the detrimental impact of lazy living. Throughout the summer, the ant worked hard, gathering and storing food for the winter. The lazy grasshopper laughed at him, saying it was time to play and sing. When winter gripped the land, however, the grasshopper had no food and begged the ant to let him have some, but there was no excess to share.

Laziness is a habit that can lead to our living on the generosity of others. The apostle Paul showed little patience for those who were unwilling to work, stating that they should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). He taught the believers in Thessalonica how to steer clear of procrastination and idleness. His instruction included never accepting food from anyone without paying for it and to work hard day and night so they wouldn’t be a burden to anyone (2 Thessalonians 3:8). He also urged them to settle down and earn a living and challenged them to never get tired of doing good (2 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

Jesus also spoke of working quickly to carry out the tasks assigned to us by God, for night is coming when no one will be able to work (John 9:4).

Although Paul delivers a stern warning against laziness, even challenging us to stay away from people who are idle (2 Thessalonians 3:14), he implores us not to treat the lazy as enemies. Instead, he urges us to warn them as we would a brother or sister (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).

In Proverbs 24:30-34, the writer viewed the farmer’s property, he immediately discerned the kind of person he was—complacent, lazy, and one who lacked judgment. His property was overgrown with thorns and weeds and the wall stood in ruins (Proverbs 24:31). The sage’s audience would have been appalled at the farm owner’s carelessness and would have surmised: The owner’s sloppy habits and disorganization was evidence of his physical and spiritual neglect.

 

To be continued tomorrow.

Fasting

 

When Gandhi wanted to capture the attention of the powerful and prompt them to act against injustice, he went on a hunger strike.

Scripture suggests that our use of, or refraining from the use of food is a natural and expressive way that our body reflects the spiritual realities we experience. Scripture offers a myriad of causes that would prompt our fasting from food, but the underlying theme is that our fasting is a response to God. Some of the reasons we might turn to God in fasting include the following:

• A tragedy has struck, and we turn to God in sorrow. For instance, when David mourned the death of Saul and Jonathan (2 Samuel 3:35).

• A purposeful way of attuning ourselves to God, remembering that God’s presence is what we most crave. Biblical fasts concluded with feasts, declaring that those who are hungry for God are filled.

• An act of solidarity with the poor. Through the prophet Isaiah, God told Israel that the fasting He desired would result in sharing their “food with the hungry” (Isaiah 58:7).

We can fast for these reasons and many more. Each allows us to physically obey God, to physically pay attention to Him, to seek God with our mouth and our stomachs—all our human sensations. In fasting, we encounter God with our bodies.

When Jesus talks about fasting, He doesn’t tell us to do it; He just assumes we will. His focus therefore is on our motives. Mondays and Thursdays were market days in Jesus’ time—prime days for religious hypocrites to publicize their fasting to the crowds (Matthew 6:16). Jesus revealed that fasting shouldn’t be done for applause. Instead, love for God and others should be the catalyst (Matthew 22:37-39).

If we choose to fast, we reveal our love for God by making Him our focus (Matthew 6:18). We can also love others by fasting for their safety (Esther 4:13-16), for help in their suffering (Psalm 35:11-16), or for guidance during times of national crisis (2 Chronicles 20:1-4). And God can use fasting to help us hear from Him (Acts 13:2), be empowered for mission (Acts 13:3), become sensitive to the Spirit (Galatians 5:17), and keep our desires in check.

Christian fasting isn’t about looking good to others, nor is it a hunger strike to make God do what we want. Fasting is about focusing on God to the exclusion of all else. We are physical creatures, and the state of our soul or the hopes of our heart require physical expression. He meets us in our fasting and provides what we need.