One In The Spirit!

Time changes so many things – not simply the look or style of life, but the spirit of life as we each attempt to find ourselves in the midst of our surroundings and our growth.  Depending on how serious we are about it, some of us will change some things and some of us will simply say to ourselves “that is nice” and go on about our life with little or no change.  I wonder if one day our choice will come back to hit us in the face as we begin to realize what we could have done if we had only listened to that still, small voice.  There is no way we can actually know, but we will wonder – what if, what if?

When and where is the point when we will begin to ask ourselves – What if?  Unfortunately we do not possess a crystal ball so whenever the question arises we must ask ourselves as well as the God who created us just where we made our wrong turn and is there any way in which we can reverse our steps and try again to fulfill the original plan for our life.  Also will He give us another chance?

God’s Word has all the answers we will ever need.  Sometimes we will have to search, but sometimes if we were fortunate enough to grow up in a Christian home with the determination of our parents to show us the right path the answer will be quickly found.  Then it is just a matter of turning around and making the choice to be who we were created to be.  As we achieve our goal we might ask why it took us so long and find ourselves regretful for what we have missed.  Fortunately though the end result will be the same for our Creator is ever forgiving and His love for His creation never without hope.  It could make you wonder why we are often so determined to test fate.

I don’t know if it is really true, but my pitiful mind tells me that when we learn from experience it often changes the picture and our appreciation for the wisdom of our Creator.  Of course, we are sorry it has to be that way, but then maybe we become more serious and spiritually activated to correct our thinking and our actions.  The wisdom of our God will always be challenged, but never overcome by the thinking of His children no matter our supposed learning and confidence.

Paul in the book of Romans  talks about  those who are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law (Romans 2:19-20).  But then we find in the book of Proverbs, written by Solomon and other wise men, that Happy is the man who finds wisdom…for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold  (3:13-14).  While it is true that experience often gives us wisdom, it is also true that we can achieve wisdom without having first to experience foolishness.  That is one of the best reasons to spend time studying what Jesus, himself, tried to teach His followers in His day, the whole truth of God’s purpose in creation.

We have been taught in these days that experience is the best teacher, but it can also end up in the greatest sorrow.  Maybe we should rethink the wisdom of learning from the words of our Creator.  You would have to admit that we are currently living in times that require great wisdom, times when the leaders of our various countries are simply men who often have not found wisdom themselves.  Is there an answer to this major problem?  You, as well as I, know the answer to that question.  It was set out for us in a book that has always had more wisdom than any other – the Word of our living Lord.

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored,
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love;
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Hark, The Voice of Jesus Calling!

What is the hardest thing you can think of that might change your plans for the day?  I am just like  you so I already know what your answer will be – for someone else to tell you what you must choose to do especially when you have already made your own plans.  There is always tomorrow when you can please someone else so that should leave us free to fill our day with our own desires, shouldn’t it?  You also know, as do I, that you did not create your own life and consequently there is one to whom you owe everything.  Debts surely must be paid, at least that is what we have been told.  So what shall we do?

You might wish you could play dumb, but we both know we can’t.  So okay, Lord, just what is it you want me to do?  While true that it is often hard to do it is also the best thing you will ever do.  In this life we live we may have had the experience of doing something we really didn’t want to do, but it was likely that it also gave you the most fulfilling result you had ever known.  If you are a believer of history giving you the best example you will already realize that the disciples of our Lord were more than richly blessed by their obedience.  Is it possible for us to have a similar blessing from simply doing something He has created us for?

Our Father knew that as human beings we would be weak so that is why He lovingly provided His Son for our example.  It has been many years ago and if you are a reader of history you already know that we have made little progress over time.  Have we lost reason, become lazy, or just don’t understand that our entire future rests on the decisions we make each and every day?  I would like to believe that as our years pass we have grown wiser instead of simply more lazy and willing to put off until tomorrow.  You may have already realized that sometimes what is put off simply disappears never to be remembered.

Okay, Lord, I am ready and listening. You are telling me the same thing you told the people years and years ago and reminding me that some things never change.  We can find Your words of wisdom in the Sermon on the Mount in the 5th book of Matthew and again as we struggle today to find peace and joy in our lives you reminded us in the book of Luke – And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (6:31).  I guess some things never change, but it does seem in today’s world that we think change is our only answer.   Can we back up and start over?  I know that is not possible, but maybe we can backtrack our thinking and attempt to live again as You once taught us how.  After all, even though we sometimes choose to forget – This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.  This is my Father’s world, the battle is not done, Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.

I know we all, in our hearts, want the best of what life has to offer, but life is not a free gift.  It is like a field waiting to be planted, hoping to grow life’s very best while knowing we are a part of its success.  God, our Father, had a beautiful plan and made us for this purpose and I pray there is still time to accomplish the task He gave us in love.  Can we do it?  I pray it is so! 

Let none hear you idly saying,“ There is nothing I can do,”
While the souls of men are dying, and the Master calls for you:
Take the task He gives you gladly, let His work your pleasure be;
Answer quickly when He calleth, “Here am I; send me, send me.”

Vegetable Soup

I know, you think I have lost my mind.  Sometimes I wonder myself.  Anyway our Lord never ceases to be creative, so what can I say?!?  The thing that came to my mind about vegetable soup was that to be really good it has to have many different ingredients.  If you really try to put application to it you will realize that life is only as good as vegetable soup when it also has many ingredients.  We were not created to have narrow, incident free, uncomplicated lives.  You will have to admit that life is more interesting when we have more challenges, more mountains to climb, more reasons to be thankful, a God that we can know who created us, loves us and expects good things from us.

Even as little children you should remember how good it made you feel when your mother and father were pleased with the results of your challenges and even how good it made you feel to know that you had pleased someone who was important to you.  At this point in your life hopefully you will agree with me that there is no one you would rather please than the One who not only created you, but the One who smiles and is proud when you function in the manner that He created you for.

The biggest problem with this whole picture though is how can we be sure we know what we were created for.  Friends, there is really only one way and fortunately sometimes if takes a journey of years as we travel and grow. However, it is never too late for our Lord never gives up on His creation and we are fortunate also that He never gives us a time limit.  He is always here for our encouragement and the inspiration we need to accomplish His will.  Sometimes the time involved is because He has specific reasons for each of His creation.  Our accomplishment may take more time for us to gather the ingredients required for our specific task.  So before you decide He hasn’t anything specific for you to accomplish maybe you should simply ask for revelation regarding your purpose in the life He created you for.

Often we are affected in this life by what happens to us daily; sometimes we may hear when we are simply reading and are struck with something we have never thought about before.  As long as we are not in the habit of too rapidly tossing things in the trash maybe a thought will be allowed to grow into a project, which then might please our Creator as well as accomplishing what we were created for.  We will never know ahead of time, for sure, but one thing we should be aware of is that we were created for a purpose and that we are greatly loved by our Creator.

Today’s world is more complicated than that of our forefathers and we have stretched the evil happenings of this world to almost the limit allowed.  At this point, as we make ourselves aware of what is really happening in our whole world, not just in some foreign country, maybe we should make the time to seriously consider what, if anything, we can do to please our Father, even if it is impossible to save the whole world.  It is still not too late for the salvation of even one individual and we know that God does not desire that any should be left behind.  He tells us in Matthew and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life (19:29).

We are in the habit of putting too many things off until tomorrow.  Maybe it is time to reconsider each day’s activities. 

Oh Jesus, thou hast promised to all who follow Thee,
That where Thou aren’t in glory, there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow, my Master and My friend

Call, Don't Fall

I don’t know if many of you actually realize that our Lord has a sense of humor, but He does.  He showed me in an unorthodox manner.  As I was lying in bed in a local hospital and staring at the ceiling He had me seriously consider what was written there – the title you see above.  Of course, it made sense as the nurses didn’t want you to fall trying to get out of bed and do more damage.  You might be thinking that was logical, but what does it have to do with day to day living?  Logical thinking does remind us that mankind frequently goes his merry way without considering the possibility of the consequences.  But there are often times when a lack of foresight turns things in a way we neither desire or need.  Can we avoid those times?  Apparently our Creator and Friend thinks we can if we would just ask His opinion before we act.  I wonder why we don’t consider His wanting to have a speaking part in the life He created. 

While it is true that we, from the time we were born, think we are quite competent to make our own decisions it is often just not so.  Plus we should realize that our Lord didn’t just make a bunch of people to wander around doing nothing of value.  We were created for a purpose and with a goal.  If you are one of those who are fortunate enough to know Him and desire to please Him you will have recognized that fact and be aware of what time and talent He has given you.  It is nice to recognize that we actually have a purpose in this earthly life.

Of course, the biggest problem is can we be sure we are not just dreaming up a good scenario that will make us feel good about ourselves.  Some problems, maybe most, are often things we would really like to avoid.  They could be things we don’t have a desire to do or think are too hard to accomplish.  No one chooses to do things in areas of uncertainty because we have an image we hope to create and maintain.  We want to look great to those we know and love.

Our Lord knows, however, that looking good is not nearly as rewarding as feeling good about ourselves because we believe we are living up to what we were created for.  It is true, you know, that we were created for a specific purpose.  I have no idea how many realize this and function in it, but I know that I want to be and do what our Lord created me for.  If you feel the same then let us both pray for good hearing so that we will be able to discern His will and strength to function in what He has called us to do.  There can be no greater reward than to one day hear His voice telling us well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord  (Matthew 25:23).

I know that many of us will never hear an audible voice speaking to us or have the opportunity to believe we have just accomplished a task provided just for us in our lifetime, but fortunately we do have a way in which to discern our Creator’s desires for our lives.  We can find all the answers and suggestions for life in God’s Word; it was written down for us by those who walked and talked with Jesus here on this earth we call home.  While it is true that we will not receive a grade as those things are lived out there will come a time when we will be told explicitly how we followed the path we were created for.  I am sure you will be as grateful and happy as I to hear the words Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord  (Matthew 25:21).

In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broadening way;
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live.

Our Father

Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

Those eternal words are found in the book of Matthew 6:9 and have been heard, hopefully understood and cherished by many over the years.  The problem has been that as we  have passed through this life we often forget and need to be reminded that He is truly in control and always has been.  He created life and this planet on which we reside.  He had plans from the beginning, but gave mankind free will because He desired not just obedience, but the same kind of love from us that He himself freely gave us when He planned creation.  It is obvious that we have yet to reach that goal, but He is patient and ever hopeful while always knowing what the final result will be. 

And yet through all the years and all the strife and disappointments He has continued to repeat the words – Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  In this world of troubles after troubles He has remained faithful, always willing to give us one more chance.  I wonder if we will ever learn even though I pray it will be so.  Maybe during this Christmas season many will find it in their hearts to dedicate the rest of their lives to making His wish come true. 

While He always desired His hope would find realization He has never taken the choice He gave us away.  That doesn’t mean to say that one day He just might, but in the meantime let us pray that mankind will begin to see the light of day and become thankful that our Maker has given us the choice He hoped we would eventually see and understand.

Some of us have reached almost to the top, but many are still at the bottom of the hill needing a helping hand.  If the original script is followed than they will find that helpful hand is there and still functioning as God ordained.  I surely hope so. 

In the meantime, even though our hearts are desirous to achieve His goal, let us pray for wisdom and a heart that is like unto the Father’s, full of love for those who have yet to know and love Him.  It was and is our reason for existence, so planned by our Father in His mercy.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away.
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.

It would seem to many of us today that the goal will never be reached and yet the hearts God gave each one of us continue to beat and hope for an ending that will give our Creator pride in the accomplishment He so desired.  It might be hopeless, but before we give up let us look back at His desire and look forward to its accomplishment.  Time is running out, but we still have a little more time before the end is reached.  Let’s turn our  hearts to its accomplishment as we approach this Christmas season.  We are His children and He is our Father!  Thank you precious, ever-loving and ever-lasting Father.

AMEN and AMEN!

Living In Purpose or Spinning Our Wheels?

We, as individuals, are so busy these days with all the many things of life that I wonder if we even have the time to notice the things that are happening all around us.  I know, for myself, I have a tendency to avoid the things that are upsetting.  Since individually we can do very little it is easier to let someone with more experience deal with the heavier items.  I realize that my effort is essential in the final analysis, but for now, maybe someone else will accomplish what I can’t.  I am aware of the fact that my Lord has given me a job to do, but if I take a break will it really matter?

You’re right!  Individually we cannot take credit for someone else’s efforts on our behalf.  Our Creator has given each of us a talent and a job to do.  We were not put here on this earth merely to exist.  And yet I often wonder just what it is that I can or should be doing.  You are probably not any different, but just where should we start in this world which is such a mess?  I do realize that our Creator fashioned each of us for a specific purpose, but I am not sure that I haven’t misread my instructions.  Maybe if we just start He will direct our steps in His choice of direction for He created each of us for a specific purpose.

I know most of us have questions about the direction our world seems to be taking and about what we can or should be doing.  And yet our responses often seem to be that we will listen when we just finish this one more task on our list.  We don’t consider what may happen if our part is not filled. Even though we realize, as grateful children, there was a specific reason we were created, surely it can be put off until tomorrow.  Will our little part make that much difference?  I hesitate to say we are a sorry bunch, but the thought does cross my mind with the question of whether we are doing what we were created for or just spinning our wheels. 

An old hymn crosses my mind from my younger days as I ponder –

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

O gracious Lord, in the hustle and bustle of this day, turn my thoughts back to the things that bless You and the tasks you created especially for me.  I realize that in this complicated world that it often takes many hands to create the acceptable result that You desire.  The best solution often comes from the efforts of many hands.  Help me, sweet Lord, to realize that the value of working together was always Your plan for your children; that we love each other and work together to accomplish the jobs there are to be done.

I know that we often avoid things because we, individually, already have more than we can possibly accomplish and yet it still comes back to me that we were created to be a large and loving family and as such I should be more concerned with my part than what someone else’s part is.  I do pray for peace between all of us, but I also know we do little to prepare or accept each other as part of one big family.  Forgive me, Lord, especially at this time of year when we gather together to celebrate the birth of a Savior, who always knew the cost He would have to pay and how hard it would be for us to accept His gift and follow His lead.

Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!

My Gift

Gee! another Christmas season is once again rolling around.  I wonder what I will get this year.  That is all too often our reaction to this time of year, but is there something we might be missing?  When I was a child, my list was already ready in advance, but as an adult, there is very little that I put on a list.  Am I just getting old or am I finally realizing that there is only one gift that I really desire – one that only one person can give – the ability to honor my Creator and the lover of my soul with the life I have to give in return.

As children many of us grew up with the story of a silent night when a Savior was born in a stable in a manger filled with hay for the resident animals.  It has always been a story of the season, but hopefully a realization of life, a life that was always meant to be.  Our God knew we were slow learners, but He hoped life as lived would begin to show us that there was more to our graciously given lives than we could understand and appreciate except over time.  We were not meant to be simply a sweet picture of what life could be, but a serious and well-planned example of what our Creator originally intended.

How can we know and appreciate the hope and plans He has for each of us except over time as we learn and grow.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, we seem to make our plans way ahead of time and as we in our human minds conceive of a glorious and financially well laid out effort.  Yes, I realize that we have been programmed with certain talents and desires, but is our goal the same as our Father intended?  I doubt many of us really consider just why we were created and how many actually fulfill our Creator’s plan for our lives.  Funny, as time passes and growth occurs we may strive more diligently to walk in that plan, but then again when something exciting crosses our paths we often consider a small side track.  Hmm! I wonder how often that turns out to be the fulfilling life our Father planned.  Is there a better way, a way that brings us more joy than we could have anticipated along with its originally planned fulfillment?  Maybe that is something we should consider before we can no longer backtrack.

We know that Jesus did not come to this earth to simply exist.  He came with a purpose – to be an example of what our Heavenly Father originally desired – a world made up of children who would love and enjoy each other and be thankful for our creation and willing to achieve our purpose.  We all are familiar with the words –In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  He didn’t do it on a rainy day when He had nothing else to do;  He had a purpose then and later when we begin to understand that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  All good things require a beginning heart’s desire.  Perhaps we should look at life from the perspective of God’s thoughts.  What will we give the One who loves us so very much as we approach the season of His greatest gift – a Lord who would actually give His life to fulfill His Father’s purpose.

I would be true for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare. 

Merry Christmas, sweet Lord! I will work harder at being what you created me to be for I truly do care and I want more than anything to fulfill the purpose for which You created me.

Because He Lives!

Have you ever been in a tight spot and wondering why the Lord saw fit to create you in the first place?  Surely your life has not been what He intended.  Surely I am not the only one who has spent time pondering that thought.  You don’t have to answer that because we both know the answer.

There has been a book written by those who learned the hard way the very answers we continue to look for in today’s world.  I wonder why it is so hard for us to simply believe and enjoy the results of their labors.  You are right again - mankind has continued for many years to think he can do it better himself and yet time after time he has continued to fail.  What a foolish people we are!

While it is hard to understand the beginnings of creation it is not hard for us to see that it didn’t take long for mankind to think he could have done a better job.  Since it is recorded for us to explore and attempt to understand we can finally see the many wrong paths we have taken and yet in today’s world we continue to make over and over again the same mistakes.  Let’s face it, the top floor is and always will be only for the world’s Creator.

So – do you think it just might be time for us to accept our position in this world we inhabit but is not ours.  It just might be the smart thing to do.  Today’s primary source of knowledge comes to us through a wise written Word – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  No matter how hard we try we cannot ignore this truth.  So just how do we pay rent for our small space in the world’s makeup?  We can’t; we never have been able and never will be able no matter how hard we try.  The Father knew that when He first created us.  It took Jesus, himself, God’s only begotten Son, to pay the price we cannot pay.  The only acceptable price we can pay is ourselves and then only through the grace of God who allowed Jesus to accept our burden. 

Through the years we have never been able to reach the pinnacle by ourselves.  We can get almost there and then we fail.  It is not our Creator’s doing, it is our own.  We simply cannot admit to ourselves that we can’t be good enough.  Down deep we know it, but we simply can’t accept ourselves as failures.  Our Father knew that even though His solution was as bad as it could get.  Could a Father ever give up His only son for such a failure as we have become?  But then neither can we reach our goal without His help.  How would you have chosen?  Admit it, we couldn’t have made His choice, but then neither can we love as He has loved.  Have you ever really thought about that kind of love.  We think we know so much, but do we?  Scripture tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  Even having memorized that Scripture early in life can you really understand the cost?  You know we can’t even though you might like to believe you can.  God has not asked for a token gift; He has asked for your all.  Can you give it? 

You know as well as I that is not possible for human beings.  We would like to think we are up to the effort, but there will always be something we will withhold.  Fortunately, God knew before He ever created mankind just what the cost would be and what He would be willing to give and why.                                   

He gave it all when He created us and then again when He sent His Son to save us from our human nature.  What will our “thank  you” reveal to Him when it is our turn to face tomorrow? 

Because He lives I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives.