Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

EMBRACING GOD

A rich, satisfying experience, even in tough times, can be obtained only by making God the center of our lives. You may say, “But I want to be the center of my life.” I have known people who put themselves at the center of their universe. I was one of them. They are, in a word, selfish. Take another look at your heart. Do you want to love, to share, and to bless others? Well, you need to put God first. Only by abiding in Christ, or staying connected to Him, letting Him mold your character to the likeness of His own, can you be equipped to truly love others.

There is no love without sacrifice. Who of us can deny Christ loves us? He gave His life for each of us. He reconciled us to God. While abiding in Christ, He gives us the power to carve out those bad habits and those unloving behaviors and pitch them. Only then will we reflect Him and be a source of blessing to others.

You may wonder, is the act of blessing others, bringing happiness, the true meaning of life? Many philosophers as well as ordinary people have struggled with the meaning of life question. Some say we live to love others, many say we live for pleasure, while others are comfortable without an answer to this question.

God says in His written Word, the Bible, that we live first and foremost to love and obey Him, our Creator. But why love God, some question? The Bible stresses: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Solomon, the God inspired author of this verse, recognized that fearing God means to hold God in awe. Beyond that, to obey His Ten Commandments simply ensures our happiness because it acknowledges that we accept His being in control. He is a benevolent, loving God and He is above all other gods. To think the god of pleasure will bring us happiness is an illusion, because it showers us with only fleeting moments of bliss.

God promises us an eternity with Him if we but follow Him, accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior. We need not, nor cannot earn salvation through good works, although good works go hand-in-hand with an abiding faith in God. Instead, we believe in Christ, our Savior, looking to His perfect life and death. He died as our substitute to satisfy the wages of sin which is death. His Word says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). By repenting of our sins we show we love God enough to have Him reproduce His image in us. We no longer live for self, but for Him.

Christ beckons us: “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

When we follow Christ we are freed from the bondage sin creates. Christ teaches us humility and we no longer feel societal pressure to be the best. We can rest in being precious in His sight and will become all God has planned for us, all the while feeling His loving embrace. This, I think is an admirable goal and at the heart of the meaning of life.

(Quoted Scripture from NKJV.)

WHY DO WE WORSHIP A GOD?

Have you ever thought about it? Is God deserving of our worship? Can someone other than God meet our deepest needs?

Let’s explore these ideas. What deep, primal needs does God satisfy for the believer? Everyone needs to be accepted. God does not turn anyone away. He lovingly beckons all to join His family of believers, the Body of Christ. And He takes us as we are. Humans handle this differently. We want people to change to suit us. God doesn’t require us to get rid of those bad habits first. He only requires us to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, to come to Him on our knees in confession and repentance, and to obey Him. Obedience, then, is not a burden, but an act of love on our part for a loving Father who knows what we need for happiness. Not continuous bliss, but a journey ripe with relationships that satisfy, including an intimate relationship with our Creator. As we draw close to Him, He embraces us, imparting peace, grace, and a certainty of eternal life with Him as long as we remain true to Him.

Another of our needs is love. No one loves us more than God. His love is unconditional. We don’t have to love Him first or obey Him to earn His love. He just loves us. Period. Even though we are flawed and sinful, God extends His arms to embrace us, soothing us with His compassion, leading us on our journey. If we abide in Him, this journey will lead to Heaven.

Who wouldn’t want to love and worship a God who satisfies our every need? Sadly, only those without love. The next time you encounter a lost soul without love, extend to him or her behavior that speaks of love and compassion. Just a smile and a few well chosen words can do wonders. Then lead them to God. Tell them what God has done for you. Many will accept a relationship with a God who satisfies needs others can’t satisfy.

Why do you worship God? What has He done for you? Share if you’d like.

Modern Day Miracles?

We all know God worked many miracles throughout the Bible. He parted the Red Sea and comsumed Elijah’s soaking sacrifice with fire from heaven. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and He fed the four thousand with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Peter healed the lame man by the power of God. And many of us expect to be reunited with dead loved ones in Christ after God raises them from the dead. God’s power is endless. But what about today? Right now. Does God work miracles among a sinful and unbelieving people of today? I think he does if we let him.

Let me share a personal experience. Ten years ago I was still a heavy cigarette smoker, having defiled my body with this destructive habit for some twenty-two years. Cigarettes had gradually become my best friend. I came to a juncture. I knew either I would smoke myself to an early grave or I would free myself from this habit and live. But the problem was, I didn’t really want to quit smoking. It was just too pleasurable. I was helpless, it seemed, until I turned to God for help. I realized He was my lifeline. Everything else had failed–going cold turkey, nicotine patches, Nicorette gum.

I cried out to God in prayer. I put faith in Him 100 percent. I told Him I knew He could take care of my problem. I couldn’t fathom how, but I believed He knew how. And I asked Him to take away my desire to smoke.

About three months later I was stricken by a stomach ailment that landed me in the hospital. Since smoking was not allowed anywhere at the hospital, I knew I had to just tough it out. After a day my stomach problem had me feeling horrible, yet. Another day passed and I hadn’t even had any nicotene withdrawal symptoms. The doctor found a remedy for my stomach and I was set to be discharged. That day I knew God had given me this chance to quit smoking. It was a gift I took and I haven’t smoked since. It has been ten years and my desire to smoke also vanished. Clearly this was a miracle. God is so good.

Do you believe God works miracles today? Please feel free to comment or share a miracle God worked in your life or in the life of a loved one.

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