Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

GETTING THERE

What do you do when your life’s aspirations are gone? Some withdraw to self pity. Others seek to destroy, through drugs and alcohol, the valuable attributes they hold and dearly cherished while in pursuit of great things. But is a great accomplishment or a high status job the treasure we should be seeking? Is not there a nobler reason for living, a more satisfying path to ponder following?

Yes, we all want to attain to our best. But are we looking toward the wrong endeavors to establish our goals in the first place? Material goals are fine. But without a higher, spiritual goal, the fruits of our material goals cannot be put to honorable use.

Say, for example, one receives a masters degree and advances to the next level of management within the company. With this prestigious position comes the responsibility of allocating funds for donations to causes within the community. The prevailing thought may be to give to causes that will in turn glorify the giver, broadcasting the company name or CEO’s name far and wide, perhaps naming a building addition after the benefactor.

Could not one, instead, arrange for multiple smaller donations to struggling, deserving non-profits, without a huge display of the company name. Perhaps a food bank’s supplies need boosting. Or Christians at a local church need funds for transportation to do mission work in a foreign country building a simple church building to accommodate a new group of believers.

In our work, service rather than recognition should be the motivating factor. In our families, encouragement and love should prevail. When these are our guiding forces we don’t need to spend our lives aspiring to greatness; we’ve already attained greatness in the Kingdom of God.

OVERCOMING SATAN’S GRAND SCHEME

Why do we hurt? Is it because we have done something wrong and God wants to punish us? Or is it because we are weak, unable to overcome adversity? Perhaps we’ve drifted away from healthy living habits and incurred needless suffering upon ourselves.

After studying the Scriptures, I don’t believe God wants to punish us for erring. He does admonish and correct us through His Word or through a wise, caring person who points us in the right direction. God only wants the best for us because He loves us. He allows us to grow in character, that we may desire to maintain a love relationship with Him. We were created to commune with Him and were commissioned to help others obtain eternal life with Him. The people who will, on the final Day of Judgement, be punished by God are those who rejected Him and His everlasting love. Their destruction will be on their own heads.

Now, back to the present day. God has given us an invitation to join Him in this life. Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Therefore, being weak and unable to overcome adversity will be our lot at times, if we refuse to join with, or abide in Him. The pain we suffer here can be alleviated by stretching out our arms and wrapping them around Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who protects His sheep from the harm Satan strives to inflict upon them.

Pain and suffering, to a large extent, have their root in the animosity Satan holds for Jesus and His creation. When Satan was in heaven, he was God’s honored covering angel, Lucifer. Still, Lucifer felt God was being unfair to him because God exalted Jesus above him. So God cast the long defiant, non-repentant Lucifer out of heaven. God warns us. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan would have all of us perish with him in the lake of fire after the Last Judgement.

But we have a savior, Jesus Christ who loves us. If we’ve drifted toward unhealthy habits causing us pain, Jesus is at hand to join with us in helping us overcome anything. We can claim Jesus’ promise for ourselves: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

—Scripture quotations taken from the NKJV.—

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