Tag Archives: purpose

Ecclesiastes 6-9; Life Doesn’t Have To Be Lived “Under the Sun”

Wow. If you need some cheering up today I wouldn’t read these chapters in Ecclesiastes. Life, as Solomon describes it under the sun is bleak, depressing, futile. Solomon’s pessimistic, fatalistic view of life is certainly a downer.

I am reminded what he describes is life without God. A non-believer’s view of God contains no hope. But, dear one, there is life above the sun!

That life is full of hope, and joy, and purpose. That life stretches on into eternity where we who know God will live with Him forever. That life is worth living.

Do you know God through His Son Jesus, and by reading His Word? Have you experienced the joy that comes from knowing your sins are forgiven, never to be remembered ever again? Do you recognize God’s generous hand in your life apart from circumstance, as well as in the midst of them? Do you see Him in the warm summer sunshine, the refreshing spring rains, the sounds of birds, of children laughing, of the wind rustling in the trees?

You don’t have to live a life void of meaning. There is One who died so you could have life, and have it to the full!

Regardless of what Solomon expressed in his attempt to find meaning to life apart from God, there is joy in this life. There is purpose and value, hope and peace.

His name is Jesus!

Feb 10 – Let Me Do That

Exodus 33-35

Did you think of your church fellowship when you read these chapters in Exodus today? God moved people to action. And they obeyed. Some gave of their material possessions. Some gave of their time as they used their talents for sewing, building, carving, designing…

The Tabernacle would be made by hundreds of people, working together, following God’s leading. This is what being a church is all about.

There is a dear woman in my church who loves to sew. God laid on her heart to start a sewing ministry, not knowing how many women would even be interested. But she was faithful. Once a month from five to twenty five women gather in the fellowship hall. Some bring sewing machines, some have scissors, some bring irons. They have made Salvation Dolls and sent them to a missionary who uses them to introduce children in Africa to their Savior. They made draw string bags to put in the boxes for Operation Christmas Child. They’ve made walker bags for a nursing home in our neighborhood. They’ve made neck pillows, bookmarks, snuggle pillows for a children’s hospital, blankets, and they’ve only been meeting for about a year.

My sister feels led to minister to elderly women in her church who live alone. (Happy Birthday, Peggy. I love you!) Through her church’s visitation ministry, she visits about five women every month, takes them to the grocery if they need, takes them to lunch or the doctor, prays with them, or just sits with them. She sends them cards, and calls them just to say hi.

There is a church where a few retired men got together and formed a committee that will pick up used appliances, clean and repair them, then give them to needy people in the community. They fix furniture for the same reason.

I’ve shared that my church provides a free meal every month for the community. There are several people in this tiny fellowship who organize, cook, serve, and clean up month after month for about 100 people who enjoy a hot meal with all the fixins.

Some people are called by God to teach Sunday School, work in the nursery, mow the church lawn, cook, clean, sing, work with Youth groups, give financially.

And when these people follow God’s lead, great things can happen for our churches in Jesus’ name.

Do you feel God’s call to some ministry in your church? Don’t depend on someone else to obey your call. Step right up and say, “Let me do that!”

Feb 1 – Plagues and Purpose

Exodus 7-9

If God wanted the Israelites to move to Canaan, why didn’t he just kill Pharaoh and his army? Why didn’t God just turn the Israelites invisible and let them walk right past the enemy? Why bother with all the plagues? Does God like to play games?

The answer is in Exodus 9:15-17:

For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. (I added the bold)

Yes, God used Pharaoh’s response to the plagues to fulfill His promise to Abraham, to free the Jews and send them toward the Promised Land. But, according to the verses we just read that’s not the only reason God sent those plagues.

God gave the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, multiple opportunities to bow down to Him. He demonstrated His power through every plague so the whole world would recognize He is the One True God. God, who is not willing that any should perish, put those plagues out there because of love.

I know because we read what happened after the fact, we might come to the conclusion God orchestrated the events, pulled strings to make Pharaoh reject Him. But that implies God wasn’t interested in Pharaoh’s soul, and that’s not consistent with God’s nature.

Had Pharaoh believed in Israel’s God after recognizing God’s power, we would be reading a different account. And someone would assume God pulled strings to make that happen, too.

Reading about the plagues today reminds me that God will stop at nothing to reveal Himself, to draw people to Himself. And I am also reminded that everything that happens in this life happens for the sole purpose of saving souls.

That’s the message here. It’s not in the details of the plagues. It’s in the love of God who is in the business of showing Himself to a world that needs Him.

I pray none of us will miss His purpose in the events of our own lives.

Jesus’ Answer For The “Why’s” of Life

A godly man suffers with ALS. A teenager who loves the Lord loses her battle with cancer. A baby is born with his stomach outside his body. A godly woman buries her 22 year old son who died in an auto accident. ISIS murders hundreds of people who name the name of Jesus.

Jesus met a man born blind. His disciples asked him: Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:3 says, “Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.‘”

Sometimes we dig way too deep to find the answer to the “why’s” of life. Is there some special purpose for suffering? There certainly is! And here it is:

So Jesus can be revealed to a lost world.

Everything – E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G – that happens in this life happens for that reason. Your best day reveals God’s blessings. Your struggles reveal his strength. Your mourning reveals his comfort. Your changed life reveals his grace.

Next time you are tempted to ask, Why is this happening to me?, read John 9:3 again. The question you should be asking is, What is it about Jesus that is being revealed through this circumstance I am facing?

Dear God, thank you for being intimately interested in everything that happens to us in this life. You are ever present, all knowing, sovereign. Forgive us when we concentrate so much on the day-to-day that we lose sight of your perfect plan. May your children, in all walks of life, in all circumstances, be faithful to reveal YOU as you would have us do. Help us to remember that this life is about You, and your passion is that every man, woman, and child will come to know you as Savior and Lord. Help us to look at our circumstances as opportunities to share you with those who are lost without you.

Building the Temple

The people threw a celebration when the foundation of the Temple was finished. (Ezra 3:10-13) There was a lot of work ahead of them. But that first, and important piece was finally in place. And they stopped to worship God there.

A couple of things come to mind as I read Ezra 3, and as I apply this account to my life. Scripture tells me I am God’s Temple. (I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16) He lives on earth in me. 

The New Testament talks a lot about foundations. Jesus told a parable about building houses on sand, compared to building on solid rock. (Matthew 7:24-27). In Luke 14:28-30 Jesus speaks about how important it is to finish building on the foundation. Paul names the Foundation in I Corinthians 3:11. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is the sure foundation and he grounds me, supports me. If I build my life on him, he can take it. But the Temple wouldn’t have been worth much if the people we read about in Ezra had just left the structure as a foundation. If they had continued to celebrate and rejoice and worship God over the foundation, the Temple would not have been able to be completed or to be used as it was intended.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I, as the Temple of the Living God, have a solid foundation in the person of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. I went to him and confessed my sin and asked him to forgive me… and he did. That’s cause to celebrate!

But it doesn’t have to end there. There is work to be done. I want to grow in my relationship with him, build on my salvation by studying his Word, surrounding myself with Christians who will hold me accountable, and by praying. 

If I attend church on Sunday for a “worship experience” and come away from there feeling spiritual, I’m celebrating on the foundation. If I don’t study my Bible or pray, don’t talk about Jesus to others, live a life that looks no different than my unsaved neighbor, this Temple isn’t being built. I’m living on the foundation without a useful structure through which God can work.

Dear Foundation, I thank you for being that solid rock beneath my feet. I thank you for forgiving my sins and the privilege of having you living in me. I want to sing your praises, celebrate having you in my life. But I pray that I, like the example we read about in Ezra, will be motivated to build my life on the Foundation you have provided. Give me discernment to know the Truth of Scripture, give me opportunity to share Christ with others, let me be strong enough to resist temptation and rise above the world’s influence. May I be a Temple you deserve, holy and useful for your kingdom, built on the Foundation of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Healing Stream

As I read Ezekiel 47 this morning about the Healing Stream, I was reminded of Jesus, the Living Water. The angel in Ezekiel’s vision described water that would freshen the Dead Sea, cause fruit trees to thrive so that they wouldn’t go dormant, and produce fish of every kind for fishermen to catch.

Fruit trees, fish, a useless body of water restored, blessed, “life will flourish wherever this water flows”. (verse 9)

Shouldn’t that describe the life of a believer in Jesus? Sometimes we don’t really know how dead we are in our sin until we are faced with the Truth of Scripture. Accepting Christ’s gift of forgiveness causes our worthless lives to have meaning. We, too, become fishers of men, we bear fruit that reveal Jesus to those around us. And none of this comes from our effort, our frame of mind, or even our faith.

Just like in Ezekiel’s vision, our transformation comes when the Healing Stream, the Living Water, Jesus Himself, flows through us. Which makes me wonder.

“Life will flourish wherever this water flows.”

I wonder if I haven’t built a dam that prevents the water from flowing freely. Would a sin I hold onto, harboring hatred or jealousy, neglecting my time with God in his Word and prayer, cause the Holy Spirit, that Healing Stream, to hit a snag?

I want my life to be like that which the angel showed Ezekiel in his vision. I want the Healing Stream to flow freely through me. I want to bear fruit, feed hungry souls, and be an example of the power of God to a world that needs him. 

Dear Father, Forgive me when I begin to build a dam that would prevent you from flowing through me. You are the Healing Stream, the Living Water. What a privilege it is to know you. I pray that I will be that vessel through which you can flow freely to draw others to you, too. Give me the ability to recognize the beginnings of dam-building, may I quickly repent, and may you use me today. Refresh me. Flow through me. And may Jesus receive the glory.

Longing

I read several psalms this morning, and as I did something in Psalm 130 convicted me. It reminded me how important is my focus, my longings, my purpose. 

I am saved. I accepted Jesus’ work on the cross and when I did, he washed my sins away. I can stand before my Holy God because he has placed his own holiness on me. That, in itself, should cause me to live a life of gratitude.

But things seem to pop up that would take my focus off my Savior. My longing may shift from wanting more of him, to wanting something else: a career, a spouse, health comfort, a bigger house, or a better car. 

As I read the psalms I am reminded to long for that which is eternal. The other things will fall into place if I look to Jesus every minute of every day. I may never have that ocean front condo, or have the privilege of sharing life with a husband. But if my focus is on the Lord, on loving him and being loved by him, on obeying him, and serving him, my longing for other things will morph into what God himself longs for me.

May my prayer always be: More of you, Lord. More of you! Whatever I have on this earth fades in comparison to knowing you, loving you, serving you.