Created for Purpose

Mankind was created on purpose and for a purpose. When God created the world he created light and then separated the light from the darkness to create the first day. He went on to separate the waters and to make dry land appear, and on that land he created plants and trees. He created different seasons in different places and placed stars in the sky along with the sun and the moon. He filled the waters with all sorts of living creatures and filled the skies with birds and told them to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen. 1:22). Then the following day he created creatures to fill the lands and he created man in His own image to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Gen. 1:26).

God instructed man to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Gen. 1:28). God created man and immediately commanded them to be fruitful and increase in number, just as he had commanded the animals, but he also commanded man to subdue the earth. Man was immediately given a purpose after the creator of the universe “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). God placed him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. God created all the living creatures, but he brought them all to Adam to be named. Even though Adam was created he was created in the image of God and he shared a fellowship with God unlike any other.

Man was created to operate in relationship with God, but when man decided not to listen to God and sinned against Him the relationship was severed. Man was kicked out of the Garden where he was once given full reign and control over all things to care for them and to subdue them. On that day man lost more than he could have ever known. Today some things have changed for those who chose to follow Jesus because of His death on the cross. When Jesus died the veil was torn that separated man from God in the temple and because of this man is able to speak to God and to approach Him without going through a priest or a high priest because Jesus has become the greatest high priest and sits at the right hand of God the Father to intercede on our behalf.

With Jesus interceding on our behalf and the Holy Spirit guiding us in our lives we have the opportunity to enter into a place of communication and relationship with God. The relationship is certainly not what it was in the Garden and until Jesus returns it will not be like that again, but we are able to talk to God and to listen to Him in such a manner that we can live our lives to the fullest. The problem is that just as Adam chose to ignore God and to turn away from Him we do the same thing. We allow ourselves to be deceived by Satan who wants nothing more than to rob us of our glory and joy that can only come from the Father. Jesus told us that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10). If we want to have a full life we must follow Jesus and resist the temptations of Satan.

James 4:4-10
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

It is only by placing our trust in God and following Him that we are able to be near to God and to be who we were created to be. It is through our faith and belief in Him that we are able to recognize what He is leading us into, but the opposite is also true. When we fail to seek Him, when we turn our hearts away from God our lives begin to reflect something that God did not intend for them to be. We must keep our eyes set upon Jesus and trust in Him even during times of testing.

Hebrews 3:7-19
So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

It is our duty to encourage one another daily in keeping the faith so that none of us turn away from the Lord which means we have to be involved in one another’s lives and we have to be willing to speak out against acts that would be dishonoring to God. We need to encourage each other by reminding each other of what God has already done for us and what He is still doing in our lives. We must be willing to stand alongside one another when things get tough so that those who are going through trials do not have to carry the weight of the trial on their own.

Remember that Jesus came so that we could have life and have it to the fullest. What is stopping you from living your life to the fullest today? Where is your focus? Are you focused on seeking God and following Him or are you focused on something else? We each have a choice to make every single day and in each moment of the day whether or not to seek God and follow Him or not. When we do not we become separated from God and it is only by truly repenting of our sins that we will be able to begin to restore our relationship with God and with others. Thank God that by His grace through the blood of Jesus Christ that our sins have been paid for and that we can be forgiven when we truly repent!

We’re better together!

I was reading Colossians 4 this morning and the idea of community or lack of community was really impressed upon me. Here is Paul who is writing from prison to a church that he barely knows and he is talking to them like family. He sent his final greetings to them and let them know of all the people who were been praying steadfastly for them and even people who did not know them that were praying and struggling for them. Paul, who was in prison, seemed to care more about his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than we do today. He wasn’t thinking of himself, well maybe he was a little, but he was continually praying for and thinking of the church.

I don’t know about you but I find that it is very difficult to continue thinking about others unless I am fully immersed in it. When I have time to myself I find that I am focused on myself rather than other people. Sure I may have good intentions of being there for people or of being involved in people’s lives, but unless I am actively doing it these things tend to fall to the wayside. I need to be intentional in order to keep caring for others and being there for them. I need to be intentional with my prayers and my thoughts.

As a community we need to learn to be more intentional with our lives. Satan wants to make things all about us, because he will do anything to keep us from worshipping God and from loving others. If he can do these two things he knows that the advancement of the Kingdom will slow down greatly. Could you even imagine if everyone prayed for their fellow Christians as Epaphras did who was “always struggling on your (the Colossians) behalf” (Col. 4:12)? His desire was to see them stand strong and to be mature in Christ. We could all take a lesson from Paul and his brothers and sisters who knew what it meant to struggle and yet to still pray. They knew what it meant to love and to prayerfully petition for the strength and encouragement of their family, even those they did not know.

I become distracted so easily, but I need community. Without community I become completely self-centered rather than God centered. I need to keep focused in pray fervently for my fellow Christians now more than ever. I need to pray for the lost and the persecuted now more than ever. The world is filled with so much evil and there is no amount of war or fighting that will ever rid the world of the evil; prayer is the only thing that will work. I don’t think that I am praying enough…are you? We are much stronger together in Christ than we will ever be alone.

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.

Keeping the Sabbath?

Genesis 2:2-3, English Standard Version
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

As I am writing this it is Sunday morning. We have had our breakfast already, I am dressed and ready for church and I look forward to spending a good part of my day with God, but I am not giving my whole day to Him. I would like to, as many of you would probably like to, but I have not used my time wisely enough during the week to accomplish all that I need to get done this week so unfortunately Sunday is the day that I will end up doing it. I still have a paper to write and a little reading to do and let’s face it, I’m also writing this right now. The things that I have to do are things that must be done this week to keep my professor happy, but maybe I’m thinking backwards. Am I putting earthly desires before the desires of God? I actually am. It’s hard to admit, but I do not want to do poorly in my class so I will turn my paper in on time and it will eat into my time with God.

Exodus 20:8-11, English Standard Version
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

In all actuality though I really am not devoting my whole day to God and to rest anyway. I will probably watch a few shows and sure I will relax and rest up, but I will certainly be doing things that are probably not fully honoring to keeping the Sabbath. Now, without getting into what day the Sabbath is, what does keeping the Sabbath look like? I think that it can look different for all of us but for me I picture eating breakfast with my wife, doing some reading of the Word, going to church, being in community, listening to Christian music, singing songs to the Lord, and relaxing. My picture of keeping the Sabbath at this point is to not do anything that would be considered work and to simply enjoy the time that God has given me to unwind and to reflect upon the week. Certainly my view will change depending on the different seasons in my life, but my desire is to observe the Sabbath in a way that is honoring to God.

How do you observe the Sabbath if you currently are doing so? If you are not observing it in the way that you would like then what is your vision or your goal for the Sabbath? One thing that I know for sure is this, if you do not make a goal or are not thinking about it then you will not change your actions. What do you feel God leading you to do?