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!

All or Nothing at all

As I lie in bed for the night after watching the movie What Would Jesus Do I cannot help but to think about how I would respond if I lost everything. I’m not talking about losing stuff, though I’m sure that would be trying, but what if I lost EVERYTHING: my family, friends, possessions. How would I respond? Would I worship God and praise his name as Job did or would I curse God and deny him?

Though my faith and resolve have been greatly deepened I still wonder how I would respond and whether I would feel alone in it or if I would sense God working? Just today I was presented with the opportunity to pray for a Muslim man who had injured his neck just prior to me stopping to give assistance and wouldn’t you know that not once did I think about praying for him in the moment? I didn’t even think of it until now.

I would say that I am not seeking God enough in my life if I failed to see an obvious opportunity. So could I still trust him and worship him even if I lost everything?  Do I have enough faith? 

Would I give him my all or nothing at all?  

What Would Jesus Do?

Love and Acceptance in all the Wrong Places

What do you think of when you hear the word love? Maybe you think of the feeling of butterflies in your stomach upon meeting someone who you have feelings for. Maybe you think of devotion and commitment, kind words or actions, thoughtful gestures. Perhaps it’s the kind of brotherly love shared by comrades in arms. There are many different things that can come to mind when thinking about love and for many of us we can remember certain times in our lives when we felt such things and they can bring us back to that moment; whether it is upon meeting your spouse for the first time or the bond shared between soldiers who would give everything, even their very life for one another to protect the other. Love is powerful and it is moving. We all long for love, whether we want to admit it or not. There was a time that I swore off love, at least in the form of getting married, I was certain that I would never find the person that I was to marry and then along came Sara when I least expected to find someone.

Love angelGod works in mysterious ways, but He is always working. There was a time in my life when I said that I didn’t even know if God existed, but looking back I always knew. He was always there speaking to me ever softly in the midst of the battle going on within me. I had believed the lies that I could find happiness and fulfillment without him. I tried to fill a hole deep within me through being the best that I could be at work, by always being the person that other could depend on, through lustful thinking and actions, as well as through buying the vehicle, house, and motorcycle that I thought I needed to fulfill the image that I thought I needed. All these things did was lead to more desperation and separation from God, but amidst all of my brokenness and in my weakest moments God never left me. He rescued me over and over again and quite honestly is still doing it today. We are all broken individuals with an orientation for love and acceptance, the direction that we go for that love and acceptance is up to us.

There is so much in the world that seeks to draw us away from God and I think we have done a pretty good job of allowing these things to be normal. Things that seek to fill a void within us that is looking for love and acceptance. Divorce is on the decline they say, but that is only because people are choosing not to even get married. Out of the roughly 300 million people in the United States roughly 20 million people have a sexually transmitted disease. That is one out of every sixteen people in the United States that have a sexually transmitted disease. Over 1,000,000 babies are killed every year by abortion as the result of an unplanned pregnancy and same sex marriage is rising in acceptance across the country. What is interesting is that roughly 78% of adults in the United States identify themselves as Christians. This is interesting to me because there was a time, both before and after walking away from God that I identified myself as a Christian, but still sought to find love and acceptance in ways other than what was pleasing and acceptable to God.

We all have a deep desire to be loved and accepted and will go great lengths to quench that desire. I don’t think that it was a mistake that after God had created the heavens and the earth and while looking upon His creation He said all things were good except for one thing, “the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” (Gen. 2:18). God found everything to be good that He had created except for the fact that Adam was alone so what did God do?

Genesis 2:21-24
So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Recently as I was reading this text it occurred to me the deeper significance of marriage in this text. I always understood that woman (Eve) was created from the rib of man (Adam), but I had never really put together the rest of the passage. You see it goes on to say that because she was taken out of man that a man will leave his father and mother to be united to his wife…and they become one flesh… They became one flesh, because the rib that had been taken from man had been sewn back into place by God upon their union in marriage. Since Eve was literally taken out of Adam’s side Adam was not whole until they were reunited. This absolutely astonished me when I realized what was really being said. God created us to desire community, to desire love, and acceptance. The desire that we have is not of the enemy, but he sure does love to use it to cause us destruction. He loves to wave false versions of God’s good and perfect will in front of our faces to deter us from seeing what God really desires for us.

Angel LightI guess what I am saying is that the more I follow God and seek to submit my life to Him the more I realize just how broken I was and still am. I need God so much that I cannot imagine life without Him. God’s love is greater than I could have ever imagined and rightfully so. I don’t know of anyone else who would actually give up their own son to die on a cross so that they could have a relationship with me, but God did. He gave His one and only Son so that you and I could have life if we believe in Him (John 3:16). He loves us that much. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our desire to love and be loved is God given, but the only way to truly receive that love and to be accepted is to accept Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. To be saved we have to do more than say that Jesus is our Savior, He must also be our Lord. He must be the one that we look to, the one that we serve, that we worship, that we trust, that we obey.

There was a time that I used to profess that Jesus was my Savior, but I was not ready to make Him my Lord. I have had to learn that He is my Lord and my Savior, and that I must willingly give up my life to follow Him. If we are to call ourselves Christians we must make an ongoing choice and effort to give up our will for that of God’s will. It is much more than saying that He saved us, we must willing give up our lives to His leading. God is patient and is waiting if you have not yet accepted Him as your Lord and if you have I encourage you to press into Him more everyday. I know that I have a long way to go still, but their is so much freedom in being able to say “yes” to God and “no” to unrighteousness. The bottomless hole that I once felt only rears up once in a while, when those times come I have found that I have quit seeking God and as soon as I turn back to Him and His ways I find that hole being filled with His love and acceptance through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within me. God bless you all and may God richly bless you in your journey of knowing the love and acceptance that only God can give you. In Jesus’ name.