Thursday, October 20, 2011

What is your Ultimate Purpose?

Exodus 20:1-11

Then God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandment. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

“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 of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the 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.

I LOVE this John Piper quote:

"The ultimate purpose of all things are to hallow (honour as holy, consider sacred) God's name...Jesus came to set it right; He came to vindicate (justify) the holiness of God."

The first video here is a short, but sadly all to true and funny example of what goes on every Sunday during worship.

The second video is the entire sermon that the first video was a clip from. I highly recommend you watch the second 45 minute video. I believe both videos require us to look inward with our actions, and what we really feel our ultimate purpose is as Christians (people who try to be Christ like, followers of Christ). Am I hallowing Christ? Am I glorifying God in all I do? Am I worshiping well? Is my ulitmate purpose to sanctify Christ?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How does it feel...?

Recently, the following question was asked to me, "How does it feel to know that you have been found by what God has promised? How does it feel to know that you are living in God's promises?"

My answer was simple and immediate, "Amazing!"

Now for a little background information. I was speaking with a friend about my upcoming wedding, and telling him that I was excited that he was going to join Roger and I for our special day. To this he replied with, "How does it feel to know that you are living in God's promises?" Darnell was correct, God has blessed me, and I am living in His promises. I had not thought of it that way. Multiple scripture verses were brought to mind, verses about His faithfulness, verses about His steadfast love, and verses about giving us our greatest desires, and wanting us to be happy.

There are so many little things that God has blessed me with, through Roger! He is passionate, unshakeable, bold, and intelligent. Roger loves children and has compassion on those around him. For years I have dreamed of a man that could sing, play guitar, and play the piano, all of which Roger does. Roger is athletic and challenges me on many levels. I am so thankful to have him in my life. Our wedding is in 34 more days! I am constantly blown away by the generosity of so many family and friends, ready and willing to help us out in any way possible.

My greatest prayer for our wedding ceremony is that Christ is glorified and The Gospel is reenacted. I pray that people come to our wedding knowing that it is only because of God's goodness and grace that Roger and I stand before you. I want people to know that our wedding is a worship service; a picture of The Gospel. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church,willing to die for her. The wife is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ. Marriage is a covenant between God and man. Marriage is for happiness, and more importantly for holiness.

The longer we are married, the more we will understand the glorious covenant God has made with us. We praise Him for His faithfulness and steadfast love! I have one living grandparent, each set was married to their spouse until death did them part. Both Roger and I have parents that are still married. I see Christ in each set of parents; I hope to be like our great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents.

I am fortunate to no longer have just one Mom and Dad, but two now! For the last month I have been living at my Mom and Dad's house (my soon to be in-laws), and I LOVE it! I relish this opportunity to get to know my Mom and Dad. I am treated so well. My Mom gives me hugs, cooks, listens to me, and loves on me. My Dad chats with me, prays for me, and loves on me as well. God has blessed me through Roger, and I hope that you too can see what great things God is doing.

I was struggling quite a bit last week, just with life in general and my mum shared with me the following story. May it also bless you, and serve as a reminder that we are Christs, and he wants us to be happy!

The Terribly, Tragically Sad Man
(Loren Seibold)

Once there was a boy who lived in a big house on a hill. He loved dogs and horses, sports cars and music. He climbed trees and went swimming, played football and admired pretty girls. Except for having to tidy up after himself, he had a nice life.
One day the boy said to God, "I've been thinking, and I know what I want to become when I become a man."
"What?" said God.
"I want to live in a big house with a veranda across the front and two St. Bernard dogs and a garden out back. I want to marry a woman who is tall and very beautiful and kind, who has long, black, hair and blue eyes, who plays the guitar and sings in a clear, high voice. I want three strong sons to play ball with. When they grow up, one will be a great scientist, one will be a politician and the youngest will be a professional athlete.
"I want to be an adventurer who sails vast oceans and climbs tall mountains and rescues people. And I want to drive a red Ferrari and never have to tidy up after myself."
"That sounds like a nice dream," said God. "I want you to be happy."
One day, playing ball, the boy hurt his knee. After that he couldn't climb tall mountains or even tall trees, much less sail vast oceans. So he studied marketing and started a medical-supplies business.
He married a girl who was very beautiful and very kind and who had long, black hair. But she was short, not tall, and had brown eyes, not blue. She couldn't play the guitar, or even sing. But she prepared wonderful meals seasoned with rare Chinese spices and painted magnificent pictures of birds.
Because of his business, he lives in a city near the top of a tall apartment building that overlooked the blue ocean and the city's twinkling lights. He didn't have room for two saint Bernard's, but he had a fluffy cat.
He had three daughters, all very beautiful. The youngest, who was in a wheelchair was the loveliest. The three daughters loved their father very much. They didn't play ball with him, but sometimes they went to the park and tossed a Frisbee - except for the youngest, who sat under a tree strumming her guitar and singing lovely, haunting songs.
He made enough money to live comfortably but he didn't drive a red Ferrari. Sometimes he had to pick up things and put them away - even things that didn't belong to him. After all, he had three daughters.
Then one morning, the man awoke and remembered his dream. "I am very sad," he said to his best friend.
"Why?" asked his friend.
"Because I once dreamed of marrying a tall woman with black hair and blue eyes who would play the guitar and sing. My wife can't play the guitar or sing. She has brown eyes, and she's not tall."
"Your wife is very beautiful and very kind," said his friend. "She creates splendid pictures and delectable food.” But the man wasn't listening.
"I am very sad," the man confessed to his wife one day.
"Why?" asked his wife.
"Because I once dreamed of living in a big house with a veranda, and of having two saint Bernard's and a garden out back. Instead I live in an apartment in a high rise building."
"Our apartment is comfortable and we can see the ocean from our couch," said his wife. "We have love, laughter and paintings of birds and a fluffy cat - not to mention three beautiful children.” But the man wasn't listening.
"I am very sad," the man said to his therapist.
"Why?" asked the therapist.
"Because I once dreamed that I would grow up to be a great adventurer. Instead, I am a bald businessman with a bad knee."
"The medical supplies you sell save many lives," said the therapist. But the man wasn't listening. So his therapist charged him $110 and sent him home.
"I am very sad," the man said to his accountant.
"Why?" asked the accountant.
"Because I once dreamed of driving a red Ferrari and never having to tidy up myself. Instead, I take public transportation and sometimes I still have to clean up."
"You wear good suits. You eat at fine restaurants, and you've toured Europe," said his accountant. But the man wasn't listening. His accountant charged him $100 anyway. He was dreaming of a red Ferrari himself.
"I am very sad," the man said to his clergyman.
"Why?" asked the clergyman.
"Because I once dreamed of having three sons: a great scientist, a politician and a professional athlete. Instead, I have three daughters and the youngest can't even walk."
"But, your daughters are beautiful and intelligent," said the clergyman. "They love you very much and they've all done well. One is a nurse, another is an artist and the youngest teaches music to children."
But the man wasn't listening. He was so sad that he became very sick. He lay in a white hospital room surrounded by nurses in white uniforms. Tubes and wires connected his body to blinking machines that he had once sold to the hospital.
He was terribly, tragically sad. His family, friends and clergyman gathered around his bed. They were all deeply sad too. Only his therapist and his accountant remained happy.
Then one night, when everyone except the nurses had gone home, the man said to GOD, "Remember when I was a boy and I told you all the things I wanted?"
"It was a lovely dream," said GOD.
"Why didn't you give me those things?" asked the man.
"I could have," said GOD. "But I wanted to surprise you with things you didn't dream of. I suppose you have noticed what I have given you: a kind beautiful wife; a good business; a nice place to live; three beautiful daughters - one of the best packages that I've put together..."
"Yes," interrupted the man. "But I thought you were going to give me what I really wanted."
"And I thought you were going to give me what I really wanted," said GOD.
"What did you want?" asked the man. It had never occurred to him that GOD was in want of anything.
"I wanted to make you happy with what I had given you," said GOD.
The man lay in the dark all night, thinking. Finally he decided to dream a new dream, one he wished he had dreamed years before. He decided to dream that what he wanted most were the very things he already had.
And the man got well and lived happily in the high rise, enjoying his children's beautiful voices, his wife's deep brown eyes and her glorious paintings of birds. And at night he gazed at the ocean and contentedly watched the lights of the city twinkling on, one by one.

Copyright © Loren Seibold
All Rights Reserved

Isn't that exactly what God wants for each of His children? "'I wanted to make you happy with what I had given you,' said GOD." Since the beginning of time God wanted to make us happy. He planned the Garden of Eden to absolute perfection. He created man in His own image to walk with Him and visit with Him in the evening. He decided it was not right that man should be alone and created Eve to bring companionship to the man. He did everything possible to give mankind the opportunity for happiness but out of love gave mankind the freedom to choose happiness or sorrow.
He gave us the freedom to choose to smile or frown at the world. He gave us the freedom to recognize the beauty of God's creation or be overwhelmed by the patches of gloom we might encounter. He gave us the freedom to accept God's love or to ignore it; to believe in the Savior, Christ Jesus, who laid His life down on the cross to atone for our sins or to overlook His sacrificial love and grace. God has blessed us with every good and perfect thing and calls us to embrace the promise of a glorious tomorrow.
Some will follow the Master in His journey of service to all mankind. Some will believe the message that our Lord taught during His ministry here on earth and will accept His commission to go out and teach all the world the Good News of the Lord. Some will embrace their Father in heaven and will give Him what He wants for each of His beloved children. ("I want you to be happy.") Sadly, some will choose to turn from God, to reject His love, to reject Christ's gift of salvation, and will realize the truth only after their life's journey is over. That's the greatest tragedy of all.
Today, take a minute to look carefully in the mirror. Examine the image with particular care. Do you see the image and likeness of God there in the mirror? Look a little harder because God created you with that unique and special characteristic. Next, look for a smile. It may be hidden deep down inside. There may be many layers of sorrow and sadness that are obscuring it from your view right now, but God put it there inside you to warm your heart and bring joy to your eyes and to your world. Brush aside a few of those memories that cloud your spirit and watch the smile come alive. It may be glowing and bright. It may be lighting up the world. Let's strive to give back to God what He asks of each of His people. Reexamine your dreams and your goals. Look at them through God's eyes. Now turn it all over to the Master. "Father, not my will but Yours..."

With A Smile,
Jan and Richard Evans