Aimlessness

Last month, I had a job-interview where I was asked: “What motivates you to get out of bed each day?”

I wouldn’t always have been able to answer a question like that, but I said: “Knowing God has a good plan for my life, and that I can do something useful for Him.” How do I know that? Because it says so in the Bible. “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). That’s a good plan. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). That’s one of the reasons we’re here on earth.

Everything we can know about God, we’ll find in His Word. Nothing Godly will ever contradict it, so when we’re told to test everything, that’s what we test it against – for our benefit. I’ll give you an example. “All you who are thirsty, come and drink. … Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1). In other words, God’s offer to nourish us is unconditional, so if someone asks you for money in order to receive something from God, alarm bells should start ringing. Jesus was so passionate about everyone having access to God’s kingdom. Listen to what He said against the religious teachers: “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52). Jesus doesn’t want any barrier to stand in the way of us getting to know God. He wouldn’t want people taking advantage of us.

If I keep on about the Bible, it’s because I’ve found it so helpful in the decisions I’ve made. When my attitudes have been wrong, God’s Word has put me right. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Who became flesh and came to live among us? Jesus. God’s Word is Jesus. When we read the Bible, it points us to Him.

Before I was a Christian, I didn’t have the privilege of being God’s and not my own; I didn’t know what I know now – that my life is His, not mine. As we’ve seen earlier in this series, I may sometimes be homesick for heaven, but I do have someone to live for – a God who takes great delight in you and me.

If you’ve taken anything away from these 31 Days of Positive Spin, I hope it’s that God cares about you and all the difficult things you’ll ever have to go through in your life. I’ll finish with the chorus of a song I wrote:
Jesus, what You did for me –
The pain You had to bear –
It shows me that whatever I go through,
You’ve already been there,
And so I ask the question:
Why should I complain
?

Finding What’s Right in Front of You: “Life Unstuck” Book-Review

Have you ever asked a shop-assistant where something is, only to find it’s right under your nose? Sometimes chinks in our lives are staring us in the face, but we need other people’s help to see them. Reading “Life Unstuck” could be one way of giving yourself that help to put your past behind you, enjoy your present, and look forward to your future.

The author’s introduction made me think this would be a bit heavy, but don’t be put-off. Pat came across as more approachable when she started chapter 1 with a personal story, and there are plenty of these throughout. If you love people, I think you’ll enjoy Pat’s style of writing and willingness to admit her mistakes. If you love the Bible, you’ll appreciate going deeper into the intensely personal Psalm 139, one verse at a time.

Why you were Made

We had a really good time at church this morning.  Our poor pastor had laryngitis, but still managed to preach.  He was talking about our purpose in life, as Christians, and asked for ideas on what that was.  I tend to keep quiet in those situations and let other people speak up, but if I’d had to answer the question, here’s what I would have said:

Praising God.  My purpose in life, and yours too, is to praise God.  That’s why you were made, and it’s something you can do for all eternity.  “I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to My people, My chosen, the people I formed for Myself that they may proclaim My praise” – Isaiah 43:20-21.

 

I believe we have individual callings from God, and there are things He tells us all to do in our earthly lives, like sharing the good news of Jesus with people who don’t know Him and His love for them, but praising God doesn’t depend on your circumstances.  I’ve heard so many people say they’re useless; I’ve said it too sometimes, but that’s a lie because we can all do this one thing we were made to do.  If you’re a Christian in a far-off country, who’s been arrested for your faith and is in solitary confinement, you may not have the opportunity at that time to communicate your faith to others; you can still praise God.  I remember someone telling me about a person once who couldn’t talk, walk, or feed herself.  I asked could she smile and was told:  “Yes – well, sort of.  If you knew her, you’d know it was a smile”; she could still praise God.

 

Lots of times, we praise people for the things they do well.  Will you take a few minutes today to come to the God who knows you by name, and give Him some praise too?

A Good Purpose

A friend wrote this morning: What if just for one day, you were grateful for everything?

I loved that! I commented that I am grateful for lots of things, but struggle to be grateful for not having a job. Well, just now, I came across these verses:
“Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you” – Ephesians 6:21-22. To update people and encourage them was his purpose. That was the work Tychicus had to do for the people of God. No salary, except the peace of knowing he was doing what the Lord wanted.

I still struggle with knowing I don’t earn the money I get, but even in that, I can give thanks because I know God loves me and I have some use in His kingdom, despite being unemployed. It’s enough to make you smile.