Sunday, December 29, 2013

Born For a Purpose

Mark 16:15-16 - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

We've just celebrated the birth of Jesus. He was born for the most important purpose of introduce Himself to us that we might be delivered from our sins and secure eternal life. He told His disciples to do the same. I call myself a believer but calling myself a disciple, a follower of Christ, is also in order...and along with that comes the same command of a disciple.

I read this the other day and although I was sure I misunderstood it I had to respond based on my "narrow" thinking: In the modern era, Santa delivers. Merry Christmas. It was a message sent from a smart phone. And I understand now it was meant as in the modern day of technology, quick message delivery is possible. But I read it over and over not understanding because, as I responded, Santa does not deliver but Jesus does. That's just how my mind works...most times!

We've all been born to this world for a purpose. God creates a being in a womb hoping it will live the life He has planned for him/her. Situations in life change the course most times, trials come, blessings come, but it's how we respond, the choices we make, to what's placed before us that makes or breaks us.

We can live with or without God in our lives and be successful in the world, it's true. On the other hand a person with very little in this world but have a strong faith in Christ, can be wealthy in what counts the most. There is a difference in the end however. Without Jesus our lives are not eternal. And that is my purpose in my help people understand this world is nothing without Jesus. That our goals, our dreams, our life are nothing...nothing...without Him. We might think we're happy without Him in our lives, that we're doing fine on our own, but that's believing a lie.

God has created us first to be in relationship with Him that we would live in the right kind of abundance, in Christ. Our success, in Christ, isn't the same as in the world. Less is more, being happy with what we have and not what our peers have is more rewarding, if we understand things God's way. I'm not saying He won't give abundantly to some Christians. But it's what they do with it, how they steward that abundance, that is important.

A very great part of our purpose in Christ is sharing the gift we've received through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to worship God, live to glorify Him and share our beliefs in the truth of His Word with others. While I'm not as vocal as some I do like to write. Given an opportunity to speak out loud (!) when the Spirit moves is amazing for me!

I watched It's a Wonderful Life, a classic Christmas movie, the other day. It's based on a book called The Greatest Gift, surprisingly.

Many know the story. As brief as possible: George Bailey had always been a dreamer wanting to see the world but circumstances in his life changes his plans and he decides to settle down in his little hometown with his wife, raise a family and go about his father's building and loan business in order to help others. He'd been helping others most of his life. This is who he is. He gave up his plans in life so others would be able to have their own dreams fulfilled.

He had a fierce and greedy adversary, Henry F. Potter, whose thoughts were only on his own success at the expense of others, those George helped.

George's business crumbled when a sizable amount of money is accidentally lost...into the hands of Potter. George is beside himself, all hope of security for his friends and family lost. He attempted to take out a loan from Potter but was flatly refused. His world in a downward spiral, he realized he was worth more dead than alive (insurance)...and decided to take his life.

He has Clarence, though, his guardian angel, watching over him. When George decides to jump off a bridge Clarence beats him to it so, just like the guy George can't help being, he jumps in to save him. Clarence then reveals himself and runs George's life backwards to show all that might not have happened if it had not been for him...deaths that occurred instead of saved, failure instead of success, illness instead of health. It's the thing that turns George around. In the end he chooses not to take his life but go home where his friends have taken up a collection to save his business.

The great line from the movie is this from Clarence: You've been given a chance to see what this world would be like without you.

Imagine if we could all be given the chance to see what might have happened. What might God reveal to us? First of all, might He reveal we did not know Him? Will He reveal times we missed opportunities, people's lives we might have saved for the Kingdom but failed? Did we live our lives for Him? Did we glorify Him in what we accomplished? Ask yourself that question. Right now. I know I have failed at times. This is how we should look at life. But there's a difference between doing good from the world's perspective and God's. It starts with Him. It starts with this relationship. Then in Christ we are to point people to Him and often we begin by doing good and living a life in Christ, being selfless in our efforts.

[While this blog was actually written yesterday, at church this morning our pastor's sermon was on Contending For the Faith, based on Jude 1:3. He explained several things we must do in these, what he would call, latter days. In the last days there are things we see in the world, where the world is spiraling downward into outright rebellion against God. And what do we as Christ followers do? We contend for the faith. We do not back down on our beliefs, but dig in our heels and continue to look up for Him. And pastor gave us examples. One, of course, is never straying from the truth of God's Word. It's why I write. Now, back to my blog...]

One way I attempt to point people to Christ is here. To show the truth of God's Word, as best I can, and sometimes the words are not always pleasing to others. Differences of opinion...which mostly would be cleared up with this relationship with Christ, not our religious beliefs. Remember, Jesus was not liked by those who were stuck in their religious laws. His words and ideas were a threat, offensive. It's pretty much the same today between the relationship crowd over the religion crowd. Jesus maintained it was about going to Him, seeking Him and His Word, which shows us what truth is.

That is what we are called to do...part of our the eyes and minds of people being held captive in world beliefs not God beliefs. Setting captives to sin and the lies of the world free. Realizing we need God as our foundation. [As a member of our church said this morning: You can have two houses side by side. They can look the same but it's how their foundation is laid that will determine the strength of the house.] This is our purpose. In Christ we are born anew. He should be our Foundation. In Him we can better understand His Words. We can better understand what's important and what is not. Better understanding and greater wisdom are ours through a relationship with Christ. Preach the Gospel...that others might know and respond to His call and our calling.

Like George Bailey, we are not to think we are not worth anything, that we've failed, even if we feel we have. Sometimes I think my writing does nothing. But only God knows if that's true or not. And what counts is what God thinks. If this is to be my "ministry," then I will continue as long as the Lord allows me. That for me is a wonderful life!

2Timothy 1:8-9 - Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...

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