JustPurpose

The Living Thief

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The story is told of a man who was asked, “Are you a believer in the Christian religion?”

“Oh, certainly!”

“You are a member of some church, then, I suppose?”

“Member of a church? No, indeed. Why should I be a member of a church? It is quite unnecessary; the dying thief wasn’t a member of a church, and he went to Heaven.”

“But of course you have been baptized; you know the command—”

“Been baptized? Oh, no; that is another needless ceremony! I am as safe as the dying thief was, and he never was baptized.”

“But surely, since you will not join a church or be baptized, you will do something in acknowledgment of your faith. You will give of your means—you will help the cause in some way?”

“No, sir; I do nothing of the kind. The dying thief—”

“Let me remark, my friend, before you go any further, that you seem to be on pretty intimate terms with the dying thief. You seem to derive a great deal of consolation from his career. But, mind you, there is one important difference between you and him. He was a dying thief—and you are a living one.”[1]

Apostle Paul writing to the Romans instructed that no debt be owed except the debt of love. I believe what this means is that by virtue of the sacrifice of Jesus for us on the cross, we become debtors of forgiveness. We now owe a duty to love like Christ loves. We must now bear the yoke of living out our role in God’s global plan without any selfish interests and empty ambitions.

American essayist, lecturer, and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson once quipped that “the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” I agree. There must be more to life than to just eat and drink. If this is not so, how can we claim to be different from animals and those who have crossed into the world of the dead?

So this week, I want to challenge you to think about why you are here. How will you make a difference with your lifetime? What will you be known for? What will be your unique contribution to the advancement of God’s Kingdom on this side of eternity? What will you do with all your limitless potentials? Will you lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of you? Will you be useful, honourable and compassionate or will you be another living thief?

Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts. Leave a comment.

You matter to me always.

[1] Source: The Sword and the Trowel, Charles Spurgeon.

PurposePursuit

Attending To Our Words

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Attending to our Words. Photo by Alan via flickr.

A week after C. S. Lewis died in 1963, colleagues and friends gathered in the chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford, England, to pay tribute to the man whose writings had fanned the flames of faith and imagination in children and scholars alike.

During the memorial service, Lewis’ close friend, Austin Farrer, noted that Lewis always sent a handwritten personal reply to every letter he received from readers all over the world. “His characteristic attitude to people in general was one of consideration and respect,” Farrer said. “He paid you the compliment of attending to your words.”

Scripture says that God pays attention to every of our prayers. Even before we ask, He knows what we need and makes it available. Even though, there are times we feel like He’s not hearing us, God hears and attends to our words. So, what should be our response to such a gracious disposition from the Almighty? Here are a few thoughts.

1. We must be grateful. We have not done anything to deserve the attention God gives us. The psalmist struggled with this issue and he asked; “What is man that You (God) are mindful of him?” Our first response to God’s mindfulness of us must be gratitude.

2. We must trust him. If God is thinking about every of our thought; if God is interested in our heart desires to give attention to them and make them prosper, then we must trust Him to do what He has graciously undertaken to do. We must trust Him with our lives and let Him lead us through the good and not good enough moments in life. We cannot help ourselves by worrying. It is fruitless. We must choose to trust God to grant our desires according to His Will.

3. We must learn to show consideration and respect for people around us too. Jesus told the story of the unfaithful debtor who was forgiven his debts but who went on to imprison his own debtor. We should not be like him. If God pays attention to our words, thoughts and desires, we also should give others the courtesy of listening to them, offering them help as much as we can and interceding with God on their behalf.

At all times, even in hours of deepest need, God attends to our words. For this, we must be grateful. We must trust His love and attend to the words of others too.

PurposePursuit

Safe and Secure!

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When butterflies hatch at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, they do so in an indoor tropical paradise perfectly suited to meet their every need. The temperature is perfect. The humidity is perfect. The food is a perfect balance of calories and nutrition to keep them healthy. No need to go elsewhere. Yet some butterflies see the bright blue sky outside the conservatory and spend their days fluttering near the glass ceiling far away from the plentiful food supply.*

Upon the discovery of God’s purpose for our lives, we set out to make good His calling upon our destinies and God promises to provide all that we need to prosper in our ways. In the centre of God’s will for our lives, all that we need are already provided. But how often, do we find ourselves desiring things that are out of God’s will for us? We look at the world around us and long for the onions and cucumber of Egypt unsatisfied with the Manna from Heaven above.

At such times God looks at us like an observer of those butterflies would, and He says “Don’t you know everything you need is inside? The outside is cold and harsh, and you will die within minutes if you get what you are longing to have.”

In recent times, I have found myself in this situation when I think I know what is best for me and find God’s love for me truly restraining. You probably have had such times too. Let’s be encouraged that God loves us. He wants the best for us. Only in God’s plan can all our needs be unconditionally met. Only by leaning on His everlasting arms, can we be safe, secure and free to be all He planned us to be!
…………………….
*Julie Ackerman Link, Our Daily Bread, March 7, 2013.