The Big Picture
Prayer is too often something we do as an afterthought, or perhaps as an act of desperation in times of trouble. God, however, desires our ongoing prayers to demonstrate our desire to know Him, and to have Him know us. We communicate our dependence on God in prayer; seek His direction for life, and acknowledge His glory and power, in prayer. Perhaps, most amazing of all for us, is God acts in response to our prayers. In short, prayer is to our spiritual life in Jesus, as air is to our physical life in the world. Jesus brought us the ability to go before our God in prayer at all times, for all things. We should pray, without ceasing.
We spend most of our waking hours trying to find peace, contentment, satisfaction and rest from the burdens of life. Ironically, the first place we typically turn to find these things is in the very world that weighs us down to begin with. True rest in life will only be found in Jesus. Contrary to the enemy’s narrative, being a follower of Jesus is a light load compared to being a follower of the ways of the world.
Dying to Live
God’s ways often seem counterintuitive. Giving up my life to gain it does not seem to make sense. Yet, every day God is calling us to give up our way of living in the world to live His ways. Jesus did not come to make life comfortable in this broken world – Jesus came to prepare us to leave the brokenness behind for His perfect eternal Kingdom. As we learn to give up our worldly ways of living, we will sense of new power for life, a new joy in life, and a new sense of purpose in life.
Truth is either in very short supply or is everywhere these days, depending on how you define “truth”. The truth of the world is ever changing with the latest public opinion polls or preferences of society at large. This should be the first clue that it is not truth. Truth is absolute and has to be grounded in an ultimate source that is not given to change or challenge. In fact, God alone IS truth, established truth, reveals truth and upholds truth. Truth is found in God’s Word and has been made known through God’s Son, Jesus.
Old Life, New Life
We are a new creation in Jesus. This means all of the things of our old nature no longer define us, or control us, but it doesn’t mean our old nature is content to just let us walk away. We have a power in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit to live like Jesus, despite the temptations and pressures to live like the world. To live like Jesus, however, we need to put on our new nature every day.
Forgetting to Remember
God knew part of our fallen nature was a tendency to forget the source of goodness in our life being from God. He knew we would live a “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” life as it related to God. The sad consequence for us in a practical sense today is we are quick to presume God’s absence when things go bad, because we don’t recognize His presence when things are going well. God wants us to always keep before us His faithful provision for us, in good times and bad, as a means of encouraging us in His call for us to trust Him in all things, and with all things, in life.
While we were still weak, godless, sinners – enemies of God – God, in His mercy and grace, bought us out of our sin with the life of His Son. The chasm between God’s perfect Kingdom that we were created to live in, and our sin-filled, broken world, was bridged by the cross of Jesus. The great exchange that Jesus brought to us on the cross gives us the ability to live with the power and purpose God created for us to have, both now, in the midst of the brokenness around us, and for all eternity, in His eternal Kingdom.
So often today, people wonder how a loving God could rule over such a broken creation; the implication being that God is responsible for the brokenness of the world. To understand the true depths of God’s love for us, we need to accept responsibility for our sin that has brought all the brokenness of the world to pass. The question is not, “why would a loving God allow such brokenness?” The real wonder is why, when we were still sinners and enemies of God, He would send His Son to die for, and save us from, our sins? We were made in perfection, marred by our sins, and yet are made new by our Savior, God’s One and only Son, Jesus.
Gifted to Serve
God did not create “watchers”, He created “doers”. Doers of His Word and His Work. He also did not give us a task without giving us the tools for the task. God has gifted every one of His followers of Jesus with an ability to be used in building up His Church for its mission of reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus. Paul used the illustration of a “body” to drive home the fact, the body of Christ will only work the way God intended when each of us is using our areas of giftedness for God’s purposes. We want to invite you to consider your gifts, consider your calling, and consider where you can be serving the body of Christ for God’s Kingdom purposes.
Created for God’s Work
We are born with a desire to have a purpose in life; to want to make a difference in life in some way; to matter. This God-given desire, like everything else in life, has been marred by man’s sin. Instead of recognizing our purpose is to do God’s work for His Kingdom, we are easily led astray to pursue our purpose in the things of this world – all of which will fade away – and which too often present us with failure, frustration, and a sense of emptiness and loneliness. God’s Word reminds us that our reality is we have a purpose, prepared for us before we even existed, to be part of God’s Kingdom-building family, in Jesus. His plans for us will never fail as we pursue our purpose in Christ.