What is the purpose of life? I always laugh when I see the cartoon characters climbing to the top of a mountain peak in search of the elusive guru who has the answer. The answer is actually easier to find than the physically exhaustive hike to cold, wind-blown mountain tops. All you need is your fingers to do the walking, though it’s not exactly in the “yellow pages,” but through the pages of the greatest story ever told: the Bible.
The Bible teaches the purpose of the created (us) is decided by the creator (God). He shaped us according to His purpose, which is to bring Him pleasure. “The Lord delights in those who fear him and put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:11 NIV) “He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV) This verse reminds me of a time recently when I rocked my little grandson who was upset. I gently patted his back while quietly singing to him. It wasn’t long before he was off playing again.
Just like a parent, or grandparent in my case, God is happy when you are safely trusting in His care. When I held my grandson, my heart delighted in just being with him. I think that is the way God feels about us. We make Him happy by loving Him and spending time with Him. That is what our purpose in life is; to praise and honor God. So as long as we have breath we have a purpose.
How do you spend time with God that gives you a feeling of purpose or delight?
I like to take pictures. Well, what I really like is to have beautiful pictures to print. The problem with my camera is that it doesn’t always see things as I do. Often, I am disappointed when I look at the images my lens captured. They don’t represent what I remember seeing.
The trick is for my eyes and camera to focus on the same thing. My vision is automatic in registering the vivid color of a sunset or the majestic scene of a meadow full of flowers with distant mountain peaks. My camera takes some adjusting to replicate the same thing. The pictures turn out just the way I set my camera to “see.”
That’s how it is with life. The focus of our minds determines what our story will look like. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Thrust in the Lord forever.” (Isaiah 16:3, 4 NIV) God’s peace is on those who keep their mind fixed on Him. When Jesus becomes out of focus, your joy becomes blurred in the chaos of everyday existence. To have your life be the beautiful picture you want, you must focus on the same thing God does; His will in your life. He is the one who can adjust the settings by easing your mind and calming your heart to clearly see your best image.
Have you ever left God out of a decision you made and have it not turn out the way you wanted? How did you bring God’s will back into focus?
I remember a story from years ago when some refugees from Vietnam relocated to our area. A middle-aged couple, who spoke no English, had nothing in the house to eat and decided to take the few dollars they had and go to the store. They had to spend their precious little resources wisely but could not read the labels on the packages. They needed something large enough for the both of them and something that would be good to eat.
After much pondering, the couple decided to purchase a large, round can with the picture of delicious-looking fried chicken on it. Pleased that they found something they recognized, they cheerfully took their meal home. Disappointment quickly swept over them as they stared at a white, sticky paste instead of their desired chicken. They had expected the picture on the can to represent what was inside and they did not understand the word across the label; Crisco.
Often people wear the label of Christian and work to give a picture of what they think God wants, but inside there is a sticky mess. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” I Samuel 16:7. You may deceive people but the Lord sees what is inside and knows what to do with it. There is nothing wrong with Crisco if you want Crisco. There is if you need chicken. No matter what your inside looks like, the Lord knows how to create something beautiful. Let Him make you everything He wants you to be.
Do you hide what is going on in your life because it is not a pretty picture? How do you give it to God and trust Him to make it good?
This coming weekend is Labor Day. Mothers are cheering for school has or will soon start. Children are sad because summer vacation is over.
Labor Day has been a United States federal holiday since 1894, though the first state holiday was in Oregon on February 21, 1887. Seven years later, thirty states had an official Labor Day at different times of the year. The federal holiday moved all the observances to the first Monday in September.
Originally, Labor Day was meant to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. Today, it is little more than a time to squeeze in one more camping trip, barbeque or outdoor gathering before returning to the ritual of school, sports and employment.
But it is good to take a minute to honor all those who work, whether their job is in a factory, a school or an agricultural field. Working together is what holds the fabric of a community. Whatever you do, do it with integrity and honor.
Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
How do you bring honor to God in your work?
A group of five women in our church decided to meet once a week to pray for a deeper relationship with our Lord for ourselves and throughout the church. One night we held hands in the sanctuary and offered our lives to God. As we finished praying the bells in the church tower chimed. We quietly soaked in the soothing tones.
Several days later I commented to someone at church that it was nice to have the bells repaired and playing again, even if it was ten minutes after and not right on the hour. She was surprised and informed me that her husband had been working on them. They were not operating but they also had been disconnected so there was no power to them.
The following prayer night, we discussed the mystery of the chimes. There was no doubt the music came from the tower. After praying, our fellowship ended at ten minutes until the hour and again the chimes rang out. Was this confirmation that our prayers were heard?
Have you had a time something happened that you couldn’t explain? Was God involved?