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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: April 06, 2010

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Submitted: April 06, 2010

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Being Tempted

"Lead us not into temptation" - (Luke 11:4).

Those are familiar words from the Lord's Prayer. Yet there seems to be something almost sinister about them. Would God actually lead you into temptation?

At times you may want to blame God for falling into temptation. Your circumstances maybe caused you to lie. Maybe the people around you were a bad influence on you. Can you blame that on God? The Apostle James says you should not accuse God of tempting you because: "God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone" (James 1:13).

Satan is the author of evil.

The reason the devil's temptations work so well is because they connect with desires you have deep inside. "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin" (James 1:14-15).

Interestingly, there is one time in the Bible where it seems that God led someone into temptation. "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil" (Matthew 4:1). God led Jesus into the desert but it was the devil who tempted Him. And God knew that the devil would not succeed! This passage shows that the devil is real. The devil wants to lead people into sin. He wanted to tempt Jesus most of all.

The Holy Spirit wanted Jesus to trade places with you.

Jesus faced every temptation and hurt and disappointment you face. For all the times you have failed by giving in to temptation, Jesus succeeded. He succeeded as your substitute. When you believe that, God counts Jesus' success as though it were yours.

Can God help me be safe and sound?

One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small daughter into bed.  She was about to turn the light off when the little girl asked in a trembling voice, “Mommy, will you stay with me all night?”  Smiling, the mother gave her a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, “I can't, dear.  I have to sleep in Daddy's room.”  A long silence followed.  At last it was broken by her daughter's shaky voice saying, “That big sissy!”

All of us have fears.  And they don’t always end with a chuckle.  Our fears may be rational or completely irrational, but when we experience them, they are definitely real.  At times we are afraid and may wonder, “Can God help me?”

On another night, Jesus Christ’s disciples were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee.  Their fear was very real, too.  Jesus came to them and said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50).  Jesus was there, and they didn’t need to be afraid any longer.  He displayed his almighty power by calming the wind and waves. 

Jesus can help us with our fears as well.  He controls all things and promises to use his power to help those who trust in him.  When Jesus is in our lives, we can take courage and not be afraid.

While his promises are true for all kinds of fears, they are especially true for our spiritual concerns.  Many are afraid of dying and having to stand before a perfect God and answer for their imperfect lives.  Jesus encourages us even in these great fears.  He said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).  Life on this earth will end for all people, but Jesus promises that those who believe in him will live with him in heaven eternally.  Jesus died on the cross to take our sins away, so that God will not condemn believers in judgment but will give them eternal life in heaven.  This is the comfort and courage that God gives to those who trust him.

The Bible is filled with examples of God’s power and his many promises to help us with our fears.  Our church exists to share the comforting promises of God with all those who are afraid.  We’d love to have you come and hear more about how God can help you with your big fears and your little ones, too.  Take courage and don’t be afraid; God can help you when you’re afraid.

Can God help me build my self-esteem?

“I’m worthless!”

That’s a depressing statement. Yet many people silently admit to themselves that they are worthless.  The single mom who doesn’t feel loved; the child or adult who can never seem to do anything right for his parents; the employee who messed up on the job again; they and many others feel that they are not worth very much.  Maybe you’ve felt this way.  Is there an area of your life in which you want to feel better about yourself?

Many say you can establish a positive self-image by focusing on your skills, accomplishments, status, financial resources, or appearance.  There’s “help” out there in the form of self-hypnosis, support groups, affirmation and visualization techniques, plastic surgery, self-help books, CDs, DVDs, and other attempts to build self-esteem.  All these efforts only provide a temporary, superficial lift.  Ultimately they prove to be feeble efforts to feel worthwhile.

We all want to feel a sense of worth, love, and security in our lives, but we can’t provide them for ourselves.  But God can.  He freely gives them to us through his Son, Jesus.  His Word tells us not to focus on ourselves but on him, to look not at what we’ve done but at what he’s done for us through Jesus Christ.  Our sense of worth and value – our self-esteem – is found in the Savior who lived and died in our place.

A man named Paul realized this when he said, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).  In Jesus we find a status before God that we could never produce, a love from God that is unfailing, and the security for life in knowing that our Savior who loves us will be with us each and every day.

God’s way of helping us build up our self-esteem is showing us Jesus.  Please join us to find out more about your Savior who lived and died for you.

Can God help me understand what's wrong with me?

No, I am not the parent on the nightly news, the mother arrested for badly mistreating her children.  But sometimes I am irritated when my baby wakes me up four times in one night – when my toddler throws a tantrum in the grocery store – when my teen defiantly shatters the curfew.

No, I am not the high-profile executive under investigation for embezzling millions from his company’s pension fund.  But I am also not the philanthropist donating millions to a children’s hospital.  I am easily irritated by co-workers constantly begging me to buy candy bars to support their children’s soccer team.  I admit I envy the latest lottery winner from our state.

What is wrong with me?  I scan the latest “self-help” books in the library and read “self-esteem” articles in my magazines, but I still do not feel like the “good” person I want to be.

Friend, is your conscience kicking you?  We often try to silence that voice of “right” and “wrong” because it condemns us for not living up to God’s expectations.  We are supposed to be as good as God!  But we are not good … not good enough for God.

The truth is that all people fail to live perfect lives.  Unfortunately, everyone else’s failures will not excuse me for becoming angry, for being greedy, for failing to keep all of God’s commands. Fortunately, God has loved all people so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, to save us from the punishment we deserve for all our failures.

How did Jesus save us?  Throughout his life, Jesus perfectly obeyed every one of his Father’s commands.  Despite his absolutely innocent life, Jesus was put to death on a cross where God punished his Son for our sins.  Jesus suffered the death we deserved for our disobedience. Amazingly, God now considers us “perfect” because Jesus lived perfectly as our substitute.  Mercifully, because Jesus died as our substitute, God declares us “forgiven.”

The Bible tells us, “When our hearts condemn us” – if we sense that we are not as good as we should be – “God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”  God knows “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”  God knows he traded Jesus’ goodness for our not being good enough.  God knows he put Jesus to death to give us life … life that will last forever.  Now, whenever our mistakes get us down, we can turn to God who assures us that through Jesus we are forgiven and perfect.

Does being a Christian make life easier?

The back of the t-shirt said, "Getting old is not for sissies." The
unfortunate thing is that sissy or not, there is no getting out of getting
old.

But what about the situation when something promises to be very difficult
and we are able to get out of it? Do we exit then? Is it true that when
the going gets tough the tough get out (if they can)?

To which question we might counter, "Does anyone ever become a Navy seal?"

Around our breakfast table the other morning the freshman in college said,
"It's incredible what they make someone go through to become a Navy Seal."
He said it with certain admiration in his voice. Like he might consider
such a "tough" thing himself. There are young men out there who do aspire
to become Navy seals.

The Apostle Paul told early Christians, "We must go through many hardships
to enter the kingdom of God" (Act 14:22). He was up front about the
difficulty in being a Christian.

So was Jesus when he said, "In this world you will have trouble" ([John
16:33]). There were no promises about a soft and easy life in this world.

So why be a Christian?

Why be a Navy seal? Why do anything that is difficult and hard and
strenuous?

We are believers in Jesus not because it promises ease in this world but
because it promises heaven. We live in a world that has been fatally hurt
by sin and evil. We are not going to be here long. We have in mind
something better, something our God has promised. We have in mind heaven.
We contemplate eternity spent in his presence. We look for this place
prepared for us. We long like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob did for a city
"with foundations, whose builder and architect is God."

We are Christians regardless of the hard things that may go along with that
because we believe Jesus who said, "In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). We are his
followers because he said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Christians are tough because their Savior is with them and strengthens them.
When the going gets tough, they get going.
Feeling Down?

I get depressed sometimes.
Can God help me deal with discouragement?

Do you ever feel that things you do really don’t make a difference?

Is it sometimes difficult to see the results of your hard work?

There are many times when we may ask ourselves, “What’s the point? Why do I keep trying?”

I know a man who, by no fault of his own, can’t seem to keep a job for more than a year or two.  He’s to the point where he expects to be laid off whenever cutbacks happen.  Discouraging?  Yes, definitely.

When events in our lives lead us to be depressed or discouraged, two reactions come rather easily to us.  The first is blaming God for the problems.  The second is thinking that somehow God is punishing us for something we have done.  However, neither of these reactions is correct.

The problem lies not with God; it lies with sin.  All of life’s problems come as a result of living in a world filled with sin.  These problems include layoffs at work, health problems, family issues, and others.  We’d have to get rid of sin to remove the troubles and problems that discourage us. But that’s something we could spend the rest of our lives trying to accomplish and never complete the task. Thankfully, God accomplished what we are unable to. 

We deserve to be sentenced under the judgment of God for everything we do or say or think that violates God’s will for us to live perfect lives.  But the Bible gives us the good news from God that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).  In tremendous love for us, God took away all of our sins and laid them on Jesus.  He charged his Son with our guilt.  Jesus, our Savior, suffered the punishment that we deserved.  He died to free us from eternal death.

Even though we experience discouragements in our life, nothing can take away the peace we have in Jesus, who took away our sins.  Through faith in our Savior, we are children of God.  Every day God is at our side helping us through difficult times.  Confidently trusting in him, our discouragements melt into calm assurance that our loving God is always leading us.

Handling Pressure

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

To which would you compare yourself? Are you kind of like an over-inflated balloon? Does the slightest pinprick cause you to burst? Or when your knot comes unraveled, do you fly this way and that until all the air is spent and you hang limp, unable to move? Are you similar to a fluorescent light bulb? Will a rap against a hard object cause you to fracture into a million tiny shards? Or maybe you're more like a rubber playground ball, always feeling kicked around and sometimes feeling a little too squishy. Maybe it's like a weight is attached to your foot and you're being pulled deeper and deeper and the ringing in your ears gets louder and louder. We're all under pressure, aren't we? How do you handle yours?

By ourselves, we're pretty fragile. The problems of life are usually not so considerate as to come at us one at a time. The word "bombarded" would fit rather well sometimes, wouldn't it? Temptation pricks at our thin exterior. We are pulled in all sorts of directions by the schedule that so often dictates our lives. Tragedy and trouble shatters the peace that we want so dearly to maintain. People kick us around and criticize our ideals and decisions. Sometimes the pressure feels so great that we think we're going to implode. The additional pressures of serving God and his people just add to all those other things.

But don't you think God recognizes all this? By ourselves, we are fragile. But with the Lord, we're firm. When we hear or study his Word, there's something solid that grows underneath our delicate exterior. The Holy Spirit does his work of giving us faith and strengthening us in that faith to resist everything that the devil and the world can throw at us. And you know what it is that's so solid, don't you? The Bible proclaims a certainty that we just can't find in ourselves. The good news that Jesus lived perfectly and died in our place and forgave us all our sins is not something squishy or fragile. It's real. It's one hundred percent done. It's yours to rejoice in. It's the solid foundation on which you and I stand.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Savior, thank you for giving me something I can count on. Thank you for being what I could never be and doing what I could never do. Thank you for giving me forgiveness and heaven. When the pressures of life remind me how fragile I am, help me to trust only in you. Even in all the problems of life, help me remember that you will keep me safe in your most capable hands. Amen.

How does Satan tempt us?

Think of someone who is close to you. You know her likes and dislikes. You know his strengths and weaknesses. That comes from spending time with the person. The more time we spend with that individual, the more we know him or her.

Satan also knows us well. But the way he knows us is different from the way God knows us. God knows us because he knows everything.

One of the most famous kings over the Hebrew people in Old Testament times was a man named David. He also wrote many of the psalms. In one of them he states, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.”

What David said about God is not something we could say about Satan. He is not everywhere at once as God is. Nor can he read all of our thoughts as God can.

But the devil has spent a lot of time studying us. He knows our habits, even our sinful ones. That puts him in a good position to tempt us. For he knows that some things will be more tempting for us than others.

For example, some people are tempted by money. They may steal money from a coworker or a roommate or a relative. That is their weakness. So the devil does what he can to place these temptations before them.

This was true for a disciple of Jesus called Judas. This man loved money, so the devil tempted him to negotiate with the Jewish leaders to betray Jesus. In exchange he would be paid a good sum of money. He fell for the temptation and sold his friend for a bag of cash.

What are your pet sins? What are some of the sinful things that tempt you? Internet porn? Material stuff? Popularity? Sex? To a certain extent we all have different weaknesses. And the devil knows that.

The good thing is that God also knows our weaknesses. Instead of tempting us to sin, God promises to help us avoid temptation. That’s what a line in the Lord’s Prayer is all about: “But lead us not into temption.” When we pray those words, we are asking that God would help us avoid or overcome temptation. We know that he has the power to help us. For Jesus resisted the devil’s temptation three times in the wilderness (See Matthew 4) and many times after that.

It’s kind of scary to think that the devil knows our weaknesses. But think of it—Jesus knows them, too. And he has promised to help us overcome them. 
 

My weak faith

The first line of an old Christian hymn asks for "a faith that will not shrink." That seems like an odd way of talking about faithshrinking. It's the way my faith sometimes feels, however.

News stories report on people who have great faith and who are heroes. Somehow, I don't seem to be a likely candidate.

The Bible paints dramatic pictures of "heroes of faith"Abraham, Moses, David. I can't picture myself comparing to them.

My faith seems timid and uncertain; not heroic. Sometimes I even conclude that faith and church and religion work fine for some people, but they're not for me.

I need to stop looking at my faith and look at Jesus instead.

Every Christian's faith "shrinks" sometimes, but Jesus stays strong.

A father once brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus and asked if Jesus could do anything. Jesus told him, "Everything is possible for him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Nervously, excitedly, the father exclaimed: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief" (Mark 9:24)!

What matters is not so much how strong my faith feels, but what my faith rests on.

I may have very strong convictions that a bottle of drain cleaner will make my sore throat go away. Actually, it will make me sicker instead of better.

The correct medicine will assist in making me feel better, even if I don't have much confidence in it.

Martin Luther said once that we are all "equal in Christ through faith." Luther knew that Abraham, Moses, and David all had a stronger faith than he did, but it was the very same faith in Christ.

Faith is a gift God gives us, and whoever believes in Christ receives Christ's blessingsno matter whether he receives them with a strong faith or a weak one.
Overcoming discouragement

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

“Hope does not disappoint us.” But would there be any disappointment without hope?  Discouragement and disappointment are tricky things, simply because they are only caused by our own expectations and hope.  If you study all week for an exam, you hope and expect to pass, if you didn’t, you don’t.  I, for one, am not discouraged that I have yet to win American Idol.  This is mostly because I was not expecting to, hoping to, or even trying to. 

But some things we do expect.  We expect them because we have been promised. When I crack a red can of Coke, it should taste like, well, Coke. I expect to get something that resembles customer service when I call my phone company. I expect and hope that my boss will appreciate my work.  And I expect professional writers not to misspell words like I just did.  I suppose the simplest solution is not to have any expectations at all.  To some degree this works.  Who could have road rage if you hope every other driver is a  jerk?

The problem though is not that we have expectations, it is where we have expectations. The problem is that many of our expectations are built upon people.  I don’t think it takes too much time looking around to figure out that people, all people, sin.Bosses lie, friends forget, spouses get angry, and we even fail ourselves.  People, real people, can never fulfill all their promises.

Did you know God made over 300 promises about Jesus in the Bible before he was ever born?  Three hundred promises and every single one of them was kept.  Every single one!  So is there any doubt that we can hope in the Lord?  No way!  God is perfect.  When God makes a promise to you that he will be faithful… he means business.  When he tells us that we have sinned and fall short of his glory…he is telling the truth.  And when God promises to forgive us, not because of something we have done, but because Jesus died for our sins.  That is a promise that will never disappoint. 

If you are exercising, you hope to look or feel better. If you are studying you expect results. If you are invested in a relationship, you expect good things.  With Jesus expect great things. Expect joy when you are sad. Expect forgiveness when you sin.  Expect comfort when you hurt.  Expect strength to overcome your discouragement.  Why?  Because God promised that hope in him will never disappoint us.
 

What difference does Jesus make?

The businessman was vacationing on the tropical island. He paid for a fishing trip with a guide. He was surprised to see that the guide's boat was not very fancy. He noticed that the guide's clothes were comfortable but not real fashionable. And the fishing gearwell, it was, um, primitive.

He decided to make the guide an offer. "Hey, how about I invest in your business here? I'll purchase you a better boat and nicer clothes and more modern equipment. In exchange for all of the business you generate, I'll take a percentage, say, 40%, something like that. You could still make a killing."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Listen, you got a good thing goin' here, with the island climate and the great fishing and all. And there's not a lot of competition. If you would just leverage your advantages a little, you could really make a bundle."

"And what would I do with all of that money?"

"Hey, you could invest it to grow the business, and then when it's really profitable you could sell out and live very comfortably. Perhaps you could even afford to. . .move to a tropical island and go fishing every day."

You get the point. Sometimes we are moving so fast to improve our lives that we don't realize that there's something simple out there that's really the improvement we're looking for.

That something is Jesus.

He's not very fancy. In fact, his message is simple, almost primitive. His death is all the forgiveness we need. His life is all the righteousness we need (2 Corinthians 5:21). His message is all the peace and comfort we need (John 14:27). His spiritual clothes are all the covering we need (Galatians 3:27).

If you don't know him, you don't know what a difference he makes. But when you meet him, you find that out. No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.
Where can I find inspiration for my life?
Isn't it amazing how inspiring we find things that don't last? The problem is that as these things don't last the inspiration that comes from them does not last either.

We find a rainbow awe-inspiring. But its vividness and definition quickly gives way to the gray clouds of a stormy day.

The beauty of a flower catches our eye. But almost before that very eye the brilliance of its color begins to fade.

That which inspires us breathes life into us. Rainbows and flowers may breathe temporary life into us, but they are quickly exhaled and forgotten.

So is there really anything that can give lasting inspiration for your life?

The answer to this question is found in the Bible. In the first letter Peter wrote he tells us: "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, 'All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever'" (1 Peter 1:23-25).

The Word of Godthe Bibleis "living and enduring." The Bible is living. It has the power to create real life in Jesus. It is enduring. Its inspiring quality lasts forever.

God reminds us that "grass withers and flowers fall." Everywhere you look you see this substantiated. But "the Word of the Lord stands forever." The Bible is the "imperishable" seed that has the power to germinate and give new life to you every day.
Why am I so afraid of living?
Don't you just hate it when you're afraid to get up in the morning, or when you're afraid to drive to work?

Many people are so afraid of living that they borrow troubles. They see a couple of their friends have problems, and they think they might be next. (Troubles supposedly come in threes, you know.)

People think that because everything has gone well for quite a while, that they cannot continue that way. They think things are bound to get worse. The so-called law of averages tells them that bad days are coming.

The Lord God doesn't want you to be afraid of living.

Listen to what God told his people once when they were afraid to live: "Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands" (Jeremiah 42:11).

Are you afraid of living because of what other people might think of you? Some people are afraid to act like Christians around people at work. They are afraid to talk like a Christian when their friends will hear them. They are afraid to share their faith, assuming that the hearer will ridicule them.

One solution to the fear of living is the confidence Christians have that God hears their prayers. "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).

Another solution to the fear of living is the assurance Christians have that God is on their side. St. Paul said it quite boldly: "If God is for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31)?
Why isn't God listening to me?
9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10)

Why does Jesus say that when we all know it doesn't work that way? We don't have perfect jobs. Our loved ones don't always gain back their health. I doubt that any of us will ever win the Power Ball jackpot.

Sometimes it's our fault. We pray for a better marriage but think all the changing needs to take place in THEM. We close our ears to the answer God has for that prayer, "Wake up. Love your spouse as much as I love you. Guess what? You're not doing that."

Oftentimes, the answer to our prayer just costs too much. God answers, "That money and power will make you so falsely secure in yourself and in this world that your spiritual life and your attentiveness to Me and My Word will wither up and die, and so will your soul. I can't have that. I need you with Me now, so I can have you with Me then."

The greatest answer to our prayers gets to the heart of all of our troubles in life. Jesus took the problem of sin head on when He sacrificed his life on a cross to destroy the effects of sin. The flawless life He lived on earth replaced the flawless life that God demands of us. We are free from guilt. We are free from God's punishment. Now that's an answer to our prayers!

We are confused about God's answers to our prayers because He is concerned about what's best for us...spiritually. We only think we know what's best for us. God can see miles ahead. We can only see a day at a time. The more we look into God's Word and see what life is really about, the more clearly we will understand God's answers to our prayers.
Why won't they let me help?
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

You have finally found the ideal church. There are plenty of children the same age as yours. The pastor seems energetic. Everyone is so friendly. You immediately feel like you belong. You know that they are short on the Sunday School staff and you have past teaching experience. You quickly offer your services only to have the pastor hem and haw around the topic and lead you to another job you are less interested it. What's up with that?

Imagine that you are going in for open heart surgery. Before you are put under, you see the doctor looking at his medical text book which tells him how to do the surgery. He comments to the nurse, "I'm a little rusty on this one." How confident would you feel about that surgeon?

In the passage above, we see that God's Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, and training to the listeners for service to God. It's good to know the text book before you operate. God's Word makes us thoroughly equipped, so that we can use it to equip others. We sit at God's feet and find out about His great love for us. We hear how He sent His only Son to die for us to remove the guilt and shame of our sin. As we fill up with that good news, we spill over into the cups of others. We can't fill others before we have a full pitcher ourselves.

The church you found is not questioning your faith, your motive, or your intent. They just want you to be more prepared and focused on the important and clear message of the Bible, so that you can more effectively share it with others. In the mean time, those "other" jobs at church aren't so bad, are they? God is pleased with any service you do to thank Him for His love for you.
Why can't I be satisfied with my life?
In 1975 the United States promised to convert from the so-called English system of measurement (which even the English don't use anymore!) to the metric system. Since the, two bills passed by the U.S. Congress have called for conversion but have basically been ignored. Meanwhile, when officials experimented with metric road signs in kilometers instead of miles, some dissatisfied people even went so far as to shoot up the road signs! (albeit with metric weapons like 9mm pistols).

We're used to a certain way of measurement for a satisfying life. We don't like it when our lives are interrupted. We want life to be perfect! Perfect functioning from our computer. Perfect programming on cable TV. Perfect weather. Perfect service at our favorite place to eat. Perfect health. Without perfection, we're simply not satisfied.

We even have a conscience that won't let us be satisfied with anything less than a perfect performance on our own part, either. Missed deadlines. Failed relationships. Half-hearted efforts. We know we're not right... with others, with ourselves, with God who happens to expect perfection in every action, word, and thought - think about that!

There is one measurement standard that does make us satisfied with life. The Bible urges us "to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ - that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19). The love of Jesus Christ is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than any sinful pile of imperfections we can assemble. Jesus Christ satisfied all demands of perfection by obligating himself to them and fulfilling them perfectly in every way. Then, he satisfied God's anger at our imperfections by suffering and dying. All this he did on our behalf, to make God perfectly satisfied.

Because of Christ you are filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! Because of the boundless love of Jesus Christ, God is satisfied. He now takes delight in your thoughts, words, and actions meant not to satisfy him, but to serve him with pleasure. You can take delight just the same!
Why does life seem meaningless?

“So you’re just going through the motions again, eh?  I know what you mean.  You hear people talk about wanting to have some routine in their life, but this is over-kill!”

Your alarm interrupts perfectly good sleep marking the start of your day. Same ol’ tooth brush, same ol’ cereal, and the same ol’ clothes.  Same ol’ school, same ol’ friends, same ol’ job, and same ol’ family.

“Doesn’t God want me to be happy? How can I be happy when every day seems to routine, so meaningless?  I really do need a change.”

“Maybe one of those new electric toothbrushes to remove the left-over new cereal from between my front teeth—which I’ll whiten up with some new brightener product.  Time to hit the mall and find some new outfits and add some spice to life.  Who knows, maybe I’ll meet some really neat new friends while I’m at it?  And there’s got to be some better jobs out there, for someone once told me that if you find a job you like, you won’t have to “work” another day in your life!

But, do you really think all these changes in your life will really bring meaning to your life?  Oh, they might for a day or two, but they’ll soon become routine.  And then what—more money spent on more changes?  You’ll go broke!

Wouldn’t it be just great to enjoy the life God has given to me right now and know it has real meaning! 

There is.  It starts at the cross of Jesus.  Really!  At the cross we learn how much God loves us—SO much to send his Son to pay the penalty of our sins and give us the righteousness we need to get into heaven.  When God’s people start their day remembering God’s love for them, then life takes on a whole new meaning.

Life isn’t about me, or how much I can get out life now.  Living is about Jesus and how much he loves me.

When Jesus lives in my heart then toothbrush, cereal, school, job, friends and family are seen in a whole new light.  Jesus puts the bounce in my step and gives me the joy of thankfully serving him because of all he did for me.  Then my life has meaning. I get to do everything for a reason—to thank and praise Jesus who loves me so much. 

No wonder St. Paul had a life full of meaning.  He got it!  “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

What greater meaning to life can there be than knowing all I do as God’s child, I do to give God glory!  Thank you Jesus, for giving real meaning to my life!
 

 


© Copyright 2020 Breezie. All rights reserved.

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