Our Eternal Rest

As human beings, we get the values of life and death backwards. We will sacrifice the quality of our life for the quantity of life. We often live years past our optimal health and spend more money than we have to suffer endless procedures and live off dozens of expensive medications. Yet, what is the Biblical view of life and death?

Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).” In other words, He was happy to serve the Lord on this earth for as long as it pleased the Lord for him to do so; but once his usefulness was over, he was ready, willing and able to go home to be with the Lord. That was where his hope and rest lay. That is where we all gain the eternal rest from our labors.

The wise Solomon recognized that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1); yet we humans rejoice at a new birth and cry at a funeral. Of course, the tears at the funeral are more for our self than the deceased, because of our separation from our loved one; but if we realize that, in Christ, we will live in eternity with that same loved one, then we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:12-18).

We toil all of our life to gain the things of this world, and then turn around and leave them all behind to people who do not value them as we did. They usually donate everything we worked so hard to attain to some charity resale shop to be sold at a fraction of what we paid for them. What is the sense in that? Why do we put so much stock in this world’s goods?

A home, transportation, food and necessary apparel with a hobby or two thrown in are enough for anyone. Yet, so many slave to have the best that money can buy. The entire focus of their life is to get that one more thing. Yet, nothing ever really satisfies their soul. Only a life dedicated to the service of God for His glory pays the real dividends that we are looking for in this life and in the next.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to store up our treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can destroy them (Matthew 6:19-24). Help us to use the wealth You give to us on this earth to help to lighten the load of those less fortunate than we are and also to help to further Your gospel to the far reaches of the earth.

Thought for the Day:
It is the simple pleasures of life that really mean so much and cost so little.

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The Courage to Surrender

Who is really in charge of your life? Can you actually find fulfillment or control your destiny by living life “your way”? Life has a way of destroying our plans. We delude our self when we think that we can manage or direct our life. In the decisions we make, we will either obey our selfish flesh, the deceitful devil or God. It is totally unprofitable to surrender our life to anyone other than God.

We humans have a need to make our own way in the world, so we often reject the teachings of our youth and incorporate what we learn in college and in the workplace as our own philosophy. We deludedly think that we can do with our life whatever feels good to us. We often dabble in various venues to see how they fit. Deciding who we are and how we blend into our world often takes a lifetime.

We make what we think are wise decisions, but the consequences of those choices, along with unforeseen events, may end up crippling us. There are so many ideals, philosophies, needs and powers at work in our world. Thankfully, God continually provides us with a fork in our road. He gives us many opportunities to walk away from the world and into His waiting, everlasting arms.

If we have the courage to surrender to His love, we have His peace. However, God does not accept half-hearted devotion. He wants the dedication of a bondservant (Deuteronomy 15:16-17). He came to earth in human form to lay down His life for us, and He wants an equal commitment from us. So, we voluntarily lay down our life for Him (1 Corinthians 7:22-23), and surrender our pride and rebellion to Christ.

Prayer:
Father God, throughout His lifetime Jesus frequently prayed to You. He communed with You in the same way that we do – without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can enjoy sweet fellowship with the Trinity as we carpool the kids, clean the house, work at the office, build homes, repair cars, wait on tables and perform every other aspect of our life. You sustain us through whatever life brings our way.

Thought for the Day:
“The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

Total Harmony with God

God uses mechanics, writers, bakers, seamstresses, accountants, lawyers, artists, judges, preachers, secretaries, musicians, teachers, clerks, singers, directors, laborers and everything in between, as we totally surrender our life to Him. He uses us for His glory right where we are. It is ludicrous to believe that we can live successfully apart from God. We may achieve success in certain areas of our existence, but there is always something lacking.

We do not make our own plans and ask God to bless them. We seek Him first, and then He directs our thoughts, words and plans (Proverbs 3:5-6). No matter what our gifts and talents, no matter what our training and abilities, no matter what our natural inclinations are, if the Spirit of God does not guide us, we are wasting our time. Our union with God causes us to look to Him for everything, and to submit to Him in everything.

Once we open our heart to God’s salvation both from sin’s curse and eternal damnation, we live with Him in continuous communion. We want nothing more from life than this personal relationship with Him, but He gives us so much more. God’s divine life flows through our spirit, which is the center for our faith and conduct. When we submit our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then we cannot help but prosper, as well as to bless others.

We relinquish to Him all of our fears and insecurities, and He abundantly supplies all of our needs (Philippians 4:18-20). We possess an intimate union with God Himself, and He fills our lives with His continual blessings, both spiritually and materially. God’s divine life cannot dwell within us without our complete consent to His Lordship. We live in total harmony with God through our union with Jesus Christ and by the direction of His Holy Spirit.

Prayer:
Father God, as we fully dedicate our life to You, You will make us holy, which will then bring us fulfillment and success. Your divine life flows through all of creation, and although we cannot perceive the reality of this, the Bible makes it clear. If we fail to praise You, the rocks will cry out (Luke 19:40). The trees continually clap their hands in a duet with the wind in praise to You (Isaiah 55:12). Not even a sparrow, a lily or a blade of grass exists without Your consent (Matthew 10:29). Your divine energy flows through all of life. We can tap into that by repenting of our self-centered life and dedicating our life to live according to Your love and direction.

Thought for the Day:
Once we come to see the utter alienation and hopelessness of life and eternity apart from God, we choose Christ as our life, and our humanity dies and is hidden with Christ in God. – Colossians 3:3-4