Sunday, 8 December 2013
Thursday, 28 November 2013
A Biblical perspective:
“We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy, for he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
Imagine God were to write a book about you about the life you led while on earth. With God as author, this biography would be totally truthful, accurately written. What sort of story would it be? Imagine God had a library of such books. Would He gladly place the volume bearing your name in a place of honor? Do you care what He thinks? Exactly how do we live a life, that in God's eyes, is a life well lived? By his words and example, Apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to live in such a way that would be worthy of God. Here we have the whole law of Spiritual conduct in a nutshell. There may be many detailed commandments, but they can all be deduced from this one.”To live a worthy life means reflecting in our words and actions recognizing who our God is , Jesus said “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. “(Matthew 5:48).
Within each of us are Visions and aspiration longing to be realized, great dreams for the future — a purpose and a destiny to be fulfilled. But so often, we put those dreams aside in order to function in the real world. The demands of daily life threaten to rob us of our purpose and dreams. But we must realize that those deep desires and longings, those dreams that just won’t go away are in us for a purpose — God has a purpose and plan for our lives. To live worthy lives, we need God’s Word. The Bible is not “mere human ideas.” It’s the “very Word of God” that has the power to transform lives and “continues to work in you who believe” Bible declares that “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”(Proverbs 19:21) God’s glory is the reason for our existence. It’s not just a reality or the resource. It is the present reason for everything. It’s all for God’s glory. Romans 11:36 says, “Everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory” (NLT). It means you make God’s purpose your purpose. You make God’s will your will. You care about what God cares about. Whatever you want God to bless, put him first in that area. I propose three vital principles to live your life worthy of God, FIRST, Discover and live Your Life on Purpose, second, Develop your vision and finally demonstrate His glory. Reflecting God’s glory through our life as part of God’s redemptive plan for the world, Understanding these three essentials provides a firm foundation for growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Discovering your purpose
Life is often defined by the questions we ask. The questions we are asking often reveal what we are thinking – or the direction we are going. Most people unfortunately never struggle to think about or find answers for the basic questions of existence, Origin, Purpose, Meaning and Destiny of life. The answers to these questions will consciously or unconsciously condition, empower or limit almost everything in that individual's life. Four of the most crucial questions we can ask about life are these: Where did we come from? Why are we here? What can I do? And where will we go when we leave the earth? These questions are critical because it has eternal consequences. The question is very important--so is the answer.
The Bible answers these questions with the authority of God. Believe it or not, the kind of questions you ask determine the kind of life you lead. What is the reason for your existence? What were you created to do? God was deliberate in designing you, but how can you determine what His purpose was? Start by asking the Lord to show you your purpose. God wants you to discover your purpose even more than you do! Why? Because your purpose isn’t just about you, only but it’s about what God wants to do through you. It’s about influencing and blessing your generation. Your purpose matters for eternity! So, what is your purpose? That is something that only the Lord can reveal to you. The wisest King Solomon gave this advice to the youth of his day. “REMEMBER YOUR CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF YOUR YOUTH” (Ecclesiastes 12:1) “I will only add, that “you can find your purpose.”
Remembering God does not mean merely thinking about Him once in awhile. It means to relate to Him, walk with Him, discover Him, and learn to know Him while you are young. There are reasons given for this. Ecclesiastes 11:9 this is the key verse. It has four things that describe every one of you young people. Four assets, four wonderful things about you that the Bible knows, that God knows, and that He out here in this scripture just for you. Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. Paul wrote his first letter to young Timothy urging the youngster to be aware of his influence to others: I Timothy 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. There are four excellent reasons to Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
First, the decisions of youth often influence the course of one’s life. So Remembering our Creator helps us make wise decisions so that our lives will be built on the firmest possible foundation (Matt. 7:24-27; Ps. 119:9). Second the decisions of youth often influence the course of one’s life. Youth is a time of folly for the best of men. So remember your Creator in the days of your youth in order to overcome the foolish inclinations of this time of life. Third Youth is the time of one’s highest vitality and energy (Prov. 20:29) so Remembering our Creator in the days of our youth will make memories of which we will not be ashamed in the future. It will build experience that will be valuable in the future course of our lives as well as in counseling others. Remembering your Creator in the days of your youth is the best way to prepare for the future, both here and hereafter.
Live Your Life on Purpose.
You were born with a God-given purpose and fulfilling that purpose must be your primary mission in life. It is the theme of your life. It is expressed in your passions, your desires, your dreams, gifts, talents, and your vision for the future. It burns like a fire within you. Perhaps it even consumes you. But if you never fulfill it, there will always be a deep sense of dissatisfaction in your heart. Your fulfillment, satisfaction and peace of mind are all tied to that purpose! Long before you were ever born the Lord knew you. He wrote out all of your days in His book. He created you for a specific purpose and it is a purpose that only you can fulfill. The Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations, (Jer. 1:5 NIV). Prior to your birth, God installed in you all of the necessary gifts, talents and abilities you would need to fulfill his purpose for your life. Those gifts, talents and abilities help define your purpose. The Psalmist said, Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days of my life were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them, (Ps. 139:16 AMP).
When people are in crisis, they need eternal truth, not our opinion. It’s not enough to tell someone to pray or go to particular holy place. You have to help them know how to make changes in their lives. And we can’t make changes in our lives until we understand our Purpose. You cannot become all that God created you to be until you embrace your identity and your God ordained purpose— the unmistakably unique and flawed you that God intentionally made for a purpose. You will never be able to make a change in your life or fulfill God’s purpose for your life until you understand that you are wonderfully complex and uniquely flawed for God’s glory. (Psalm 139:14). To fulfill God’s purpose for you, you have to look at every dimension of your life and understand the key factors that influence your Purpose. Then, you have to make the most of what you’re given. We may have all been given different purpose, parents, pains, problems, and potential, but we will all be held accountable one day for what we did with those factors. In Ephesians 2:10 we read, For we are God’s own handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
Living on purpose is to become aware that we were all created to serve some specific function in life. Some of these purposes might be superior, attracting the honor of the world. Some of these purposes may be down-to-earth, that may not be as acknowledged by society but is still significant. The pursuit of your life is to come into that purpose. And the waste of your life is to miss that purpose. The problem, though, for most of us is discovering what our purpose is. Here are a few mistakes we make while looking for it, ones that can distract or misdirect us. Part of your reason for coming to earth is to evolve yourself and part of it is to serve God and humanity in some way. The process of evolving yourself is called your life purpose, and the service you came to offer humanity is called your life’s Vision. They are intertwined because as you evolve, you serve others in a much better way, and the process of serving others can also result in your evolution. Everything you do to evolve yourself and carry out your life’s work is an act of aligning with the God’s Purpose. Finding and creating your life’s Purpose will bring you more abundance than any other single action you can take. Your Purpose will involve doing what you love to do and will in some way make a contribution to the greater good of humanity. Prosperity will be a by-product of doing what you love and will flow effortlessly into your life, without even much thought. Now is the time to listen to your creator and discover the special Purpose you came to do. You wouldn't dream of moving forward without a rock solid foundation. Discovering God's purpose for your life is exactly the same. Working with God to find your life purpose means working as a team. When you take a step, God takes two steps.
Developing Your Vision
“Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’” – Habakkuk 2:2-3
As we begin to wind down 2013 and moving ahead to 2014, our focus should turn to ensuring that we know and understand God’s Purpose and vision for us and for our lives for this season and beyond. We need to grasp God’s purpose and vision for our lives. Man was created by God to co-exist with His glory. But for us to experience God’s Glory we must come to the reunion with open and prepared hearts knit together in total unity. Too often, we run with our own vision, rather than God’s vision concerning us. We must position ourselves so that we can hear what God wants to say concerning us. Occasionally we ask God to speak but then we continue to talk rather than remaining silent and waiting for the Lord to answer.
Hearing the voice of God is the greatest privilege and legacy of the child of God (see John 10:27, 28; Acts 2:17, 18; Rev. 3:20). Like Habakkuk, we can take a posture before God that enables us to hear His voice. God is eager to show us His vision for us, and to put us in the steps He has ordered for us before time began. What God has “said” concerning us, God has spoken “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11) “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Vision is the art of seeing the invisible. In this respect, vision is not just seeing, it is not just "sight." Instead, vision is insight. It is the ability to see something that only you can see, something that others do not see because this something does not have a physical reality. It is something you see in your mind’s eye, something that exists in your imagination, something that is within yourself. If you are operating by sight, you see the problems and challenges all around you. Life is so full of depressing things that you need to learn to live by vision and see with the eyes of faith. Remember that sight is the ability to see things as they are, and vision is the ability to see things as they could be. In other words Vision is the ability to see things as they should be. God gave us vision so we would not have to live by what we see. The Bible is very clear that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews11:6). If you try to function in any other way than faith, you will malfunction. That is why worry is ungodly and fear makes your vision short-circuit.
Take action! Challenge your thinking! Choose to begin to discover your purpose and see the vision that God has prepared specifically and uniquely for you and you only. Choose to confess the plans that God has for you. Choose to carry the vision, the purpose, that your Father has spoken into you and ingrained you with. Your purpose and vision are your glory. God gave them to you, not to somebody else. Only you can fulfill your purpose or comprehend your vision. No one else can. You are a “jar of clay” with God’s precious glory stored inside. He endowed you with gifts and talents to use in living out your purpose. Your gifts and talents were given to you in order to release your glory. Don’t bury them away as the wicked and unfaith-full servant did in Jesus’ parable (Matt. 25:14-30).
Demonstrating His Glory
"But we all...beholding...the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory..." – (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The ultimate outcome of discovering our purpose and developing vision is expressed by Paul the Apostle in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Paul began the chapter by pointing out the radical change that occurs when a person places their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and becomes a Christian. The old self has died with Christ and the new self has been raised up to newness of life with Him. The result is that the believer is to set his mind and seek the things above instead of the things that are on earth. Because the born again believer has been redeemed, regenerated and reconciled by the Lord, the old patterns of life and ways of thinking are to be changed. Now when we’re dealing with a sovereign God, there’s no such thing as coincidence. Things happen for a reason. Maybe we don’t see or understand the reason, but there is one. And because there is one, we have verses like Colossians 3:17 that tell us as Christians how to act and behave: The New Testament speaks of believers having a new mind, a new will, a new heart, a new inheritance, a new relationship, new power, new knowledge, new wisdom, new perception, new understanding, new righteousness, new love, new desire, new citizenship, and many other new things—all of which are summed up in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). In other words “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16) And again Paul said: “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)
In the Hebrew, the word glorify is kabod; and in the Greek, it is doxazo. Interestingly enough, there are really two different aspects of this word: First, to glorify means to shine, to demonstrate and to manifest the divine. (Exodus 16:7,24:16) In other words, glory represents the Lord’s presence. The second aspect of the word glory means to reflect, to show forth, to demonstrate and to express the image of an object or person that it may be seen by all. It means to add something to someone’s character that it, in itself, does not have. In the New Testament doxazo can mean to signify, extol and ascribe honor to. (John 11:3; 12:16 1 peter 4:16) It is most often used of an external manifestation. According to the Bible, to glorify God means to bring Christ’s innate glory or radiance to light, to manifest it or to reflect it. (John 17:1) Let our Life Reveal His Glory.
We cannot reclaim our glory or reach our full potential outside of a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). The only way we can reenter “Eden,” the covering environment of the Father’s presence, is through the doorway of Jesus Christ. Bible says “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)
God’s original purpose was hidden when mankind sinned and so it became a mystery, until it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ at the cross. Since the cross the mystery has been revealed, until then, the best we can hope for is to be a dim shadow of what God wants for us. We were created for His presence, and apart from His presence we will never become all He wants us to be. Apart from the presence of God we will never expose our “full weight.” Only in Christ can we reclaim and manifest our full glory.
Bible says “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)The Glory of the Lord . . . the very mention of those words inspires awe . . . what wonderful words to utter from our lips and wonderful to our ears also. We know that the glory is something to be desired and that the earth will one day be filled with the glory of the Lord. All created things declare God’s glory by their very existence, except for one. Man is the only creation who can choose to declare God’s glory or not. “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”( Psalm 139:14) should we live for the glory of the Lord, in the glory of the Lord, or as the glory of the Lord? It certainly seems appropriate to live and do everything for God’s glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
What a magnificent disclosure from the Lord! When we look at God in the plainness and unhidden truth which He intended, we begin to see and comprehend His glory. And as we do, we are transformed into that same realm of glory. What does this mean for you (and me)? This vision for your life is centered on the realization that as a Christian you are in a continual state of glorification. And once you enter this path, you will live from one wonderful level of glory to another (from glory to glory). God longs to fill every fragment of your existence with His unending and splendor-filled glory. This is why you were made in the first place—to both glorify God and to bask in His glory as a glorified being.
Can you imagine what Gods glory is like? Well neither could I until I dug in a little and started reading how God Himself describes His glory. From Genesis to Revelation, He reveals it continually and in ways that make it easy for all of us to understand. In some sense, the entire Bible is a revelation of His glory. Just to begin our understanding, let’s look at a short verse in Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Imagine the wonders of the universe: supposedly infinite, with perhaps billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and amazing powers and forces that are barely conceivable by our supposedly advanced scientific minds. This latest theory reveals an even greater level of glory than just the single universe that we’ve traditionally envisioned.
Now turn the other direction and ponder that mankind still cannot find the smallest particle within the atom. Then contemplate the workings of life and the infinite complexities of the human body. Oh how amazingly wonderful are the functions and intricacies of every system in your body. Surely they attest to something more than random chance—or evolution. They attest to the glory of a Creator. What kind of glorious being could have developed the blueprints and patterns for even the simplest living cells? Only an infinitely intelligent, glorious God! Every tiny piece of God’s creation indicates us to ponder the source of such magnificence. All created beauty reflects the deep love of the Creator. His beauty, grace, and strength are discernible to anyone who does not willfully choose to ignore such splendor.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of God’s glory (Colossians 2:9) The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. (Heb 1:3a) In the Old Testament the glory of God was associated with his presence. We read that the glory of God filled the temple (2Ch 7:1), which meant that his presence filled the temple. But the Hebrew word doesn't mean presence, it means splendour. So what is God's glory, or splendour?
In Exodus 33:18 Moses asked God to show him his glory. The Hebrew word translated 'show' means to reveal to the eye or to the mind. Moses was saying: 'Lord, let me see your glory and let me understand it.' So God said:’ I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' (Exodus 33:19)What did he mean by that? He meant that his glory is comprised of all his goodness (Hebrew: excellence), which is everything he is: his love, his purity, his holiness, his faithfulness etc… and also his mercy and compassion, which are vital for our salvation (Rom 9:10–18).
All of God's moral and spiritual qualities make him glorious and worthy to be praised. God’s glory is a permanent high! It’s always accompanied by joy, elation, and best of all, with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Divine glory cannot be granted or bestowed upon you by other humans. Only the Creator of the universe—the great I AM—God the Father, can bestow such amazing glory. It is a humbling thought that a God whose glory can be seen in the expanse of the universe, desires that we partake of His glory. Psalm 8:3-5 says When I consider Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that you visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
God is mindful of you! He visits you through a personal infilling of His Spirit and crowns you with His glory and honor! He seeks you from the deepest heaven, calling to your innermost depths to hear Him; accept Him; and love Him. And all of this glory is possible in your life by simply believing in Christ and having faith in what He says. It’s yours for simply believing! It is the glory of God in all of its fullness and richness that was given to Jesus Christ and now through Jesus, it is given to you. All of God’s glory – His total stock of magnificent glory – was given to Jesus. And now He has given that same measure of glory to you, not withholding any of it! In this glory you are woven with both Jesus and the Father into a wonderful transforming union of light and righteousness. Now, let’s get back to this statement from 2 Corinthians 3:18 where we are told that “we are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”