Isn’t every home temporary? I have called many different places home over my five decade life. There was my growing up home, a place I rested my head for the most of twenty-seven years. A college dorm room for two and a half, an apartment for two semesters as a cooperative education student. A house when first married for 30 days, an apartment for two and a half years, a small home for six more and the current residence going on seventeen years.
But do you understand our home on earth is temporary? Our life will end at some point and our future home will not be temporary but forever. Many choose not to believe this and of course that is their right. I am in the camp that believes if you do not actively choose the better option you default to the one no one wants: An eternity of torment in hell.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3
In John 3:16 Jesus gives us the promise that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have eternal life. But where will this eternal life take place? Not on earth, because nothing here is forever. In fact one day there will be a new Heaven and earth.
Jesus is working in Heaven even now to make sure there is a place that will make even the finest of temporary mansions on earth look like a cardboard shanty town. But the best part is that once we get to Heaven we will be so consumed with worship and praise we won’t even know what things compare to on the temporary planet we thought was our everything.
Don’t concentrate on the temporary here so much that you miss the eternal promise God grants to all. The eternal reward easily within your grasp is something you must not allow to escape you.
I stumbled across this new way to spread the happy last week, but life was too hectic to take part. This week is really no less that way, but I cannot go another week without joining the others carving out a few moments to enumerate three things that they are thankful for.
Over the last few months I have seemed to tap into a different plane of my writing ability or rather ability to find subjects. Or maybe I should say a worthwhile blog invitational. Like the Kindness Challenge that will start on Monday. I don’t want to ever take on the persona of one that feels owed or entitled. Since my brother died at age 29 I have considered every day a gift and want to approach it that way.
So can I think of 3 things I am thankful for today? You bet your boots I can.
Tomorrow my son will don a cap and gown and collect the paper work that will declare he is a graduate of East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. This is an answer to many a prayer let me tell you. As I told my son completing a college degree is no small feat. It is something that will deliver benefits his entire professional career. I know I will not be the only proud parent there, my wife is just as proud, but I am certainly very thankful he had the opportunity.
Over the last five or so weeks I have been beating my brains out and my wife and I have worked endless hours trying to re-build our deck, which we discovered had some structural issues when I had to tear some of it off to access the septic tank we wanted to get pumped. Hours before work and hours after have drained our time from any other project. Add in the coincidence of the graduation party/birthday party we have on the docket for Sunday and the time constraint added some stress. But Wednesday night well after dark and by cell phone flashlight we finished. I am so grateful we could get this completed in time to enjoy as we celebrate these milestones.
My third thing is anticipating having both my kids home from school. Sure it will be an adjustment for all of us, but having the family together is always a good thing. Now that my son will be a graduate I know that the time is coming when he will exit our life to go on his own path and it is something I want for him but kind of dread too. Life changes so quick and trying to adjust on the fly can be tricky.
That is what I have for my first try at Three Things Thursday. I could list so many more and will over the coming weeks. Always remember to give thanks, because anything we have is a blessing from God.
Okay so let’s talk about this Daily Post topic, record. I suspect many people will choose to talk about the spinning disc that holds music. I hope so, I will be looking to see what songs people choose to write about. I am taking a different approach. What I have in mind is directly tied to the blog I chose to host this post, Living the J.O.Y. Principle. That’s right I will apply this to Christian faith.
One of the greatest questions I have ever heard from the pulpit goes similar to this: If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? In other words what does you Record show? Can you be held accountable for what you do for Christ?
I suppose there is a dichotomy in how we answer that question. On the one hand we are to do things for Christ without looking for praise. But on another we need to know from others if what we do meets the requirements of service God puts before us. Perhaps one of the most basic things we can do to ensure we are building a valid record is to at least follow the Great Commission.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Go and tell. Pretty basic instructions that are easy enough for anyone to follow. In truth when all the dust settles this will be the piece of our record that will mean the most. Tell everyone you encounter about what God has done for you so they can have the opportunity to enjoy the same.
When you are a Christian you have a clear set of instructions about how to serve Christ. But just because you have these and know them well does not mean you will always live up to them. Too many times you find yourself missing the mark in one or more ways as you try to serve your Savior.
My echo is when I tell myself I must do better. I must give more love, I must treat others better, I must spend more time reading the bible, I must serve more. I should be more patient, more tireless in my service, more willing to mentor others, more willing to learn, you know as I do the list is endless.
Sometimes the echo is soft in my ears. But sometimes the echo can drive you nuts! Can any of you echo my feelings?
How many have you blessed today? This week, this month, this year? If not, why not? Here is instructions from the book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 11:24-25 “24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. 25 The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”
God does not bless us so we can accumulate and collect in places where no one gains. I realized years ago that everything I have is on loan from God. I also decided long ago the sure way to continue to enjoy what I was blessed with was to share with others. It comes as part of the J.O.Y. Principle I try to make my overarching life mantra.
Jesus is always first. Others will be next and my time comes last. How do you do that? With devotion to do what Jesus says in the Holy Bible. Then be kind to your neighbor, or the person you encounter wherever you go. Don’t allow the stresses of life to influence how you treat others. They are just as important to God as you and just trying to do a job or live their life, the same as you.
I heard someone speaking recently about how they housed some missionaries that were on a short term break and needed a temporary resting place. The couple was basically patting themselves on the back fro blessing the missionaries with their hospitality, but in the end their blessing turned out to be so much greater. Truly you cannot out give God.
I am currently in partnership with a couple involved with a mission more than 1300 miles away and the ability to share God’s blessing on my life with them continues to become richer all the time. I have been fortunate to visit them in their ministry location three times and actually be a part of their growth. To see God working through them and with what help my church and I can pass along is a great model of being the “Body of Christ”.
Make a special effort to try to bless someone today!
This is my response to Banned, the Daily Post one word prompt for 10-26-16.
For this week’s Discovery Challenge we are encouraged to delineate our Origin Story like that of a movie character.
Once upon a time I was the guy who could not get up in front of others and speak. I would stutter or get nervous, so I just chose not to do it. I also was not a Christian, but just because I had never taken the required step of asking Jesus to be in my life. Luckily I had someone in my life who cared enough to make sure I understood the importance of that decision. You know how it is to have a real life angel that knows how to guide your steps? I had that.
As I matured, I learned what it meant to have a relationship with Christ and knew I needed that. I was sixteen when I finally took the step or steps to the front of my small Methodist church in Meadowview, Virginia. Little did I know that that moment would forever change my path in life and that my inability to speak would also be changed.
Slowly at first I began to feel more comfortable speaking in public. It was mostly in front of friends at church, but eventually I got the chance to do so in more public spaces in front of larger amounts of people. I knew that it was God’s hand that was giving me this ability and I made a commitment to always speak in his name when I could.
Before long I was speaking in front of larger crowds as I communicated plans for mission projects in our church. There was also moments when words needed to be communicated at community events like Relay For Life. With every opportunity my confidence grew.
In 2012 I got the chance to go on an international mission trip and the following year when I returned I read a Christmas Story to about 60 children. Also during that time my wife and I began to lead our church’s effort to provide a teen bible school for around thirty youth. There was no way I could let nerves bother me then, because I was communicating directly about God’s love.
This past December I had the extreme pleasure of delivering an ad-lib puppet show for about twenty-five minutes to a group of nearly one hundred children and adults. There were no nerves to be found, because God was blessing our effort. From an origin of doubt has come a life of serving for God.
Just last night as we talked about something called the posture of a Christian, I stoop before two dozen teenagers and another half dozen adults and shared how God had worked in my life. My origin was more like a stumble than a leap, but with God you can do anything.
Today the one word prompt from Daily Post land is Purpose.
I was blessed to have an earthly angel in my life to guide me into an understanding of what it meant to have a Christian relationship with the creator of the universe. Yes, I am a Christian and not ashamed of it at all. I am sure you did not expect to find yourself here, on a faith based blog, but that in a nutshell will describe my primary purpose in life: to share my faith with others.
One of the primary instructions to all Christians is to share our faith. If you do not know, it is called the Great Commission. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. This to me is something I think about every day as I go about my life. Am I living the kind of life others will be interested in? Am I treating others in a way they will want to know more about my purpose?
Without a purpose we are destined to wander aimlessly fulfilling our own selfish desires which not only serves no one else, but can be ultimately harmful to us. A purpose which involves assisting others gets us past a narrowed path that means we will leave this earth no better than we found it. Part of my philosophy grows from the J.O.Y. Principle. This principle goes as follows: Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. Yes, that is right, you must not focus solely on your desires and wants. I am much happier when I am serving God or others than serving my own selfish desires. You can learn more about the J.O.Y. principle here.
Not so long ago there was a huge bible study by Rick Warren called The Purpose Driven Life. Many folks completed this study and live more fulfilled lives as a result. We have to have a purpose and a direction to succeed. My purpose has grown stronger as I have learned under great bible teachers in the churches I have attended my entire life.
I look forward to reading your description of Purpose.