Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Encouraging Thought

Take a moment and think about your life.  Do you like you life right now?  Are you  hoping for a change?  Is there something that is missing?  Think about what you life is like and how that compares to your dreams.

Have you done it?  If you have not thought about your life, I will give you a few more moments to think.  You can’t go on until you have until you have finished the little exercise. 
Finished?  Good, now you have my permission to continue.
I know for many of us our lives are not quite where we would like them to be.  We find our current life a little boring, and we constantly complain that there is nothing to do.  Sometimes we are just plain lonely.  We see other people with all these friends or with a companion of the opposite sex and we become a little jealous. We perceive that our lives don’t measure up to theirs.  Other times we desire to have this amazing relationship with God, but our lives lack the promised peace and hope which comes from a relationship with God.  We get down and begin doubting whether or not God has really saved us.
Regardless of how you feel about your life right now, you are in the right place.  God has put you in this place so that you will see Him.  For those who don’t know Jesus, God has put them into a place so if they would only open their hearts and seek Him they will find Him.  For us who do know Jesus, we are in just the right place to be used by God.  God has placed into our lives experiences, knowledge, and the salvation we need to make a difference.  We might think it is a small and insignificant difference, but it will the difference that God desires.

Take the example of Esther.  If you have never read the book of Esther I challenge you to do so. It is a book that shows how God works through history.  Esther was a Jewish girl that became queen because of her great beauty.  A plot to kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire became law after she became queen.  Esther had an uncle by the name of Modecai, and he pleads to her to intervene on the behalf of her people.  Esther was reluctant  since it could mean death if the King did not want to see her.  Yet it was entirely possible that God allowed her to become Queen just for this very moment.  God put her just where she needed to be.  This is what Uncle Modecai told Esther:
If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this? (Esther 4:14; NLT)

We may not have to save an entire race of people, but God has put us just where He needs us to be.  Obeying God and taking that step of faith means that we will experience God in a new way.  Our relationship with the Creator will become better, and our life will look a whole lot more appealing.
Consider what Dave Stone in I’d Rather See A Sermon; “God is counting on you to be open to His leading.  You may be the only person who can reach a certain individual or group of people.  God has planted you in that environment to accomplish His purpose for eternity.”

Instead of complaining about your life and wishing things would change, look around you and discover what needs to be done.  My bet is that God put you there for just such a time.
In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring there is one scene that I absolutely love because of the way it stirs my heart.  The Fellowship has been forced to go through the mines of Moria.  They come to a place where the tunnel splits and Gandalf does not know which way to go.  The group sits to rest and think about their options.  Gandalf and Frodo begin to talk about their task.  Frodo confides in Gandalf and says, “I wish the Ring would never have come to me.  I wish none of this would have happened.” 
Gandalf replies, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.  All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us.  There are other forces at work in this world besides the one of evil.  Bilbo was meant to find the Ring.  In which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought.”

Erwin McManus wrote something similar in his book An Unstoppable Force; “God chooses not only the places but also the times in which we live.  He has privileged us to live not only in the greatest expansion of human population but also with the greatest opportunity for the spread of the gospel.”
Jesus has given us a command to go. “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples.” (Matthew 28:19; CEV).  That command has corporate significance, for it is the mission of the entire church, and it has personal significance, for each Christian is responsible to that command.  We all have a mission in our lives.  How we carry out this mission is our purpose. 
Truth is often times this mission can feel overwhelming.  There are so many people who have not even heard the name of Jesus, and millions more who have heard and have rejected Him.  The sheer numbers make this mission seem impossible.  There are the people whom we encounter everyday of our lives, and despite our efforts they do not seem to be changed.  The lack of response makes this mission to seem pointless.
When you are feeling like that I want to encourage you, just as Gandalf encouraged Frodo.  God has placed you where you are, for a reason.  There is a purpose to your life, right now, exactly where you are at.  If you remain faithful to God, by committing yourself to obedience and worship, you will experience the purpose of God in your life.  Yes, things will not go as you would like them to, but regardless of what happens God will use it to change lives, most likely yours.

The Apostle Paul wrote:
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10; NASB).

God has created us, and then saved us, for a reason.  Before we were born, God had a plan for our lives.  As we are faithful to God, that purpose takes shape in our lives, and that is when we begin to experience the life God intends all people to live.  The good life of God is discovered in living out our divine purpose.
I hope that you see your life right now as a privilege.  God has created us and placed us here, during this time, so we can impact our corner of the world for Him.  We are perfectly suited for this task, because He has created us for this.  When we grasp this truth our lives will have meaning and hope.  God is at work in the world, He wants us to join Him, and that is a very encouraging thought.

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