Monthly Archives: January 2015

THE CHRISTIANS LIFE PURPOSE

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purpose

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
— Romans 14:17
Years ago during a visit with Billy and Ruth Graham, I noticed while we were outside that their dog was continuously going around in circles.

“What’s wrong with this dog?” I asked them.

“He’s chasing his tail,” they told me.

I had heard about dogs chasing their tails, but I had never actually seen one do it before.

Like that dog, some people are effectively chasing their tails in life. They are chasing after happiness. But the best way to not be happy is by trying to be happy.

Our purpose in life as Christians is to know God and bring Him glory. If you will do that with your life, if you will get up every morning and say to yourself, “I want to know God, and I want to bring Him glory,” then you will find the happiness that has eluded you. You will find the satisfaction you have always wanted by having your priorities in order.

Anything short of this ultimately will disappoint, because true and lasting happiness never will be found in the things this world tells us to look for.

The Bible offers something better than happiness, and that is joy. Happiness largely depends on good things happening. When things are going reasonably well, we are happy. If things aren’t going so well, we are not happy. But we can have joy despite our circumstances.

The problem with happiness is that it’s generally derived from accomplishments, accumulation, and, to some degree, through escape. The trouble with that is we won’t always be able to accomplish something or escape somewhere. And the things we have accumulated will go out of style, break, get lost, or may be stolen.

If we live for happiness, we’ll never find it. We’ll be like that dog, constantly chasing his tail.

-Greg Laurie

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU MESS UP

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mess up

So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Romans 5:21
There is a game I like to play with my granddaughters that I call Squiggles. I will tell them, “Just put down anything you want on a piece of paper. Make any line—just a little drawing. I don’t want it to be anything.”

So they will draw some crazy little lines. Then I will take their squiggles, their lines on paper with no rhyme or reason, and I will turn them into something. Usually it’s a funny face or a character.

In a much greater way, God can do the same for you. Maybe you have messed up. Maybe you have made a mistake and have done a wrong thing. Guess what? We serve the God of second chances. So you can come to Him and say, “Lord, I have really messed up. Can you help?”

His answer is yes. God will come and redeem the mistakes we have made.
Even Christians can wander away from the Lord. Even Christians can make bad decisions and do really bad things. We are effectively capable of doing anything, even as followers of Jesus, because we still have free wills and old natures. However, if you are a true Christian, even when you have blown it or gone astray, you always will come home again.

Hopefully you will learn from your mistakes. Hopefully you will not go and repeat them again. Hopefully you can fail forward, which means learning from your mistakes, determining to live a more godly life, and helping others not to fall in the same area.

The good news is that God can forgive you and give you a second chance. He will complete the work that He has begun in you (see Philippians 1:6). So even if you have messed up, God still can turn it around.

-Greg Laurie

CONDITIONAL OBEDIENCE

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obedience

They did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.
— Jeremiah 7:24
My dog practices selective listening. When he doesn’t like what I am saying, he acts as though he doesn’t understand me. If he is in my room at bedtime and I tell him to leave, he looks at me as if to say, “What?” It’s as though his hearing is gone. On the other hand, he can be asleep behind closed doors, and if I go downstairs, open the cupboard, and pull out his leash, he suddenly has supersonic hearing. He is right there at my side. When he likes what I want him to do, my dog hears and obeys me. But when he doesn’t like what I want him to do, my dog doesn’t hear and doesn’t obey.

We can be the same with God. When God tells us to do something we like, we say, “Yes, Lord!” But when He tells us to stop doing something, we say, “God, I think you’re cutting out on me. There’s too much static. I’m not hearing you clearly.”

Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:14). He didn’t say, “You are My friends if you do the things that you personally agree with.” God has told us in His Word how we are to live. It is not for us to pick and choose sections of the Bible that we like and toss the rest aside.

If God tells you to do something, He says it for good reason, and you need to obey Him. If God says not to do something, He also says it for good reason. Even if you don’t understand it, obey Him.

-Greg Laurie

BETTER THAN HAPPINESS

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joy

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–rejoice!
— Philippians 4:4

Imprisoned in Rome and chained to a guard day in and day out, the apostle Paul faced an uncertain future. He didn’t know whether he would be acquitted or beheaded. Yet Paul was able to rejoice amid those circumstances.

We see this theme throughout Paul’s letter to the believers at Philippi. Nineteen times in four chapters, Paul mentioned joy, rejoicing, or gladness. For instance, when he thought of the Philippian believers, it brought a smile to his face. He wrote, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy” (Philippians 1:3–4).

When he encouraged them to walk together, he became joyful just thinking about it. He told them, “Make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose” (Philippians 2:2).

When he mentioned he was sending Epaphroditus to them, he urged them to receive him joyfully: “I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you. Welcome him with Christian love and with great joy . . .” (Philippians 2:28–29).

Even when Paul thought about his potential death, he was still full of joy. In verse 21 of Philippians 1 he said, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.”

Then Paul got down to the bottom line of it all when he said in chapter 4, verse 4, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”

Despite his imprisonment, Paul wrote a letter to the saints at Philippi that resonated with joy. And joy is better than happiness.

 

Greg Laurie