Monday, November 18, 2013

The Meaning of Life

So many thoughts, ideas, and philosophies have gotten lost in time.  But the richness of their truth is overbearing.  In 1674 in "Westminster Shorter Catechism" the chief end of man is said to  be "to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever".  We are going to evaluate that statement.  What distinctly is "glorifying God" and "enjoying God"?  What does the Bible have to say?

Lets start with "glorifying God".

The dictionary describes "glorify" as to "reveal or make clearer the glory of (God) by one's actions". and "describe or represent as admirable".


What does the Bible have to say about our purpose, and His will?

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV)

"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

"Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

To sum up so far, we are too glorify God through our actions.

Isaiah 43:7 (NASB)

"Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made,"

What actions glorify God?  -good works.  The Bible is covered -no, flooded about what God has to say about good works.  I have been reading through Paul's letters and find that good works seems to be one of the chief topics in all of them. In Titus 3 Paul says "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men......This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.....
And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful."

I am seeing that my article is becoming mostly Bible-based.  But what can I say?  God has ways of saying things we could never put in such intricate, yet understandable language.

How important does the Bible say good works is?

James 2:14-26

New King James Version (NKJV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[works, and I will show you my faith by my[works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Now, do not get me wrong, salvation is by faith alone.  As Ephesians 2:8–10 says

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. "

So, we can see clearly that good works means a lot to God.  Let me finish the topic of glorifying God with a few thought-provoking verses.


Titus: 1:16 - "They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient and disqualified for every good work."

Titus 2:14 - ".....who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself his own special people, zealous for good works."

2 Timothy 3:12 - " Yes, and all who desire to live in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."

2 Timothy 2:15 - " Be Diligent to present yourself approved by God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed rightly dividing the word in truth."

I would like to point out that God does not call us/choose because of our works  however, it is AFTER someone has been saved that they need to be producing good works/good fruit.  Someone who is truly saved will be changed; having God alive in them.   2 Timothy 1:9 - "...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling,  not according to our works , but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began."


Lets sum up with "enjoying God". What is "enjoying God"?

“Christ did not die to make good works merely possible or to produce a half-hearted pursuit. He died to produce in us a passion for good deeds. Christian purity is not the mere avoidance of evil, but the pursuit of good.” -John Piper

"The Scotch catechism says that man's chief end is 'to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him." -C.S. Lewis

I hope that this clears it up.  When we glorify God, we will find that we do truly enjoy Him. 

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." -( I Thess. 5:23-24)

Friday, November 15, 2013

What You Need To Know

Is this the generation of change?  I hope so.  And hopefully, after you have finished reading this article you will know what to do to change it.

If we looked at the biggest difference between, say, a fifteen year old and a thirty year old what will we see?  We may notice that adults tend to have a higher maturity level, are more responsible and tend to have more respect for authority.  I have noticed that what we call "adult" (a.k.a. 18)  is not really an adult at all.  People set low expectations for teens but they also set them, sometimes even lower, for young adults.  People think, "after high school I will start acting like an adult".  But peer pressure comes in, and they start acting even less mature than usual.

Low expectations are creeping into even older age groups.  Why? - several reasons probably.  For one, life is "easier" now with technology, allowing people more free time, two, people have been liking more and more the thought of "enjoying life" before you need to really get responsible.  But when lower expectations are set for them now, lower expectations are set for them in the future.  How do we change this?  If you have read 'Do Hard Things' you probably know: change the way we act.  Changing the way we act is the root of it all.  Not all of us have the time, opportunity or ability to graduate early or be a teen campaign manager; but this is something everyone can do.

What will we do differently?  You may want to brainstorm but here are some ideas:

Be less dramatic.  This is one of the key things people think about when they hear "teen".

Act older.   This one is not all that hard.  It is pretty easy for people to think you are a couple years older.  Simply imitate the manner of people older than you.-people who are mature and responsible.

Spend your time more wisely.  Suffering grades are not impressive; and they certainly do not show maturity.  Nearly everyone would rather be with their friends, or watching a movie.-but take the time to study, it will be worth it.  Managing your time wisely not only shows maturity, but responsibility, self-control, and competence.

Do not be too loud.  Ever passed a group of teens talking loudly; with everyone just looking at them, at shaking their heads?  You do not want to be this person.

There is a multitude of other things.  Go ahead, make a list.-you may be surprised.  This is what we can actively do in our everyday life.

We can also encourage others to join the Rebelution cause.  Imagine, multitudes of people rising above their expectations, doing hard things, little things, big things; while helping the world and changing the view of teens; and other people.

It is time to take action. When people notice your high maturity level; tell them about your cause. 

Lets say there is 7 billion teens in the US. -and that 50'000 of them have joined the Rebelution cause.  If each of those 50'000 people  were able to get 5 people to join the Rebelution cause each year there would be 250'000 Rebelutionaries next year; if those 250'000 did the same thing there would be a total of 1'250'000 people living out the Rebelution!  If this happened yet again; in five years that number would rise to 156'250'000!  I think you get the point.

It is estimated that the average person meets 100'000 people in their lifetime; so this should not be too hard. Even something as simple as being friendly to the cashier or waitress; or reading "Do Hard Things" while waiting in the sitting room for your Doctors appointment.  Personally I love to read, and I find it very common for people to ask me what I am reading. -it makes a great conversation starter; and a time to explain your cause.

This is the generation of change, what will that change be?  Change comes from people; so I will quote Mahatma Gandhi:  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

So go, take a stand, spread the word, and change yourself.