Answering the Call

“Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’.” –Amos 7:14-15 (NIV)

Sometimes, we know exactly what we want to do with our lives. Based on our desires and what appears to be in our minds the logical fit for us, we move forward and chart the path that we feel is right. In this we develop a zone of comfort because we feel that we are in control of our destiny. But God’s plans for our lives may not entirely agree with ours. In fact His plans could be in complete opposition to what we wish; taking us in a different direction than we imagined. When this happens, we stubbornly refuse to obey Him. We come up with excuses saying that we are incapable and are not suitable for the task God has called us to. However, these excuses only serve to betray our unwillingness to leave our comfort zone and surrender ourselves to God and His perfect will.

If God has called us to something, He will provide us with all that we need. In His love, God does not abandon those who call upon His name and choose to walk with Him. Our perceived weaknesses and inaptitude means nothing, for God promises to be more than sufficient for us to carry out the task He wants us to accomplish. The question is will we trust Him? Will we like Amos leave our comfort zone to follow the will of God? His plan is never to harm us, but to prosper us and give us hope. When we allow Christ to reign in our hearts and seek to align our desires with His, He will guide us in the path we should go. By choosing to walk with Him and follow His voice, He will prove to us His faithfulness and He equips and sustains us; teaching us of the blessings and joy which comes by submitting our lives to His purposes.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Maintaining Your Health

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

We live in a very health conscious age. Studies are always being published on how eating certain foods or doing certain exercise regimens can benefit our physical well-being. Perhaps out of fear that we can lose our vitality and develop health problems, we are careful about what we eat and we make sure that we get plenty of exercise. Are these things wrong? Of course not! God has called us to be good stewards of our bodies He has given us. However, the unquestionable fact of life is that we are mortal and destined to face a physical death. One day, our physical bodies will become no more than bones buried in the ground, and we will come face to face with God Himself. When that moment comes, what will we say before Him?

God does not look at the external. Rather, His focus is on our hearts. Though our physical bodies may look healthy on the surface, God is not fooled and He sees the rotten state of our hearts as a result of being under the grip of sin. Due to His holy nature, God cannot tolerate sin and our sinful nature has caused us to be separated from Him. But God, in His love, does not want to see sin carry out its destructive work in our lives. He wants to restore us so that we may have life through being in relationship with Him. That is why He sent Jesus Christ so that by His death and resurrection, sin’s hold over us may be broken and we are reconciled to God. When we allow Christ’s Spirit to work in our lives and submit ourselves to Him, He will train us in His righteousness for the well-being of our souls. Remaining obedient to Christ and permitting Him to enable us to live according to His standards and perfect will, we will be strengthened to face our fallen world and shine for Him; knowing that we have the promise of joy and hope both in this life and into eternity.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Destructive Poison

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” –James 3:16 (ESV)

Throughout history there are countless examples of political intrigue and assassination plots. In the vast majority of these cases the motivations are the same; jealousy and selfish ambition. It is human tendency to covet, to yearn after and seek to take something that does not belong to us. When such greed has taken over our hearts, we will go to any length to see that we obtain the object of our desire. That is why we see in the pages of human history, rival families squabbling over an earthly throne and leaders ousting leaders in an often highly violent fashion where every act of depravity and deceit is employed. What adds to this tragedy is that prolonged internal struggles for power ruins empires and kingdoms; rendering them ineffective and vulnerable to outside threats.

When we have allowed jealousy and an obsession over our selfish desires to gain a foothold in our hearts, nobody wins. Such attitudes only serve to degrade ourselves and destroy our relationships with others. “Ambition without love is dangerous” (Robert Schuller) If compassion is absent from us, we can guarantee that our envy and selfishness will cause destruction wherever we go and shatter our unity amongst each other. However, through Christ we can spare ourselves of this misery. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter in our hearts and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will fill us with His love. Christ will open our eyes to see ourselves and those around us as being created in the image of God and therefore precious in His sight. Our jealousy will be purged from us when we find our security and worth in Him, and rest in His faithful providence; enabling us by His Spirit to serve others and remain in harmony with God and with each other.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.