Our Main Objective in Life

A guest post written by Danni C. DeVera (Philippines)

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Paul illustrated his main objective in life by the athletic contests of the day. The runner had only one thing in mind – to win the race, and receive the crown.

Maybe, Paul liked sports and that is why he uses the runner as an example. Paul must have been concerned with his physical health and wanted to be physically fit in order to do the work of the Lord.

Christians must have this kind of objective in life. We are to set our mind on what is our priority in life (Matthew 8:33).

Paul had an attitude to do one thing at a time, and this one thing was the only one he had in mind to do (Philippians 3:13).

Paul reaches forth with strong exertions like a runner in the race. He was running in this world in order to reach heaven for eternal life. In reaching forth, he forgot what was behind, reaching out to what was ahead.

All opportunities lie before us, and we must go onward no matter what, to obtain our objective in life – eternal life. We all need to go forward because God wants us to (II Peter 3:18).

Our main objective must be to press toward the mark. We should not run outside the line, nor stay off the course that we may not be disqualified.

Our run must not be hindered by any obstacles (trials, suffering, persecutions, etc). In running for our goal, we need to lay aside all excess weight – sins. We must always abide in the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ (II John 9). in order to receive the crown of life.

If we fail to observe the rules of the race we will not reach the finish line. Like Paul, we must always keep our eyes on our objective, which is our Lord Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).

If we do not keep the goal in view, we will not know the direction we are running. We must, like Paul, keep our main objective in life.

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The Gift of God

A guest post by Ronald F. Pounders

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, so you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

“Love is a beautiful thing.”

“Love is a physical attraction.”

“Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”

“Love is something you show to people you like.”

The Bible agrees that love is a beautiful thing but says it is much more than just a feeling.

Love is a verb—it actively participates. Go to the Bible and seek all passages which refer to God’s love. They all have one thing in common—”God loved, so He gave” or “God so loved, so He did.”

This gives us a clue as to the meaning of love—it’s foremost characteristic is an active quality which evidences itself in giving to others, in pouring out its feelings in deeds of kindness.

Love is a way of living life to the fullest. Psychologists tell us that man has two basic needs: to love and to be loved.

God is love. Love is the very essence of His being.

Jesus is God’s love personified. Because He loves us, a relationship with Him is possible.

God loves us for ourselves. God loves unconditionally. God loves unselfishly. God loves us while we are still His enemy.

True love is reciprocal—the more you give, the more you get. Love in this way is difficult, however God rewards those who take up the challenge. He forgives our sins. He drives out our fears. He gives us greater strength to love.

We may be unable to meet everyone’s needs for love. We can meet the needs of a few and meet some of the needs of others:

“I am only one, but I am one.

I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

What I can do, I ought to do.

By the will of God — I will love

and lighten someone’s load.”

 

Overcoming Depression

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Guest Post by David Johnson

“Overcoming despair, depression and discouragement God’s way” (Job 1-3).

1. Even the strongest believers can be discouraged and depressed.

Depression and despair are tools Satan uses most often. If he can create in us any of these symptoms, then we begin to lose our faith, and “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

In II Corinthians 1:8-11, we find that even Paul experienced depression. However, he recognized where his help came from.

2. We may be going through many levels of depression simultaneously!

a. Intellectually (Job 3)

b. Emotionally

c. Spiritually

3. Discouragement can cause us to lose perspective

a. We often forget who God really is. What we may consider as tough, difficult, challenging, and impossible, for God it is nothing.

b. Remember, the power of His Word holds the whole world, and we even sing, “He Has the Whole World in His Hands.”

4. Do not keep your deep pain to yourself. Share it with someone else.

5. Remember that God has a purpose for our suffering (I Peter 1:3-9).

In conclusion: take the proper steps to avoid depression:

a. Memorize and meditate on the Scriptures. Also, remember songs of faith when tried or tempted to sin, such as, “Yield Not to Temptation.”

b. Listen to Christian music.

c. Stay in Christian fellowship.

d. Find someone else to encourage.

e. Find a prayer partner.

f. Remember that God is sovereign.

g. Maintain physical exercise.

Does It Pay to Pray?

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Guest Post by Morgan Bryson

I prayed for a child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him” (I Samuel 1:27).

Have you ever prayed and prayed for something or someone and you feel like God hasn’t answered your prayer? I think everyone has been in that situation.

God answers prayer, but not always in the way you might expect.

It is hard for me to sit down and discipline myself to spend a few minutes with God, but when I do I feel like I have accomplished something.

In our Wednesday night Bible class we are studying prayer and how to pray with scripture. I have learned a lot and I am enjoying it very well. God doesn’t care how we pray or where we do it, but He wants us to pray to Him as often as we can.

The Bible says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you” (John 15:7). This tells me that if I only have the faith in God and in what I am asking, God will give it to me.

God wants to hear from us; nothing is too big or small for Him to deal with in our lives.

The verse above from I Samuel was a prayer of Hannah. It was very important to her to have a child. God answered her prayer! Her prayer “paid” off!

What is important to you? Have you prayed about it today? Do you trust God that He will answer your prayer?

One of my favorite songs of our youth group goes, “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

When I trust God I will pray to Him. I need His answers and guidance. For me, it pays to pray.

Peace and Contentment in Life

Guest Post Author: Don Litchford

One definition of contentment is satisfaction with one’s lot, or a disposition of mind undisturbed by anxiety or envy.

It seems that as I read the newspaper and watch TV, the majority of people have very little of either peace or contentment. In general, we are always in a hurry to get some place other than where we are. We have very little patience with our fellow man and we generally want much more in life than we now have or need.

I grew up on a farm and I remember very well the much slower pace of life back then. Neighbors worked to help each other and we always had time to visit either with neighbors or family. We didn’t have a lot of the world’s material goods, but we never did desire to a great extent those things we knew were beyond our obtaining. I guess what I am trying to say is we were content and at peace with ourselves and those came in contact with.

Hebrews 13:5 says to keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said, “…never will I leave your and never will I forsake you.” The only true way to find peace and contentment is to put our lives in the hands of the Lord. When difficult times come, as they have for my family, it is only by placing our lives in the trust of God that we can survive and know with full knowledge that God will give us peace and contentment.

Rejoicing in the Search

Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord (I Chronicles 16:10).

The above verse in I Chronicles contains words taken from the Psalm David taught Israel when religion was enjoying a great revival among the people of God.

It is unfortunate that some feel religion, or spirituality, is joyless. They feel you can’t be a Christian and be happy at the same time. The challenge for Christians is to find how we can always rejoice in seeking the Lord.

Sometimes the joy comes from simply knowing that God can see the larger picture, the future, and how what happens today will ultimately happen in the long run.

The problem is not in the seeker, but in the observer turned critic, whose life has been so geared to the satisfaction of appetites, gratifying senses, and charming imagination that he has lost the thrill of discovery.

In the heart of the true searcher there is little room, now or ever, for the gratification of that which is described by James as, “earthly, sensual, or demonic” (James 3:15).

The prospector finds his reward in finding. So it is with that happy seeker who is carried along with the promise of the Savior, “Seek and you will find…” (Matthew 7:7).

With this promise there is assurance of success. The prophet gives a great starting place when he wrote, “Seek and read from the book of the Lord…” (Isaiah 34:16). This is the beginning place for “rejoicing.”

Are you rejoicing in Christ today? Will you make that simple switch?

Jonah Could Have Been a Mechanic

When dealing with mechanics, I’m not so much a problem solver as I am a problem maker. I can take apart the pieces, but I don’t do so well when the time comes to put the pieces back the same way they were in the beginning.

Are you the same way? Sometimes we can scramble up the pieces in our lives and need extra help putting them back together. For those of us who feel challenged at putting our spiritual lives back together, what help is there from God in His word?

In the book of Jonah, the prophet utters a prayer to God. We read it in Jonah 2:2-9. Here, the reader will learn that spiritual problems can only be solved by spiritual solutions. Consider both the spiritual solutions of man and the spiritual solutions of God.

To begin, Jonah recognized the spiritual solutions of man. In Jonah 2:2 he first calls to the Lord. This is important because it implies that there is a greater, outside power beyond self. Second, he cried for help (2:2). This is important because Jonah states his problems through prayer (2:7). Third, the text shows Jonah looking again to God’s temple (2:4b). This is important as it suggests that Jonah had deviated from following God, and was now making a penitent turn to follow God again. Fourth, Jonah says that he remembered God (2:7), and fifth, Jonah claims that he will sacrifice to God with thanksgiving (2:9). In summary, Jonah reveals that every individual has responsibilities to perform certain actions in order to solve their spiritual problems; these can be summarized into prayer, repentance, sacrifice, and thanksgiving—all towards God.

In addition, Jonah recognized the spiritual solutions of God. First, Jonah notes that God answers prayer after hearing Jonah’s prayer (2:2, 7). This is important because it shows that God does not ignore his faithful children no matter how many times they mess up. Second, God is said to bring man up from the pit (2:6). This is important in that it shows that God answers prayer as He determines best. Finally, and most importantly, Jonah recognizes that part of God’s solution for man’s spiritual problems is salvation. “Salvation is from the Lord” (2:9b).

How would this world change if all people could have their spiritual problems solved? How much different would the condition of the church be were she diligently seek the power of God’s influence? How would your life be affected with conquered spiritual problems?

Jonah was stuck in more than “a rock and a hard place” when he said this prayer. He has revealed that we can all overcome the struggles of our lives, in that God will also safely deliver us to fulfill His purpose. Jonah was a mechanic in that he “fixed” himself by doing his part. As God does His part, let us all pursue Him through prayer, repentance, sacrifice, and thanksgiving in order to work through our problems.

Nathan McVeigh is a Masters level student at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver with six years of humanities and Biblical text emphases. Nathan’s methods have yielded endorsed skills in mission work and Bible study. If you have ever been fearful of your answer to the question “how do I get salvation” and other Bible questions, please visit www.alivewithchrist.com/.