History reveals a winnowing of human lives. Throughout history a story continues to unfold about how God has been at work in our world. Some lives are caught up into participating in the greatest, most significant and enduring story of all time. Join the story.
• For the first time in our married life, we finally took a two-week vacation. We spent it, gloriously, with family, mainly for my dad’s 80th birthday and our gorgeous granddaughter’s first. It’s the first stateside trip (we live in Brazil, for the newbies) from which I actually returned home rested and refreshed.
• There is something, after all, to the cycle of work and rest, not only weekly, but yearly. The Jews had their periodic feasts lasting seven and eight days. Each feast had its reason for commemoration, but all provided a break from the routine of work.
• We’re glad to have Mike Benson writing again for his Fidelity column. And it saddens us to lose John Henson writing on Christian Evidences. But you can still be blessed by John’s writings on The Fellowship Room.
• Over 1,200 attended the Sunday morning meeting at Polishing the Pulpit in east Tenn., say the tweets, quoting the official announcement by Allen Webster. A figure we’d seen that gave over two thousand for the number of participants is unconfirmed.
• For what were we born? Some say we were born to live, though the ambiguous statement doesn’t clarify what kind of life. Certainly not for this earthly life of pain and woe. Some, I among them, have said we were born to die, since from the day of birth we move toward the day of death. Though that isn’t accurate, either, because God did not create us for death. (Though there is a sense in which that’s true; it was very true of Christ.) Might we say then we were born for the jump to eternity? Know what I mean?
• Paul’s exemplary experience is also ours: “our Lord’s grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14 NET). Since the love of Christ constrains us, we can only respond with faith toward God and love for him and for our fellowman, desiring and working toward the salvation of all. Paul has been speaking of God “putting me into ministry” (verse 12). All this is exercised “in Christ Jesus” the delicious realm where every godly activity is realized and to which faith and love are intrinsic.
• As the world appears to crumble into chaos, peace still permeates the Kingdom of God. “Grace and peace” became the Christian greeting, for we belong to the God of peace and to Jesus as the Lord of Peace. A fruit of the Spirit is peace. Ours is the gospel of peace. So we have peaceful hearts, resting in the heavenly Father who protects our treasures and guarantees the fruit of our labor. “Peace to all of you who are in Christ” (1 Peter 5:14).
by Tim Hall
We’re traveling well through life. But are we going in the right direction?
Stephen Covey attempted to show the difference between “effectiveness” and “efficiency “Suppose you’re driving down the highway and you realize that you’re making excellent time, getting better gas mileage from your vehicle than ever before. You are being very efficient. But suppose you are headed in the wrong direction. Could you also say that you are effective? What good is efficiency if we’re not being effective?/1
The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People
Each of us is a traveler in life. Most of us are doing quite well, paying our bills as we go, enjoying good relationships with family, friends and neighbors. But are we headed in the right direction? We could ask that question another way: What is our purpose in living? That’s a question that many have not asked recently; some may have never asked it.
Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471) made this observation: “A life without purpose is a languid, drifting thing. Every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves: This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught!”
That last part might be debated; the things we have done in the past are not “naught”. God will keep what we commit to Him, according to Paul (2 Timothy 1:12). But Kempis was obviously referring to our view of things in the past. Do we feel we’ve done enough? Can we sit back and rest on our laurels? Is it time for us to once again review our purpose in life?
Jesus summed up the purpose we should be seeking in Matthew 6:33. Instead of living merely for the pursuit of food, clothing, etc., Jesus urged us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (NKJV). Living by God’s will is our number one purpose, Jesus taught.
Paul’s statement of our purpose for living was likewise simple: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Whatever Christ valued, whatever He did, etc. should be our model for daily living. Those who take that charge seriously can focus on verses 1-4 of that passage to see how our lives should be “others-oriented.” That’s living with the mind of Christ.
It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re rushing about in our daily pursuits. But Kempis made an excellent suggestion when he said “Every day we ought to review our purpose.”
Today is an ideal time to begin that review.
1/ Stephen R. Covey, The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1989.