Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘pleasure’

Truth and Beauty—Eve’s perspective or God’s?

Eve’s perspective on her situation was much like today’s postmodern view:

The fruit was beautiful—“beautiful thoughts, words…”  Anyone can claim anything is beautiful (e.g. abortion, perverted sex, euthanasia, false words about God).

Would make one wise—we get to be like God and decide what is right and true!

Tasted good—it’s fun—if it feels good, do it!

She ate the poison and disaster resulted.  Meanwhile, Satan laughed up his sleeve and thus commenced the battle for the human heart down through the ages.  Have we learned?  Have we forgotten the lessons of the ancient past?  Do we even believe that this happened?

From the Facebook post of a friend: 

The darkness says, “What is truth? Just do what I say. You’ll never really know what is true. And why should it matter, as long as you’re pleasing yourself?”

The Holy One says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we the things we do every day?  How much would be different if we know there would be no tomorrow?  What we believe about the future determines how we live today.

People paint their houses so they will be able to sell them in the future. 
People take blood pressure medicine to avoid serious health problems. 
People change the oil in their cars because they need them for future use.
People go to school so they can get a job and support themselves. 
People diet and work out so their body will be attractive & healthy.

Likewise, what we believe happens after we die should determine how we live this life.  As the apostle Paul said, if we believe that there is no life after death, we might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) IF there is nothing beyond this death to prepare for, why be concerned about living a pure life, helping others sacrificially, getting to know God better and doing what pleases Him? Why not live a totally self-centered life, focused on pleasure, applause, and comfort?  After all, as some fallaciously say, “you only live once.”  (I looked up this quote on the Internet and it gave 7,810,000 results!)

But IF we believe that this life is only the entryway to an eternal existence–either enjoying unimaginable delights in God’s presence OR unrelenting misery away from Him—this is what will determine and motivate what we do here and now.  The short-term costs of hard work, delayed gratification, and even suffering (along with the many delights the Lord furnishes along the way) won’t be worth comparing the glory that we’ll experience when we finally get Home!  Which will it be?  We have a lot of choices to make every day. 

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Wise Investment

Every once in a while my husband and I wonder if our modest retirement savings are in the right place.  Will they be there when we need them?  Or should we invest them somewhere else?  Experts don’t agree, and of course they can’t see into the future. 

Even more important—because its effect goes way beyond our retirement and even our death—is how we invest our affection, our priorities, our time, our energies.  Are our thoughts and efforts focused on physical pleasure, possessions, power, and popularity—OR on things that will last forever?  Why is this such a difficult choice?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.  (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)

Perfect Love

God loves me.  What does that mean? What is love, other than fuzzy feelings?  My search led me to an article in a decades-old magazine entitled, “God’s Intensely Personal Love.”*  The author starts out with a beautifully complete dictionary definition (I don’t know what dictionary) of love.  The Scripture references after each point are given in the article to illustrate how perfect God’s love is on each of these counts:

“a strong personal attachment and ardent affection which includes three things:

1) sympathetic understanding…

Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses, having been tempted and tried as we are.  Hebrews 4:15-16

God has compassion on us, keeping in mind that we’re merely human.          Psalm 103:13-14

2)  good will & benevolent, kind action…

God has good plans for His children, to give them a secure future.              Jeremiah 29:11

He will make an everlasting covenant with His people and never stop doing good for them. He enjoys doing good for them!  Jeremiah 32:40-41

He cares for us and invites us to turn over all our concerns to Him.  1 Peter 5:7

3)  delight & pleasure in the loved one”

God rejoices over His people like a groom rejoices over his bride.  Isaiah 62:5

He delights in us, quiets us with his love, and rejoices over us with singing.  Zephaniah 3:1

And then how does this apply to my own love to God?  Do I try to see from His perspective?  Am I motivated to serve Him from a pure heart?  Do I take pleasure in Him?  And then what about my love to others?  How does that compare with these criteria?  Lots to think about while drifting off to sleep.

                                                                                             *Disciple Journal magazine, Issue 4, article by Ruth Myers

“A Life Worth Living”?

A few days ago I caught the last part of an ad on TV:

“…tasting exquisite foods, driving fancy cars–

–A LIFE WORTH LIVING!”

What a worldview!  Where are God, others, and eternity?  And does my life bear out what I claim as my values?

     A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’
      But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
     Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.  (Luke 12:13-21 NLT)

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Freedom vs. “Security”

I’ve just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book, “The Young Unicorns”  (copyright1968)—my first venture into her writings but definitely not the last.

Toward the end of this book, a man who is trying to take over the city by force says, “People don’t want freedom.  Don’t you realize that?  Can you not tell?  People want serenity, safety. Freedom is too dangerous.  You don’t want freedom, Robert….My trusty young followers have found something better than freedom, have you not, my lads?

“Young people today in applying for jobs are not looking for challenge….What the young man or woman applying for a job today is looking for is fringe benefits, a secure retirement policy… adequate, nay more than adequate hospital and medical insurance…

“Man is not capable of freedom.  If we are given freedom we will destroy ourselves…The only way we can be freed from the slavery of freedom is by relinquishing freedom…in a reasonable and pleasurable way.”

Does this sound familiar?

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!

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