First Things @ First

Pastoral Perspectives;

It seems that all human beings are continually searching for treasure on some level in our life on earth. For some, it's the pursuit of earthly things and for others it's the desire for the eternal. Truth is, without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the search will be centralized on accumulating as much of what the world system offers. Sadly, even for many who have a personal relationship with Christ, there is too often a shift toward the things that were never designed to endure and away from God's best.

I was reminded the other day in some material written by Billy Graham that 'we were created to know God and to be His friend forever'. (Take the time to read that statement again, slowly)

Human beings were not put on this earth to be preoccupied with ourselves, our problems or even our pleasures. Graham mentions in his book 'The Journey', that we were not made for ourselves; we were made for God. The Great Designer had a Great Design. That Great Design is centered on first knowing Him and being His friend forever. (The Journey--pg.23)

God's design/desire for intimacy with those He made in His own image was hideously deformed by sin. The creature (you and me) became most important in everything while God became less important. And the more important 'I' become along the journey, the less important God becomes to me, personally. I can become so foolish as to believe that I don't need God for anything because I can secure everything I need without Him. I even come to believe that I can save myself!

And good people soon resort to trying to fill the emptiness in their soul with 'things' that were never designed to satisfy. Like being adrift in the world's ocean without fresh water and choosing to 'take in' what you are surrounded by. The 'short' term satisfaction of all that is readily available only intensifies the real issue we are faced with; intense thirst. Ultimately, it only hastens the inevitability of death. Filling one's life with the 'things' of this world is the pursuit of trying to be a friend with what directly opposes God.

St. Augustine is quoted as saying--"You (God) have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in You." Restlessness describes the overwhelming majority of over 7 billion human beings that are living on this planet currently.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds every human being that by God's design, we humans, all who ever lived or ever will have been created in His image. And in each one, He (God) has put eternity in our hearts. That is what separates humans from all the rest of God's creation. No other creature has been so blessed by God! And no other creature is so restless and out of place when they attempt to 'fill' their lives with anything except God's design.

Adam and Eve were never happier than when they were experiencing the friendship of God. And they were never more sorrowful than when it all was ruined by their own poor choices.

By the way, I learned something important in chapter 3 of Graham's book. I learned that God didn't create man for fellowship as I had been taught earlier in my childhood. Graham provided this important insight--'to think that God created Adam for fellowship would mean that God was incomplete, that something was missing in His perfect existence.' (end)

Nothing could be more untrue. God didn't create Adam or us because He was lonely or felt left out of His design. God created Adam and us because He desires to love. And you and I are the beneficiaries of so great love! John 3:16; Romans 5:8

I am eternally grateful that before sin was present a solution for its destructive poison was already in place. And God so loved you and me that He demonstrated that love through His Son Jesus by whom we can be saved from our sin and from ourselves.

A verse that comes to mind sort of puts all this in perspective for the journey this week is found in Mark 8:36--For what shall it profit a person if he/she gains the whole world and loses their soul?"

There is no gain in self-governance that's rooted in self-glory.

So long as I fail to be found through God's love and then be filled with His Spirit, I will not share that same love with others, I will continue to be and remain empty of God's design for life.

And I'm always robbed of something vitally important; friendship with God!

Living in a world system that is for the present largely controlled by Satan can present some real challenges on what is really of worth and what isn't. I urge each of you to center your focus on God alone and He will provide the 'rest' we need in a world of restlessness!

May the Lord provide all your needs on this Memorial Day week according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus!

Pstr K

Hebrews 10:35-36