“Ah, the dreams of our youth, how beautiful they are,” wrote Mark Twain, “and how perishable.” There is some truth in Twain’s words—but only half the truth. The rest of the truth is what gives hope in even the darkest of times.
Maybe your dream is just to get your PC to work or your car to start today and still it seems life is one slap in the face after another. Maybe there are huge problems going on such as terminal illness or a marriage is in desperate trouble. What does work when life doesn't?
Here is some of the rest of the truth:
Beauty for ashes. Sometimes we would be glad if life just handed us a lemon—we could do the old “make lemonade” adage. When a relationship, a marriage, a job, a plan for the future is nothing but ashes, what can you do with that? A better question: what can the Creator of the universe do with that? The Lord Jesus Christ opened his public ministry, he cited an Old Testament prediction that He would “heal the brokenhearted.” That passage goes on to say that He would give “beauty for ashes.” (Isaiah 61, Luke 4)
Nice promise. Is it for real? Yes. Is it automatic? No.
God is not a genie in a bottle; He is the designer of life. He is not conformed to our will, but when people choose to live life His way, they find that life works.
But what does “life works” mean? No problems? Everything easy, never an uncertainty? This sounds like a recipe for flabby mediocrity. God, in His goodness, intends to show His power to overcome the evil of this world. God’s most special people have suffered: Job, for instance. God does not promise a life without difficulties, but He offers His comfort and help.
Start here. I love those maps in malls or hospitals with “You are here” and a big red arrow. I need to know where I am to know how to get to my destination. The starting place is a genuine relationship with God. It is not going to church, doing good things, giving money, or helping others. Those are good things, but the starting place is not a list of deeds. We start by coming to God with an attitude of wanting to go His way instead of our own.
For more information on knowing for sure of a right relationship with God, click here.
Choose your focus. In the middle of national disaster which had a direct and personal effect on himself, one person wrote, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” We choose our focus, what we allow our minds to dwell on. Sooner or later, if things are going to change, we must change our focus. One important element in that processes is expanding our view from our problem alone to the promises of God. (Habakkuk 3:18)
And sometimes it helps to talk to someone who understands God’s Word. That is one reason for the church. Life can be hard, but God never intended us to do it alone. You are welcome at Maranatha Baptist Church, and you will find caring people here. Feel free to contact us. We would enjoy having you visit for a service as well. Our pastor preaches the Bible with practical application for daily living.
“Positive thinking” doesn’t change anything about the law of gravity over the edge of a cliff—it also does not change biblical principles about relationships or any other areas of life. The focus is not on our thoughts alone, but on changing over to “God’s thoughts” as presented in the Bible. Focus leads to thinking, and right thinking is the necessary foundation to positive action.
The beauty of new beginnings. In the middle of a book called Lamentations—a word which refers to overwhelming grief—comes the turning point: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope: . . . thy [God’s] compassions fail not; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:21-22)
“New every morning.” Some things cannot be reclaimed from the past, but the future can be bright and hopeful. God may be offering you a new star today. There is no problem you are going through that is new or unique—and God has led someone else through that problem and out to joy on the other side. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Come as you are. Would it surprise you to know that God has anticipated your needs? At the beginning, He had His beautiful plan: a perfect couple in a perfect place. Yet, before the beginning, He knew they would mess up. And He had a plan for that too. That plan, sometimes called the good news, or “gospel,” involves meeting each of us where we are, right here, right now.
“Come as you are” implies that you really want God to accomplish lasting life-change in you. The transformation is what God does. Our part is simply repentance (turning from the wrong and turning to God) and belief (an internal commitment to God based on what Christ did on the cross of Calvary). If you insist on “cleaning up your act,” on “being good enough for God,” you will never make it. God’s invitation is for those who are humble enough to realize a need. (Mark 1:15)
Twain was good at seeing problems, but he was not as good at offering solutions. But God, in His love, has offered us the fresh start, the mercies which are “new every morning.”
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Author & Editor
Articles are written or selected by our Pastor Keith Carnahan