Every thought which flies through the mind is heard in heaven. God hears wishes, yearnings, aspirations, hungers, and desires. Don’t worry if the words to tell God something are not found. Don’t be concerned if hungers of the heart are not spoken in well defined phrases. When words, and even thoughts fail, pray in silent yearnings, in unutterable longing, and God will understand just as well as if spoken in a known language. Much of our best praying is done when we sit at God’s feet and do not speak at all — just letting our hearts do the talking.
Question: What is the chief end of man?
Answer: To glorify God and enjoy him forever. -Question 1 of the Shorter Catechism
The central law of the Christian life is ministry — serving others; blessing them, loving them, doing good toward them. We are in debt to Christ, therefore we owe grace toward other people. He loves us, so we owe love toward others; he served us, so we must serve those around us.
We are not to ask to be served, rather we are to do the serving. As Christ did unto us, so we do unto others.
“The Son of man came not to be served but to serve” -Matthew 20:28
Has Christ’s friendship been to you as close, personal, tender, and constant as the human friendships which you hold dearest? The close friends of Christ find no other influence so strong as his transforming their lives. In all of its purity and spotlessness, its strength and heroism, its gentleness and beauty, its grace and trust, his life shines a pattern for you. No one who has had Christ for a friend has failed to be blessed by him, or grown into a richer and nobler life.
Christianity is not an art or a science — it is a life. It is not learning and following a set of rules — it is growing into the fullness of a Christ-like heart. It is setting the Kingdom of Heaven inside of you. It is following the rule and authority of Christ. It is recognizing the supreme rule of love — “that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”
A Christian life is the personal reign of Christ in the heat of every one who accepts him. It is slow and it is hard, because the human heart loves the world. But given the opportunity, Christ can overcome the old and bring forth the new.
More than anything, the world needs people who bring happiness — there is too much sadness and anxiety around. The Bible is a book which can make people happy. The angel’s announcement of great tidings of joy; the story of the love of Christ changing darkness into light, despair into hope, tears into laughter, and sorrow into rejoicing.
The Christian is to bring happiness into the life of others, and we can do this in a thousand different ways: by being joyful ourselves, making our lives a sweet song, telling others the joy-filled gospel story, doing kindness, comforting the sorrowful, lifting the burdens of others, cheering the sad and weary, and scattering benedictions wherever we go.
Is any stinginess so mean as withholding a gentle, loving word from people when our words could feed them the joy and grace they are starving for? Words are for comfort, cheer, and hope to all who surround us. They are to encourage the disheartened, warn those in danger, inspire the lazy, and turn the weak toward heaven. Speech is a gift, it is to be used as one.
Do we trust God only when he is bringing us good stuff, and not also trust him when bad things happen in life? Is God good only when he causes things to happen which make us happy? Is God not just as good when pain and loss enter life?
If we believe God, and take pain with the same confidence as the pleasures of life, then the darkness will be as rich with blessing as the light, and sorrow will bring us as close to God as joy.
Things come at the Christian daily which present the opportunity to behave in a most un-Christlike manner. But then that is part of the truth of Christianity, and part of the growth.
A soldier can only learn to be a soldier when practicing war, and honors can only be won in battle. If a person wants to grow into the beauty of the Master, then conflicts must be accepted and battles must be fought. Life can be easy by avoiding struggle, but then there will also be little of true nobleness and worth. The best things in life lie beyond the fight, after the battle has been waged and won. No one gets to heaven without conflict — except for the child called home in infancy.
A game which we humans like to play is feeding the distrust or the anger which one person has toward another. We like to approve or justify the person with whom we are speaking. But Christ calls us to be peacemakers. Christ tells us to fill the chasms and narrow the gulfs between people. None of the other beatitudes hold more radiance than that of the peacemaker because “they shall be called children of God.”
There are people in this world who say whatever they think and laugh about it because they “are being honest,” regardless of where the words land or whom they hurt. We have no right to say whatever we think, unless what we are thinking is in love. If we must express ugly thoughts, then go off somewhere that no one can hear. But otherwise, our neighbors heart should be filled with the love and grace of Christ.