Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002
Subject: "Real" Living in 2002
Good Morning Ethan & Emily:
As we begin this new year, I would like us to focus on two words: "real" and "life."
Together they point us to genuineness and what life is "really" all about...and how to get it. What could be a more worthly goal in 2002?
Using the New Living Translation, the first time we see the phrase "real life" is in Deut. 8: 3 - 5 where Moses is talking to the Israelites about the manna and trials they had experienced in the wilderness: "Yes, He(God) humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people need more than bread for their life; real life comes by feeding on every word of the Lord....So you should realize that just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you to help you."
Amen...been there...done that...I heartily agree. I have certainly felt God's discipline and I know He does this in my life for my good...but it is not to avoid discipline that I get up early each morning to read and study God's Word...it is that I might also partake of "real life" as this verse indicates. If we're going to live...let's live it to the fullest.
"Real life" also comes only when we have a full and vital relationship with God. Jesus Himself said in Luke 12:12: "Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own." Later in verse 21, He summarizes: "Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God."
There is nothing wrong with having "things," but they should not the most important things in life and certainly are not the key to living life to its fullest. "Good life" they may give, but "real life" they are not!
In this same manner, Paul also emphasizes that "real life" is found in those things spiritual...not material. "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory." (Colossians 3: 1 - 4) Wow...we can have "real life" here and now...and then in all it's absolute fullness and reality in the life to come!
Finally, in 1 Timothy 6, Paul advises the young Christian Timothy in his ministry work: "Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.: (vv. 18 - 19)
So...we find real life as we seek the Lord and read His Word, as we live lives of obedience demonstrating our love for all He has done in our lives, as we live each day with a Heavenly perspective, and as we generously share with others in need.
Go for the "real thing" in 2002 by finding and securing "real life"!
All my love,
P.S. Emily gave her $100 to Asher Avramovsky, a Jewish believer from Macedonia, who is a missionary with the organization "Jews for Jesus" in Essen, Germany. Thanks for investing in the Lord's work, Emily. May you be blessed by what you have done. Ethan is researching a ministry in Appalachia.
NOTE: I have made it a new Christmas tradition to give my children money before Christmas that they are to give away and "invest" for God's glory in a ministry or person(s) of their choosing. On Christmas day, we share the stories of how these monies were used. Instead of expecting to receive, I am teaching my children the joy and blessing of giving...and expecting nothing in return.