Sometimes to understand the present we have to examine the past. Purposeless people wander the earth and wonder what is the meaning of life? Fortunately for us, the Bible clearly defines why God created us. If we look to the past, King David prayed, “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all”(1 Chronicles 29:11). David recognized that everything belonged to God and that He was therefore exalted. The prophet Isaiah wrote “Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him” (Isa. 43:6b,7). Isaiah tells us that we were created for God’s glory—this is our purpose.
1 Timothy 4:16—Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
The Apostle Paul wrote his protégé Timothy to encourage him but what makes his words so powerful is his own example. He faithfully paid close attention to his life and his teaching. Next to Jesus, the case could be made that he influenced Christianity worldwide through his leadership more than any other man. His epistles continue as vital roots of the worship, theology, and pastoral life in the Catholic and Protestant traditions of the West, and the Orthodox traditions of the East.
What made Saint Paul such a strong leader was that he:
This September I will celebrate my 30threunion with hundreds of other West Point classmates who graduated in 1981. One of our traditions is to meet in the Cadet Chapel for a memorial service remembering our deceased classmates. Darryl will read twenty two names and then finish with Daren Hidalgo, a 2009 graduate killed in Afghanistan. Daren is the son of our classmate Jorge. Somber air will mark the mention of each friend. But in the hush of those granite, shadowed halls it will be a different hurt that salutes a son of our own.
Exodus 24:9-11--Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and 70 of Israel’s elders, and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath His feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire stone, as clear as the sky itself. God did not harm the Israelite nobles; they saw Him, and they ate and drank.
Prayer can be one of the most disingenuous exercises we undertake as Christians. When I go to the Lord in conversation am I intent on discerning His will or am I out to gain my own agenda? My life is full of plans. I know what I would like to happen. It’s my life and I know what is best for me. Immediately I have gone astray. I have made the cardinal error that so many Christians insist on making.
April 28this a milestone in the York household. My oldest son Bryan celebrates his 16thbirthday. Bryan was diagnosed with a brain-stem tumor on February 14, 1991. His doctor told us he had zero chance of survival; his tumor was a ticking time bomb. At the age of three Bryan endured 72 radiation treatments that shrunk his tumor, damaged his hearing, impaired his mobility, and degraded his ability to process information. In June of that same year, a group of young-married couples gathered with Kathleen, Bryan, and me to weep, pray for him, and worship in song our awesome God. The Holy Spirit descended into our midst and healed our son. He also profoundly taught me the power and hope that comes from worship.
If someone were to ask you what the secret for living a fulfilled life is, what would you say? There are probably a dozen great responses.
Recently I read a story in the newspaper only to find out that it was far more relevant than I realized. The Oregonian reported a bad car accident after which a woman had to have an emergency cesarean to save the life of her baby. Incredibly, the husband and father, is one of my drill sergeants. He suffered two broken knees, a broken arm and head injuries. The driver of the other car happened to be a diabetic who blacked out. His car crossed the median and two families’ lives were forever altered. By God’s grace no one perished.
Five men camped along the Tulik River in the remote tundra of the Arctic Circle near the Brooks Range. Our intent was to hunt caribou and ptarmigan and fish for grayling. For many men, few things exceed the thrill of hunting. It is a great test of wit, skill, perseverance, and careful planning which, if executed properly, results in the successful acquisition of food. It was a time of camaraderie and challenge.
Imagine if an angel came to you and said I’m giving you the ability to safely travel with any system you like. You want to drive a train—It’s yours, a plane—go fly it, hydroplane—take it! Space ship to pogo stick anyway you want to move I give you the authority and the ability. But there is one thing I cannot allow you to do. You must never get behind the wheel of a Saturn LS2. That car is strictly off limits. The day you drive it you will experience a fatal crash.