Mark's BLOG Update
Fresh Mercies

What Matters Most?

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It’s hard to believe that another year is history and a new one has just begun. These times of transition between seasons give us an opportunity to “reflect” on how our life is really going and to “resolve” to do some things differently.

Of course, we know that it will take more than reflection and some resolutions to bring about deep and lasting change in our lives. We need to go deeper within our hearts and look at our values – what really matters most.

What matters most to you?

We get our values from a lot of places including our parents, our peers, the books we read, the music we listen to and from society in general. The Apostle John, in 1 John 2:15-16, tells us that the three primary values of the world are pleasure (feeling good, being happy and having a good time), possessions (getting more and better “stuff”) and prestige (power, position and popularity).

It’s so important that we don’t buy into the world’s value system (Rom.12:1-12) because, as innocent as these things may seem, they don’t last and they have no eternal value (1 John 2:17). Just ask Solomon (read Ecclesiastes)!

What matters most is knowing and loving God (Mt.22:37-38), loving people (1 Cor.13:1-7) and investing our time, talents and resources for the benefit of others (Eph.2:10). These three things have lasting and eternal value. They really count in the long term.

The challenge for us is to ensure that there is congruence between what we say matters most and how we’re really living. Are our preferred values our actual values? The truth is that often we’re disappointed with ourselves. Most of us feel some pain because we realise that the way we are living does not fully match what we say really matters most to us. It’s like our lives are out of sync. There is a “gap” between what we really value and how we are living. Even Paul experienced this same frustration (Rom.7:15-25).

The good news is that the gospel is not just about eternal life in the hereafter but about another kind of life available to us right now. It’s about “transformation” – you and I changing and growing to become more like Jesus, someone who knew what mattered most and lived in total harmony with it every moment of every day (Gal.4:19. Rom.12:2. 2 Cor.3:18).

Bridging this gap between what matters most and the way we are living is going to take some “training” not just “trying” harder (see 1 Tim.4:7-8. 1 Cor.9:24-27. Luke 6:40). You can’t go out and run a marathon simply by trying really hard. Trying hard only accomplishes so much. No, you need to train, which means to arrange your life around certain practices or activities that will empower you to do what you cannot now do by will power alone. In the same way, spiritual transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely by the use of appropriate spiritual disciplines (for a great read on this subject, see John Ortberg’s book, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted”).

Another important way to bridge this gap is to ensure that our time is spent on the right things. Set some goals and then schedule time in the New Year to do what matters most. May the coming year be a time where you become more intimate in your relationship with God, where you become more loving in every relationship you have and where you strategically invest your life for the benefit of others and the kingdom of God. Have a wonderful and a fruitful New Year!

Comments

Thank you Mark for all your excellent motivational and inspirational encouragements. The best is yet to come! Happy New Year to you and your family. God bless you.

Amen to put God as our top priority.

One of my favorite verses from Matthew 6:31-33 (The Message): What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Hi again Mark, just received the church email, we will definitely pray for your kids, and thank God for His protection, like you said, it could have been fatal.

For others who are reading the comments, please pray for special protection for Mark's family. I know as a church, we are doing something right, and the enemy is not happy about it.

Hi Mark,
Sorry to hear about the accident involving your three kids. Praise God that they were protected and are all still alive. They are in my prayers at this time and I pray that they will not suffer any long term injuries, pain or trauma from the accident. Please let your kids know my thoughts and prayers are with them at this time and if there is anything that I can do to help out then please let me know.
Allister

Dear Mark and Nicole.
My heart goes out to you. So sorry to hear about the accident. Thanking God that all 3 of your children are alive. Praise God! My thoughts and prayers are with you and the children. Praying for their quick recovery and well being. My love to you all.

Hey, thanks everyone. Two kids are home from hospital now with one to go. All will be okay, despite seriousness of car accident. Appreciate your care, concern, and prayers.

Hi Mark.
Really happy to hear that 2 of your children are already home from the hospital. Thanking God and giving Him praise that all will be OK. Love to all.

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