North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    The greatest experience for the Christian is the complete and positively assured consciousness of God’s presence in human life. Two children, Lottie and Walter, we’re excited about the Christmas gifts they had received. Lottie, the older of the two, tried to explain to Walter what a wonderfully good and generous person Santa Claus was. Walter, who had once doubted the existence of Santa Claus, was now becoming more impressed with the idea that Santa just might be real! Finally, he asked, “Where does Santa Claus live?”    Assuming an all-knowing look, Lottie replied, “Well, Walter, I don’t exactly know, but I guess right across the street from God, in God’s country.”

    Wouldn’t it be the grandest location to reside, in God’s country, a neighborhood better known as Heaven? One place in the Book of Acts it speaks of the people being dependent on food from the King’s country. King Herod didn’t honor God with the people’s adoration and was struck with an illness due to his pride and selfishness, and died shortly thereafter (Acts 12:20-23). This world is God’s creation and therefore, it’s His world. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him”.

    One of the simple, yet extremely inspiring things for me to do is to arrive early in the morning at the small church where I preach. When the sun comes up over the horizon, it shines gloriously through the colored windows, and throws a golden hue over the entire sanctuary. It’s a symbolic and very real example of God’s presence in the church. We must get acquainted with God to recognize His presence. And we must learn to live with it and not without it. A life without God is an empty life. It’s important to look for Him in the everyday things of life. And unlike King Herod, we should never fail to recognize and honor God by acknowledging Him, His power, glory, and beauty. It’s the glory of the people who live in God’s country that the sunlight of God’s presence falls daily upon their lives.

    Many people can’t ever see the sunlight and don’t experience it’s shining, positive rays because all they see in their world is the negative consequences of a humbug attitude. While there’s cloudy days in the life of all Christians and difficulties will happen; remember this—for every day of storms, there’s a rainbow of promise from God’s Word.

    Consider the following modern-day parable titled: “When Laughter and Tears Meet”:

    It was a wooded trail and the sunshine and clouds mingled pleasantly, and the breath of the woods was strong in the air; as was the fragrance of honeysuckles that were scattered around the brush. But the trail was too narrow to allow both Laughter and Tears to pass. Laughter was full of life and high energy, and romped about so much that he took up a great deal of space, while Tears seemed to be half-blind, and could scarcely see her way.

    She said in a soft, plaintive voice, “Why don’t you let me pass? This is my path.”

    “No,” replied Laughter, “This trail is mine, and I’m in a hurry, so you’d better climb the fence into the dark woods, and just go walk through the dead leaves.”

    “Wait a minute! Why don’t you climb the other fence?” said Tears, “And run along the creek-side in the sunshine? I’m sure you’d like it better.”

    “Well,” rejoined Laughter pleasantly, “I don’t want to argue with a gentle lady. Since we don’t seem to agree about the path, suppose I just change my direction and go with you?”

    So they went together through twinkling sunshine and shadows, and each felt better for the company of the other. And that’s why, as the moral of this story says, whenever you meet Tears, Laughter is not far away. So be sure to look for him!

    Life will bring hardships to you, but every child of God has the assurance that they are citizens of God’s country. And the silver lining of divine care will glorify every dark cloud that might come your way. You can count on the fact that at every eventide or end of day there will be a light that shines. Jesus says, “Here on this earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I (Jesus) have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Christ also tells us he is the “light of the world and whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Citizens of God’s country can know peace and live with hope.

    Your task isn’t to seek if God cares and loves you, but to seek and find the walls within yourself that you’ve built against Him and His love. God’s love is patient and He’s close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). Seek Him and His righteousness and all that you’ll ever need to reach your destination; He promises to provide (Matthew 6:33).

    Don’t let your sorrows, tears, or cloudy days of this season keep you from laughing again or seeing the sun hidden behind the clouds. Have faith that it’s there. Though you may not see it sometimes, you can be sure it is. Keep the faith, always!

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He has published nine books that can be purchased on These books include the “Living With Purpose” series Volumes 1-3. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Dec 25 2016. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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