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The “Aha” Moment

“I myself (John the Baptist) did not know him (Jesus), but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” John 1:31 (NIV)

I’ve joined some women in a study on the Gospel of John. John is the beloved. John is the disciple Jesus loved. John also wrote the books of 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation. He is an interesting character who is completely in love with and confident in the truth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

John the Baptist is a different person. He is the cousin of Jesus approximately six months his elder. He was created and born for a specific purpose. When asked by the Pharisees about himself, he replied by quoting Isaiah the prophet:

“I am the voice of the one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23b

John knew his purpose. He knew he was meant to help fulfill Scripture prophecy.

So when, in our discussion, we came to verse 31 in the first chapter, there was some question around what John meant about not knowing Jesus even though they were cousins and he knew his purpose to make way for the Lord.

Have you ever felt God put you in a certain place at a certain time for a certain reason? You felt compelled to take a job even though it didn’t make sense. Maybe you already had a good job or had to uproot your family to take the new job. Maybe it’s your marriage. You know God brought you together even though you’ve felt like you are worlds apart at times. Maybe it’s where you volunteer. There are certain tasks you enjoy and you’ve found a place where you can really put those skills to work but after a while it feels routine and you wonder if what you do really makes a difference.

I wonder if this is how John the Baptist was feeling. “I’ve been out here baptizing people day in and day out. I know God has a purpose for me. I know there is a bigger, greater reason I am here than what it appears to be to me and everyone else. God has revealed certain things to me, but it isn’t happening. When will it happen? Will it happen? What if I was wrong?”

Now, I completely expect that John knew he wasn’t wrong. He trusted God at levels where I get vertigo. But I’ve heard this sentiment from many people. “What I think is supposed to be happening doesn’t seem to be happening so maybe I didn’t understand God and am nowhere near where He really wants me.”

But then…it happens!

You’re there, doing your thing and suddenly you know exactly why you are where you are when you are doing what you are doing! Maybe it’s a conversation. Maybe it’s a networking opportunity. Maybe it’s an answer to a prayer. You have that “Aha” moment and you are certain you were meant to be right where you are. God’s plan was made clear!

John was performing baptisms of repentance for the forgiveness of sins for all who would come to him. God had made it clear that there would be one who was different, One who would be identified as His Son. How long had John been doing this thing, waiting and waiting for the One to come? (Luke 3 actually tells historically when God moved John to begin preaching and baptizing.)

When Jesus showed up, John knew exactly why he was there. This baptism of repentance for a sinless man, Son of God, would mark the beginning of Jesus ministry. God had entrusted John with a purpose and was faithful in bringing about the fulfillment of that purpose. John may not have had all the details, but he was faithful in carrying out his purpose and trusted God in His timing.

Something to Consider…

Has God revealed a purpose and a plan for you? Has He promised you something and you are not experience the fullness of that promise?

Trust that God has a purpose for you right where you are at this time. He may be using it as a stepping stone for the next phase of your life, but there is still a reason. Choose to embrace it trusting that His timing is perfect and He is faithful.

Maybe you’ve stepped away from what God has called you to do. Maybe you’re not sure how to get back on track with what He really wants for you. Ask Him to make a way, to make your path straight. Choose to follow Him and trust that it is not too late to fulfill your purpose for Him.

Created for a Purpose

Family“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,” Ephesians 1:11

When my husband and I rededicated our lives to Christ, it was the first time I really believed God had a purpose just for me. I had always felt I was here for a reason, but didn’t really know what it was, what I should do about it, or that I could actually know that purpose with certainty.

One night, as I was lying in bed ready to fall asleep, I let my mind go to this place of purpose. This was often the time I spent asking God various questions over the years: at night, in the dark, quite and feeling alone with Him. My mind immediately went to the thought of a dangerous mission trip. “Don’t go there! Don’t give God permission to send you there!” (As if God needs my permission to decide what His purpose is for me…) Rather than think of all the things that could be my purpose, I finally settled on simply asking Him the question and allowed myself to fall asleep.

As I began to wake up, while I was still in that foggy place of coming to, I sensed God sharing His vision for me.

“Love your husband and support him in his work. He works hard to provide for your family.

“Love, care for and teach your children. You do not know what they may grow to do, what I have planned for them.

“Manage your home. Do not let it be a burden to your husband. He has enough to deal with. This is your responsibility. Remove that weight from his shoulders.”

Three simple tasks. Was that really all there was to my purpose? Did I just make that up? Was I taking the easy way out of a mission trip? What purpose would this serve?

Loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength is my first call. This is my second.

When I lose sight of this purpose, my world begins to fall apart. I am not weak; I am just not living in my sweet spot. I am not living in alignment with God’s will for my life.

My life. Not yours or someone else’s, but mine. And yours will be different or may be similar.

I love my husband’s heart for his work. Craig has an honest desire to work hard and help his company be successful. He also has a desire to see the client’s best interest served and that they would prosper as well. I know God has a purpose for him where he is so I need to honor God by honoring my husband.

I admit, many women I have known over the years would not have agreed with this purpose and would not have encouraged me. But God did not put a yoke of oppression or burden on me. He said to me, “You are able and capable of doing this. It is not too much for you nor too little. I will help.”

And then there are my children. I have often wanted to say, “Do what you want! I give up. It’s your choice.” But as the thought crosses my mind I realize I cannot give them that permission. I cannot relinquish my authority or influence in their lives. I cannot nor should I squelch the Spirit in their lives; while at the same time, I need to teach them the difference between the Spirit and the flesh.

They now, at their young ages, have a stronger, firmer foundation of faith than anything I had at that same age. My husband is moving toward God in all areas of his life. Did these three simple tasks change the entire trajectory of my family? Did simply loving my family the way God called me to show them His love for them?

My purpose serves His purpose not only in my life, but in the lives of others around me. I am grateful to God for how He has worked in me and through me to make a difference in the lives of my husband and my children for Him. It was a bigger, greater purpose than I could imagine.

Something to Consider…

As my children grow to adulthood, my authority and influence in their lives will change. I’ve made it clear I will use whatever authority and influence I have, but do understand it will be different. I know that as my life changes, God will have new opportunities for me to serve a purpose for Him.

Do you know your purpose? Have you asked God what He has planned for you? Are you willing to move forward should He give you His vision for your life?

Have you been living in His purpose for you? Are you at a crossroads in your life with a decision to make about how you proceed? Is there a dream in your heart that is beyond your imagination?

No matter how big or small your purpose may seem, God will be served. He will bring good things from it not only for you, but for those around you as well.

Shining His Light

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

I’m sitting here feeling like I’m frittering away my time. I’m enjoy some mindless activities but I know I have things to do today and people who are expecting me to be where I need to be when I need to be there. It feels like it should be a “pajama day”. You know those days when you just wear your comfy clothes all day, don’t worry about your hair or make-up and watch movies or read all day long. Yeah, that’s today.

But, then reality hits. I need to exercise. I have been hit and miss with this activity for way too long. And if I exercise, I definitely need a shower. I can’t even be around myself without cleaning up after a run. I do need to go grocery shopping which also includes checking my calendar, making a menu and organizing my shopping list…which is done by aisle so I can be efficient.

Once I’m home and groceries are put away, it’s out to dinner with my mom, daughters and friends for some food, fun and fellowship. Eating is considered a fun activity which is why I do need the exercise. And to finish off the night, we are doing a little summer clothes shopping. I will probably not be able to keep my eyes open at the end of the night for a movie or a book.

As I look at the day ahead, I wonder what else I’ll be doing. Who will I run into? What unexpected things will come my way? How will I handle the challenges and potential problems I may face? Will I reach out to someone, be willing to adjust and trust that all that needs to get done will get done?

Before I go or do anything, I quiet myself and spend some time with God.

Lord, what are your plans for my day? Who do you want me to talk to? How will I be able to shine your light to someone who needs to see it? What words of encouragement will you have me speak to someone who is wanting to hear it? Lord, this day is not my own. I give it to you. I pray I will let your light shine for all to see. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Something to Consider…

Our fellowship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit takes place in His light. Our joy is made complete when we shine His light and share in His fellowship with others.

Who are the people you see and do life with day in and day out? Is there somewhere you spend time that is dark in attitude and heavy in atmosphere? Consider how you can shine the light of Jesus in this place and with these people so they may also have fellowship with us.

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,  so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3 (NIV)

Victory in Jesus

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the LORD, because you know that your labor in the LORD is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Have you ever purchased an item that you just had to have only to get rid of it a year or so later? You didn’t use it as much as you thought you would or it didn’t work the way it said it would. I’ve done this way too many times. Usually, I’ve been looking for something that would make life easy and convenient. Sometimes, we just want the hot new product so we can be part of the “in” crowd. Sometimes, we just want to prove we can have it.

I recently saw a restaurant menu that said, “You can have it all!” The truth of that statement is you can have it all…eventually. It comes at a price. And then, you will be empty again because it does not last.

This is the way of the world. We can have it all. All the world has to offer, that is. And the lie the enemy wants us to believe is that it’s worth the price. You can satisfy your every desire. You deserve it, you’ve earned it and without it, you won’t really be happy.

The truth of Jesus says you don’t deserve it, you can’t earn it but with Him, you will have unending joy. In Jesus, there is joy and satisfaction like you’ve never experienced. No food or drink can feed your hunger or quench your thirst like the love of Christ.

When we live like we believe this, we are not distracted from our work, our purpose in the LORD. God has something for each of us to do for His world, His kingdom. The enemy loves it when we don’t complete our missions, don’t live out our purpose and are completely ineffective for Christ. He throws material possessions, status, and conveniences at us hoping to distract us. He uses struggles, troubles and temptations through our circumstances and people in our lives to try to get us to give up. We may begin to think we will never really be able to do what the LORD has called us to do. We can’t really have victory in Jesus here and now in this time and place. It’s just too hard, too much work.

We allow the perishable things of this world to keep us from a life of victory in Christ. Once we accept the gift of Jesus and His salvation, we know we will be with Him in heaven some day; but, we do not need to wait until then to live in that victory.

Something to Consider…

Where do you go to find satisfaction? Do you look to the people and things around you to fill you and bring you happiness?

Do situations, emotions and others move you? Do they cause you to doubt your faith or why you do what you do?

If we stand firm in our faith we cannot be moved from the purpose God has set before us. And what is that purpose? To share Jesus with others. What does the way you live your life say about what you believe about Jesus?

Ask Him to show you any areas of your life where you do not believe victory in Jesus is really for you right here, right now. He has overcome the world. In Him, so have you.

Our Desire, His Plan

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I have had plans and dreams that I assumed could never happen. I’ve also had plans that I thought would satisfy and fulfill some deep desire but still fell short. There are things I always thought I would do and those that I said I would never do. And yet, here I am; nowhere near where I thought I would be.

Recently, I was thinking about our retirement plans. We still have a number of years before that reality but we’ve always had a general idea of where and how we wanted to live. Somewhere warm and near water would be perfect! No snow, no seat warmers in the car, no shovels, snow boots or ice melt needed. Then out of the blue, just the other week I thought, “I don’t want to move. I can’t imagine leaving and giving up what we have here. This means way too much to me!” How would I ever tell my husband that I didn’t want to go south?

But to my surprise, just a few days later, we were driving through the neighborhood and he said, “We’re going to be living here the rest of our lives, aren’t we?” He didn’t have a defeated tone, just one of fact. All I could say was, “Yes.”

God had changed our hearts and lead us to a new way of thinking; a new desire in our hearts.

I have found lately that God has a different plan for me than my deepest desires; at least those desires I had before I really knew Him. The idea of “giving up” my desires for Him was so scary. If I really stepped into what He wanted for me and from me, what would it require of me? What would I have to give up?

So far, it’s been some material possessions, self-gratifying activities and ultimately, fear.

I had to give up the fear that I would never have what I really wanted – a life of convenience, ability, and fun.

The truth is God has shown me how much more fun my life is when it’s not all about me. There are conveniences that free up my time, help me stay in communication with others and allow me the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do; but the focus is on serving, not being served. As I step away from the desire to have things, I move closer to the ability to provide for others.

“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

Just as we didn’t see a past move to California coming, there may be something else God has up His sleeve for us. And just as we did think we would be moving back to Minnesota, we know God’s plans for us will be good.

Something to Consider…

The deepest desires of our hearts cannot come close to the plans the Lord has in store for each of us. Until we begin to understand this, we may tend to approach God with a bit of fear and intimidation worried about what we will have to change or give up.

The dreams and desires this world says we should crave and fulfill are empty and dissatisfying. God has good plans for you when you seek Him and His desires and dreams for your life. Boldly come to Him and lay your plans out before Him. Ask God to show you how His plan not only brings glory to Him, but can truly fulfill the deepest desires of your heart.

The Lighter Side of LYF – What is Beauty?

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:1-2

I love music. It truly touches a place deep inside me. My husband says there is no bad music. Personally, I enjoy classical music, am highly irritated by jazz, and move to a funky R&B groove. But, I LOVE rock when there is a get-down, heavy electric guitar. My soul sings when I hear fingers fly! I also love “whalers”. A term coined by a friend of mine for those singers who open up their mouth wide and a smooth, full-force voice comes forth and resonates with very little effort on their part. They carry the notes with what seems like unending breath. Not everyone sings this way and not everyone should. Different voices with different styles singing in different octaves – all beautiful in their own way. But the one that FILLS the room is the one that will most likely catch my attention.

I saw an article recently commenting on people’s ability to stop in the middle of their busyness and notice beauty. It made me stop and think. What is beauty? What makes something beautiful? Is the same thing beautiful to all people? Should it be? Why do some stop and notice while others keep moving? If people don’t stop, does that mean that they don’t take notice, consider it beautiful or are not blessed by it in some way?

“When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man’s labor on earth – his eyes not seeing sleep day or night, then I saw all that God had done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.” Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

Then I wondered, what isn’t beautiful?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Can two people do the exact same thing and get different results? I wonder if God blesses intentions. Does one who sets out to test man according to what he thinks is important and beautiful get the same results as the one who sets out to bless man with what God says is important and beautiful? Maybe, if what we do, anything we do, when done solely for the glory of the Lord will be beautiful and noticed by those who are meant to notice and be blessed by it.

I admit I have not always stopped for those things God has wanted me to stop for. I have been hurried at times, distracted, and my mind set on my own plans; but I do know that I don’t want to stop for what someone else assumes I should stop for. And I don’t want to assume I know a person’s story, thoughts, or heart solely by how they measure up to my expectations.

Maybe, when we consider beauty, our plans and our expectations of each other; the best we can do is stop when God says stop and move when God says move. That just might be beautiful.

Something to Consider…

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26a, 27

If we were to stop to notice every beautiful thing around us, would we get anything done? Regardless of your position, name, talent or trade, each person is beautiful because we are each made in the image of God.

When was the last time you really looked a stranger or a loved one in the eyes and saw the beauty of God within them? Can you even begin to comprehend the plans God has laid out before them or you?

Choose today to bless, not test, those God puts in your path.

Wishful Thinking or Truly Resolved

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

I have not been one to follow through on my resolutions. Each year, I would make them and by February had fallen short and given up. So rather than fail, I simply chose not to make resolutions.

What I was really doing was making a wish list. So many nice-to-do’s but nothing that would last. You can’t take it with you so if it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or troublesome, why bother?

And that is what resolutions are all about – doing the hard thing. If it was easy, we’d all be doing what we know we should. We’d be doing what is good for us and others not needing new resolutions.

To be resolved is to be convinced and satisfied that the purpose we pursue is true and worth the effort. We are bold, unshaken, constant, steady, and determined because we understand that what we do or don’t do really matters.

What can matter to the point that we are not only determined in our pursuit but problems cannot hinder or stop our efforts?

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)

Jesus Christ and salvation through His death and resurrection. There is nothing that lasts longer or is more important than knowing Christ.

So how do we become resolved in knowing Christ?

As we seek God with all of our heart, we become open to His truth, will and way in every part of our life. Jesus is that Truth. We read His Word and spend time with Him in worship and prayer. God does not hide himself from us and when we earnestly seek Him, we find Him. And then we point others to Him.

What does this resolve look like in our lives?

We stand firm and let nothing move us: When we know the truth and reason about why we do what we do, we can speak and act with certainty and boldness not being moved when questions or doubts are raised. We are not easily excited or entangled in debates and we don’t let the troubles of life or complaints from people stop us or derail us in our work and efforts.

Why are we able to continue in our work?

We know our labor in the Lord is not in vain: Everything God calls us to do has a purpose. When we give ourselves fully to His work, we will point others to Him. We even find purpose in our failures, learning and growing from them.

Do you know God’s truth for your life, your eternal life? Do you know that truth with certainty or are you more wishful in your thinking? Are there inconveniences or problems that are keeping you from stepping into God’s purpose for your life?

Something to Consider…

In what way is God calling you to be resolved?

Do you need to know Jesus? Consider taking an Alpha class. Alpha is for anyone who has questions about God, the Bible, Jesus and the Christian faith.

Do you know Jesus but are easily moved by your emotions or questions raised by others? Consider joining a Bible study group such as Bible Study Fellowship. Studying God’s Word solidifies His truth. We are able to learn from each other and stay accountable.

Do you wonder if what you do really makes a difference? While we may not always see the results of our work, we can be certain that if we are seeking God and His will in all we do, He will use our work to accomplish His purpose.

The Lighter Side of LYF – Tebow-mania: What’s the problem?

I recently wrote a devotion titled: Where is Your God?

“My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?’” Psalm 42:10 (NIV)

My husband, Craig, reads Sports Illustrated. I often peruse the stories and really do enjoy the articles; although I admit I go through streaks so I in no way claim to be a “sports” person. Of course, as a Christian, how do I not pay attention to the stories about Tim Tebow? The last story I read was about Tebow-mania. Players and opponents’ fans were mocking his prayer, praise and outspoken love for his God. When they made a tackle, they would taunt him with his own stance of prayer. They were not thanking God for having made their own tackle; they were basically saying “Where is your God now?”

Even other Christian players and fans have been telling him to cool it. We all expect people like Billy Graham or Rick Warren to thank God at all times, but a football player, at ALL times? I was listening to the local Christian radio station and they asked people to call in and share what they thought of all the hubbub. One woman thought the prayer was okay but maybe he shouldn’t pray to win.

Not pray to win? That’s like telling a salesman not to pray to get the sale! Maybe we should tell the cab driver not to pray he doesn’t hit any traffic jams. Or maybe we should tell doctors not to pray they get the entire tumor. Okay, so that sounds extreme but here’s the point – each person has a job to do and to have success in any profession is to “win”. He could have great stats and his team still lose, but how does that help his organization, his company?

When Tim Tebow started this season, the Broncos were 1-4 and in 4th place. They are now 8-5 and in 1st place having gone 7-1 with Tebow as quarterback. Does God help Tim Tebow win games? I believe, in some way, He helps Tebow be successful in what he does. There is an entire team of players who are responsible for their own performance, who help win or lose games. Tebow was not on the field when either of the final two field goals were kicked to win the game against Chicago. He did his part when needed as did the rest of the team.

A friend of mine confessed that during the last Superbowl, it didn’t really matter to him who won the game. He prayed that the team who would bring the most glory to God would win. That’s a cool prayer just as it is, but it gets better. Green Bay won and some of the first words from player, Greg Jennings, were, “To God be the Glory.” I do believe that if there is any reason for a team to win a game, the idea that those words would be spoken over national television is a good one.

God has given Tim Tebow a platform and he has taken it and run with it…no pun intended. (Tebow is not a passer. He often hands off or runs the ball himself.) As a successful football player, and to be successful as a quarterback is to win games, Tebow has proclaimed God’s name and Word every chance he gets. His faith in God is not just seen on the field but off through his service and outreach. Through his fame, his platform, he has been able to create his own foundation, been invited to various speaking opportunities, and even has players and sportscasters quoting Scripture. He has no idea how long God will give him this football platform from which to speak but this is true: God is pleased when He is praised from a heart that is right with Him. (Romans 8:5-8)

People are talking about faith. And while people talk about having faith in Tim, Tim talks about having faith in Jesus. To God be the Glory.

Something to Consider…

Regardless of our faith, we all hold certain beliefs. We live a certain way, doing or saying things that should agree with our beliefs. Does what you say or do give an accurate picture to others about what you believe?

What platform have you been given to do God’s will and proclaim His name? It may feel like a small platform right now, but God’s Word says to he who is faithful with a little will be given much. (Matthew 25:23)

Jars of Clay

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Do you ever use items for a purpose other than their original intention? Maybe you use a pretty pitcher to hold flowers in a decorative display. It looks nice, you get compliments but it’s just sitting there. It’s not serving its true purpose.

A pitcher is made to be filled and pour out. Imagine the scene, it holds – contains. There is pressure on the walls. But it doesn’t just sit there; motion is a necessary step for the purpose to be fulfilled. Almost like a dance, it tips, pours out, comes back up and moves on to the next glass. A party must be the best time to be a pitcher!

Or is it… Consider the thirsty worker who comes looking for something to drink? The pitcher waits for the opportunity to work, to serve. It holds the liquid that restores the body. It pours out comfort and refreshment to a dry soul.

Now imagine that same pitcher sitting on a shelf or on a table looking pretty. What purpose does it serve? What need is it not meeting or joy not fulfilling?

We are jars of clay, mere shells made to hold God’s power. We can sit and look pretty, do something outside the purpose for which we were made; but on what will we miss out? Unlike the pitcher, we can choose on our own to be used. We don’t need to wait for someone else to decide it’s time. We can offer ourselves up to God now in our current state. He already knows the purpose He made us to fulfill. We have the opportunity to be used for our purpose, His good purpose, today.

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15

As God fills us with His Spirit, His all-surpassing power can flow through us into others. As He fills the cup of others through our work, we celebrate what God is doing in their lives as well as our own. Our purpose is not to go about in this world surviving or just looking pretty. As we pour out, God’s grace reaches more and more people and thanksgiving overflows. Our joy is complete.

Something to Consider…

Regardless of your age or current condition, you can be used as a vessel for God’s glory. Are you tired and dry, in need of refreshing? Allow God to pour His Spirit into you filling you with His power. Are you feeling like you are missing out on something, like there is more to life than you are currently experiencing? Allow God’s power to overflow through you to others.

Not sure how to do that? You can start by simply finding a place to volunteer – a school, church, hospital or wherever your passion takes you. As you serve, you will begin to find your purpose. As you share your heart with others; God’s power, heart and love for you and those you serve shines through.

This Thanksgiving, how will you allow your appreciation for God and all He has done to overflow with joy to others?

What’s Your Purpose?

    “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:3-4 (NIV)

This past spring I wrote a Bible Study titled Living On Purpose: The Proverbs 31 Woman. There was some question as to the title and it being grammatically correct or not. Something you should know about me is that my dad was an English teacher and his correction of my grammar was an easy and somewhat safe way for me to rebel. In other words, I didn’t retain what I was learning in regards to the proper use of the English language. You may notice quirks in my writings still…I am a work in progress!

When questions are posed to me about my work, my first reaction is to go into a self-protection mode and either not respond to questions or stop writing all together – neither of which are helpful or in line with God’s will. We are to be open to correction. (Proverbs 15:5) What I have come to learn is that in addressing questions such as these, it really makes me think about why I do what I do, choose what I choose and why I’m passionate about those things I’m passionate about. I give a reason. If I can’t give a reason, I may need to rethink what I’m doing.

One reason for the title is that Living On Purpose is about living your life with intention. While I am not an only child, I am far removed in age from my older siblings and to the best of my recollection, never had the “stop touching me” moments. I can, however, imagine how it goes. You’re bickering back and forth, your sibling snips, flicks or touches you when you’re not looking and you ask, “Did you do that on purpose?” Of course the answer acknowledged is “no” when in truth a “yes.” And that is the normal situation where the question is posed…Did you do that on purpose?

What if, instead of our intention being a mean-spirited action to push a button and keep someone down, our purposeful moments were inspiring and encouraging, lifting someone up? A wise woman (I know many) once said, “My husband has the position of authority; I have the position of influence.” Arlene Skaff. Literally, in that moment my intention changed. Jesus showed up that day and ministered to me in a way I had never experienced. What we choose to do, not do, support, or keep silent about has the ability to affect and influence our families, earthly and spiritually. It is up to us to be intentional with our influence for the benefit of our family.

The second reason for the title is that we live, move and breathe in God’s purpose for us. He chose us and purposed us for specific work. When we seek God’s purpose in what we are doing, we are energized and passionate whether it’s in our work, service, leisure or rest. It isn’t always easy but there is a desire and drive to see it through. His purpose sustains us.

    “We look at this Son (Jesus) and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:15-16 (MSG)

We do sometimes need to step in and fill a gap when it’s not our passion. That’s just part of having a servant’s heart and we should be intentional about that as well. When each of us in the body of Christ works together and serves the purpose God created us for, the body as a whole meets the needs at the time. One person can’t do it all, and all people are not called to do the same things.

Something to Consider…

Do you find yourself living your life with the intention of benefitting or blessing others, especially those in your family or church? So often we take out our frustrations on those closest to us. In the situations you most often do this, what steps could you take to be intentional with a positive and encouraging attitude? God has created you for a purpose. Do you know that purpose? Sometimes, we just need to do something to gain a better understanding of what we are passionate about and what we are not. If God has a purpose for you, and He does, He will also give you the passion you need to accomplish that purpose. As you seek Him, you draw closer to Him and your understanding of what He desires for you and from you becomes clearer.