Tag Archive | ask

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.

Fellowship Matters

friends“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)

If I’m going to abide in Christ this year…and always, knowing that I don’t usually keep my resolutions, it would be good to understand what causes me to let go of my plan.

The plan itself is not my issue. I am GREAT at planning. I make lists, flow charts, spreadsheets and know every detail of everything I want to do. What I often miss is the list of those things that could interrupt my plan and when they do, how I will move forward. We know this as “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” In other words, I don’t plan for the worst, the struggle of keeping my commitment.

This is a new step for me this year. I want to understand what keeps me from abiding, staying close to Jesus and have a plan ready when people, situations and conditions of my heart try to pull me from Him.

One thing I’ve learned is that we are all at different places with our faith. There are many things that I once thought were okay and now see completely different. I’m also sure there are things I do or consent to today that in five years I will no longer consider good for me in relation to my faith. Just as I am on a journey, so is everyone else. Even those who don’t claim to have faith in Jesus or God believe something.

I don’t think others ever intentionally try to pull me away from Jesus as much as I don’t think they understand the full benefit of staying close to Him. It’s hard to encourage me in what they don’t consider valuable or meaningful.

Too often, we can make excuses for our own behavior by excusing the behavior of others. If I have a hard time controlling how much I eat, I may encourage someone else to go ahead and have the second piece. If I talk bad about my husband, I may encourage someone else that it’s good to vent or “get it off their chest”. After all, they are just being honest. If I don’t see how what I do is harmful, I may not see it as harmful for someone else.

And others, who don’t know Jesus, won’t understand why it’s important to stay close to Him and most likely, will not be able to encourage me in my desire to abide.

While I don’t want to cut off relationships with those who don’t know Jesus, He came for us all, I need to be careful to whom I listen.

I will be resolved to seek counsel, wisdom and encouragement from others who are actively seeking God and following Christ.

Something to Consider…

We are to live in this world but not be of it. Our relationships matter regardless of where others stand with Jesus.

How can you ensure you are spending time with others who know Jesus? How can you continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus even when you are with others who are not?

Regardless of how committed you are to Jesus, how many questions you have about faith, and how many doubts and concerns you have for what it truly means to believe, it will be hard to move forward and find answers alone.

  1. Find a local church to attend and show up. Volunteer and get involved. Even if you’re not sure about this whole God thing, you will meet new people and expand your understanding of the Christian faith.
  2. Identify two or three people who know Jesus with whom you can ask questions and discuss your faith. Don’t ask your friend the atheist or agnostic. They don’t have the answers you’re looking for.
  3. Seek to know Jesus, not just know about Him or assume things about Him. No one likes it when people make assumptions about them. Really get to know who He is and why He came for you.

Go Ahead, Ask the Question!

I don’t have one but I see them everywhere. The fish. It’s usually on the bumper of a vehicle. You see it and you know it refers to God , Jesus, Christianity. I knew the story of the fish and loaves, the feeding of the 5,000 and the fishermen called to be fishers of men, but I learned there is so much more to the story of how a fish on a bumper shows the world who you follow.

The other day I saw a fish with legs and in the body it said, “Darwin”.

I admit it put me off at first, but then I began to think about it and ask some questions.

  • At what point did a fish grow legs?
  • And if one fish grew legs, why didn’t all of them?
  • Did more than one have to grow legs in order to mate and continue the cycle?
  • If so, what are the chances that at least two fish of the opposite sex that could grow legs would be in close enough proximity to each other that they could mate and would mate?
  • How many years does it take to morph into a completely different creature?
  • If they can trace the finches of the Galapagos Islands back to a single bird, why is it crazy that all people came from a single man?
  • If we came from apes, where did the apes come from?
  • If survival of the fittest means the weaker species die off, why are there still apes if humans came from them? (I owe this question to a friend of mine.)
  • If evolution is true, how many different species of humans are there really? There wouldn’t only be one, would there?
  • If survival of the fittest is the way of the world, can we as humans really be created equally?
  • Is it easier to believe that everything in this universe is chance, that there really is no meaning to any of it OR that a Creator God lovingly formed everything with intricate detail and care, thought and love?

As I consider the purpose of the fish, the meaning behind it and thought of the name of Darwin being stamped over the middle, I heard God asking me a few questions.

  • What can Darwin do for you?
  • Does he show you what it means to love?
  • Does he teach you how to have compassion for others?
  • Did he know your name before you were born?
  • Can he heal, hold and carry you through the difficulties of life?
  • Does he give you a purpose and meaning beyond yourself?

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26-28 (ESV)

Something to Consider…

When my husband and I were dating, we got on the subject of asking our parents questions. The conversation ending with me say, “My children are going to know they can ask me any question. I may not give them an answer. They may not like the answer I give them. But, they will always be able to come to me and ask.”

I believe God wants us to ask. If we are open to asking Him the question, we just might be open to receiving His answer.

Who do you look like: an intelligent ape, a distant relative or a loving and faithful Father in heaven? Do you walk like His Son, Jesus?

What questions do you have? Do you know your true identity? God would love to tell you who you are to Him.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

Where Does Your Help Come From?

“You willingly forgive, and your love is always there for those who pray to you. Please listen, Lord! Answer my prayer for help. When I am in trouble, I pray, knowing you will listen.” Psalm 86:5-7 (CEV)

My daughter came down the stairs this morning before going to work with her keys in one hand and her lanyard in the other. They are supposed to be attached. “Look what happened,” she said.

Of course, I have to look it over and I start playing with it. “What about this?”

“No, that was for the price tag.” The plastic piece that held the price tag has been attached since she bought the lanyard some twelve months ago. Odds and ends pieces don’t phase my kids; it drives me crazy. Get rid of the junk already…maybe that’s for another post!

So once that’s taken care of I start looking over the lanyard again. She points out that there is a screw in the middle of the cap and that’s why the strap won’t go back in. In my bi-focal needing way, I stretch my arms out to be able to see the screw and make out what type of screwdriver is needed.

My daughter politely lets me know that I don’t have a screwdriver small enough. GAME ON!

“Oh, I don’t? I bet I do.”

After rummaging around a bit, I find two that might work. The first one is too big, but with a few turns of the second, that little screw starts to move. Once out far enough, I slide the straps back in and tighten the screw holding the straps firmly in place.

Problem solved. Next?

I posted on my Facebook page that I love it when my kids think I can’t fix something but then I do! I love their amazement!

But then I wondered, do I really love it? Wouldn’t I prefer that they believe I can fix it and come to me willingly seeking my help? I still love that they are amazed at my ability to solve the problem but I don’t ever want them assuming I can’t help. Or worse yet, that I won’t help.

And isn’t that what God, our heavenly Father wants? Doesn’t He desire that we know we can come to Him with any problem and He will help us?

So what keeps us from asking?

  • We believe it can’t be fixed so we don’t bother asking…but all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
  • We don’t think God will help even though we want to ask…but God always hears us and is always willing to help when we turn to Him. (Isaiah 41:13)
  • We don’t want to do our part. We just want it fixed…but God says we are to put off the old self and get rid of the old way of thinking. We are to take on His ways in all areas. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The truth is it can be fixed, it can be better. We may need to make some changes in the process, we need to be willing to believe He can and will help, and we definitely need to be willing to ask for His help.

“My help comes from the LORD,  the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2 (NIV)

Something to Consider…

Is there a problem in your life that you just can’t seem to fix on your own? Are you trying to find a way around dealing with certain issues because it just seems like it’s too much, too big, or too difficult?

Turn to God, ask Him to help and believe that He will. And then be willing to make the necessary changes He shows you in the process.