Posts Tagged With: purpose

If Only

Here is a poem I wrote about how different things would be if we put our trust in the Lord.

If Only

If only I trusted that I am worthy of love, I wouldn’t let people use and abuse me.

If only I trusted that I was chosen to be a child of God, I wouldn’t dwell so much on the times my earthly father disappointed me or hurt my feelings.

If only I trusted that I am God’s masterpiece, I wouldn’t believe what others have said about my appearance.

If only I trusted that I am holy and dearly loved, I wouldn’t listen to the hurtful comments people have said to me.

If only I believed I was an heir to the King of Kings, I wouldn’t spend so much time and energy trying to acquire material things.

If only I trusted that I belonged to a royal priesthood, I wouldn’t be so worried about fitting in here on earth.

If only I trusted that my sins are forgiven, I wouldn’t spend my time beating myself up over mistakes in the past.

If only I trusted that God had a plan for me and a purpose for my life, I would be willing to step out of my comfort zone and into His.

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What does Worthy Living Look Like?

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In the first verse of Ephesians 4 we looked at how Paul called us to live lives worthy of our calling. The next verse gives us a picture of what worthy living looks like.

Ephesians 4:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

In order to truly grasp how to live lives worthy of our call I want to break down the words from this verse and look at their meanings in the original language.

  • The Greek word for “humble” is “tapeinophrosyne” and it means “lowliness of mind. For the sinner it involves the confession of his sin and a deep realization of his unworthiness to receive God’s marvelous grace.”
  • The Greek word for “gentle” is “prautes” and “it is the attitude of spirit why which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and do not dispute or resist.
  • “The Greek word for “patient” is “makrothymia” and it means “long-sufering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who has power to avenge himself, yet refrains from doing so. It is patience with respect to persons and is associated with mercy.”
  • The Greek word for “bearing” is “anechomai” and it means “to put up with”.

The first two words, humble and gentle, are directly related to the Lord and His amazing grace towards us and our response to Him. The second two words, patient and bearing with one another, also have to do with the Lord because we cannot be patient or bear with others without the empowerment of His Holy Spirit. In order to live lives worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1) we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

In looking at the four characteristics of how to live lives worthy of our calling, which one stood out to you the most? Which do you struggle with? Reread the list. Who does God bring to mind that He wants you to be gentle towards? Who do you need to show more patience to? Who in your life is in need of you bearing with more? Allow the Lord to speak to you about who in your life needs  to be loved with the love of Christ and show it to them through your humility, gentleness, patience and bearing up so you can reveal Christ to them.

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God’s Plans for you Surpass your Wildest Dreams

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We wrap up Ephesians 3 today by looking at the amazing power of God and the glory due to Him.

Ephesians 3:20-21

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The end of this letter is a doxology, an expression of praise to God. It tells of His unimaginable power. The Lord is able to do more than anything we could dream or imagine on our own. His plans for us and for His church are far greater than what we anything could dream up.

I remember when we were moving overseas, I was going through some paperwork and found an old paper from 7th grade I had written. In it I wrote what I dreamed my life would be like when I grew up. In the letter I said I wanted to be married, have children and be a teacher. Well, by the age of 26 I had accomplished all of that. However, there was something missing.

I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus until I was 29.Thankfully, God’s plans for my life were bigger than anything I could have asked or imagined. After putting my faith in Christ, my life began to change. God called me to children’s ministry where I really learned the Word of God. Later He called me to be a youth pastor where my faith grew by leaps and bounds.

After moving to the Middle East, I became involved in women’s ministry. It was there the Lord had me lead Bible studies and be a speaker at women’s conferences and retreats. Since returning to the U.S. the Lord led me to publish a 365-day devotional called Deeply Rooted and has given me opportunities to travel and speak to women in  Singapore, India, Nigeria, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and here in the U.S. I am blown away by how much greater God’s plans were for me than my plans for myself. 

This doxology of praising the Lord in these verses is very dear to my heart. “To him be glory” describes the way I feel – actually to him be ALL the glory! If God can use someone who didn’t know him for 29 years, He can use you too. His plans for you are far greater than yours. 

How have God’s plans been greater than yours? How have you seen God work in your life? Take time to give Him the praise and glory He deserves today.

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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Chosen to Serve

It is really cool to think God chose us to serve Him. We will look at a verse in Ephesians that talks about our being chosen.

Ephesians 1:11

11 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, 

This verse starts with “in him” reminding us that “Christ is the center of God’s plan”.1 Everything begins with Christ. We are reminded by this that we, as believers in Christ, have been chosen. His choosing us starts with Him. “Everyone who hears the gospel is responsible to either accept or reject Christ.”2 Our being chosen isn’t random, but purposeful. God chose us “in conformity with the purpose of his will”.

God can fulfill His will and His purposes here on earth without us. The blessing is when we listen to Him and are willing to be obedient, we get to be a part of what God is doing. That is what serving God is all about.

I have spoken at numerous conferences and retreats and I spend time praying, studying and preparing my talks. However, I always want to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit because God knows exactly who will be in attendance and what they need to hear. Many times the Holy Spirit will guide me to share an example, a Scripture or even change the entire topic of my talk. When I am obedient, I am so blessed to be able to speak into people’s lives and situations. It’s not that God couldn’t get the messages to the people without me, but He invites me to share it with Him. It is fulfilling HIs purposes and His will.

God’s part is to love us enough to chose us even before creation. Our part is to believe in His Son, listen to His voice and be willing to be obedient in order to be part of the fulfillment of His perfect will. What has God asked you to do? How is God calling you to serve Him? How will you respond to His call?

  • Scripture verses from http://www.biblegateway.com
  • 1 “NIV Study Bible” notes, Zondrevan
  • 2  “The Key Word Study Bible” notes, AMG Publishers
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Your Past Doesn’t Have to Determine Your Future

Scripture is full of examples of people whose lives were completely transformed by knowing the Lord. Our God is a god of transformation so our past doesn’t have to determine our future.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!

We don’t know a lot about Moses’ life after being retrieved from the river by pharaoh’s daughter. However, we know at some point he knew he was not an Egyptian and identified himself with the Hebrew slaves. After seeing one of the slaves being mistreated, Moses took matters into his own hands.

Exodus 2:11-12

 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 

Despite killing a man, God chose Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. If God can use a murderer to fulfill His purposes, He can use anyone. There is nothing you have done, are doing or will do in the future that will disqualify you from serving the Lord. We think God can’t use us because of things we have done or not done, but it just isn’t true. Regardless of what you have done or what things have been done to you, God has a plan for your life and wants to use you to serve Him.

Saul, whose name was changed to Paul, was a persecutor of followers of Christ, yet the Lord chose him to write more books of the New Testament than anyone else – even the disciples. Paul spent a good portion of his life not following Christ. It was not too late for Paul to follow the Lord and it isn’t too late for you to follow Him either. 

The one thing Moses and Paul have in common is they had an encounter with the Lord and their lives were forever changed. For Moses, it was the Lord speaking to him through a burning bush and for Paul it was being blinded by a bright light on the road to Damascus. You probably won’t have a burning bush or blinded by the light experience, but you too, can have your life transformed by coming to know the Lord.

I didn’t know the Lord for 29 years and since I came to know and love Him, my life has never been the same. The enemy wants us to be focused on things that have happened to us in the past or things we have done in order for us to feel condemned. Satan wants nothing more than for us to believe our past will prevent us from being used by the Lord in  the present and the future. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

God wants to be in a relationship with each of us and wants to use us to serve Him. Our service to Him is all about Him and not about us. It is about His redeeming love, forgiveness, grace and power and not about our past sins or traumas.

What do you need to let go of today and allow the Lord to heal in your heart so He can use you for His service? What sins do you need to turn away from and seek His forgiveness? Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him how He wants to use you to serve Him and then be obedient to His call. Remember your past doesn’t have to determine your future!

 

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