Tag Archives: Purpose

The Route

The shortest route between two places is a straight line; however, going straight from point A to point B does not always work. It is not always the best route; it sure wasn’t for the people of Israel.

The Lord delivered Israel from the Egyptian bondage they were suffering. He designed an exit strategy which had them leave in a hurry, but they did not go directly to the land of Canaan. Exodus 13:17 records:

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”

Israel did not go directly to their destination because it wasn’t what was best for them. Though it may have seemed the Lord had the people wondering aimlessly in the wilderness, he had their best interests in mind and was always accomplishing his purpose. The Lord knew a direct route was not best in this situation.

Charles Stanley has commented, “Our God is practical, and He deals with us according to our nature. He will always lead us in the way that is most appropriate for us.”

Sometimes, the Lord may not take our lives on a direct route. It may seem there are many twists and turns to get to where we are going, but we can rest assured the Lord knows what he is doing. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that the Lord knows the plans he has for us. Those twists in turns of life are in our best interest. It may not seem like it at the time, but the Lord knows the best route to our destination.

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Guiding Through Adversity

Adversity. It is certainly not welcomed in anyone’s life, but it finds its way into all of our lives. As hard as we try to avoid it, it seems there are just times when we have to climb uphill. Joseph was no stranger to adversity. The Bible tells his story in Genesis 38-50.

He was loved by his father, and as a young man, Joseph’s brothers grew to hate him. Joseph was the favored child and his brothers didn’t care for that. When given the opportunity, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, and Joseph was placed in Potiphar’s home.

He was in charge of Potiphar’s household and the Lord blessed Joseph’s work. He was also good looking, so Potiphar’s wife wanted to go to bed with him. Joseph refused so one day she tried to force him, but Joseph escaped. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of rape. This accusation resulted in Joseph being sent to prison.

While in prison Joseph interpreted some dreams for fellow prisoners. These prisoners turned out to be some of Pharaoh’s officials, and Joseph’s relationship placed him in front of Pharaoh to interpret a dream.

Joseph told Pharaoh his dream was a warning that famine would strike Egypt. Joseph encouraged Pharaoh to prepare for the famine, and he was given the responsibility to prepare the nation. Joseph did and the Lord blessed his work. Joseph gained much power and pull with Pharaoh.

Eventually, everyone ran out of food and Joseph’s family was moved to Egypt. When Joseph’s dad dies, his brothers are fearful Joseph will seek revenge, but he doesn’t. Notice his response in Genesis 50:20:

20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Joseph remembered the Lord had a plan as he went through all of the adversity his life brought him. It has been said the iron chains around Joseph’s hands and feet in prison led to gold chains around his neck in the palace. Joseph found his way to Pharaoh because of his time in prison. Joseph was in Egypt because he was sold into slavery. Even though he faced adversity, Joseph was still guided by the Lord to accomplish his purpose.

We will face adversity in our lives. It is inevitable; however, the Lord will guide us through those times. Like Joseph, the Lord guides us to accomplish our purpose. How has the Lord brought you through adversity in the past?

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making the most of 2021

Goodbye 2020!

Hello 2021! We’re glad you’re here!

Today marks the beginning of a new year. For many, it is a welcomed relief. The past year was historically difficult in a lot of ways. The calendar resets today.

Perhaps this is the perfect time to reignite your passion to meet your goals and fulfill your dreams. Perhaps it is the perfect time to strike out on that new adventure for which you feel called. Maybe this is the year for your grind to lead to an achieved goal. You and I have been given a fresh calendar of 365 days to use, and the Bible encourages us to make the most of every opportunity. So, how are we going to use 2021?

Take some time today to develop a strategy to move forward on your passion, goals, and dreams in 2021. Perhaps these things had to take a back seat to the flux of last year, and it is time to pick them up again. Ask the Lord to guide you as you plan and make the most of the opportunity 2021 brings.

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god can do anything

We are all better prepared to do some things. Some things are better handled by a doctor. Brain surgery should never be performed by an auto mechanic. One parent is usually better at soothing a hurting child than another. Some tasks should be left for those individuals who are best prepared to accomplish them.

When it comes to “impossible” dreams or events, it is best to leave those things for God. God’s ability to do anything was once again on display during the first Christmas.

Power on Display

“How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, so the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she, who was said to be unable to conceive, is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail,” records Luke 1:34-37.

Mary’s faith helped her to see the events foretold by Gabriel would happen. She just isn’t sure how they will unfold. After all, a virgin does not have a baby. That is, unless God is involved. Gabriel explains how Mary will conceive, then to boost her faith, he points to Elizabeth. “No one thought Elizabeth would have a baby, but she’s pregnant. In fact, she is already in her sixth month. Nothing is impossible with God.”

Nothing is Impossible

It has been said Luke 1:37 is the most reassuring verse in Scripture. When God is involved, nothing is impossible. There is no challenge too great for God. The events leading up to Jesus’ birth help us see this point. Preparing the world for Christ’s arrival, Elizabeth’s pregnancy, and Mary conceiving as a virgin are all illustrations of God doing the impossible. God can do anything.

What are your goals? What are your biggest dreams? Nothing is impossible for God. Ask God what he desires for you to do and for the abilities to get it done. God can do anything.

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Patient Endurance Pays Off

Don’t give up. Patiently enduring today’s struggles will pay off with tomorrow’s successes.

Frank wasn’t known for his patience. While he was working, Frank’s wife called him. She was speaking kind of slowly, and her mood was somewhat down.

Irritated by this, Frank barked, “Get on with it. What do you need? And, be positive!”

She was silent for a moment, and then chipperly reported, “I found out today the airbags in our brand-new BMW work very well.”

Patience can be hard. We live in a well-connected world with virtually everything at our fingertips, so when patience is required, you and I may struggle a little. We want what we want when we want it, but sometimes patience is needed. Having patience may seem grueling to us, but the reward will be worth the backbreaking work.

Hebrews 10:36 implores, “Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will, then you will receive all that he has promised.”

Moses serves as an illustration of someone who had patience. He patiently endured the struggle of Israel wondering in the desert. Moses led Israel out of Egypt and wanted to take the people into the promised land, but the unbelief of the people forced Israel to stay in the desert the rest of Moses’ life. It would have been easy for Moses to give up in this situation, yet he remained faithful.

Moses patiently endured his circumstances. He knew something better was ahead. Moses knew what was ahead would be worth the wait. For him, it was Heaven, and for Israel, it was the promised land. Patient endurance will lead to a reward worth the wait.

Two frogs fell into a bucket of cream. The sides were slippery, and the frogs did not have an immediate way out of the bucket.

One frog immediately gave up. He said, “there’s no way out. We’re going to drown.” So, he stopped swimming and sank to the bottom.

The other frog said, “I’m going to keep swimming and see what happens.” He kicked and paddled; he swam and churned. Eventually, butter formed a platform under the frog. He was able to jump out of the bucket.

Right now, life may be in a season of adversity. Achieving goals, realizing dreams, and fulfilling purpose may be a struggle. Don’t give up. Tomorrow’s successes will be worth enduring the hardships of today.

Patient endurance will be worth it when we find success.

You are working hard. Your hard work uncovers more work needing done. It shows you more practice is needed or more connections made. You see the goal and dream, but you are beginning to doubt its obtainability.

Michael Jordan can relate. Jordan may be one of the best NBA players to ever touch the court, and he had to patiently endure missed shots, game losses, and letting the team down on his way to success. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games; 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed,” Michael Jordan once said.

The work you and I are now doing is helping us find success. It will be worth it when our goals are achieved, and dreams realized. Don’t give up. Patiently endure the struggles of today to enjoy the successes of tomorrow.

Patient endurance will be worth it when our purpose is fulfilled.

You’re trying to fulfill your purpose. It seems you have to overcome a barrier each step of the way. Your suggestions are ignored; your ideas fall on deaf ears. And, life seems to always pose an interruption. You’ve determined your purpose, but the present trials are causing you to doubt. Are you really the right person for this purpose?

Moses was ignored. His requests to the people fell on deaf ears. He endured all of this as he faithfully fulfilled his purpose. Moses wondered if he was the right person for the job; he doubted leading Israel was his purpose, but God said it was.

We, too, may wonder and doubt, but God gave us life and our purpose. Like Moses, we will experience struggles. The reward of fulfilling our purpose will be worth patiently enduring the struggles.

Patiently enduring this life will be worth it in the next.

The struggles of this life will be worth it in the next.

  • James 1:12 says, “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
  • “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long, yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever,” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 says. “So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now. Rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Acting

Don’t give up. Today’s struggles will be worth tomorrow’s successes. Ask the Lord to help you patiently endure the struggles of today.

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3 Ways God Views Us

When God looks at us, what does he see?

The picture wasn’t much. It was a hand drawn sketch of what was supposed to be a dog. It had a few oddly placed stickers around the dog, and there was really no theme or artistic thought given to the picture. Most everyone would look at the picture and declare it trash, but in the eye of the recipient, it was a beautiful work of art.

The recipient was a mom and the picture created by her daughter, making it a masterpiece worthy of hanging on the refrigerator. No one else saw the beauty. No one else saw the potential, but the mom did. She did because it was her daughter.

The same can be said about our lives from the Lord’s perspective. No one else may see the beauty. No one else may see the potential, but the Lord does. In his sight, our lives are a masterpiece by his grace.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

In his grace, the Lord overcomes the messiness of our lives. He looks past all the dirt to see our heart, our potential, and our purpose.

When the Lord looks at us, here is what he sees.

A Masterpiece

He sees the shattered pieces of our lives put back together in his grace. The result is a beautiful mosaic in his sight.

A person with a purpose

You and I are not just aimlessly wondering through life. The Lord has a purpose for the mosaic he has created. The Bible reminds us the Lord has plans for us. Plans to give us hope and a future.

A person who can do some amazing work

The purpose the Lord has for us is awesome and will leave behind a lasting and beautiful legacy.

Acting

Ask the Lord to help you view yourself as he views you.

God uses Messy People to do Amazing Work

No one is perfect. We are messy people, and sometimes our lives can be a little messy. We make mistakes. We have regrets, and we have many struggles. All of this can make life dirty at times, and we may wonder how the Lord can have a purpose for a life as messed up as ours. He does; the Lord uses messy people.

The Bible says liars, cheats, and prostitutes were all used by the Lord. Their lives were anything but clean; they were not perfect. They seemed to be the least likely to be used by God, yet he used them to do some amazing work. They were messy people with messed up lives, but the Lord still had a purpose for them.

As we read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, we find a messy cast of characters.

David

David makes the list. David lusted after Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed to cover up an affair, and had a family life filled with turbulence. Yet, the Lord used him. Scripture even says David was a man after God’s own heart.

Ruth

Ruth was poor, and it seemed she had few opportunities. She was humble and dedicated to her mother-in-law. Life was hard as Ruth was forced to walk behind the harvesters hoping enough food was left to provide for her and her mother-in-law. Ruth developed a relationship with Boaz, and they had a son. Ruth’ life took her from rags to riches, from impoverished to having plenty, from unknown to finding a place in the Lord’s lineage.

Jacob

Jacob is used by the Lord to spite being a liar and cheater. Jacob wanted his father’s blessing, but since he was younger than his brother, he had to lie and cheat to get it. One day while his brother was hunting, Jacob pretended to be Esau so Isaac would bless him. Jacob was dishonest. He lied to his father and cheated his brother, yet Jacob had a grand purpose for his life.

Judah

Judah is listed in the family lineage though he hated Joseph. Judah and his brothers sold Joseph as a slave hoping to never see him again, yet God used them in his plan.

Tamar

Tamar is listed. Tamar’s life was filled with heartbreak. She was widowed twice and promised a third husband, but the man and Tamar were never married. Trying to fix things herself, Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and tricks Judah. Judah has intercourse with Tamar, and she gives birth to a son placing her in this genealogy. Tamar’s life was messy, but she is in the genealogy of the messiah.

These are dirty stories of messy lives, and it might even be shocking to think the Lord used such messy people, but he does. The Lord did not sanction the messiness, but he overcame it to do some amazing work.

The Lord can use us in the same way. Our lives may be smeared with many mistakes, regrets, and struggles, but the Lord can overcome all of them. To spite being messy, you and I have a purpose to fulfill. The Lord will help us even though we are not perfect.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,” in Jeremiah 29:11. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Life may get a little dirty at times, but the Lord will help us overcome it. He will help you and me complete our calling and fulfill our purpose. The Lord uses messy people to do some amazing work.

Acting

Remind yourself the Lord uses people who are not perfect, and he will help you realize and fulfill your calling.

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Most Important Key for Fulfilling Our Calling

This is the most important key to achieving goals and fulfilling dreams. It is also the most important key to overcoming barriers in our lives. It is the driving force which pushes us to achieve the goal, fulfill the dream, and overcome the barrier. It is faith, and faith is indispensable in fulfilling our purpose.

Faith is believing and has two components. Both are crucial to completing our calling.

1. Believing in one’s self is vital to fulfilling our purpose.

Self-confidence is necessary to succeed in life. This is not arrogance, but an understanding of ourselves. It is an understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses. It is a true assessment of ourselves.

The problem is we often lie. You and I tell ourselves, “There’s no way I can pass the exam,” so we don’t even take the class. “There’s no way they will give me a promotion,” so we don’t even apply. “There’s no way she’ll go on a date with me,” so we don’t even ask. We lie about ourselves. We believe the lies and do nothing.

While it is healthy to understand our limits, we must believe in ourselves to get anywhere. We may not be the most intelligent members of a class, but if we study hard, we can pass. We may not be the most popular person in the office, but the hiring manager may be impressed by our qualifications and work ethic giving us the promotion. As for the date, the girl may be interested and hoping we ask. You and I are unique. We have something to offer. We must believe in ourselves to move forward.

Switch your thinking from what you do wrong to what you do right, from what you don’t have to what you have. This will give you a true starting point to achieve goals and fulfill dreams.

Caleb was self-confident. At age 85, he believed he could take a mountain. Caleb was one of the scouts sent into Canaan by Moses, and he brought back a faithful report. Caleb believed Israel could take possession of the land as the Lord promised. Lacking faith, Israel was overwhelmed by the obstacles, so the nation spent much time wondering in the desert.

45 years after the favorable report, Caleb is in the promised land, and he is ready to take a mountain.

Caleb says in Joshua 14:11-12, “I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. So, give me the hill country that the Lord Promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns, but if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land just as the Lord said.”

Caleb’s goal is to take the mountain, and his self-confidence allows him to move forward. He knows his strength, and Caleb knows he’s a good fighter. He also knows his weaknesses. Caleb knows it will take the Lord’s help to succeed.

2. Believing in the Lord’s help is essential to succeed.

Caleb possessed enough self-confidence to realize he needed the Lord’s help. His goal of taking the mountain could only be achieved if the Lord helped him. At some point, Caleb would reach his limits, so the limitless Lord would have to step in for success.

The same is true for our success. You and I will eventually reach our limits, so we will need the limitless Lord to step in for success. And we must believe he will.

“Remember the Lord your God,” Deuteronomy 8:18 advises, “he is the one who gives you power to be successful….”

When our limits are met, the Lord is only getting started, and just like he helped Caleb take the mountain, he will help us fulfill our purpose.

Faith is the single most important key to success. We must believe in ourselves and in the Lord’s help. Everything else will fall in place behind faith. It is the driving force that puts plans into motion and moves us from wishing we were fulfilling a purpose to completing our calling.