Posts Tagged ‘purpose’

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.  Proverbs 14:4

Busting-Brick-Off-New-Home-2-300x168

photo from the internet

My wife and I run together through a new home subdivision.  Often we see the street filled with red clay from the land as bulldozers clear it to lay a foundation.  The job site littered with lumber, all sorts of trash from the workers, and is generally a mess.  The house looks ugly, it has all its insides exposed as it is being pieced together yet this process is necessary to get to the finished product.  When completed, the home is beautiful.  The landscaping looks like it came out of a home-design magazine.  Everything is clean and perfect in order for the new home-owner to move in.

Our walk with God is much the same process.  Often we must go through a messy period of our lives in which all aspects of it are in disarray.  It is in these times that God builds a new structure.  He might remove some structural timbers in our lives and replace them with new ones.  He might even add on another room.  And unless this process takes place, we will never see the end product.  The goal is more Christ likeness.  In order to achieve this in us, He requires a period of removing all that is not of Him.  It can be a painful process.

christlikeness

photo from the internet

It would be impossible to keep oxen in a barn without having to clean up the mess from time to time.  It just comes with the territory, but the result of the oxen is an abundant harvest.  God may be allowing a mess in order to ensure a fruitful harvest in your life.  Learn from Him so that you might experience the fulfillment of His purposes for you in these times.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman, Section One Adversity]

 

 

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heart-check

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert there forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.  – Deuteronomy 8:2

Has God performed a heart test on you lately? There are times in your lives when God leads us in to the desert in order to let us find out what is in our heart.  These times can be very difficult and humbling.  They can test our mettle like no other time.  Desert times often mean we are living without those things we are normally accustomed to: water, food, limited supplies – and with few comforts.  In modern terms, it may mean a different environment.  God is performing a very important work during these times.  He wants to know if we can be obedient to Him in these times; or will we be obedient only when times are good?

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to touch you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.  Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you (Deuteronomy 8:3-5)

These desert times may mean experiencing new ways of provision from the Lord.  Like manna from Heaven, it may mean seeing miracles we’ve never seen before.  Like clothing that never wears out, it may mean seeing your normal capabilities expanded.  Like walking hundreds of miles without pain, desert experiences provide new lessons and new experiences that only these times can teach us.

What desert experience has He brought into you life lately? Perhaps it is a lean time in business.  Perhaps it is a new environment.  Whatever it is, when God decides to bring new disciplines into our lives by bringing us into the desert, do not fear the heat that is sure to come.  He is walking beside you in order to test you and find out what is really in your heart.  Ask for His grace to pass the test.  He wants to bring all of His children into the Promised Land.

[Source: Today God Is First by Os Hillman]

Thank you Lord for another year to celebrate life and for this wonderful birthday message! 🙂

change-the-worldOn several occasions I have been encouraged  when men I knew to be dishonest and immoral agreed to talk me about their conduct. Yet each time I was disappointed at the outcome of our meetings.

In each situation the person said he believed in God and wanted to escape hell. Some rationalized by saying everybody, even churchgoing people, are basically selfish. They do good only to escape punishment. Those who reasoned this way believed that because they sometimes were kind and generously to charitable causes, their chances of going to heaven were as good as those of the Christians they knew. One man vowed that he would do kind. But like the others, he wanted to have eternal life without the forgiveness and inner change that only Jesus can give.

The apostle Paul told Timothy how to deal with religionists who focused on externals. He reminded him that the purpose of godly instructions is a life that reflects a radical inner change: “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1Tim 1:5). Has God changed you from within? You can have a life changing encounter with Jesus if you’ll trust in Him –Herb Vander Lugt

How to be changed from within as easy as A-B-C…

Admit that you are a sinner and turn from your sin.
Believe that Jesus dies for you and rose from the dead.
Call on Him to be your Savior and Lord.

When God changes you, He works from inside out.

The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith. – 1 Tim 1:5

Read: 1 Timothy 1:1-7

[Source: Daily Bread, 26 November 2012 message]

Life is all about love.

Because God is love, the most important lesson he wants you to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like him, so love is the foundation of every command he has given us: “The whole Law can be summed up in this one command”:  Love others as you love yourself.”

Learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task.  It runs counter to our self-centered nature.  That’s why we’re given a lifetime to learn it.  Of course, God wants us to love everyone, but he is particularly concerned that we learn to love others in his family.  As we’ve already seen this is the second purpose for your life. Peter tells us, “Show special love for God’s people”, Paul echoes this sentiment: When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it.  But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers.”

Why does God insist that we give special love and attention to other believers? Why do they get priority in loving? Because God wants his family to be known for its love more than anything else.  Jesus said our love for each other– not doctrinal beliefs- is our greatest witness to the world.  He said,”Your strong love for each other will prove the world that you are my disciples.”

In heaven we will enjoy God’s family forever, but first we have some tough work to do here on earth to prepare ourselves for an eternity of loving.  God trains us by giving us “family responsibilities,” and the  foremost of these is to practice loving each other.

God wants you to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving.  Love cannot be learned in isolation.  You have to be around people-irritating, imperfect, frustrating people.  Through fellowship we learn three important truths.

The Best Use of Life is Love

Love should be your top priority primary objective, and greatest ambition.  Love is not a good part of live; it’s the most important part.  The Bible says, “Let love be your greatest aim”.

It’s not enough to say, One of the things I want in life is to be loving,” as if its’ in your top ten list.  Relationships must have priority in your life above anything else.  Why?

Life without love is really worthless. Paul makes this point: “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

Often we act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into your schedule.  We talk about finding time for our children or making time for people in our lives.  That gives the impression that relationships are just a part of our lives along with many other tasks.   But God says relationships are what life is all about.  Four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God while the other six deal with our relationships with people.  But the ten are about relationships!  Later, Jesus summarized what matters most to God in two statements: love God and love people.  He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart…” This is the first and greatest commandments.  A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” After learning to love God (worship), learning to love others is the second purpose of your life.

Relationships, not achievements or the acquisition of things, are what matter most in life.  So why do we allow our relationships to get the short end of the stick? When our schedules become overloaded, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require.  What’s most important to God is displaced by what’s urgent.

Busyness is a great enemy of relationships.  We become preoccupied with making a living doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. They are not.  The point of life is learning to love – – God and people.  Life minus love equals zero.

Love will last forever.  Another reason God tells us to make love our top priority is that it is eternal  “ These three things continue forever:  faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.”

Love leaves legacy.  How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.  As Mother Teresa said, “It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.” Love is the secret of a lasting heritage.

I have been at the bedside of many people in their final moments, when they stand on the edge of eternity and I have never heard anyone one say, “Bring me my diploma! I want to look at them one more time.  Show me my awards, my medals, that gold watch I was given.” When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects.  What we want around us is people- people we love and have relationships with.

In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about.  Wisdom is learning the truth sooner rather than later.  Don’t’ wait until you’re on your deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more.

We will be evaluated on our love.  The third reason to make learning to love the goal of your life is that it is what we will be evaluated on in eternity.  One of the ways God measures spiritual maturity is by the quality of your relationships.  I heaven God won’t say, “Tell me about your career, your bank account, and your hobbies.” Instead he will review how you treated other people, particularly those in need. Jesus said the way to love him is to love his family and care for their practical needs.  “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me,”

When you transfer into eternity, you will leave everything else behind.  All you’re taking with you is your character.  That’s why the bible says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Knowing this, I suggest that when you wake up every morning, you kneel by your bed, or sit on the edge of it, and pray this: “God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure that I spend time loving other people- because that’s what life is all about.  I don’t want to waste this day.” Why should God give you another day if you’re going to waste it?

The Best Expression of Love is Time

The importance of things can be measured by how much time we are willing to invest in them.  The more time you give to something, the more you reveal its importance and value to you. If you want to know a person’s priorities, just look at how they use their time.

Time is your most precious gift because you only have set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.  When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.  Your time is your life.  That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

It is not enough just to say relationships are important; we must prove it by investing time in them.  Words alone are worthless.  “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E.” The essence of love is not what we think or do or provide for others, but how much we give of ourselves.  Men , in particular, often don’t understand this.  Many have said to me, “I don’t understand my wife and kids.  I provide everything they need. What more they could want? They want you! Your eyes, your ears, your time, your attention, your presence, your focus-your time. Nothing can take the place of that.

The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate.  It is focused attention.  Love concentrates so intently on another that you forget yourself at that moment.  Attention says. “I value you enough to give you my most precious asset- my time”.  Whenever you give your time, you are making a sacrifice, and sacrifice is the essence of love.  Jesus modeled this: “Be full of love for others, following the examples of Christ who loved you and gave himself to God as a sacrifice to take away your sins.”  You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. “God so loved the world that he gave…” Love means giving up-yielding my preferences, comfort, goals, security, money, energy, or time for the benefit of someone else.

The Best Time to Love is Now

Sometimes procrastination is a legitimate response to a trivial task.  But because love is what matters most, it takes top priority.  The Bible stresses this repeatedly. It says “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.”   Use every chance you have for doing good.”   “Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.  Never tell your neighbor to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now.”

Why is now the best time to express love? Because you don’t know how long you will have the opportunity.  Circumstances change.  People die. Children grow up.  You have no guarantee of tomorrow.  If you want to express love, you had better do it now.  Knowing that one day you will stand before God, here are some questions you need to consider:  How will you explain those times when projects or things were more important to you than people? Who do you need to start spending more time with? What do you need to cut out of your schedule to make that possible? What sacrifices do you need to make?

The best use of life is love.  The best expression of love is time.  The best time to love is now.

[Source: The Purpose Drive Life, Rick Warren]

ImageEveryone’s life is driven by something.  Most dictionaries define the verb drive as “to guide, to control, or to direct.” Whether you are driving a car, a nail, or a golf ball, you are guiding, controlling, and directing it at the moment.

What is the driving force in your life?

Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline.  You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief.  There are hundreds of circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life.  Here are five of the most common ones:

Many people are driven by guilt. They spend their entire lives running from regrets and hiding their shame.  Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories.  They allow their past to control their future.  They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success.  When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said, “You will be restless wandered on the earth”. (Genesis. 4:12)  That describes most people today- wandering through life without a purpose.

We are product of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.  God’s purpose is not limited by your past.  He turned a murdered named Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too.  God specializes in giving people a fresh start. The Bible says, “What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven!…What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record.”(Psalms 32:1)

Many people are driven by resentment and anger. They hold on to hurts and never get over them.  Instead of releasing their pain through forgiveness, they rehearse it over and over in their minds.  Some resentment-driven people “clam-up” and internalize their anger, while others “blow up” and explode it onto others. Both responses are unhealthy and unhelpful.

Resentment always hurts you more than it does to the person you resent.  While offender had probably forgotten the offense and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past.

Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you unless you hold on to the pain through resentment.  Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness.  For your own sake, learn from it, and then let it go.  The Bible says, “To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.” (Job 5:2)

Many people are driven by fear.  Their fears may be a result of traumatic experience, unrealistic expectations, growing up in a high-control home, or even genetic predisposition.  Regardless of the cause, fear-driven people often miss great opportunities because they’re afraid to venture out.  Instead they play it safe, avoiding risks and trying to maintain the status quo.

Fear is a self –imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.  You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love.  The Bible says, “Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life-fear of death, fear of judgment-is one not yet formed in love.”(1 John 4:18)

Many people are driven by materialism. Their desire to acquire becomes the whole goal of their lives.  This drive to always want more is based on the misconceptions that having more will make me happier, more important, and more secure, but all three ideas are untrue.  Possessions only provide temporary happiness.  Because things do not change, we eventually become bored with them and then want newer, bigger, better versions.  It’s also a myth that if I get more, I will be more important.  Self-worth and net worth are not the same.  Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!

The most common myth about money is that having more will make me more secure.  It won’t.  Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors.  Real security can only be found in that which can never be taken from you- your relationship with God.

Many people are driven by the need for approval.  They allow the expectations of parents or spouses or children or teachers or friends to control their lives. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of unpleasable parents.  Others are driven by peer pressure, always worried by what others might think.  Unfortunately, those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.

I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone.  Being controlled by the opinions of the others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purpose for your life. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24)

There are other forces that can drive your life but all lead to the same dead end: unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life.

Nothing matters more than knowing God’s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them- not success, wealth, fame, or pleasure.  Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason.  Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty and pointless.

[Source: The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren]

Sharing you today’s message from my devotional book…

Be still and know that I am God – Psalms 46:10

There is a time and place in our walk with God in which He sets us in a place of waiting. It is place in which all past experiences are of no value. It is a time of such stillness that it can disturb the most faithful if we do not understand that He is the one who has brought us to this place for only a season. It is as if God has placed a wall around us. No opportunities- simply inactivity.

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During these times, God is calling us aside to fashion something new in us. It is an isolation chamber designed to call us to a deeper roots of prayer and faith. It is not a comfortable place, especially for a task-driven person. Our nature cries out, “You must do something,” while God is saying,” Be still and know that I am God.” You know the signs that you have been brought into this chamber when He has removed many things from our life and you can’t seem to change anything. Perhaps you are unemployed. Perhaps you are laid up with an illness.

Most religious people live a very planned and orchestrated life where they know almost everything that will happen. But for people in whom God is performing a deeper work, He brings them into the time of quietness that seems almost eerie. They cannot say what God is doing. They just know He is doing a work that cannot be explained to themselves or to others. Has God brought you to a place of being still? Be still and know that He really is God. When this happens, the chamber will open soon after.

[Source: Os Hillman, Today God is First (4minute meditations on the more important things in life)]