A Purpose for Your Life…

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Galatians 5:13 (KJV)

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

God has a purpose for your life.

If that weren’t true, He’d have taken you home to heaven at the moment of salvation.

Do you ever wonder why He left you here?

The Lord intends to influence others through you.

Our purpose is to be a vessel through which Christ overflows to others–touching those who hurt and desperately need a Savior. Once we are saved, Scripture teaches, our involvement is threefold.

First, we love others.

Jesus clearly stated that this was one of the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:38-39).

Second, we share the good news of salvation (Acts 1:8).

Some travel across the world to spread the gospel, while others teach neighbors across the street. The Holy Spirit will direct us to the right people if we are willing to obey.

Third, we serve in a variety of ways, like helping those in need, sharing our resources, and lifting others in prayer.

Jesus is our perfect example of all three.

His entire life was marked by caring for people–both those who loved Him and those who did not.

In fact, the Bible teaches that He humbled Himself and became like us, willing to give up His life for our redemption.

There is no greater love; there is no greater act of service.

Scripture clearly defines the believer’s purpose.

Aligning ourselves with God’s intentions for His children–loving others, witnessing, and serving– bring us great satisfaction.

In fact, we’re still on earth not merely to hear more teaching but to act on it and share with others what we learn.

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Running in Place…

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Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Stuck again.

Is that an apt description of your life?

It is for many Christians. Even when they know exactly why they are stalled, some are unable to move past the sin that trips them up. Others feel blind to the source of their troubles but perceive that all they do is run in place. It can be a very discouraging situation.

Israel, the Lord’s chosen nation, had a history of defeat from yielding to temptation instead of obeying God’s commands.

Compromise defeats us, too.

God calls His children to live obedient lives, but instead, we are usually occupied with our own self-centered needs.

At the same time, we are influenced by both the world and the devil. The truth is that our selfish side prefers reinterpreting God’s commands to suit ourselves.

The world clamors for us to join its way of thinking but shows little or no inclination to follow God’s way.

Satan seeks to gain a foothold in our lives through our disobedience and compromise of God’s laws.

The Lord commands us to rid our lives of ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12), and He provides the Holy Spirit’s power, which enables us.

When we compromise, the effectiveness of His power is diminished.

But God wants us not to yield.

To fight compromise, begin with your thinking.

Have you agreed with God that your attitude or action is displeasing to Him? Have you set your mind on obedience, whatever the cost?

Only foolish people think they can compromise and still live a victorious Christ-centered life.

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A Generation That Expects Instant Results…

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Hebrews 6:9-15 (KJV)

9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Picture waiting in a checkout line that hasn’t moved for 10 minutes.

Many of us would feel frustrated. We live in a generation that expects instant results.

Everyone struggles with some degree of impatience.

We’re born with this trait—think about a three-month-old who wants milk in the middle of the night. The inborn reaction is to fuss at the first hint of discomfort and to keep at it until the need is met. Patterns from our old flesh nature, like impatience, make this a continual battle for most people, but one that is very worthwhile to fight.

Let’s consider the biblical definition of patience.

The word can refer to both longsuffering and perseverance—that is, not giving up and yielding under pressure. It reveals itself when we are willing to wait without frustration while suffering or experiencing some strong desire. What’s more, patience means accepting whatever the Lord chooses to give (or not to give) and willingly receiving it on His timetable. In the meantime, we should pray, obey, and persist as we seek God’s direction. The danger of impatience is that we might miss the Lord’s perfect plan and blessing.

But when we trust our Father’s will and timing, we will know inner peace.

What causes you stress? Carefully examine whether you are taking matters into your own hands or releasing the circumstance to almighty God. Follow Psalm 37:7, which says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

Seek His way and His timing. Anything else can be destructive.

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Listening and Responding to His Truth…

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James 1:22 (KJV)

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Growing in Christ involves far more than just attending church, tithing, and listening to a sermon.

In fact, many believers do these yet remain stagnant in their walk.

There are two elements necessary for us to become more like Jesus: instruction and involvement.

The first of these, learning truth, is vital to a healthy walk with God.

Our Savior proved the importance of instruction by devoting much of His time on earth to it. The apostle Paul is another example, as he wrote letters to educate Christians about godliness.

So how can we gain knowledge and understanding?

One of the most important and effective ways is to read the Word of God.

Scripture instructs us that just as newborns crave milk, we are to desire His Word so that we might grow.

I pray your spiritual thirst will become insatiable.

Yet simply listening to the truth does not mean that we’ve acquired it. I know many people who love attending Bible studies and expanding their knowledge base, but their lives remain unchanged. Just as today’s passage teaches, we have to apply the Word to our lives.

Even so, actual growth requires more than merely inputting information. It requires action. James 2:26 states, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

Are we careless hearers, deceived into thinking that we’re growing? Or are we listening intently and abiding in the truth?

If we’re truly maturing, our lives will be increasingly Christlike, and our desires will align more closely with God’s heart.

Make sure that you are listening and responding to His truth.

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How Easily Do You Recognize His Voice?

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John 10:3-5, 14-16 (KJV)

3  To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4  And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: they know his voice.
5  And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

——

14  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Have you ever been in a car with someone who is looking for a specific broadcast on the radio?

While constantly adjusting the frequency, he cocks his ears and listens carefully. Station after station is rejected until he hears the familiar voice he’s been seeking.

In our Christian life, we know the importance of recognizing God’s voice and tuning others out.

When making decisions, we want to be sure we hear the right Person. The Bible assures us that as believers, we can distinguish God’s voice from all others (John 10:27).

What are some of the conditions for recognizing His voice?

  1. Be in range.

The Lord’s voice is heard through Scripture. Take time to reconnect with God through His Word. Let the Holy Spirit bring to mind the truths
related to your situation.

  1. Be tuned to the right station.

God always speaks words that are consistent with Scripture—He will never contradict it. Compare what you are hearing with His Word, and seek
godly advice to be sure you have the whole counsel of God.

  1. Be willing to make the necessary adjustments.

Sometimes what God says conflicts with what seems logical to human reasoning. Or, it might clash with our fleshly desires. It can be tempting to
dismiss a voice that disagrees with our preconceived ideas, but God’s children need to align themselves with His directions regardless.

Our Savior is calling; how easily do you recognize His voice?

To know His voice better, spend more time in His Word. Today is a good time to start.

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A Clean Heart…

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Psalms 119:9-11 (KJV)

9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Reaching our full potential begins with a clean heart—one that loves the Lord and desires to obey Him.

However, each of us was born with a nature bent away from God. Jeremiah 17:9 describes the heart as deceitful and inclined towards wickedness.

Pleasing self is man’s normal state.

Salvation changed our hearts and lives.

Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and broke its power over us. By receiving Christ as Savior, we each became a new creation—with a heart sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and a mind that strongly desires to know the Father better. We also received the Spirit’s power to deny our selfish desires and obey God.

With clean hearts, we can begin to realize the capabilities our loving Lord has given us.

The best way to maintain a clean heart is by meditating on Scripture.

It acts like a mirror in which we see ourselves as God does. Through it, we discover the areas where we have been faithful and also the places where we’ve veered from His path.

Expressing genuine repentance brings God’s forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9).

The heart represents the seat of our mind, will, and emotions.

When we strive to keep it pure, we will more easily discern the Lord’s plan, submit our will to His, and follow Him obediently.

Becoming the person God planned for each of us to be requires an intimate relationship with Him and a desire to obey His Word.

Apart from Jesus, we can’t achieve anything of lasting value (John 15:5).

Cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s transforming work will help us keep our hearts clean. 

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The Freedom of Contentment…

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Romans 8:28-39 (KJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Think about a circumstance in your life you’d change if you could.

Are you frustrated? Worried? Angry?

To experience the freedom of contentment in the midst of it—whether a hardship or unfulfilled desire—you must accept the situation as having been allowed by God, even if He didn’t cause it.

In these situations, I often pray, “Lord, I choose to accept this as though it’s coming from You.

No matter what I see, I’m choosing to look to You.” Then I can rest in His omnipotence and the knowledge that I’m a child of the living God.

Instead of feeling like a helpless, hopeless victim of my circumstance, I know I’m cared for and guided by my sovereign Father through whatever may come.

The second crucial decision is total submission.

This doesn’t mean approaching God insincerely and saying, “Well, Lord, I just want to thank You for this! It’s all just so sweet, Jesus.” No, it’s not. Be honest and admit, “This is painful and I don’t like it.

But I choose to submit to You because You are trustworthy and loving. I’m willing to persevere until You accomplish in me whatever You want. I choose to draw from Your strength for everything I need.” My friend, if you make this decision and follow through, your fears will lose their power.

Either you believe Romans 8:28 or you don’t.

And if you do, you can entrust yourself to the Lord, knowing that He ?has your best interest at heart, will take care of you, and won’t ever leave your side.

When you embrace these truths, you’ll have no reason to be anxious.

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Contentment Governed By Inner Attitude…

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Jeremiah 2:13 (KJV)

13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

For us who believe in Jesus, contentment should be governed by inner attitude and the decisions we make rather than by external circumstances.

Because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation—whether he was surrounded by friends or isolated in a Roman prison; whether he had plenty or was in great need.

The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9; Gal. 5:22-23).

He had made a simple but profound faith decision to draw his life from the Lord and, as a result, had the calm assurance that what he possessed inside could never be stolen. He was confident in his identity as a child of the Almighty, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.

I want to challenge you—this week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to draw from God; decide to stop drawing from other sources and trying to be in control.

When you find yourself becoming flustered, anxious, or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source, and I draw from You the capacity to be kind. I draw from You the forgiveness I need to extend right now.

I draw from You the love I need to express.” This decision is a matter of simple trust.

Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw only from Him as your source.

You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: When you respond from within—rather than from the flesh—Jesus will give you the ability to respond as He would.

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