Purpose

Our purpose.

It’s hard to imagine, but God designed you and your purpose long before your parents conceived you. Your days are numbered by Him, and He places you where you are in this moment.  We often question our purpose, especially during times of suffering, or monotony.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

Oh, how He loves us! He has loved us even before the world began, and He will love us for eternity!

You who have been born by Me from birth
         And have been carried from the womb;

Even to your old age I will be the same,
         And even to your graying years I will bear you!
         I have done it, and I will carry you;
         And I will bear you and I will deliver you. Isaiah 46

Did you notice the past tense–“I have done it”?  We never have to question if God is for us–He has done it!

My husband and I finally made it a point to take a walk and exercise this weekend. I came back from a great walk renewed and was on the floor stretching and resting when my mom came into the room to lay next to me.  We held each other and expressed tears of joy.

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At 80 something, she wanted to make sure I knew how much she loved me.  We have a family member in long term care, and if you’ve ever visited a place like this, you realize how short your life is, and how very quickly all that you’ve known could vanish from your memory.  It’s one thing to see it in famous movies like The Notebook, it’s another to live it. In that moment, our purpose was to love each other, and to share our hearts. I told her that I have many good memories of her love and our life together as mother and daughter.  Her willingness to share her soul work with me brought healing and rejuvenation.  I love you sweet mama! We will know His love for eternity.

On Sunday, our family sat outside in God’s beauty to study His Word and read Rick Warren’s booklet, What on Earth Am I Here For?  My daughters took turns reading chapter one-“It All Starts with God!”  As we read over and over again about God’s purpose for us, we were all challenged to see and claim the presence of God.  My husband interrupted the reading to make us look up in the sky.

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No rain.  No reason for a rainbow. But there it was–a rainbow.  The same rainbow since Noah, reminding us that His promises are true.  He never fails us.  You’ll notice the rainbow just above the roof.  I have to say, that cloud in the center of the rainbow looks like Jesus to me, holding out his hands towards us.  God has done it.  Always there.  He will always be there.

We had Bible study last night in our home with Woman of Worth Mentoring Ministries, in which, we studied chapter one of the booklet. WOW! I was blown away with the power of the Holy Spirit confirming His plan for each individual.  All of us so different and ready to understand the power of His plan for us.

But there is a God, who made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning!  We discover that meaning and purpose only when we make God the reference point of our lives.  “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us.” (Rick Warren)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.  Romans 12

My ordinary life—placed before God as an offering.  Lord, we embrace what you do for us and rest in the knowledge that YOU have done it.

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We closed out the night with each of us holding our 10 foot rope.  The 10 feet of rope represented eternity with God.  A tiny portion of the rope had a piece of duck tape to represent our life on earth-our time here.

All the decisions we make this side of heaven pour into eternity or keep us focused on the temporal things. What if we saw our lives in light of eternity?

Mom, maybe we will have to temporarily go through memory loss, but eternity says we will live together in complete healing with Jesus.  Teenager, maybe you don’t have a date for prom, but God’s eternity says you are accepted and loved by the King and fearfully and wonderfully made.  Oh that our minds could see eternity in all that we do.  It takes the ordinary, the hard, and makes it extraordinary.

 

 

 

 

 

Do it anyway

There is a concentrated movement to “enjoy the journey” and enjoy the moment, or the process that leads to an outcome.  If we lament the details, we will spend most of our life in complaint, worry, or not recognizing the benefits of growth.

I was working with my 10-year-old in a life lesson talk.  It started off pretty rocky, but once we settled in. and the Spirit took over, it became one of those life-changing moments–the details of life.  This talk erupted in the middle of a million things going on at once, but time stood still for this conversation.  I sat there trying to explain to her that life was filled with choices that have pros and cons.  We consider the choices and ask God to give us direction.  She desires to apply to a program, and we were reviewing the application and the requirements.  As we read the definition of the program, she sincerely looked into my eyes, and asked,

“What if I don’t feel like doing the project, but do it anyway, work hard, and get a good grade?”

We were in the middle of a school project on Atoms, protons, neutrons, and electrons.  This project became her life example.

She was at such a deep level of thinking.  I was trying to share with her that this program, if she were accepted, would be seeking students who show exceptional work ethic and a desire for learning. Tears came to my eyes as she asked this profound question.

“Oh sweet girl, that is called character.”

” We’ve been defining a program, but what you just asked defines amazing character.”

I began to explain that when we “do it anyway” with an attitude of “doing our best” regardless of how we feel, because God is calling us to do it, our boss has asked us to do it, or it’s a requirement for the reward, diploma, or grade, then we are building our character.

I can’t begin to tell you how profound and moving her comment was to me.  I guess it’s because a 10-year-old has a way of speaking your soul work.  God uses our children, and we grow from their God journey.

Sometimes we don’t enjoy the journey, and the details are agonizing.  It’s okay.  You don’t have to convince yourself or fake it.  What if, like my girl, we “do it anyway” and  work hard.  Feelings can’t be trusted–they are fickle.  Move forward without your feelings dictating your actions.

Pastor Stan shared on Sunday–“Finish the race!”  I was having a hard time convincing my feelings to finish certain tasks related to home, school, and work, but God’s Word reminded me to embrace my journey and finish the race. My ten-year-old reminded me to “do it anyway” and work hard.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24

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Bringing out the God-colors in the world…

Are you tired?  Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30).

Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God flavors of this earth…Here’s another way to put it:  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill……shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

 

 

When we can rest in the unforced rhythm of His grace, His radiance will shine and heal us so that we can live freely and lightly.  This freedom provides the strength to “let our light shine” and be that “city on the hill”.

We Are (Kare Jobe)

 

 

 

Bury the Chicken!

A lady shared a beautiful story to illustrate the love and grace of God.  I tried to find the story on the internet, but I could not find it anywhere.  So, it makes me wonder if her husband created this story?  I’m not sure.  Just before one of our sessions, someone brought up their time in small group devotions on grace–the “chicken story”. She boldly requested that her friend, “Share the chicken story!”

There once was a little boy who was riding his bike so fast he did not see his father’s favorite chicken.  He accidentally ran over the chicken, and the chicken died.  The little boy was sad and fearful, because he knew that this chicken was his father’s favorite.  It took awhile, but he finally approached his father and confessed what he had done.  The father immediately took him in his arms and said, “I love you!  You are forgiven! Now, go bury the chicken! It is all forgotten!”

The little boy buried the chicken but every day for months would lament his actions and go dig up the chicken and return to the father crying–“Look what I’ve done!  I’m so sorry!”  Each time the father would tell the little boy, “I love you, and it is forgotten!  Go bury the chicken!”

How far has the Lord taken
    our sins from us?
    Farther than the distance
    from east to west!  Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:9

The friend reminded us that forgiveness of self–allowing God’s grace to set us free is just as important as forgiving others.  So, the next time you spend a moment in condemnation –Go!  Bury the chicken!

Romans 8:1

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

Casting Crowns East to West

When you Worship you Pray Twice!

“When you worship you pray twice.” That was an ongoing quote shared during the ladies’ retreat weekend. This morning on the way to work, I was praying to God about a conflict in which words were spoken in haste, and the residual effects were looming on the way to work.  A worship song came on the radio and I began to “pray twice”

“The least I could do is leave this offense at the foot of the cross considering what you’ve done for me.”

As I prayed and sang out that line, I realized how I needed to work towards forgiveness of an offense. It’s what God calls us to.  He has “given us the ministry of reconciliation”.  This is one of the hardest ministries we will ever serve.  I think we would sign up to dig ditches in the hot sun, than to be reconciled.  It’s hard.

Jesus prepared me for that moment a day prior.  The same radio station was sharing the character of Jesus–The God/man who washed our feet.  A simple statement brought chills and tears, and I prayed to God to give me that same kind of grace towards those who hurt and disappoint us.  Jesus washed the feet of Peter, who denied him three times.

God’s Word says that if we compare ourselves to others, which we often do in an offense, we “lack understanding”. He also reminds us to have a soul/motive check–“Who are you serving?  Man?  or Me?”  If you seek to please man, you do not serve God.

May the One who washes our feet and provides grace and mercy fill us.  May our eyes be fixed on Him as we strive to not only love others, but love ourselves the way He sees us–fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalm 139

I am not alone, Kare Jobe

Amazing Worship Song–Pray twice with me!!!

My Cup Runs Over!

What is your birth order?  Are you the first born? Middle child? The youngest? What season of life within your family did you come into this world?  What did your parents see fit to name you?

Jeremiah 1:4-5
The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

Jabez (I Chronicles 4:9-10) was born causing pain to his mother, so she named him Jabez, which means “pain”. Although he was labeled by humans, God’s word says that He created each one of us, and He knew us EVEN BEFORE you were formed in the womb of your mother.  He promises to “set you apart”.

The beginning of that passage says that Jabez was “more honorable than his brothers”.  Do you think he was more honorable because he knew that no matter how man saw him, he knew the reality of his birth–conceived in the mind of God and set apart?”  Jabez was bold enough to ask God, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!”

We can pray for favor from God, or live a life playing out the words spoken over our lives.  The tongue is a masterful tool.  The tongue can bring life or death.

At the retreat, I stood within my story and shared words that were spoken over me as a growing child and youth that the enemy convinced me were true.  I knew enough about God’s Word as a young adolescent, but I was not rooted and grounded in His Word enough to fight off the enemies lies.  So the lies became a part of my life story until God said, “Enough! It’s time to re-frame using my Word!”

Lie: You were born an accident, or a mistake, an after thought.

Truth:  I am created by God.

Bible Verse: “Before I was formed in my mother’s womb, God knew me.  Before I was even born I was set apart!”

Jabez did not use his position as a time to blame others or live a life of, “Why me?”  Instead, he cried out to God and asked for favor so that he could bless others.  If the enemy can keep you in a lifetime of “self” and “hurt” and “your pain”, he can keep you from reaching your God potential to serve others and be filled with God’s joy!

God desires for us to prosper.  Did you know the word prosper means “to propel forward”.  God desires for you to accomplish great things in His Kingdom work so that you can be used by Him to share His love.

“Friend, I pray that you may prosper in all things” (3 John 2)

We can spend a lifetime lamenting our position, living out what others think our story should be, or live the old adage of self-fulfilling prophecy.  Why do we seek to honor man in this way?  God’s prophecy over our lives should spur us on to higher things, greater purpose, and healing.

God has so much more for you.

God’s word says that no weapon formed against you will ever prosper (propel you forward) when you decide to believe that God, no matter what your circumstances, conceived you in His mind before you were even born, and has set you apart.

When we humbly cry out to God to set us apart and bless us, He will show us the plans and the promises he has just for us.  Did you know He had plans just for you–long ago.

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. Ephesians 2:10

Praise God for time in our room later that night at the retreat, in which, three generations could celebrate and talk about their birthday.  Praise God for my mom who reminded me of the joy I brought to the family. It was a sweet time of reflection and healing.  The joy and love a grandmother, a daughter, a grand-daughter could share was overwhelming.  We laid in bed sharing our hearts and discovering how to pray for each other.  At one point the roles disappeared, and we were sisters in the Lord praying for each other.

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Mother Teresa (He holds us in the palm of His Hands)

Later, on Saturday, a precious woman of about 80 something, came to me to share that God was asking her to do more for His Kingdom–she wanted to be used, set apart, for Him.  With tears in her eyes, she was deeply moved by the Spirit. She laughed with the delight at all the possibilities!  During communion, we happened to sit next to each other.  I saw the juice, Jesus’ blood, spill out of her mouth on to her chin.  Afterwards, she passionately shared with me that as the juice was running down her chin, God spoke to her heart–“Your cup runneth over”  She kept saying with joyful tears, “My cup runneth over!”  Praise God!  Yes!  Oh bless her father and expand her territory!

Our cup does run over.  We don’t serve a God of the “cup half empty”.  We serve a God who desires to bless you with His Word and power so you can be healed and serve.

 

 

“I will bless you…and you will be a blessing to others” (Genesis 12:12)

The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying was shared with me by a treasured friend. The author, Scott Dannemiller, boldly addressed the popularized expression: “I’m blessed”.

When I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers…

During our year in Guatemala, Gabby and I witnessed first-hand the damage done by the theology of prosperity, where faithful people scraping by to feed their families were simply told they must not be faithful enough. If they were, God would pull them out of their nightmare. Just try harder, and God will show favor.

The problem? Nowhere in scripture are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith. In fact, the most devout saints from the Bible usually died penniless, receiving a one-way ticket to prison or death by torture.

Jesus told us who was “blessed” in Matthew 5: 1-12.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I highlighted verse six for a reason.  This past weekend, I spent Friday night and most of the day Saturday at a woman’s retreat as a guest speaker.  Our theme was “Instruments of Righteousness” based on the verses from Romans 6:13-14.

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I prayed for the presence of the Holy Spirit to fill me with His Words, and for His presence to dwell among us and change us. I was once again AMAZED at constant confirmation from Him as I prepared, and the power He displayed in this tired, simple, ordinary woman.  I felt Him walk beside me and guide every step not only with the message, but also where to be in a given moment to receive confirmation and direction on how to serve Him.

I was satisfied and filled by Him as we all hungered and thirst for His righteousness.

At church this Sunday, Pastor Stan,  of Cloverhill Assembly of God, shared a message on “Bless Me Indeed!”  I rejoiced that God saw fit to take the article by Scott, my weekend, and a Sunday sermon to bring it all together.  Pastor Stan admonished prosperity preaching and shared the prayer of Jabez.  I was so touched by his message, I desired to spend a few blog posts throughout the coming weeks on this message and the work God did throughout the ladies’ retreat weekend.

Scott was grateful for God’s provisions, and knew that he was called to be used by God.

So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing. It’s not my house. Or my job. Or my standard of living.

No.

My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful. And I know a God who has planted this same power within me. Within all of us.

And for this blessing, may our response always be,

“Use me.”  (Scott)

I look forward to spending time with you and Jesus –“Remembering Him…..”