Purpose

It's ALL Because of Him

hopeanchors As someone who has grown up in a Christian home I have wondered what my life would be like if I wasn’t Christian, if I wasn’t raised around people who authentically and passionately lived for God, if I didn’t believe in God.

It’s hard to picture because ever since I can remember, God has been a part of my life, and now as I have made my faith my own, God has become so much more than just a “part” of my life.

I cannot imagine living life without Him and I wouldn’t want to. He is my hope and reason for living.

So why is it that I can’t fathom living a single day without God? Well because when the world tells me I am one thing, God tells me I am something more, and I am something more simply because of Christ.

What does that mean? It means a lot of things.

It means because of Him…

I am God’s child (John 1:12, Romans 8:14-17)

I am a friend of Christ (John 15:15)

I belong to God (1Corintians 6:20)

Because I belong to God the enemy cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)

I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10)

I am holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4)

I am a child of the King and co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:14-17)

I am blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3)

I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I am redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)

I am set free (2 Corinthians 3:17)

I have a purpose (2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:9, 3:11)

I have hope (Hebrews 6:19)

I have direct access to God at all times (Ephesians 2:18, 1 Peter 2:5, http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/you-have-direct-access-to-god#.U9FYz4BdXT4)

I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)

I have peace (Ephesians 2:10)

I am a member of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19)

I know there is a purpose for my sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 3:13)

The power that conquered death and raised Jesus from the grave is inside of me (Romans 8:11)

I am not alone (Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20)

I am dead to sin (Romans 1:12)

I am promised eternal life (John 6:47)

And a full life (John 10:10)

I am victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57)

I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)

I am part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5)

And SO MUCH MORE! I could go on and on with all the promises that are ours through God.

What a great reminder of what life with God means. It means that we will have a life full of adventure. It will be hard, but we are not alone, and it will be the most rewarding life because we have the hope that we will one day be able to be in Heaven with God for all eternity. Isn’t that something that is worth EVERYTHING?!

until next time

Feel Inadequate? God Wants to Use You

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“O Lord, I can’t speak for you. I’m too young!”

Have you ever said this?  Have you ever found yourself unqualified and inadequate to do the work of God?  These are the very words of the prophet Jeremiah.

In the story of Jeremiah we find a young man who is still dependent on his parents, called by God to be a prophet to the nations.  When Jeremiah says, he is too young he truly is, in society’s view.  He is a young man, not yet living on his own and able to support himself.

But God tells him, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  Don’t be afraid of the people for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken! Jeremiah 1:7

The Bible is full a people unqualified to do God’s work, yet he still chooses them. I’m sure there were plenty of men who could speak well that God could’ve chosen, but he decided to pick Jeremiah.

How many times does God give you a heart or desire to reach someone, but you don’t do it because you feel unqualified? I know I sure have felt this way. This passage really struck me because there have been so many times when I chose to not do something because I felt like there was someone else who could do it better than me, or perhaps because I thought it was impossible for a young college student like me to tackle something so huge.

God doesn’t need someone who is smarter, more outgoing, prettier, has a great personality or someone who can lead people to Christ through their popularity or radical testimony. He doesn’t need any of that because God is above all of that.

But God says, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young.’”  He will use us no matter our deficiencies, let's be real, we all have them.  God doesn’t look at who we currently are.  He sees what we can be when we let Him take over.

God doesn’t need someone who is smarter, more outgoing, prettier, has a great personality or someone who can lead people to Christ through their popularity or radical testimony. He doesn’t need any of that because God is above all of that. He simply needs us to say, “Yes, God I will follow after you and go and do whatever you have called me to do.” He simply needs our obedience.

Maybe you’re one who knows that God has placed a calling on your life and you feel super unqualified. Maybe you don’t even know what God has called you to do, but you still feel unqualified to even be a witness for Christ because you’ve messed up so much.

The truth is, yes you are probably unqualified in human terms, but God doesn’t care about that. He took a boy still living with his parents and who could not speak well, and used him to prophecy to the people of Jerusalem.

We need to stop focusing on our own weaknesses and shortcomings and focus on what God is calling us to do because God wants to use you, you just have to be willing and trust in Him. 

Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

 

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My Plans vs. His Plans

Take a minute and read through these verses:

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer . . . Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed . . . We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Proverbs 20:24

Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east,The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11

Do you notice a common theme? You should, and if you didn’t, try reading through them again.  As I was reading Proverbs 16 I noticed that those three separate verses seemed to echo a similar message; God’s plan will always prevail.  As I did some further digging I found other verses that say almost the exact same thing.  Why would God put the same thing over and over again in Scripture?  Well obviously it must be something important, but also I think it is because He knows us pretty well.  I mean, He is the one who made us.  God knows that for some reason we tend to forget His promises all too easily, so he made a point of repeating this theme of God’s plan over and over.

In my life I can recount so many times when God proved his faithfulness.  He showed me that I can trust him because He always has a plan and no matter what His will always prevails in my life (whether I want it to or not). 564e7-959393_8761048_lz

So why do I still have a hard time trusting him?  I think it is because I forget to remember and think upon the things He has done in my life. Instead of looking at all the times He has come through, which has been always, I look at my current circumstance going, “I don’t see a way for this to work.” If I think about it there have been many points in my life where I have thought the very same thing and God made a way.

For example, I decided to go on a mission trip a few years ago, and I only had about 3 months to raise $4,500. I looked at that situation and said God I don’t know how you’re going to do this, but I’m putting this in your hands and trusting you, even when I had people telling me that this wasn’t a good idea or that it would be impossible. And you know what? God provided me with more than enough money through the generosity of many people. Towards the end when I only needed about $300 I had someone say that they were willing to donate an amount way over $300 if I needed it, and when I heard that, my eyes teared up just thinking about the provision of God.

So as I look at my life now, I know God has given me a dream to do something that I do not see possible to accomplish right now. It can be easy to put in the back of my mind, but God again reminded me, He is faithful.

I can try to make my own plans, but in the end His plan will prevail. There is no need to worry that God’s purpose is anything but good for us for it says in Matthew 7:11, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him.” It also says in Luke 12:31-32, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

This dream of mine is something I have had for a while and I am pretty sure it’s not going away. So what do I do about it? I guess I have to trust God, because even though I don’t understand right now, like it says in Proverbs 20:24, God will lead me in the right direction. When God plants a dream inside of us, it is part of His plan, and as it says in the passage from Isaiah, “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Take a moment and think back to times in your life when God has been faithful or provided you with a need, and write these things down.  Put them somewhere where you will see them often.  This will help you to remember who God is, and that if He was faithful to fulfill His promises before, He will be faithful now until the end of time.

Prayer: God, help me to remember your faithfulness. When I don’t understand, give me faith and help me to trust in you because you have a plan for my life. Even though I may make my own plans, help me to release them if they are getting in the way of the plans you have for me. Help me to remember that your plans are far greater than anything I could ever imagine. “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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”

Finding Your Identity

We’ve all heard people, at least Christians, say that singleness is a gift, but for those who are single it can at times feel more like a burden. Why is that so? I think for starters, society tells us that there’s something wrong with you if you’ve never been in a relationship, and we hear it from people all around us. Family members that ask if you’ve met anyone new or friends wondering if anyone’s caught your eye recently. We are constantly bombarded by all these things that make those of us who are single feel like if we just had a boyfriend/girlfriend life would be so much easier. That right there is a lie that the enemy wants us to believe, and it works, because so many, myself included, have fallen into that trap. If we don’t fall for that trick we fall for the one that says being in a relationship will make you happier. Yes, being in a relationship does bring joy, but it’s not able to completely fulfill the happiness we seek.

You see, every relationship on this earth will never satisfy and complete us because we are all finite and imperfect.

Let me take a moment and talk to the girls. In the beginning when God made Eve it says that He put Adam to sleep, and took one of his ribs and made her. From the very beginning Eve’s first relationship was with God. While Adam was sleeping she found her identity in God first. It was the same for Adam. Before Eve, it was just him and God.

So, they both had to first find their identity in God before He brought Eve to Adam, and they became man and wife.

A lot of times I hear people talk about qualities and characteristics they want in their future spouse, and we tend to have some pretty high standards, which is definitely not a bad thing because I don’t believe that anyone should settle, but we tend to focus so much on what we want in this other person, that we neglect ourselves.

We all have an ideal. But if we met that perfect person, would he/(she) feel the same? Instead of spending our time seeking the “right one,” we should fix our eyes on Jesus so we can be the right one for the great guy/(gal) God has picked out for us. We need to be concerned about our relationship with Jesus before a relationship with anyone else.
— Perry Noble

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because I have a list of qualities that I pray for my future husband to have. I look at that list and think wow those are some pretty high standards, and then I realize that if I want all these things in a guy I wouldn’t want him to expect any less from me, and I wouldn’t want to give him any less. Perry Noble said, "We all have an ideal. But if we met that perfect person, would he/(she) feel the same? Instead of spending our time seeking the “right one,” we should fix our eyes on Jesus so we can be the right one for the great guy/(gal) God has picked out for us. We need to be concerned about our relationship with Jesus before a relationship with anyone else."

To sum it up, singleness can most definitely be a gift. It gives us a chance to not be defined by a relationship, but to take the time we have being single to fall in love with our Creator, and to find our identity in who He says we are. It's a chance to begin to see ourselves through His eyes, and become the right person for the person He has chosen for us.

So as I journey on in the land of singleness I have decided to grow in my relationship with God finding who I am in Him, not some guy that may or may not like me or anything else in this world that might possibly lead me away from God. My hope is for anyone out there who is single and feels like they are "forever alone" to not worry, but trust in God because He really does have perfect timing. I know easier said than done, but God is the one who places desires inside of us, and if our desire is for a relationship that is good and pleasing to God then He will give that to you.

To end I just wanted to leave you with a few questions I borrowed from a sermon by Perry Noble http://newspring.cc/series/eveandadam/. They are 5 questions every single girl (or guy) should be asking. Take time to examine where you're at and maybe some of the reasons you desire a relationship. Basically, is it for the right or wrong reasons? If you feel like you're in the place where you're ready to be in a relationship, then just keep on praying and seeking God because He will bring the right person at the right time as long as we continually seek him.

  1. Am I Who He/She Is Looking For?
  2. Am I Desperate?
  3. Why Am I Attracted to Him/Her?
  4. Are There “Issues” With Him/Her That I’m Avoiding
  5. Is He/She God’s Best?