Tag Archives: purpose

Never Give Up!

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Winston Churchill gave a famous speech where he uttered:

“Never, never, never give up!”

He also said, “If you’re going through hell – keep going.”

I want to urge you today that if you seem to be facing insurmountable odds and life is just too difficult to go on … Keep placing one foot in front of the other!  Baby steps.

One step leads to another and before you know it, you are in a new season of life.  Life is ever changing and things won’t always remain the same.

Sometimes it’s easy for our emotions to get the best of us and we can readily succumb to the devil’s lies that we should just throw in the towel, that life is just too hard.

Life is hard sometimes and its load can seem overwhelming, but you and I are here for a purpose.  God created each one of us and has placed unique gifts and talents inside each of us.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.”  ~ John 16:33

If we have placed our faith, hope and trust in God, then we know that He is able to carry us through seasons that are too difficult to handle alone.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

~ II Corinthians 12:9-11

I pray that if you find the pain of your life unbearable today, my friend, that Jesus would hold you close and reveal His love to you as only He can.  You are loved by an Almighty God, who knows everything about you and still chooses to love.  That’s love, friend.  He loves with an unfailing, never ending kind of love.  I pray that God’s peace, the peace that surpasses all human understanding would so envelope your soul that you will find rest and comfort like you’ve never known.  Lastly, I pray for God’s grace to be with you during this trying time, that God will provide for your every need and that you will have renewed hope in Christ.

This world is not our home.  We are pilgrims passing through until that day when God calls us home.  Until then, this world needs you.  This world needs to see God’s love demonstrated through your life.

May we all be strengthened in His might and His power to be a blessing to a lost and dying world.   Never give up, my friend.

Greater things are in store for you!  Your miracle and breakthrough could be just around the corner.  Don’t quit now!  Keep walking this faith walk.  God will give you the strength.  Trust Him today.

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Ministry Opportunities Abound

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As Christians we often pray for the Lord to use us to reach the lost and to bless others, but I’m afraid sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.  Too often we think ministry is something that only occurs within the confines of a church building.  Nothing could be further from reality, however.  This world is full of so many practical needs.  If each one of us met just one of those needs today, wouldn’t this world be a better place because of it?

My father is 77 years old, and, as many of you already know, I’m very involved with his medical care, etc.  He has a friend, who is about my age, who has adopted my dad as a ministry opportunity.  My dad volunteers five days a week at his church and has for the last thirty-one years.  This gentleman often gives him a ride home, despite the fact that it’s entirely out of his way to do so.  Last week was his first week returning to volunteer work post hospitalization in March.  They went to lunch and he even offered to take him grocery shopping.  Apparently, he declined as he didn’t have his shopping list with him.  *Sigh*

I recently was pondering this “adoption” of sorts and, although I do not know a whole lot about this friend, I know a bit.  I’ve heard him say that he grew up without a father.  He’s also mentioned that his “spiritual father”, another older gentlemen, recently went to be with the Lord.  And, so he has now broadened his outreach to my dad, which I greatly appreciate, especially during this season of recovery for my family!  I find it interesting that sometimes our ministry “bent” is birthed out of a deep need within ourselves.  While he is being a vessel of the Lord, the Lord is also using the ministry to bring healing and wholeness to him.  Interesting, isn’t it?  Of course, I’m sure his motive is not purely to receive.  It just happens to be a by-product of God’s grace.

My father’s needs are many.  He doesn’t drive, so I take him to medical appointments, pick up prescriptions, the barber and grocery shopping, etc.  I wash his clothes.  I help him make all sorts of decisions.  My father is one in a sea of the older generation.  So many needs just to carry on with everyday life.  There are millions just like my father who could use help on a daily basis or even just a listening ear.  Most of the telephone conversations my dad and I share are close to an hour long.  He usually has a lot to say since our last chat.  He has to tell me what’s going on at the church, although lately he’s been most concerned about our family’s health.  So, he’s asked everyone he comes in contact with to pray for us, which is very thoughtful and kind.  He has so many churches praying for us and I know God is answering!

My dad lives alone and I’m a large slice of his world, I realize.  Sometimes this part of his world gets tired and my ears get droopy, but it’s then I realize one day, I’ll wish I could hear him drone on one more time.  I’ll long for our lengthy conversations about this and that, long to take him grocery shopping one more time as he slowly and carefully selects chocolate chip cookies or frozen dinners.  Life is made up of all the little things … little, monotonous, trite details that can easily distract us from the larger picture.  We are here for a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing in whatever situation, vocation and location the Lord places us in.

Perhaps there is someone in your world who is in need.  None of us need look very far …

“Oh, to be His hands extended, reaching out to the oppressed.  Let me touch Him; let me touch Jesus; that others may know and be blessed.”

 

 

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A Little Perspective

…is all it takes sometimes.  We’ve had a rough few days around here with all our aches and pains.  What am I saying?  We’ve had a painful two weeks.  But it has reached the point where we’re tired of it!  Frustrated that we’re still in pain, tired of taking pain meds, Epsom baths, applying Biofreeze gel … and don’t get me started about the seemingly endless Dr. and physical therapy appointments!! … And, then she walked past us on her way out of the physical therapy office today…

She had some sort of brace around her rib cage and a cast on her arm as she spoke in a raspy voice.  Clearly she was in a worse accident than we were and her pain has got to be more severe.  I knew from the beginning of our ordeal how blessed we were not to have sustained far greater injuries and we are infinitely grateful to God for that!  But, today was an especially painful day for me where it hurts to sit.  It doesn’t feel a whole lot better standing.  And I didn’t sleep well and I have a lot of issues on my mind at the moment… And, and, and… Blah, blah, blah, blah… Well, you get the idea.  Not a stellar day for me.

But, when I saw this poor woman today, I couldn’t help but thank God once more for His grace and mercy over our lives!  Yes, we are all in pain from the accident still, but the good news is that we will recover in time.  Pain does crazy things to you.  Not only does it make one grumpy, but it also blurs the reality that the pain will pass in time.

I was sharing my accident story with the dermatologist this morning at my follow up appointment and she concurred how fortunate we all are that it was no worse.  That fact alone fills my heart with immense gratitute.  From the outside, we all appear to be just fine, but on the inside, not only are we still in a great deal of pain, we are also still processing the trauma of the accident.  That takes time too.  Since this was the first real accident I’ve ever been in, I never realized the anxiety that can follow a major accident.  I’ve gotten better each time I’ve driven or been a passenger since the accident, but I’m definitely uber cautious and aware that anything can happen.

My husband went to the orthopedic Dr. this morning and will begin his physical therapy routine this week.  He mentioned how much time all of these appointments are consuming and the fact that we have to get back to living our normal lives!  I couldn’t agree more.  I got to thinking how the actions of one person affected ten other people that night!  Because one man decided to consume entirely too much alcohol and get behind the wheel, he and his passenger were flown by helicopter to a shock and trauma unit.  The remaining nine of us were taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.  He even still had alcohol in his vehicle, which I’m sure is one reason he attempted to flee the scene of the accident.  He received five citations.

This week alone I will have had six medical appointments, two on Mon. and Wed. and will have two more on Fri.  There have been no quiet moments since the accident.  The phrase, “No rest for the weary” comes to mind.  We just want normal life to resume.  Now.  Isn’t that our way?  We want everything instantly.  Apparently part of the reason for much of my pain is inflammation.  The Dr. advised to limit wheat and take fish oil (which I already do) to help.  I also came home and researched this a little and found out green tea, spices, almonds and many fruits can also help.

And, so my pep talk to myself today is that I will continue to take this healing journey one day at a time.  I will resist the urge to complain (too much anyway!).  I will count my blessings every day!  I will look to the hills from whence comes my help.  My help comes from the Lord!  I will do my part to help the healing process and trust God to do the rest.  And I will continually seek out the good that will come from this accident.  I know there’s more good that hasn’t been revealed just yet.  I don’t believe God wastes pain, so I believe there’s a purpose even in this.  And I will yet praise Him!

Signed,

Just Me Being Real

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Counter Culture

I was recently pondering the plight of our youth as a mother of two teens and a twenty something.  (Not to mention as a Jesus follower, who is concerned with the fact that many die every day without making Jesus their personal Lord and Savior…)

Teenagers … You see them all around us.  They used to be us.  So many grow up without proper role models, morals, manners or the ability to become responsible, independent adults.  The Bible says, “A child left to himself brings destruction.”  (Proverbs 29:15)

The thought occurred to me that – “You cannot lead where you have not been.”  As a society and particularly as believers, we must be the examples and mentors of our youth.  The need is great for all believers to remain counter culture, follow Jesus’ teachings with our whole hearts and model Christ’s love at all times.  The standards are high.  But, with God’s grace and strength we can do all things!  The standards are high, and so are the stakes.  You see, eternity hangs in the balance for many.  We must be that city set on a hill, that shining light for all to see Christ’s love through us.  (Matthew 5:14)  No, there is nothing good in ourselves, but when we allow God’s love to flow through us, we become an awesome vessel that God can use!  We have a high calling to lead others to Jesus.  “He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  (John 14:6)

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

 “Once you had no identity as a people;
    now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
    now you have received God’s mercy.”

 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.” ~ I Peter 2:9-11

What exactly does it mean to be counter culture?  It means that we have a different set of standards, lifestyle and desires than that of those who do not follow Jesus.  It means we remember daily that this world is not our home and do not set our affections on the things here.  We should fill up our souls with the Word of God in such a way that we naturally walk in God’s love and share it with others.

What holds your affections today?  Don’t hold too tightly to the temporary.  For, you see, one day it will all vanish.  There is coming a day when what is seen will be no more.  One day, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  (Philippians 2:10)

Our witness as Christians can only be as effective to the degree we follow Christ’s commands.  If we live our lives parallel to the world, our testimony becomes dilluted and of no effect.  “And if the salt has lost its flavor, it is no good, but to be trampled on.”  (Matthew 5:13)  We are the salt of the earth, folks!  We must be the difference makers.  We must reflect Christ in all we do and say.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” ~ I Corinthians 13:11

It’s time to grow up spiritually.  Stop acting like those who have not heard the Good News.  Stop walking in the paths that were never meant for you as a believer.  It’s time to rise up and walk with God.  Let Him lead you into the amazing future He has for you.  He has only good things planned for you.  It’s up to us line our lives up with the Word of God and put ourselves in position for the blessings of God.  He cannot bless sin.  So, we must submit ourselves to God.  Blessings follow obedience.  (Deuteronomy 28 — one of my favorite chapters!)

God’s laws are not to siphon all the fun and enjoyment out of life, but to steer us clear of sin and its torment.  “The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and in the end destruction comes.”

If we, as believers, conduct our lives with utmost integrity and in alignment with the Word of God, think of how great our influence for the kingdom of God could be?

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Made in His Image

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“So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them male and female he created them.”  ~ Genesis 1:27  NLT

I’ve heard it said that every little girl wants to know if she’s pretty enough and every little boy wants to know if he has what it takes to be a man.  On the surface, every little girl’s question seems superficial, but, at the heart of the matter rests her confidence and self-worth.  And, really, so does every little boy’s question.

We’ve raised one strong, young man and he’s flown the nest.  We’re in the process of raising two teenagers now.  It’s incredible the challenges teens face just in our everyday culture.  We all were teens once and faced our own battles, but it seems the fierceness of the war has greatly increased with the epidemic of cutting, culture of death, eating disorders and “everything goes” mentality.  One reason I believe things have escalated to the degree they have is because we’re living in the end times and the enemy knows his time is short.

What I’d love to remind each little girl or young lady is that you are absolutely beautiful!  Stunning even!  No, you don’t need to emulate the air brushed cover of that magazine nor starve yourself to look like a certain celebrity.  Just be yourself, hon.  If you’re so busy trying to be like someone else, who will be you, the person God created you to be?  Accept yourself as the masterpiece that God created because when He creates something, it’s truly gorgeous!  Smile.  Smile because you’re even more beautiful when you spread joy.  You see, true and lasting beauty resides on the inside anyway.  And those emotions you’re riding like a roller coaster, dear one, they will ease.  Just remember, this too shall pass.  Don’t make any decision based on how you’re feeling.  Seek out wise counsel and all will be well, my friend.  Your future is so bright!  Don’t let anything discourage you or stand in your way.  God has great plans for you!  The best is yet to come!

What I’d love to remind each little boy or young man is that you are made in the image of God and you totally have what it takes to be a man!  A man full of wisdom, strength, courage, leadership and, yes, even compassion.  Wise because wisdom avoids the folly of this world and needless pitfalls.  Strength because it’s needed to walk out God’s plan for your life.  Courage because it will take all you’ve got to say no to anything less than God’s best for you. Leadership because that is the mantle God has placed on you, your place in this world.  Compassion because we don’t travel alone.  It’s our duty to take as many to heaven as we can and lead by example.  For, you see, character is what it takes to be a real man.

Young men, seek out godly mentors and their wise counsel.  Be teachable.  It will serve you well.  Learn from those who have walked this road ahead of you, so you don’t make the same mistakes they’ve made.  Be accountable.  Sin doesn’t live long out in the open, but usually in the dark, quiet recesses of our hearts.  Expose it.  Turn the light on and watch it flee.  Submit.  Surrender your heart to God wholly and watch what He will do with your life!  Seeds of greatness are on the inside of you, son!  We’re all waiting and watching for you to soar with the eagles, man of God!

And, to both young ladies and young men, I leave you this:

Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Parenting

You Are Precious in His Sight

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The worth of any object is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it, right?  God sent His one and only Son to die on a Cross to purchase our salvation, so what does that say about us?  First of all, it shows the extravagant love of the Father toward His children.  Secondly, it displays the value God places on each one of us.

There are no favorite children with God.  So, let’s get that thinking out of the way.  God is no respecter of persons.  What He does for one; He will do for another.  He cannot change.  It’s not in His character.

The millionaire, the actor, the politician, the preacher, you and me … He loves us all just the same!  It is an even playing field at the foot of the Cross.  It is there that we all will bow one day.

So, if you struggle with self worth or feelings of inadequacy, I urge you to picture yourself at the foot of the Cross.  It is there because of the blood Jesus shed for us, that we are made complete.  All of our failures and sins are washed by His blood.  And in our weakness, He is made strong.

Your life has immense value because it is the object of God’s affection.

“Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
    With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.'”  ~  Jeremiah 31:3

Genesis 1:27 says that we are made in God’s image.  He made us to live in right relationship with Him, and we can only function in our proper role if we see ourselves as God sees us.  If we have made Jesus the Lord of our lives, we are a new creation.  II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Old things are passed away and behold, all things become new.”  We are then in a position to commune with God and He with us.

“For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” ~ Psalm 100:5

I challenge you to see yourself as God sees you … “A holy nation, a royal priesthood, God’s very own possession.”  – I Peter 2:9  You are loved with an everlasting love by your Creator!  Created to do awesome things for God’s glory!  Yes, you are indeed precious in His sight.

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Time – Our Most Precious Commodity

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What is time?  It is the measurement of our days, isn’t it?  When we’re young, we think we have an endless supply, and the older we get, the more we realize we need to be more deliberate with our usage.

“So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” ~ Psalm 90:12

We spend our free time in various ways – playing sports, watching t.v., talking on the phone, reading, surfing the web, crafts, etc.  One thing is certain: We all operate with a finite amount of time.  Therefore, we must choose wisely the extra activities we fill our days with.

For me, watching t.v. is a total time waster.  Others may disagree, but I can always find more entertaining and constructive things to do.  It’s a great thing when you’re sick and need a diversion, though.  Yes, there are uplifting and educational programs on.  Just my personal opinion.

I’m all about being productive and having something to show for my time.  If I spend hours on end watching mind numbing t.v. shows, what do I have to show for it?  However, if I spend hours creating a quilt, for instance, what is the result?  A piece of me to hand down to my children = legacy.  And if I spend hours reading a good book, what have I gained?  I’ve further expanded my knowledge and vocabulary in the process and engaged my mind in a stimulating exercise.

As I mentioned in my What is Money? recent blog:

“You can make more money, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot create more time.”

Time is an irretrievable resource.  Once it is evaporated, it is gone forever.

It’s all about living with purpose.  It’s about asking yourself the questions, “What do I want to accomplish this month, this year, in my lifetime?”  Goal setting is an important component of living a life with purpose.

“If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Simplify is my word for 2014.  I’m throwing off every distraction and pursuing my goals.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”- Hebrews 12:1-2

Sometimes those weights that slow us down are not necessarily sin, but perhaps they are not producing anything of value in your life.  There are many good things we can do with our time, but we must evaluate whether the timing is right, if they are hindrances rather than benefits, and if there is lasting value in our choice.

Just as our vehicles require maintenance and evaluation periodically, so do our lives.  An assessment of how we spend our precious time is necessary in order to live your life with purpose.

What is slowing you down?  What is distracting you?  I don’t watch football, but I’ve endured enough games with my husband to know the classic scene:  Picture the running back sprinting down the field, running through opposition at every turn, and, despite all odds, makes the winning touchdown!  Sometimes that’s what our lives feel like, don’t they?  We’re hit with so many issues and situations, and somehow we keep going.  We can only do so if we keep our sights on the goal, though.  What’s your goal?  What are you going to do to make that happen?

Time for a fresh start!  New beginnings.  New mindset to keep focused on what’s really important.  Because at the end of the day, we’re all given a set amount of time.  What will you do with this precious gift?

 

 

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