Christianity

What is your purpose?

Sometimes, if I ever drive past a cemetery, I don’t think about the people who are buried there but about the purpose buried there. How many songs went unsung? How many poems and stories went unwritten? The truth is, many people leave this world not knowing or realising their purpose. And today, many more are also living without knowing or realising their purpose. Many people simply do not know that God breathes purpose into every living thing, and He has also breathed purpose into you and me.

For me personally, I discovered my purpose when I rededicated my life to God. I did not yet know what God’s plans were for my life, but I knew I had a purpose. It took me many years to discover God’s plan, but because I knew He had a purpose for me, I was just as content back then being a janitor as I am today being a CEO.

So, how do you find your purpose?

Don’t confuse plans with purpose

The definition of purpose is, the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

The definition of plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. An intention or decision about what one is going to do.

We all have plans for our lives. Someday I will do this or someday I will do that. That is not your purpose; those are your plans. And all our plans are meaningless if we do not understand our purpose. God first puts a sense of purpose into our heart. We might not know what the plan is, but He will use our lives, our natural gifts, and our sense of purpose to help move us into His plan.

If we knew the plan in advance, we might run away

In the Bible, God gave Joseph a clear purpose. Joseph knew through dreams that he was to be a leader. He did not know that to get to that point, he would face rape allegations, prison and isolation. If God had revealed the plan up front, he might have run in the opposite direction. But through all of those trials, God was shaping Joseph, making him ready for the plan of leadership

It’s not about you

When God started to reveal His plan for my life, I began to realise His plan was not about me at all. It was about Him using me to reach others. God wanted to take my passion, my gift, my sense of purpose and use them all to bring about His plan in my life and also help to release that in others’ lives. So many Biblical characters were used by God to bring about change for others. Mary was handpicked to deliver a messiah who would save the world. Paul was given the task of leaving everything behind in order to carry the message of salvation all across the Middle East. They were not ‘special’ people. They simply knew they had a purpose, and they allowed God to use them (and their gifts) to bring about His plan.

Can I encourage you today that you have a purpose. Everything God creates has a purpose, and we each have a job to do. If you do not feel that you do, ask God to plant His sense of purpose into your life. He might not show you what is ahead, but when you know deep down that you have a heavenly purpose, everything in your life will change.

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

Don’t live in bitterness

I have been thinking this week about the subject of bitterness and how much it can impact lives (yes, even the lives of Christians).

In Exodus 15, the Israelites (led by Moses) had seen a tremendous victory, and they were celebrating and thanking God for their deliverance. They were singing ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted…the Lord reigns for ever and ever.’

But just three days later, they were in the desert, and their water supplies had run out. They came to the waters of Marah, but they couldn’t drink from it because the water was so bitter. The same people who had been praising God just a short time ago were now grumbling and complaining. Moses cried out to God, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood which he was able to throw into the water. Verse 23 says ‘The water became fit to drink.’ Later, God led the people to Elim, which had ‘12 springs and 70 palm trees,’ and they camped there near the water.

In our lives, many of us face difficulties which could leave us feeling bitter. When faced with tragedy or hard times, we have a choice to walk through the situation (with God’s help) and get better, or we can stay in that situation and camp out in our bitterness. The story in Exodus paints a clear picture of how I believe God wants us to respond when faced with life’s hardships.

Don’t camp at Marah

The word ‘Marah’ (the place of the bitter springs) actually means ‘bitter,’ and it is interesting that in the Exodus story, although Moses led the people there, God did not command them to camp and stay there. It was just a passing through on their journey.

Later when they arrived at Elim (which means ‘roots’ and also means ‘a place of refreshing’) they were able to stop and set up camp. We all go through times of feeling bitter, but I believe it is important to not camp in that place and instead view it as an experience, a place we have to walk through, with God’s help.

We already have the answer

When Moses cried out to God for an answer, the Lord provided him with a tree branch which would make the water drinkable. Trees take decades to grow, and long before Moses and the people encountered this problem, God had already provided a way out, a growing tree which would be used to solve the problem.

We see this again later in the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. Zaccheus was the chief tax collector and was not well-liked. Luke says he was a man of small stature, and because of the great crowds (and his height), he was not able to get through the crowds to see Jesus. Zaccheus climbed a nearby sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, and later, he met with Jesus personally. We do not know how long it took, but it is likely that the tree had been growing there for a long time. I like to imagine that maybe God even sent an angel to protect that tree, knowing that one day it would be used as an important tool in allowing a man to hear the life-changing words of Jesus. It reminds us that whatever we are going through, God has already provided the answer.

Believe the promise

In our world today (maybe you are going through this yourself), many people have become stuck in a place of bitterness. Bitterness can be like a spiritual cancer, and if we allow it to, it can overtake our thinking and lives.

If you are experiencing that today and wondering how you can break free, can I encourage you to go back to the promises of God. Whatever you are going through, I believe that God has already provided the answer (even if you cannot see it) and that if you walk diligently, God will eventually lead you to ‘Elim’: a place of rest and security.

The tree in the stories of Moses and Zacheus are also a symbol of the cross. If you look to the cross and look to the promises of God, He will lead you through.

It may not be easy, but living a life free of bitterness is living life to the full. And this is how I believe God wants us to live.

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There is hope! God can use you.

We are living in unprecedented times. Our political systems are changing, and if we read the newspapers, some people feel a sense of hopelessness and are worried about their future. I believe there IS hope!

It is important to say at the start that God created each of us to a unique pattern. We are made in His image and are designed to model His character. I have a hand print; you have a hand print. And it is unique to each of us. The fact that we are all a ‘one off edition’ says to me that God made each of us for a purpose. We were made intentionally and with great attention to detail.

For this reason, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see the outward appearance or the environment. He looks at our hearts. The Bible is full of examples where God overlooked the obvious circumstances and instead saw the potential of each person.

God’s Word tells us this:

Noah used to get drunk

Abram was old

Jacob was a liar

Joseph was bullied

Moses was a murderer

Samson was a womaniser

Rahab was a sex worker

David was an adulterer

Elijah experienced depression and suicidal thoughts

Naomi was a widow

Jonah ran from God

Peter was a liar

And, just when they were needed most in the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples all fell asleep.

All of these things, in human terms, could have disqualified the person from a fruitful life, and yet God gave them each a unique purpose and a job to do.

We all know the famous verse of John 3:16: ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life.’

The key for me is the word whosoever. In other words, everyone and anyone who calls upon the Lord. God makes no distinction other than a distinction between those who belong to Him and those who do not. He came to give life, and life in all its fullness, to all who believe in Him.

When we truly belong to the Lord, He starts to renew our minds with His thoughts, and we can begin to see ourselves and the people around us as He sees us. God sees beyond our education, culture, or circumstances, and He sees all that we can be if we trust in Him.

If we are to be united as believers and as churches across the country, we have to allow God to transform and renew our minds. As our minds are transformed, we will begin to see all people as Jesus sees them: full of potential with a unique hand print, created for a purpose.

DLH BLOG - Jul 16