Order Or Chaos: Finding our Purpose

God created every man and woman with a purpose.-ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Find-Purpose-Quote

This truth begs the question, “Why do so many people spend their lives looking for and never finding that purpose?”

The answer is simple: They do not go to their heavenly Father to find it.

All of our gifts, talents and abilities are given to us by God for the purpose of worshiping Him and serving others.

“Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].” 1 Peter 4:10 (AMP)

Where can we most readily worship God and serve other people?

In the church.

God promised that His eyes and His heart would always be on His house.

“I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” 1 Kings 9:3 (NASB)

ORDER-OR-CHAOS-Finding-Our-Purpose-Eyes-and-Heart-QuoteIf all of our natural skill is a gift of God’s grace, it makes sense that we would discover it and use it to its fullest extent in His house.  This isn’t to say that people don’t find and use their gifts and talents in other places.  It means that if we prioritize God’s church we are in the perfect position to discover our purpose.

God is a loving Father and does not desire that we, His children, go through life battling confusion and frustration.

He is ready to give us all the answers that we need.  We should stop searching for God where everyone else tells us that He is. We should look for Him where He promised us He’d always be: in His house.

Remove the Power of Sudden Fear

Sudden-Fear-Image-of-woman-with-head-down.jpgFear tries to dominate our lives in many ways.

There is a slow, steady fear that tries to stay with us throughout our day-to-day lives. This fear’s goal is to convince us that we’ll never achieve our dreams, never overcome our problems and spend the rest of our lives stuck exactly where we are right now. This fear is the quiet voice of insecurity that keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zones.

Sudden Fear - Photo of man stressed looking at laptopAnother form fear takes is what the Bible calls sudden fear.

“Do not be afraid of sudden fear, Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes,” (Proverbs 3:25 NASB).

This kind of fear is unexpected. It brings alarm and shock to our lives. Sudden fear often comes in the form of negative reports from the doctor, getting fired from our job, bad news about our family, etc. It catches us off guard and tries to elicit an emotional response from us.

The devil uses this kind of fear to blindside us. He hopes that he’s going to catch us with our guard down and throw us into a downward spiral of anger, frustration and depression.

Sudden Fear - Photo of Man in dark surrounded by smokeThe natural, human tendency in these situations is to think of every possible destructive outcome. Our imagination wants to run wild, creating scenarios in our head that haven’t happened yet, and may never happen. However, once we think of one that seems logical, even if only slightly, we latch onto it, foster it and place our faith in it.  

This is the devil’s strategy when he throws sudden fear at our lives.

He wants us to respond naturally with exaggerated negative thoughts and emotions, because they will open the door to further attack.

What we’re actually doing when we react this way is taking a step back in our faith.  This allows the enemy to advance in our life. We are shrinking back in intimidation while the devil puffs himself up to seem much more powerful than he is. One sudden attack can lead to an onslaught, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Proverbs 3:25 tells us to not be afraid of sudden fear or of an onslaught and the next verse tells us why: Sudden-Fear-Image-of-Rainbow.jpg

“Because God will be right there with you; He’ll keep you safe and sound,” (Proverbs 3:26 The Message).

The enemy’s goal with sudden fear is ultimately to make us forget that God is always with us.

When sudden fear attempts to blindside us we need to remind ourselves of Hebrews 10:39, “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” As soon as we come into agreement with this verse we stop placing our faith in the words of men and place it on the Word of God. This removes all power from the sudden fear.

We need to know that at some point we’re all going to receive bad news about something or someone. This should not cause us to fall apart and forget that we are sons and daughters of an all-powerful God. We should look at these situations as opportunities for God to show His power and love in our lives.

Fight Off Fear-Driven Dissatisfaction

The Devil tries to bring fear into our lives through dissatisfaction. 

He uses dissatisfaction to introduce fear into our lives by convincing us we’re missing out on something we deserve to have. The devil tells us that other people are enjoying something that was meant for us. He makes us think that because we don’t have what other people have we are less than they are.

In fact that was his strategy when he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-woman-blindfolded.jpg  A photo by Oscar Keys. unsplash.com/photos/AmPRUnRb6N0“One day the snake said to the woman, “Did God really say that you must not eat fruit from any tree in the garden?” The woman answered the snake, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God told us, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden. You must not even touch it, or you will die.’” But the snake said to the woman, “You will not die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will learn about good and evil and you will be like God!” (Genesis 3:1-5 NCV).

The snake (Satan) twisted the words of God to make Eve think that God was holding something back. He tells her that God hasn’t given her the whole truth and that her life would actually improve by stepping out of the will of God.

Satan does the same thing to us every day.

He tries to make us believe that our life doesn’t quite measure up.  Satan tries to convince us that we are less than sufficient, and that what our heavenly Father has provided isn’t enough.

This isn’t the kind of fear that brings nightmares and cold sweats. It’s the kind that breeds a subtle dissatisfaction with our lives.

This dissatisfaction will cause us to question everything we have: Our house, our salary, our friendships, our parenting, our marriages, etc.

We should absolutely desire to improve in all these areas, but fear and discontentment will never bring growth. Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-man-with-dog.jpg

Instead of growing, we will diminish. We will become angry, closed off or overly competitive.  We will begin to think the reason that we don’t have enough is because we aren’t enough.  These emotions can drive us to do unreasonable things and the whole time the force behind our negative emotions is fear.

If you were to ask an adulterer why he had an affair it’s not likely he would answer, “Because I was afraid.”  When you ask someone who was recently fired why she lost their job she wouldn’t say, “Because I was afraid.”  If you ask someone who has no friends why he pushes people away he wouldn’t tell you, “Because I am afraid.”  These people would give you a litany of other reasons: They were unhappy in their marriage; They didn’t get along with their coworkers; Other people don’t understand them.

The real reason is fear.

They are afraid somebody is using them, lying to them or has something they believe they should have.  They’ve fallen into the same trap as Eve. They’ve allowed fear to stop them from seeing the blessing of God in their lives.

That’s really what Eve missed. The Devil told her she was going to be like God and she forgot that she was already made in His perfect image.

Fight-Off-Fear-Driven-Dissatisfaction-Photo-of-woman-blindfolded.jpg  A photo by Jared Erondu. unsplash.com/photos/j4PaE7E2_WsWe can fight off this fear-driven dissatisfaction by knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. The feeling of not having enough is destroyed by knowing that we are enough in Christ. We are made in the image of God the same way Adam and Eve were.

We need to remind ourselves of 2 Peter 1:3, “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking that we are always missing out on something. God has already blessed us and will continue to do so. We only have to rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Desires of Our Hearts

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

People will often quote this verse as a way of saying, “God will give me my desires and/or whatever I want.”  They use it in reference to houses, cars, spouses, jobs and the list could go on and on. While our Heavenly Father does want us to have good things, that does not mean He is a vending machine that gives us everything we want when we pray the right prayers.

The meaning of this verse is greater than, “God will give me whatever I want.”

It begins with the word “delight.” To delight ourselves in the Lord means to be sensitive to Him. It means that our ears are open to His voice.  It means that we are in touch with what He wants us to do. It means that we are moldable and pliable; open to be shaped by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart,” (Psalm 37:4 NKJV)We are no longer solely focused on ourselves and what we want. When we delight in God this way, He begins to change what we want. He drops His desires into our hearts and brings them to pass.

He gives us the desire to serve Him and other people.

Instead of thinking about how God can bless us and give us the next thing on our wish lists, we open ourselves up to being used by God to bless others.

This is an important step in our relationship with Jesus and fulfilling His calling on our lives. It takes us beyond the “What will God do for me?” stage and into the maturity of, “What will God use me to do?”. This will cause us to step into an even greater dimension of our calling, because we realize that our lives are no longer just about us, but how God’s grace in us can be used to serve others.

When we learn to delight ourselves in our Heavenly Father we will find true satisfaction. We’ll enter into a deeper level of relationship with Him where we don’t just trust Him to provide for us, but also want Him to use us to bless other people.

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Heart – Searching For God’s Heart

searching for Gods Heart

King David is known as “A Man After God’s Own Heart”.  He was a man searching for God’s heart.  He loved God and simply enjoyed being in His presence.

The first time King David is mentioned in the Bible he is a long way off from being king. He’s the youngest son of a man named Jesse. He is not the favorite. In fact, he’s out in the field taking care of the sheep and goats. It wasn’t a glamorous job. It definitely wasn’t the kind of work we would expect a future king to be doing. However, God makes a powerful statement to the prophet Samuel as to why He chose David to be king:

“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Our heavenly Father looks at us the same way He looked at David. He isn’t concerned with our age, height, hair color, education, etc. He looks at the condition of our heart.

God did not choose David to be king because David had prepared his body and mind. He chose David to be king because David had prepared his heart.

In Acts 13:22 God said this about David: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

David was a man after God’s heart before He was anointed to be king of Israel.

David did not love God for the things God could give him. His purpose in seeking God was not because he knew one day he would be king. He simply loved God for His goodness, mercy and love.

It is easy to fall into the trap of seeking God in order to obtain material blessings. We think that if we can memorize enough scripture, go to church twice a week and maybe even serve while we’re there, then God will give us a bigger house, a bigger paycheck and a nicer car.

While none of those things are bad in and of themselves, they should never be the goal of our relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the reward of our relationship with Him.

David did not desire to be close with God in order to gain social status and material wealth. He was a shepherd out in the fields alone; becoming king was probably one of the furthest things from his mind. He simply enjoyed the presence of God. He was content with the fellowship of his heavenly Father.

That is why David was the ideal choice for king, because the deepest desire of his heart was to seek and know God. God knew that when He promoted David, David would have the position and the position would not have him.

This is the danger of seeking after God in order to gain riches. Our heart never truly belongs to God, it belongs to the riches. So, when we receive the promotion, move into the house or deposit the bigger paycheck, we leave God and cling to the riches.

We should make this the goal of our relationship with Jesus: to be content and fulfilled with His presence and fellowship.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment,” (1 Timothy 6:6).

When we stop seeking after God’s things and simply seek Him, we will begin to see and walk in His plan for our lives. It is only in His presence that we will receive everything we ever wanted.

 

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You have purpose in life!

God’s Reality of Joy

Gods Reality of Joy - Photo of a fieldOne of the most obvious differences between God’s reality and man’s reality is that the things of God’s reality are eternal and unchanging.

The reality of man is constantly changing, though. One day everything is going well, and the next day the sky is falling. This is because man’s reality doesn’t have a foundation. Everything is always up in the air, left to chance, so there is only a temporary stability. However, when we choose to live in God’s reality, we will always have our feet on solid ground.

This is why God tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:18 “…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

gods-reality-of-joy-photo-of-woman-smilingWhat we can see with our eyes will fade with time and people’s emotions.

The things we receive from God by faith last forever. That’s why we’ve been talking about the things in God’s reality. His grace, righteousness, and peace are eternal. They don’t come and go based on God’s emotions, because He isn’t controlled by His emotions.

Another thing we gain from living in God’s reality is joy.

Joy isn’t a word that we hear every day, except maybe around Christmas time. However, the Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). When we are joyful we will be strong.

How do we have this joy, though? Most people believe that joy comes from having a good life; nice things, a good job, a good marriage. That isn’t how we have joy. A good life makes us happy. Happiness depends on circumstances, joy does not. Galatians 5 tells us that joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit. It only comes from the Holy Spirit, not anything we can make happen on our own.gods-reality-of-joy-photo-of-man-in-sweater

This is why most people live without joy.

They wait for their circumstances to be perfect and then they allow themselves to be joyful. Men do this more than women. They don’t allow themselves to be joyful or hopeful about things in their lives because they have been disappointed before, so when something goes well they will often wait for it to turn bad. We do this because it’s easier to live a disappointed, cynical life than it is to be disappointed by something we thought would bring us joy.

God didn’t make us to be this way, and He certainly didn’t set up His kingdom, His reality to be this way. God designed us to live lives that are full of joy. We do this by making our relationship with Jesus the most important thing in our lives.

God never changes, so when He is our top priority and reason for joy, we are never disappointed. When the source of our joy is unchanging we won’t lose our joy. When we allow Him to be our source for joy, it will spill over into the rest of our lives.