Thursday, April 6, 2017

Purpose in Waiting On That Good Seed To Bloom

Spring is a time for planting seeds, expecting growth, and preparing for expansion; but sometimes waiting is crucial in the germination process.  This means that we should strive to be patient with our spiritual development, as God is patient toward us (James. 1:2-4).


Raising our children is like planting and sowing seeds of the precious gift of life. But, this is often a LONG calling for many parents...much longer than the 18 years required for most parents. Even though I know better, it's very hard to believe any sowing, watering, or fertilizing I did through the years(of parenting) was meaningful if I don't see flowers immediately. But I KNOW that is not the nature of plants. That's not how gardening works. A beautiful, blooming garden takes time and effort

Waiting For the Flowers to Bloom
 
When it seems that the blessings in my own life are few, I start counting my blessings every day. Fruit will come. But it's not likely to be today. And I don't need to keep watering and fertilizing on an issue nonstop until I see fruit. That will drown a seed. It's OK to sow a seed, water a little, and walk away. After all, any fruit is a result of God's light causing the growth. So I stand back and wait for Him to work. And seek peace in the waiting.

While We Wait 
God will make a way to grow His seeds of love! Remember who it is that we worship, and who it is that we serve!  I stand in my faith not literally, but through endurance of grace I make it through! Tribulation was never meant to be endured without God!

Embracing My Family
A family is like a garden. Older plants give seed to new ones. Some are different than others, but all have a very special purpose in their lifetime. So always admire the good things of each family member; for we do not know when their blooming will begin or ends. Today is the day we should call them, just to say that we love them. Today is the day we go and do something out of charity that we are not obligated to do. Today is the day we go and spend time with them just because.


God has a purpose. God has a plan. 
Are you waiting for a change or a breakthrough? Are you longing for a little relief or an answer to a long-awaited desire? Maybe you question why there are no flowers and green leaves in your own life. While we wait for our flowers and watch for progress, keep soaking up the water. Let your roots sink in deep. Allow the sun to shine down on the dry, crispy limbs of our lives. And wait. Our turn is coming. When God begins to produce blossoms in our life it will be better than what we had in mind in the first place.
 

 

And occasionally, the Lord lets me see how it really works. 
He hath made everything beautiful in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Listen to Waiting On That Good Seed To Bloom(Podcast) - learning to wait and see the good seed that was sown in God’s love to bloom and be a blessing to others (and you too!) is not easy to do, but the reward is worth the waiting, no matter the amount of time it takes.
 

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Monday, March 13, 2017

A Purpose-Filled Life: My Bucket List (if God wrote it)

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."
EPHESIANS 1:18-19 
Each of us are here for a reason and chosen for a purpose… Understanding our identity in Christ gives us purpose. God’s purpose is always unique and always makes our ordinary lives extraordinary. Our shared and primary purpose can be lived out in 5 ways: 
  • We were planned for God's pleasure
    • so your first purpose is to offer real worship. (Colossians 1:16) - Worship, while it can be an intentional choice, is generally a result of witnessing something 'awesome,' or awe inspiring and proclaiming His glory!
  • We were formed for God's family
  • We were created to converse with/become more like Christ,
    • so your third purpose is to have a real relationship/discipleship(Acts 17:27; 1 John 2:6) - To be a Christ-like people, we must also have the mind of Christ. This is vital to our ability to respond to God’s call and challenge as His people.
  • We were shaped for loving/serving God and others
    • so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.  (Mark 12:30-31;  Ephesians 4:11-13)- God is looking for opportunities to reveal His glory through His people. 
  • We were made for a mission
    • so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism. (Mark 16:15) - This is the Great Commission to the whole Church, to share the gospel with unsaved.

God has a specific purpose for each of us, a unique calling for every individual. Our secondary callings are unique and birthed out of our submission to the primary calling, as well as our gifts, dreams, passions, and personalities.


Time flies when we’re busy and life continues on, whether or not we take time to follow our dreams, calling, or purpose. That is why I recently took part in an online Bible study, called "What if God Wrote Your Bucket List?" We studied many topics and by the end of the study, were asked to write down what we felt God was calling us to do on this earth. At first, this seemed like an unfathomable task. The struggle of knowing what I desire, of God's calling for us as believers, as well as the gifts I know God has given me caused me to stress over feeling guilty and confused. But after much prayer and having some questions that were answered during the study, I realized that as long as my list connected with one of the five main purposes of God for all believers(listed above), it is still in line with Him writing it on my heart, too! I also realized that even those things that may seem impossible with man, I had to remember that all things are possible with God, and I can trust Him to provide. The list below is what I have felt called to write down for now...as God may redirect some of the things on the list, as He leads me through life. Also, it must be said that none of these MUST take place for me to be happy and serve God. My happiness stands alone on assurance of my salvation through Jesus Christ! Here is my list(In no particular order).
  1. Experience the joy of knowing my son is saved and enjoying the unity of that bond of a common love for God for many, many years on this earth.
  2. Travel around the U.S. in a small RV with my husband (and occasionally with other family members) after retirement.
  3. Live on the road with no schedule or time-limits.
  4. See the beauty of God’s creation, from mountain tops to deserts to extraordinary natural landmarks.
  5. Take some chances with adventurous activities; try things I’ve never tried before; ie: sailing on the ocean, fishing for a large fish(bluefin tuna, marlin, tarpon, etc.), participate in a long-distance bikeathon, etc.
  6. Travel to another country - Holy Land, Italy, France, Canada
  7. Serve/Minister those in need in a disaster relief program
  8. Live off the grid for a time period - ie. no electronics, communication with the outside world, etc., and get more connected with God.
  9. Minister to and encourage moms with “different” or “challenging” children.
  10. Hear my son record Christian music in a professional studio. See him thrive in music.
  11. See my son marry a woman who loves Jesus with all of her heart.
  12. Doing more random acts of kindness(Pay more attention to people around me).
  13. Live as though every moment of every day I could not live without the Lord...having His Word and promises in my heart and mind at all times, commuting with him continually.
  14. Live, exercise, and eat healthily on a regular basis.
Proverbs 16:9 - "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Have you ever considered what your bucket list would look like, if God wrote it for you? Have you ever written it down? What kinds of things are on your "bucket list"? Feel free to share in the comment section.
 
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Saturday, March 4, 2017

What is Our Purpose?

How do you define our "purpose"?
{This the first of several posts I will be sharing on the subject of "purpose", the word I chose for 2017. I thought I would start off with this question, just in case some of you were unsure what God's purpose for us, as believers is. This is important to know before we even consider other questions about the purpose of certain events in our lives.}

"For Christians, purpose is being and doing what God intends us to be and do: doing today what God asks us to do in our family, church, and community; being more like Christ; and then doing the distinct, bold work God designed us to do before we die!" (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/5-ways-to-follow-gods-plan-for-your-life/#ixzz4aKK68Bg

Scripture reveals the "pathway" to follow. It's spelled out in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-39) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). In The Purpose-Driven Life,  Rick Warren says these verses tell us we're ultimately made for fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism, and worship.

For me, my purpose is being a woman of God and doing what he asks. My passions are meant to be godly purpose-indicators. They are the things that make my heart sing; they help me identify and complete my purpose.  The Bible warns us not to despise the day of the small things (from Zechariah 4:10). It says we need to look forward to when our Master says to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21).

Some things to remember, concerning our purpose:

Every person is born with purpose
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).


God has a purpose for everyone

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).


God’s purpose can’t be undone

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). 


God’s purpose is the one that lasts

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).

God fulfills His purpose for believers

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).


God works through all situations to fulfill His purpose.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).


God has a greater purpose in saving us.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).


Trust in God’s Judgment.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

Be in Prayer.

“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will he hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)


Be Intentional – Stay Committed – IN LOVE.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) 

Answer When God Calls.

“’For I (Jesus) was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:35-40 


In the end, purposeful living is about hope. If you can hang onto the hope that God does have a plan for your life, as the Bible promises in Jeremiah 29:11, you'll make it through the tough days of the unknown and later, the tough days of fulfilling the bold purposes God assigns you.


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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Word for 2017: Purpose

Well, I'm back from my "so-called" sabbatical...at least for now! Sounds kind of non-committal, I know. But I'm learning to let God take the wheel, which means I'm not always sure where He will be taking me. So, for now, I'm back!!

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"Is there a purpose to all the events and circumstances in my life?"
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This was the question that had been swirling around in my head for months. It first hit me, when I started to feel hopeless and disillusioned with the negative changes that seemed to be coming at me at what I felt was a monumental speed! Not only was I feeling overwhelmed, but I couldn't find any purpose or reason for God to NOT answer my prayers for this person (of which I prayed for over 24 years). 

This CAN'T be God's will, for my only son, that I love, to turn his back on the faith I have shared with him all of his life, and even more devastating, to turn his back on God!!!

But, the truth was there right in front of me. It was and he did.

Now, this has taken awhile to fully sink in for me. Some days, I admit, I have actually denied and rejected this possibility. I have even blamed God for setting me up by allowing me to have this child, raise him in a godly home, only to have him turn away. 

Obviously, I have read many Scripture verses that address this issue:

And I know, life is a journey. God isn't done with any of us. In fact, He could, and very possibly will bring my son back to his knees. But, He may not.

My thoughts keep swirling around these possibilities. First, I'm hopeful. Then, I start to think of the "what ifs". (You know those horrible two words that can take you to all sorts of sad and nasty places.) Before I know it, I'm wondering what the purpose is in all of this. And, more specifically, what is MY purpose in all of this?

Even though I believe God doesn’t want anyone to be lost (2 PETER 3:9), I have come to the conclusion that He is able to use all circumstances – no matter how bad – for our good if we allow Him. The same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead is capable of healing our physical, emotional and relational wounds. And often in his infinite wisdom, God uses us to bring comfort, guidance and healing to others who are going through the same bad circumstances we experienced. God is powerful and loving enough to use even these circumstances to bring about good.”


My verse for 2017
I'm also learning that this situation is not solely about ME having the goal of "seeing" my son converted! I know God has already used me to influence a good part of his life in mighty ways and He may choose to use me again. But maybe the purpose of this situation also is about God working in my heart, to grow me, too! I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of this possibility. In fact, there are days I downright dislike it!! Who really likes discipline and growth?

Lastly, I realize all too well, that I am a very impatient person! God's timing truly is NOT the same as mine. I would have thought my ongoing prayer for my son for over 24 years, that he would follow the Lord throughout his life would be plenty of time to have it take place. It really is unfortunate that in this life, our years are so limited. For God's timeline is a lot different than ours.(2 Peter 3:8)Seems a bit unfair, but who am I to argue?

Well, I'm still learning what purpose God has for these kinds of circumstances in my life. And, so it seemed appropriate to learn more about what His "PURPOSE" means. And my purpose in it all. In the forthcoming year, I pray that God opens my eyes more and more, as I seek and listen for Him to answer me.

Remember that fulfilling your God-given purpose is a journey, not a destination; it’s a process which includes preparation (which feel like pit stops) and delays (which feel like detours). But God is never in a hurry, He’s always in control and is completely able to get you where we need to go to complete in you what He started (Phil. 1:6).While God is unfolding your purpose, sometimes you may not only feel like you are wandering in circles, but you’ll also have to do some waiting—but that’s not a bad thing. ~ Shana Schutte

Feel free to check in now and then, as I hope to cover several subjects, including:

Finding purpose in the waiting.

Purpose and Providence.

Do we Have to Know God's Purpose in Every Circumstance?

Defining God's Purpose and My Purpose 


You may find me linking up at any of the blog parties listed on the left sidebar.