Tag Archives: purpose

Doing Your Part

Years ago I would lead mission trips to Haiti not long after the earthquake. Before we would leave, I would talk to the team about what they could expect. I would remind them that it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and their infrastructure was destroyed. No matter where you looked there were needs that needed to be met. There was person after person whose story would break your heart. Then I would tell them that our job was to go in and do xyz. We needed to pick up the football where the last group set it down, then we would run with it as far as we could and set it down. If we tried to do everything and meet every need, we wouldn’t accomplish much. Helping them understand our part was key to being the most productive and accomplishing the most good.

In 1 Chronicles, David looked at his palace one day and noticed how nice it was. He then thought of the Tabernacle, a tent that housed the Ark of the Covenant. He wondered why he lived in such a nice place while God was placed in a tent. He asked the prophet to ask God for permission to build a temple, but God refused to allow David to build it. Instead, his son Solomon was picked to build it. Instead of sulking because he wasn’t going to build it, he started gathering all the supplies necessary to build it so Solomon wouldn’t spend years getting ready. After he was finished, he brought Solomon and the leaders over and showed them everything. Then in 1 Chronicles 22:18 he said, “My part in this was to put down the enemies, subdue the land to GOD and his people; your part is to give yourselves, heart and soul, to praying to your GOD. So get moving—build the sacred house of worship to GOD!” (MSG)

You were designed and created on purpose and with a purpose. There is a part for you to play in building God’s Kingdom. Don’t get distracted looking at what other people are doing. Seek God for what your part is, then do it with all your might. Understand that the work will not be completed until Jesus returns. Pick up the football wherever it is, and run with it as far as you can until you can’t go anymore. Don’t get distracted and worry about whether or not other people are doing their parts. That’s between them and God. Your part is to what God has called you to do with all your strength. Understand that your part is also a thread woven into the masterpiece God is creating. Do your part, and do it well so that when you arrive in Heaven you’ll hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

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Fear Not

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I rarely watch the news, but this week, the hotel I was staying at had it on during breakfast. As I watched each day, I remembered why I don’t watch the news. It seemed like all they were doing was making people afraid. Every story created new fear. Fear over election fallout. Fear over a fiscal cliff. Fear over a divided government and country. In the age of 24 hour news channels, it’s easy to get addicted to the news. It’s also easy to let it control your emotions.

Fear is the author of inactivity. It paralyzes. It causes your imagination to run wild and can create hysteria. I think maybe that’s why throughout the Bible, God’s message to us is “fear not”. God spoke to him in Genesis 15:1 and said, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you.” Fear had caused Abraham to start doubting. That doubt lead to questioning God. When we question God’s promise, we fail to act on them and rob ourselves of the blessings He has for us.

For many of us, we know what God has called us to, but the vision is so large that we are afraid of it. That fear will keep you from acting on what God has called you to do. He has a plan for each one of us. To some He reveals far in advance where they are going. To others He gives them one step at a time. For both, the course of action is the same: take that first step of faith. Do not let fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of insecurity, fear of what your calling might be or fear of unworthiness keep you from your calling.

What God has called you to is for you alone. Everything in your life is preparation for your future. Your past victories, failures, storms, hurts, loss and gains are all there as preparation to equip you to take that next step. If you need the courage to take that next step of faith, turn around and look back. See how far you have come by faith. You are further along than you ever thought. You didn’t arrive to where you are without His help. If He has brought you this far, trust Him to carry you the rest of the way.

Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash

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Quit Comparing Yourself


My son thinks somehow age and height are related. When he sees someone tall, he thinks they must be really old. No matter how many times we’ve tried to explain it to him and show him, he still doesn’t want to change his thinking. What he’s doing is comparing his age with kids younger than him and also against adults. It might work some if the time, but what I’ve tried to explain to him is that just because it works some of the time, you can’t apply it to everything. Comparing ourselves to others usually ends up creating these inequalities in our minds. 

Since we were kids, we have been comparing ourselves to other people. Parents sometimes ask their kids, “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” It creates a dangerous line of thinking that makes us constantly co pare ourselves against people we have no business comparing ourselves with. What if we compared our singing ability to Frank Sinatra? Or our Christlikeness against Billy Graham? Or our intellectual abilities against Einstein? How would that leave you feeling?

Einstein is often given credit for saying, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” God gave you unique abilities and talents. You aren’t supposed to compare what He’s given you you do versus what He’s given someone else to do. Nothing good comes from that. Yet, as Christians, we do it all the time. We can’t pray as well as that person, or live as holy as the other, or do work for God’s kingdom like them. We’ll never be able to fulfill what God made us for if we do that. 

James 6:4-5 says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (MSG). It’s time each of us reflects on the skills, talent, and work God has called us to, then put our efforts there. Comparisons keep us from our calling, and cause us to fall short of our potential creating insecurity. Live the life God called YOU to, not the one He called someone else to. 

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How To Fulfill Your Purpose

Over and over again as I talk to people, I hear the same thing. They say, “I want to do something that matters. I want to be fulfilled.” I think God put in each one of us the desire to live a life of significance. He designed each one of us for a purpose. You can always tell when people have found theirs. They have passion and vision. People want to help them accomplish it too. I’ve met people whose passion is waiting tables and others whose passion is rescuing orphans in third world countries. God gives different passions to different people. 

In reading the book of Nehemiah, I found three questions we can all ask ourselves to find our purpose and to start fulfilling it.

1.   What breaks your heart?

God often uses brokenness to deliver His purpose. For Nehemiah, it came when he heard that the walls around Jerusalem were torn down. Nehemiah 1:4 says, “When I heard all this, I sat down and wept. For several days I mourned and did not eat. I prayed to God” (GNT). When God breaks our heart, He’s preparing us for our purpose. I’m not sure Nehemiah understood why He was weeping at the time, but He knew God was doing something in Him. God was planting a dream in the broken soil of his heart.

2.   What inspires you?

After his brokenness, he prayed for several weeks about it. In our brokenness, we need to ask God, “What do you want me to do?” God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the walls. I’m sure he struggled with thoughts like, “I’m the king’s cup bearer, not a construction worker.” While the inspirations God gives us are usually different from our current occupation, God uses where we are to give us what we need to accomplish our purpose. For Nehemiah, God used the king to fund his inspiration. 

3.   Who do you need to tell?

God often puts great dreams in our hearts that we could never accomplish on our own. God rarely gives us something we can accomplish on our own. Nehemiah had to tell the king. Then he had to tell the leaders of Jerusalem. Before he shared his vision with them, he showed them the problem. Afterwards, in Nehemiah 2:28, they responded, “Let’s start rebuilding!” Because he shared this impossible vision with others, they caught it and rebuilt the walls in less than two months. You can’t find people to help you unless you share your purpose.

I don’t know what God has put in your heart to do, but I believe He has a purpose and a plan for each of us. He makes no accidents. He formed you in your mother’s womb, called you by name, and creates you for a purpose. If you will find what breaks your heart and ask God what He wants you to do about it, I believe He will inspire you to accomplish His will. You’ll need to share that vision with the right people, and God will help you accomplish it. 

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There Is A Purpose

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

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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Purposeful Prayers

When you read the Gospels, it’s clear that Jesus was a man of prayer. He often went away from the group to pray. I’m sure He prayed a lot with His disciples and in front of them. It was one such occasion a disciple asked Him to teach them to pray like Him. I’m sure they could tell there was a difference in His prayers compared to theirs. There was power and authority in His prayers.

They wanted that and so should we. After the question was asked, I’m sure all the disciples and everyone sat up and started to really pay attention. Now I’m not going to go into the Lord’s Prayer and break it down here, but I’m going to talk about the importance of not only praying, but praying with a purpose. I think we as Christians miss out on this and our prayers lack power because of it.

When I send an email to my boss or any other person with a title higher than mine, I sit down and think through what I want to say and how I want to say it. I think about what questions they might have that will need to be answered and how they might take the wording. I also try to keep the email as succinct as possible so they can get the info they need and then move on.

Why don’t we take such great care when we are crafting a prayer to the God of Creation? Why do we think it’s ok to just throw something together and hope He hears it and responds to it? I’m not saying that those prayers shouldn’t exist or we shouldn’t pray them, but when it comes to prayers of authority and meaning, we need to think through what we’re saying. The example He gave us was succinct, meaningful and to the point. He didn’t fill it up with the word “God” or “Lord” every other word. He thought through the prayers and prayed with purpose.

I grew up where the faster and louder the prayer was the more others and hopefully God would get excited about it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with those prayers either. What I’m talking about is your every day communion with God. Where you spend time with Him and talk with Him. Slow down. Listen to what you are about to say to Him. Think through how you want to say it and then speak it to Him. It doesn’t have to be super fast. He’s got time.

There are lots of ways to pray and I’m not saying any of them are wrong. God is happy when we speak to Him. But if you’re like the disciple who asked Jesus to teach him to pray knowing that there’s another level, I encourage you to start practicing slowing down your prayers and being more contemplative with them. If we take time to think through what and how we should say something to others, we should do the same for God. Purposeful prayers are powerful.

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