Tag Archives: purpose

Doing Your Assignment

In an attempt to make the automobile affordable for as many people as possible, Henry Ford developed the assembly line. Instead of a small team hand building the automobile from the ground up, a team of people would work together in separate parts to create it. Each person on the line had one assignment that they focused on. The overall goal for all people on the line was to make an affordable vehicle that ran well. Each person doing their assignment well is what made that happen. Each job was important because without it, the vehicle would be incomplete. It would be easy for any worker to think their work was insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The book of Nehemiah chronicles the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. After living in captivity for a long time, many Jews had been permitted to return to their homeland. Some had returned to Babylon and Nehemiah asked them about Jerusalem. They explained that the people were defenseless because of the lack of walls. It was then that Nehemiah received his holy assignment from God to rebuild the walls. He went back and rallied the people to work together to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah 3 lists all the people who were working on the wall and their assignments. Side by side each person did their part while understanding their work was a benefit to the whole. No one spot on the wall was more important than another. Even though they were opposed by people, they kept at their work because the people had a heart for the work (Nehemiah 4:6).

1 Corinthians 12:22 says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (ESV). You and I have our own part and place in the Body of Christ. You may think your role is less significant than someone else’s, but it’s not. You are called by the same Lord to play a role in the whole of the Kingdom. Every part of the body has purpose and a place because the whole needs it. Wherever you are and whatever you’re called to do, do it with the best of your ability. The rest of the body is counting on you. God is counting on you. The work of the Kingdom is incomplete without you doing your part. Don’t let opposition or your feelings keep you from your assignment.

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Quit Making Excuses

One of the things we’re pretty good at is arguing and making excuses. From the time we were young, we have learned to defend our shortcomings with excuses or to try and argue our way out of it. Another motivator for excuses is fear. When we’re afraid of not knowing the outcome, fear will often remind us of why we can’t do something and then excuses come out. We tend to do this as adults when God calls us to do something that’s outside of our comfort zone. Fear and feelings of inadequacy can cause us to give Him excuses why we can’t or shouldn’t do it. If you’ve done that, you’re not alone, but I want to encourage you to find a way to push through to saying “yes” to God.

In Exodus 3 and 4, were introduced to Moses. He was the son of a Hebrew slave in Egypt, but grew up in Pharaoh’s house. After he killed an Egyptian he fled for forty years. While he was tending some sheep, God appeared to him in a burning bush that wasn’t being consumed by the flame. He was told to go back to Egypt to set the Hebrews free. All of a sudden fear and inadequacy flooded his mind and he started giving God excuses. “They will kill me. I’m not a public speaker. No one will listen.” On and on the excuses poured out until,God had enough. Reluctantly he went after God got upset with him and shot down every excuse.

In Psalm 32:8 we find encouragement when we want to make excuses. “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” God will be with you and advise you just as He did Moses. If God has called you to it, He will guide you through it. Like Moses, you might get hit with set backs and resistance, but keep doing what God asks. He has chosen you and anointed you for the work He has called you to. Your inadequacies and fear will be met with His all sufficient grace. Remember the disciples gave Jesus five loaves and two fish and He fed 5,000. Imagine what He could do through you with what you give Him. He’s the one who does incredible things when we say yes to Him and offer ourselves instead of excuses.

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God’s Not Done

The other day I looked over at my son and it hit me that we’ve passed the halfway mark of how long a kid traditionally stays at home. I started thinking of how much more we wanted to pour into him with the time left. Then I started thinking of my own life and how I’m passed the halfway point of an average lifespan. I thought of the things I still. Want to do and accomplish. Then I began to think about purpose and calling. There’s a lot more left unaccomplished than accomplished when it comes to fulfilling God’s plan for my life. I wondered if God would still do what He promised, if there was still enough time to make an impact and if I’m able to do it.

I started thinking about David who was a teenager when his father was visited by the prophet to anoint the next king. It wasn’t long after that when he killed Goliath and everyone knew him. He had been invited into the king’s palace to play music. He must have thought things were happening quickly for him to become king. Then year after year passed by and he found himself hiding in caves and eventually having to live in a foreign country in order to stay alive. He must have wondered if the prophet got it right. Was he going to be king? Would God fulfill His promise? Was it too late? He was human so he probably had times when he doubted or wondered if he interpreted it right.

In Psalm 138:8, David prayed, “You will do everything you have promised; Lord, your love is eternal. Complete the work that you have begun” (GNT). When David doubted or felt down, he would reassure himself to trust in God. He would go back through the Scriptures and recite the times God fulfilled His promises. He built his faith up when his circumstances caused doubt. His prayer here reminds us that God isn’t finished with our story, no matter how late in life you feel you are. His promises still hold true. He will do everything He’s promised to do with your life and complete what He started. His timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Be faithful in the waiting, build up your faith and stay ready. God’s not done with your story yet.

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Waiting On God

Have you ever felt ill equipped to do something? Maybe you did your part to get ready for it, but you didn’t have the right tools to be successful. I’ve had that happen before. I had to lead a meeting, but when I arrived to the location, there wasn’t a projector. If they couldn’t see my PowerPoint slides, they wouldn’t be able to understand what I was discussing. It was one of those moments where you have to get really creative or pray that someone had a spare projector somewhere. Thankfully that was the case and I was able to give them the info they needed.

When it comes to fulfilling your purpose, the same thing can happen. There’s only so much you can do before you need God to do what only He can do. The problems come when we stop being patient and start trying to get creative in doing God’s part. We try to equip ourselves for what He wants to accomplish through us, but like Saul’s armor on David, it doesn’t fit. I’ve found that moving forward before God has done His part often complicates things and can have long lasting consequences.

In Hebrews 13:21, the writer prays and reminds us, “May the God of peace provide you with every good thing you need in order to do his will” (GNT). You have a part and God has a part. Learn to do your part and then have patience while God does His. He will give you what you need when you need it. I know it feels like you need it sooner or that you need to step in and help Him, but wait on Him. The Bible is full of people who didn’t wait and tried to do God’s part. Today, purpose in your heart that you will trust God to provide the thing you’re missing to accomplish His will and that you will wait until He gives it to you.

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


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Imperfectly Perfect

Almost all of us have something we don’t like about ourselves. We can be very critical of ourselves and often see ourselves in a negative light. Whether it’s aN imperfection, a defect, a tick or impediment, it’s important to remember that God doesn’t see that the same way you do. We often see these things as limitations or as distractions, but God sees past those things we dislike about ourselves. He even has a way of wanting to use us for His purposes that may even expose that thing we struggle with. What we see as a hinderance, He sees as an opportunity for us to trust Him and rely on Him rather than ourselves.

In Exodus 4, God is calling Moses to be His spokesperson to Egypt on behalf of the enslaved Israelites. One slight problem though: Moses has a speech impediment. He stutters. He uses that to try to disqualify himself from being used by God. It doesn’t work. In verse 9, God says, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say” (NLT). Notice how God doesn’t heal the impediment. He has the ability to, but He doesn’t. He wanted to use Moses despite the issue, and He wants to use you too.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” You are His masterpiece, imperfections and all. What you see as an imperfection, He sees as a priceless work of art that is able to be used for His purposes. We must learn to see ourselves the way He sees us. We can give excuse after excuse to Him about how He has the wrong person or how these imperfections limit our ability to be used by Him, but His purpose will prevail. What you see as a limitation, He sees as an opportunity to trust Him. You are not defective. You are a masterpiece created with a purpose. Like Moses, we need to submit to it despite our “flaws”.

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Doing Your Work

Several years ago I worked in early childhood education. One of the first things I learned (and had to keep learning) was to never do for a child what a child can do for themselves. I like things to move along quickly. Watching a child do a task they were new at was painstakingly slow. It was a lot quicker for me to step in and do it for them, but in doing so, I was robbing them of increasing their ability to do the task. I had to learn to coach them through the process rather than to just sit back and watch them struggle. Some kids wanted me to do everything, liked the help, some ignored me and others insisted they didn’t want my input. Ultimately i embraced my role to empower them.

As Christians we’re not much different than the kids I used to work with. We’re slow moving on the tasks God asks us to do. When He sends help, we may push back because of our pride. Many times we just want God to do all the hard work while we sit back and enjoy the fruits of His labor. There are also times where we simply ignore what He’s asking us to do. He write it off telling ourselves that the voice isn’t God. Ultimately we need God’s help in completing and fulfilling our purpose. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us and to help us as we accomplish His will.

Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure” (AMP). One of the notes in my Bible for this verse says that while God supports us, it is our responsibility to do the work He called us to. No one else is going to do what you’re called to do. It is your part to play in the story God is writing. He’s there to guide, help and support you through it, but He’s not going to do for you what you can do and are called to do. Listen for His voice as He guides you, strengthens and energized you to fulfill His purposes for your life.

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You Are Qualified

One of the things I’m pretty good at is trying to disqualify myself from what God has called me to do. I find myself telling God why I can’t do something. “Sorry, God. My past disqualifies me from doing that. I don’t know how to do that. I’m not the right person for that. There are so many other people who would be better at it than me.” I can go on all day giving God excuses why i can’t do something. Part of it comes from a place where I’m fully aware of all my shortcomings. Another part comes from fear of the unknown. In either case, I believe God looks past those things. He sees our heart, and He bases His calling and qualifications on that instead of the things we think they should be based on.

If you find that your try to disqualify yourself when God calls, you’re in good company. Moses argued with Him for a while in Exodus 3-4. He tried to use his past, his lack of training, that no one would listen, that he had a speech impediment and more. God still kept pushing and ultimately he submitted. Jeremiah is another. The book starts off in the fifth verse of the first chapter with God calling him and qualifying him. He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations” (NLT). However, Jeremiah didn’t agree with God’s assessment. He pushed back, “O Sovereign Lord, I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” These two, like so many of us, tell our creator why we can’t be used for the purpose He created us to fulfill. Thankfully God is patient with us and His purpose will prevail.

In Jeremiah 1:7, God replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young, (insert your excuse here)’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you.” God is speaking that to us today too. God is greater than your shortcomings and the excuses you give. His Spirit in you is all the qualification you need. Obedience is what matters. He doesn’t have the wrong person to accomplish His will. Remember God knew you before you were born. He knew about all the things you point to as disqualifications, and He still set you apart, created you with purpose and called you. Quit giving Him excuses and try submitting. Pray, “Lord, I can think of a million reasons why you’ve got the wrong person, but because you are the one calling me, I submit to your will and calling for my life. Empower me to do all you’ve called me to do. Place people around me to help me accomplish all you need me to.” Remember, God doesn’t make mistakes, so neither you, nor your calling are one.

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Parentheses in the Bible verse are mine.

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Work Diligently

One of the moments I remember most from high school was being in a locker room in Waco, Texas before the basketball state championship. Everyone was nervous feeling the weight of the game we were about to play. Coach walked in with The Dallas Morning News newspaper folded up. He said, “I want y’all to hear this article. It says, ‘The State Championship is a mere formality for (our opponent). (Our school) lacks the height and the talent to keep up.’” Something happened in that moment. He said, “Go prove them wrong!” We started banging on the lockers and screaming. We came out of that locker room a force to be reckoned with and won the game. We were all of a sudden motivated to win, but it was the discipline we learned in practice that gave us the victory.

Motivation is a good thing, but it doesn’t keep you going. When we first accept Jesus, find our calling or discover our God given purpose, our motivation is high. When it comes down to working it out, getting things moving or bumping into roadblocks on the way, motivation does very little to keep us on the path. It’s the daily disciplines that do that. Motivation is emotional and depends on success to stick around. Discipline is willpower and depends on determination to move despite how you’re feeling. God gives us the mountain top, emotional experiences because we need the motivation from time to time, but He expects us to be disciplined to continue through the valleys of not being able to hear Him or sense His direction for our lives.

Proverbs 30:25 says, “The feeble ant has little strength, yet look how it diligently gathers its food in the summer to last throughout the winter” (TPT). He keeps working for the future despite the present, and is a good example for us. You may have lost your motivation along the way to doing what God called you to, but let me encourage you to begin small, disciplined steps to move you towards it. Find five things you can do daily that will keep you moving towards the place where God is calling you, and do them no matter what. The ant is considered wise and a hard worker in this Scripture because he does the necessary work before the winter arrives. So you and I need to be working while we can towards the place God is leading us. Motivation may give you momentum, but discipline will keep you going when you’re not feeling it.

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There Is A Purpose

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 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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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Finding Direction

Whenever I walk into an organization that is struggling to move forward, I usually ask different people what the vision is. Most of the time in those organizations, few can tell me what it is. The few that can tell me, have no idea how what they do contributes to the vision. I then get together with the leaders in a room and have them close their eyes. I then ask them to point to the north. When they open their eyes, they see that everyone is pointing in different directions, and at least one is pointing up. I then open the compass app on my phone, and show them where north is. I have them close their eyes again and ask them to point to the north. This time, usually all but one are pointing in the direction I showed them. I then explain how vision gives people direction, and without it they do their own thing pulling the organization in different directions.

As individuals, we’re not that much different. Each of us need direction for our life or we go nowhere feeling unfulfilled. Without a cause or a purpose, we lack direction. If I asked you what your purpose on this earth was, could you answer? If not, you’ve probably tried several jobs, been in and out of relationships and searched for purpose in some very different ways. You’re not alone if you feel that way. “The Purpose Driven Life” has sold over 50 million copies to date because it speaks to that very question all of us have: “What on earth am I here for?” Believe it or not, you were created with a purpose and you can know it. Each one of us have a unique set of talents and giftings that when combined give you the unique ability to do what God made you to do.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful” (NLT). God offers divine guidance and direction. One way to seek it is in prayer. Another way is through His Word, the Bible (the Law). Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” God’s Word guides us and lights up the right path for us, but only when we put it in us. Abraham had a land to find, David had a giant to fight and Nehemiah had a wall to build. There is something God made you to do as well. It may not be as grand as some of the people I just mentioned, but it is grand to the ones you will impact. I’m praying for you today to find your purpose and to start moving in that direction

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