A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Two weeks ago I shared the fulfillment of thwarting the squirrels who feed on our birdfeeder by placing the feeder seven feet high on a PVC pole and spraying it with WD-40. Well, it only worked for about a week and now this squirrel is looking right at us inside our bay window gloating. I think I'll just start enjoying watching persistent squirrels!
"The Joy Of Purpose"
Message summary: God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. But I believe God has also specifically equipped us for the unique purpose He has for our individuality. This purpose varies depending on the gifts, life's experiences, challenges, and callings God has granted us.
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"When he [Paul] came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose" (Acts 11:23). "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers" (Acts 13:36). "You, however, know all about … my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10).
Today is Ester's birthday. We are celebrating her 32nd year as we also look back on the day she was born in a tiny village along the Rio Dulce. Ester's birth mother spent the last three months of her pregnancy at the Casa Guatemala orphanage right off the Rio Dulce River, where she volunteered and awaited the birth of her infant, all along planning to give her up for adoption. When her mother went into labor, she was rushed to the nearest village via speedboat where the local doctor successfully delivered Ester, but it was soon determined that she was born with a critical heart condition later diagnosed as Pulmonary Atresia.
Pulmonary Atresia is a life threatening congenital heart disease where the pulmonary valve that lets blood out of the heart to go to a baby's lungs doesn't form correctly. Instead of opening and closing to allow blood to travel from the heart to the lungs, a solid sheet of tissue forms. Blood can't travel by its normal route to pick up oxygen from the lungs. Instead, some blood travels to the lungs through other natural passages within the heart and its arteries.
Fast forwarding - Five heart surgeries later, at four years of age, Ester was finally done with open heart surgeries and long, long recoveries at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA though she would have many other major surgeries and procedures over the years. She knows that God saved her life for a reason and finds purpose in knowing that God has used her for His glory and for the common good of others.
This past Sunday Ester assisted Sandy Robinson, the instructor of the Shepherd's Class, where physically and cognitively challenged children and adults gather each Sunday. Over the years that we've attended Calvary Church there are frequent requests for helpers to come alongside these very needy individuals, and Ester decided to give it a try. We don't know if this is where God is leading her, but she volunteered this last Sunday, as the Lord prompted her following the baptism several Sundays ago of a 20 year old student from that class. What a blessing to meet her after the class and sense her joy in having a purpose!
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain
What is necessary for life? Physically we may say oxygen, water and food. Emotionally we need hope and love. Spiritually we need Christ! But another very necessary component of a fulfilling life is finding our purpose.
Paul is often considered the greatest missionary of all time. Toward the end of his life he wrote in confidence to Timothy, "You, however, know all about … my purpose" (2 Timothy 3:10).
God created us with a purpose. One of the greatest innate needs common to all people is a purpose for our existence. Many aimlessly drift through life with little sense of direction or purpose. As a young Christian I learned to share my faith using a booklet called "The Four Spiritual Laws" which begins with the phrase, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Of course the noun "plan" can be equally understood as "purpose" and truly God has a purpose for each of us.
2 Timothy is considered the last letter that Paul wrote. The first nine verses in chapter three list over twenty-three godless characteristics evident in a period that Paul describes as "terrible times in these last days". In fact it could easily describe the world in which we now live! He sums the list up with the phrase, "these men oppose the truth". My, oh my, isn't that the case.
But beginning in verse 10 Paul lists a number of positive personal characteristics that he was confident Timothy had observed in his life and thus was well acquainted with: "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me…the persecutions I endured…". Paul demonstrated these characteristics day by day, during periods of peace and during times of testing, when he had plenty and when he was in need. It wasn't just the words Paul used to teach, but it was his way of life that reinforced that which he professed.
Among the characteristics he listed was "my purpose". The word purpose means a "plan" or a "resolve", denoting that a decision has been made. Another reference states this purpose to be "the guiding motive of my life and work".
God has a purpose for each of us. There are aspects of this purpose common to all who follow Christ. Although we may not choose to word it the same way, it would be very similar to my "personal mission statement" that I wrote many years ago. This, of course, could also be called my "personal purpose statement". I purposefully place it in the footers of each daily encouragement message.
"I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
But I believe God has also specifically equipped us for the unique purpose He has for our individuality. This purpose varies depending on the gifts, life experiences, challenges, and callings God has granted us. In Acts 12:36 we read, "When David had served God's purpose in his own generation". My goal is to fulfill God's purpose for my life in my generation. What about you?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, to find lasting satisfaction and personal reward we must look to Your blueprints for our lives since we are Your creation. You have shown us by Christ's example what is good and that which You require of us; to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. As we do that we will find great purpose, the kind of purpose that is not just for our earthly existence but that which lasts for all eternity. May we be faithful in making choices today that reflect Your purpose in our lives and fulfills our spiritual calling. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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