We All Long For a Meaning and Purpose

We all long for a life that matters. Doing what matters and finding meaning is tied intricately with finding your purpose.

For many years, I sought my purpose. I had many goals and dreams. But I always lacked the anchored knowledge that I was pursuing what I was made for. I constantly spread myself to thin. Life was a bit of a roller coaster. I would work very hard, get ahead, but hit a bench mark and find no peace. No fulfillment. There was always this feeling of, “There has got to be more than this.

God designed all of us on purpose, for a purpose. And that purpose is not centered on you. Sorry to say it, some of you have no purpose in life. I can say that because I use to be such a person.

Perhaps your decisions have made it difficult to find that purpose. Not living a life of substance and foolish decision creates consequences. Walk this path long enough and you become buried in mistakes and regret. Life is simply survival; reacting negatively to everything.

Perhaps you have created a value system that is at odds with your true purpose. In our culture, success and status is so esteemed that the basic human needs of reciprocal relationship and community are sacrificed to gain it. Perhaps you stopped dreaming of a life of significance because all around you is the mundane. Every day feels the same. And each day you get a little number. The hope a New Year is already fading to the normal every day.

What is it that gets you out of bed on the days you don’t want to?  Get to know yourself better. What do you love and what bores you to tears?  Which strengths do you have and what are your weaknesses? What is it in this messed up world that when you see it you think,” Someone needs to do something about that! “When you come alive, what makes you come alive? The world does not need another widget or another soulless millionaire or another person who gave up. It desperately needs people who are alive.

Find your purpose. It matters. You matter. Your purpose matters to this world because no one can do it but you. If you don’t find it and you don’t fulfill it, the world will lose that brush stroke of God forever.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s Purpose prevails. – Proverbs 19:21

With God’s help, and your commitment, you will seek, and you will find; in Jesus name.

Special thanks to Joshua Delp

This is Not What I Envisioned for My Future

Guest post from Crystal Castillo.

“Dream Big!” That’s the message we grow up listening to. We’re encouraged to make big plans for our future. Unfortunately, though, our lives rarely unfold the way we dreamed them to.

Now don’t get me wrong, having big dreams for our lives is good! Envisioning ourselves with successful and prosperous lives is ok! Yet God desires for us to trust the process He has us in, even if our lives look different than we expected.

Trusting God with Our Future

God’s desire for us is to trust not in our circumstances but in the creator of the dreams we long for. When we trust harder rather than dream bigger, we acknowledge that God is in charge of our dreams, not us. However, if we dream big rather than trust hard, we assume our dreams and desires are up to us to fulfill.

God did not create us to depend on our own strength and ability. He intended for us to derive our strength and ability from Him alone.

Life is a Journey

I’m under 30. Some people believe that to be very young. Others think it’s the age to have your whole life figured out. I tend to believe the latter Yet I’m learning that life is a journey with each new day.

We should live life one day at a time and not rushed. Embrace one day at a time, depend on God’s daily bread, and don’t worry about tomorrow.

The Unexpected Journey

Although my life did not unfold the way I envisioned it, it has taught me a lot about God. It has taught me about His perfect plans for my life and future and for the lives of others.

I can easily blame myself for my life not unfolding the way I planned it. Sure, I could have done things differently. But at the end of the day, God is sovereign over everything. He is sovereign over the lives of His children.

Through this journey of unexpected detours and redirection, God has helped me see my circumstances from His perspective. I have learned to thank God for not allowing my plans for the future to happen the way I hoped they did. Blaming God for our situation never resolves anything.

Life’s Not Easy

Sweet friend, life was never meant to be easy. If life were easy, we wouldn’t have a reason to pursue God or seek His guidance for our lives. Furthermore, life was not meant to unfold the way we wish it did. Life was designed for us to depend on God. Even Jesus had to depend on God for the way His life would unfold.

The Bible tells us that Jesus did not want to experience the suffering of dying on the cross. In fact, He prayed to God to spare Him from having to endure the pain of being nailed on the cross. Jesus knew what was to come for Him, which is why He prayed and asked God for another way if possible. He believed that anything and everything is possible for God. Jesus was not afraid to express His fears to God.

Though Jesus prayed for an alternative route, He still prayed for God’s will to be done instead of His. God’s will was ultimately the best for all of us. And the same holds true in our own lives.

Without Jesus’s crucifixion, you and I wouldn’t have the privilege of a relationship with God the way we do. His selfless sacrifice paved the way. Jesus trusted God, and His obedience saved us from the consequences of eternal death.

Jesus is the perfect example for us to follow when we feel anxious or scared about our future. As humans, we want our life to unfold a certain way, we want a specific career, we want a certain spouse, and we want what our flesh craves – the opposite of what God wants for us.

Friend, we can trust that no matter what we go through or what our life looks like right now, God will make all things work out for us (Romans 8:28). He used Jesus’s pain and suffering to bring salvation to the world. He too will use our pain and suffering to bring glory to His name and freedom to our realm of influence.
We can rest in knowing that God’s ways are far better than what we believe is good for us.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Feel free to repost. This post can change a life today!

Why (and How) God Tests Our Faith

Now that God has refined you, He’ll test your faith like gold. This is where a lot of believers become discouraged and give up.

When faced with a situation that tests your faith in God, how do you respond? Many times, our initial prayer is for God to deliver us from the situation. We may even beg Him for it. But I’ve learned that God doesn’t deliver us from a test because the purpose of the test is actually to deliver us.

It can be difficult to understand why a good and perfect God allows us to go through trying situations. The reason is simple: sanctification. God is transforming us into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. God tests us for our good; to develop our faith. Testing is not something we should despise because it’s a chance to show the genuineness of our faith and glorify our Lord.

Testing Reveals What is in Us

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” – Malachi 3:3 NIV

The bible tells us that God refines and tests us like silver and gold. To understand what that looks like practically, you first have to understand how silver is refined. In short, the silversmith places the silver in a fire and watches it very carefully. He knows the silver is ready when he can clearly see his reflection (or image) in the metal.

When you’re in a trial or test, does God see His image and character in you? Or are your carnal ways of thinking still leading your behavior? Do you exhibit the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, self-control,etc…) or are you led by your flesh? Will you doubt God or trust Him if a less qualified person is given the promotion you’ve been praying for? Do you slander that person’s name to everyone around you or do you ask God to remove the bitterness and still serve at your job as unto the Lord? When faced with a test, what is in you will come out of you. How we respond determines if God moves us forward in His will or allows us to spend a bit more time in our current season.

Testing Removes Impurities From us

As you grow in your faith you’ll begin passing more and more tests. It’s a great feeling, but even though you’re on the right track you shouldn’t get too comfortable. Now that God has refined you, He’ll test you like gold.

Gold is naturally impure. To purify it, the goldsmith must put into the furnace repeatedly. With each pass through the fire it becomes more pure. This is why there are different karats of gold (8,16,24). The higher the karat the more pure it is, with 24 karat being the purest. If we want our faith in God to pure and indestructible like gold, our faith has to go through the fire again and again. Although we’ve been made right with God through our faith in Jesus, the remnant of our sinful nature is still within us. Our sanctification doesn’t happen all at once, it’s a process.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV

This is where a lot of believers become discouraged and give up. We don’t know when the tests will come, how long they will last, or how intense they will be. Like the Israelite’s in the desert, we can grow weary and start to believe God has forsaken us in the very place He brought us to. In our weakness and fear, we attempt to take matters into our own hands instead of waiting on God (See Exodus 32 NIV).

“If your faith doesn’t cost you anything it’s because it s not worth anything”

Your Faith Will Cost You

To follow Christ we must pick up our cross and deny ourselves. This requires dying to our own desires and ways of thinking. The tests we go through are design to kill our flesh so we learn to rely on the Holy Spirit. It’s a fight not to go back to self-medicating or finding our worth in a relationship. It’s a struggle to stay faithful at work when you’re being overlooked or discredited. Trials feels like the complete opposite of what life in Christ should be, but it’s not. The purpose of the test is to grow your faith, free you from bondage, and increase your dependency on God. Shallow beliefs and idols won’t last in the trial, they’ll will be ruined by the fire. Only what is true and pure will remain.

Friends, don’t fear the fire – the tests and trials. The fire isn’t designed to destroy you, but to remove everything that’s been holding you back from God’s perfect will. If you stay steadfast, you will glorify God and come to know His power in a brand new way. Your triumph will be a testimony to believers and unbelievers alike. Now this isn’t to say that it will get easier, but you will become stronger, wiser, and not as easily swayed by storms that come your way.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4 NIV

Source: Daily PS

Do Small Things Greatly

Our concern shouldn’t be that our task is small. Instead, we should be asking: Am I doing my task greatly, regardless of its size or seemingly importance?

Life is full of small things, isn’t it? I don’t mean snails and sand fleas. No, I mean the small choices we make, like taking care of our bodies, and tasks we complete, like home and work responsibilities. Since “small” or seemingly routine, non-earth-shattering items construct the majority of our time, perhaps they aren’t so insignificant after all.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for daring adventures and if you follow my personal blog, you know I just returned from traveling two weeks in Italy. Everything in its place, right? Although life certainly has its mountain-top moments, it’s also good to adventure on the small scale.

Truth is, God cares about and can use our ordinary, less-than-glamorous moments just as much as those bucket-list accomplishments.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Bible in 1 Chronicles. Now this book holds its share of hurdles, including chapters of genealogies, but it also holds a challenge relevant to our lives.

In 1 Chronicles 9:29-34, we find a short account of appointed responsibilities in the house of God and who was charged with what task. Maybe you’re thinking, “So what?” Stay with me and take a look at verse 29:

“Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices” (NKJV).

Overseeing vessels and instruments in the temple’s sanctuary seem like trivial tasks. Making the ointment of the spices (verse 30) or keeping inventory of the flour, wine, oil and other spices (verse 29) don’t sound especially exciting to me. If that job posting opened today, none of us would probably sign up for it.

However, these details were important enough to record in Scripture. In fact, these small tasks proved vital to the efficiency and order in the house of God.

If you’re like me, we’re often so focused on doing something “big” for God that we trip over the little things. For example, how was our attitude toward that task we didn’t especially enjoy?

Yet God cares about our response to appointments great and small. We see this again and again in Scripture.

  • “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40 NKJV).
  • “Do all things without complaining and disputing” (Philippians 2:14).
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
  • “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
  • “But you be watchful in all things … fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).

In other words, the big and the small assignments both matter. I like how Helen Keller summarized this idea:

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

NB: Do something small as if they were great today.

Being Renewed In Jesus Christ is Enough

This is a guest post from Joshua Reid.


Jesus Christ is enough. Spending time with Him, through praise and worship, reading the Bible, prayer and listening leads to being renewed.

A.W. Tozer once said, “It is simply not enough to know about God. We must know God in increasing levels of intimacy that lifts us up above all reason and into the world of adoration and praise and worship.” We must be renewed in Him.

What does it mean to be renewed in Christ?

Throughout the New Testament, we see not only Jesus Christ but also the Apostles and even Paul himself speak on this topic.

Colossians 3:9-10 (NKJV) says, “9. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10. And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him…”

As Christians, we are called to let our old sinful flesh die and become a new creation in Christ but it’s not easy. When we first begin our walk with God, it can become easy for us to indulge in the desires of our flesh but here’s the thing:

As we grow in our walk with God, renewing our hearts and minds should be paramount.

One story in the Bible that talks about being renewed in Christ is the story of Paul and how he went from killer of the Christians to becoming one of its most prominent speakers of the Gospel.

Through Paul’s life, we see the power of God and how He renews us and restores us, particularly when we feel that we are pursuing God’s calling for our lives and He corrects our misconceptions.

Through examining Paul’s life and how he went from a murderer of the followers of Jesus to one of Christ’s Apostles, there are several lessons we can learn about what it means to have renewal in Jesus Christ.

1). God will show us a different perspective on who He is

Acts 9:5-6 (NKJV) says, “5. And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads. 6. So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’”

In this passage of Scripture, we see how God is already beginning to correct Saul’s misconception of who He is. To Saul, those that followed Jesus were straying from the faith of their families and following a heretical teaching.

Later within the chapter, Saul’s sight restores to him through the disciple Ananias. When his sight restores, the first thing Saul did was get baptized. Then he spent time with the disciples in Damascus.

“Changing a person’s reality comes from changing a person’s mentality.”

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV) says, “16. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

2). Through faith, Christ lives within us.

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) says, “20. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

This year, make it a compulsory action to win more souls to the kingdom of God. Also try as much as possible to do God’s will, in as much we live in a troubled and tempting world. We are different.

If you haven’t given your life to Christ and you reading this, I welcome you into the family of Jesus our Saviour. Accept Him as your Lord and Saviour.

When you believe that the blood that Jesus shed on the cross was for you, you then receive the life of Jesus in you. You are now born-again.

A new level of Monday Motivation.

Finding Your TRUE Identity

When it comes to identity, the world will twist who you are. It will tell you that you are what matters. What if there was something more – Joseph Lalonde

The world is trying to tell us we need to discover who we are. Only by discovering this will you be able to discover your identity. When we look around we see a broken world. Lives are falling apart. Doing things the world’s way hasn’t helped us become better. In fact, I would argue the world has increasingly become more and more unstable because of our desire to discover who we are.

We should already know who we are. The Bible tells us.

We are a fallen people.

This started with Adam and Eve. They chose to eat from a tree they were told to avoid. They chose to eat anyways. From there, we’ve descended into death, war, infidelity, and more. The world is broken, We are broken and We are fallen.

This isn’t a bad thing and it gives you and me a place to start to find our true identity.

We are a redeemed people.

It’s true, we’re all fallen. We were born into sin. We are sinners. Yet, if we’ve made the choice to believe in our savior, we’re more than sinners. We are a redeemed people.

Christ has called us to Him. He has chosen to make us His own. We just have to make the choice.

We need to find our TRUE identity.

The world tells us to discover who we are. To find out the things we enjoy, love, and want to do more of. This is who we are, they would tell us. They’d be wrong. Your true identity doesn’t come from the activities you like or the things you love. Your identity, once you’ve chosen Christ, is no longer your own.

Youth Pastor Bruce Harrier shared his thoughts about identity. I thought they were great. And I want to share them here with you.

He said:

We need to get over trying to figure out who we are. It’s not about that. It’s not about knowing yourself. What truly matters in figuring out your identity is knowing whose you are.

What this means is identity isn’t about you, it’s about being God’s beloved.

There are two key verses we can look at to back this claim up. The first is:

John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

In this verse, we see that by receiving Christ, we become children of God. We are no longer people who are lost, we are found and we are His.

The second verse is:

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What we can take away from this Bible verse is that we are created for a purpose. We are a created people, which God longs for us to realize.

Your true identity

If we take these two verses for what they are, we can see it’s not about who we are. Our identity is IN Christ and His love. He has given us a new identity.

We are children of God and his handiwork. Resting in this knowledge is what we should be able to do. His word has given us our identity and it is now our choice whether or not to live in it.

Image credit: Pinterest

Delayed Isn’t Negative

Good day fam!

So what motivated me today to write about this topic was the day after my wedding weekend, we were heading back to Abuja from Lagos Nigeria. Our flight was supposed to be 10:35am. But we later left the airport around 1:45pm. I got angry and wanted to cause a scene in the airport. Other passengers were diverstated and furious with the airline. We had other plans me and my wife, but we cancelled the appointment. Luckily for us, our flight was announced to board. As I sat down catching my breath, I felt God used that whole situation to speak to me and maybe speak to someone reading this now.
What struck me after thinking about the whole thing, was that everyone immediately thinks very negatively when it comes to delayed flights. Have you ever thought about why those flights are delayed? Have you ever thought that a few more minutes wait on your end may be beneficial to you or someone else? Maybe theres a good reason its delayed. Lets think about it.

Problem A: Weather

Maybe the flight was grounded so the people on the flight or the one before would be kept safe due to weather. If you haven’t noticed weather is completely out of our control, so why do we let it upset us when it changes our plans. God is in control of all things, even the things we believe we are in control over. His ways are greater than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God has greater things in mind and knows what He is doing. He doesn’t want you taking off in a thunder storm, so just trust Him!

Problem B: Mechanical
Im sure you’ve heard this one on the plane. You were told the plane was waiting for someone to fix a mechanical issue, or repair a flat tire, or something different. People of course get upset at this too. It makes me wonder if they would prefer to take off immediately and not fix the problem? God always has our best interests at heart, and while we may believe that we want things immediately, He is more than likely delaying your situation to protect you or those around you.

Problem C: Other Passenger
Now this has been me before so I know it happens. The plane waits to close the door because they know you are coming from a connecting flight and will be a few minutes late. Typically your connecting flights will hold that door so you can make it and not have to find a new flight. But then you get on the plane you just ran for and all those people sitting waiting on you are upset because you are keeping them from where they need to be. God may be doing this in your life right now. Maybe you aren’t sure why God has you moving somewhere, or has you in a certain job when you want to leave. Maybe He is simply waiting for someone else to be where they need to before you can move forward effectively. in short…you are NOT the only person on the planet, and God has more than just you to fit into His perfect plan. Maybe just trust the He knows what He is doing and celebrate with those around you in the mean-time.

You can look at God as an air-traffic controller of sorts. He is responsible for making sure people get to where they are supposed to be, and He is also responsible for the safety of all the travelers. He has to be focused on the safety and accuracy of getting people where they need to go, as opposed to all the “wants” of the individual travelers.

So you may think you are in a holding pattern in your life, but don’t look at it in a negative way. Remember that there is a reason you are delayed, and until you take off you should enjoy the moment and location you are in.

Galatian 5:22-23
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

The Greatest Success Possible

The Greatest Success Possible: Self-actualization. Self determination. Hard work. Achievement. Success. A pleased God. Reward.

I was on a church retreat recently that spoke on Jeremiah 2. During a quiet moment with the Lord, surrounded in a world of self-actualization and self-determination, a sudden hard truth impressed me. Regardless of your primary purpose or calling or destiny in this life, you’re actually incapable of doing it. Doesn’t matter what it is, you are incapable of performing the one thing you are created to do by design.

Despite your most intense focus, intention, and effort, you cannot glorify God. By your own efforts, you cannot please Him. Think about that and let it sink in. How could a finite and defective being, even one that’s been redeemed by Christ, ever please an infinite and perfect one? (Isaiah 64:6) By your own efforts, you cannot stop sinning. You cannot add one day to your life. And you cannot achieve anything at all truly great. You simply lack the capability to do so on your own.

We may immediately think of some superstar celebrity names that achieved greatness. Well greatness by our standards. Truly I tell you if they did it on their own then whatever they achieved was far less than what God designed them to be. They failed. Funny, the one thing we all were ultimately created for: to glorify God, is actually the one thing we are most incapable of doing.

Depressed? It may seem sad, but it’s by design.

“My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water. They have been for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” – Jeremiah 2:13

The harder you try to make yourself under your own power a usable cistern, the more useless you become to God. Even when grace saves you under Jesus, if you continue to power forward under your own might, you’ll fail to please Him.

Only God can glorify Himself. Only infinite and eternal can satisfy infinite and eternal.

So the only way you can please God, your actual ultimate destiny regardless of what your calling may be, is to be as humble as possible. Be honest with your inner core of your condition of a being as useful as a broken cistern, sinful and useless under your own strength.

“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart O God.” – Psalm 51:17

It is through humbly becoming as much of a shell and clearing out your own determination, drive, and passions that God can finally fill Himself in you as a usable vessel. This is in stark contrast to our current culture’s understanding. It’s by breaking yourself down into a limp puppet that God can finally attach His strings. He brings you to true animated life. Then and only then when you have “self-actualized” yourself to what you really are (nothing) and have identified your greatest capability (completely incapable) is when God can finally assume control. He uses you for your real destiny. This will now be 100% by His hand alone and not one iota of your humanity.

Related Post: The Greatness of Humility

Logically, the only thing we humans are ever in control of, is the first step: removing our pride. We were never in control and capable of anything. Under God’s rule and measurement of true success, our own power and strength exists for the sole purpose of removing our own power and strength. We are to make room for *His* power and strength. Hence, the greatest thing we could ever actually “do” for God is to “undo” ourselves.

This post won’t be possible without the inspiration and support of Jesse Hunter.

Please drop your comments, and share…

Let perseverance finish its work.

Every day holds a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. On a daily basis, in almost everything you do, you will be presented with the right way, and the easy way. Rarely do these two options have the same result. Every day your strength will be tested through your choices. Your strength is a byproduct of struggle; you must do what others don’t to achieve what others won’t; meaning, you must decide to take the right way, instead of the easy way.

The strength you have at this point in your life is a product of your willingness to struggle in the past. Your strength can be expanded and further developed through perseverance. Perseverance means to be steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. No matter how difficult the conflicts that you face may become, in order to continue to grow in strength you must preserver by making the right choice, not the easy choice! James 1:4 says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

In order to grow and become stronger; you must never allow yourself to reach a point where you feel you have ‘arrived’ or a place where you feel that you have everything together. Don’t allow yourself to get to place where you feel that the easy choice has become acceptable for your life. You must continue to push yourself. Be okay with allowing conflict and difficulties in your life. In every season of life and in every day you must always hold the desire to grow and become stronger than the person you are right now. Always be persevering regardless of the comfort you may have to give up during the process.

Making the right choice is hardly ever the same as taking the easy way to get through a situation. Sometimes the right choice can even be draining. When I am having a difficult time pressing on and moving in the right direction, this scripture always helps to motivate me, so I wanted to share it in this post:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Today I encourage you to persevere through whatever it is that you may be going through. Allow yourself to struggle to do the right thing; don’t just take the easy way out. In the end, you will be rewarded and you will grow stronger. Never underestimate the important of little victories in doing the right thing. No matter how big or small something may seem to be, make the right choice; it will encourage you when something big comes around to make the same right choice. I encourage you today; no matter what season of life you are in, remember to press on. Make the right choices in your life today, weigh everything you are deciding on against the Word of God. Let perseverance finish its work in you!

Pain Fades, Love Remains, Joy Returns

Pain is a part of this life. Brokenness is all around us. Parents split. Families’ abuse. The cancer wins. Children die. The only thing I know to be true is this: God is faithful. He is a deliverer. A healer. A savior. A protector. A warrior. A lover. A completer.

I’ve seen some pretty dark stuff in my days in this world. Perhaps the darkest was when I was still in the world, doing stuffs that had no meaning but hurting people around me. Also too many of my friends died. There was no escape from the pain. It was crushing. I never considered killing myself, but I can now see how some people could do it. The pain is simply too much to bear. It was the worst time of my life.

But God moved with a Mighty Hand. He heard me crying out and “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” – Psalm – 40:2 God brought to me a community of faith that changed my life and surrounded me with an amazing family in Christ. I walked in to new life.

He restored my heart and healed me of the wounds. I saw how good and mighty He really is. I worship Him for His faithfulness to bind up a broken heart. It didn’t happen overnight, though. Even as mighty as He moved, healing is a process. It seemed as though the pain would always be with me but again His promises are true: Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

The night may last longer than you wish, but when The Lord is your God, the morning always comes.

This year will be the second since I lost some very good friends. Am sure they are in peace and with Jesus. Not only did God help me walk into new life, but He saw fit to completely heal me. I am free. Looking back, I realized that even though He had been healing me, I was still walking with a limp through life. While I was not under the weight of tragedy any longer, joy had not returned to my heart.

There was a weekend outing with some church friends, we challenged ourselves to some games filled with lots of laughs and fun. I cannot remember ever laughing so much. It was the best time I have had in years.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

I would never wish such tragedy on my worst enemy but by clinging to Jesus during the night, He has restored my soul.

I know some of you have experienced terrible things, I know that. Just remember, no matter how long the night, the morning always comes. After that season, the Lord left me with a simple message I would share with you. The pain fades. Love remains. Joy returns.

The Weight Of Worry

By: Kaytie Zimmerman

The times in life when I find myself worrying the most, I know I’ve lost a level of trust in God. Recently I entered a season of worry and found myself trying to plan out problems that were more than a year away. More than a year!Close-up of distracted guy with glasses Free Photo

I realized how silly it was when I was playing forward scenarios that are not a present problem. Further, they were crossing my mind daily, weighing me down.

That’s the thing about worry. Not only does it put space between Christ and myself, but it places weight on my shoulders that doesn’t belong there.

What Jesus Says About Worry

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Did you catch that? I’m carrying a weight, or a heavy yolk, while Christ wants to trade me for His easy and light burden.

What does this look like in my life? For me, it has to become a daily practice of consciously releasing the topic of my worry to God and breathing in trust in Him.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” –Matthew 6:34

There’s so much freedom when I can let go of my future worries and focus solely on trusting God to walk me through today. We were not designed to be a ball of stress, worry, and fear. We were made to walk side by side with a Savior who sees all and knows all. Rest easy knowing He has told us He will take care of our needs.

When God Interrupts Your Plans

By: Tiffanie Butts

Last week, during my morning commute, I was listening to the one of my favorite radio stations. A woman (let’s call her Jane) called in to share about an experience she recently had.

She began by stating how she woke up late for work and was rushing to get ready. Already 20 minutes late, she was driving down the highway and saw a man on the side of the road. She felt led to pull over, so she did. The man asked to use her phone so he could make a call. Jane hesitantly gave him her cell phone and he proceeded to call 911. As she continued to listen she realized he was calling to report a suicide…his own.

She sat there in disbelief as he communicated with the operator. After he hung up, she sat and prayed with him until an ambulance came. Long story short – he did not commit suicide that day.

This story struck me in a powerful way. Jane being late for work allowed her path to cross with a man who needed to hear about God’s grace and forgiveness.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the life we’ve been given that we forget to tune into the One who gave it to us. We’re so busy, so distracted, that we don’t realize when God is trying to re-direct our attention.

We must be willing to let God interrupt our schedules and change our plans as he sees fit.

It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things don’t go as planned (I’ll be the first to admit that I do at times). But maybe, just maybe things are going according to plan – just not our plan. I have had an experience where I only told someone that you beautiful, you don’t need to worry, God is under control. She changed her broken face to a shining face. Even just a smile to someone can help that person change his/her from committing suicide.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. – Proverbs 19:21

What if, instead of being so focused on ourselves, and militant about our schedules and to-do lists, we surrendered our time to God? What if we asked him to help us be more aware of opportunities to share the truth and show the love of Christ? What if we prioritized obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit regardless of our own preferences and insecurities?

Jane’s alarm didn’t go off that morning for a divine reason – God wanted to use her to save a life. And you know what? He wants to use us in the same way.

Everyday God gifts each of us with opportunities to share His love, grace, and truth with those we come in contact with – but do you notice it? Many times we are too focused on our inconvenience rather than His purpose.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” – John 10:2

Let us be a people who don’t merely hear, but do (James 1:22-25). Who follow Christ’s example, laying down our own preferences for the will of our Father in Heaven so that we may show others the love, grace, and truth found only in Jesus Christ.