Purpose (Identity in Christ Part 15)

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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.

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps, Jeremiah 10:23.

People can wander aimlessly their entire lives and never live the abundant life Christ died to give them. There is a reason for each of us to  be alive. God does not make mistakes and every life has a divine purpose. The world says, “Focus on what’s temporary. Earn the most money, have the biggest house, car, material possessions, the best spouse, focus on your family, yourself. Have the best body. Become the most famous. Do what feels good for you.”  God says, “Put Me first. Seek first My Kingdom and everything you need will be added unto you (Matt 6:33).” The world makes the purpose of life to please ourselves and those around us. God says the purpose of life is to know Him, enjoy Him, be loved by Him, make His name famous in the earth, to become more like Him, and to love others. How backwards the world is to His Kingdom.

We also live in a world that tries to make God unnecessary. If He is not made to be unnecessary, then He is a means to get what we want. People go to God with their plans and purposes and say, “Here God, bless my agenda. Bless what I want.” God is a loving Father who longs to give us good things. However, He knows all, sees all, and loves us more than anyone else. I am not sure we try to get Him on board with our plans instead of seeking Him for His. He is perfect. We are flawed. He knows all, we know little. He loves us, we don’t always fully love ourselves. He is not a means to get what we want. He paid the ultimate price so we could be heirs with Him. We are no longer our own, but we belong to Someone great.

You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men, 1 Corinthians 7:23.

You were bought for a price. So bring glory to God in the way you use your body, 1 Corinthians 6:20.

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”, Isaiah 45:9.

So what does this mean exactly? Does it mean I need to ask God what type of toilet paper to buy, what clothes to wear, or what to eat? Not exactly. God gave us a brain and expects us to use them. He most likely will not tell us to shower, brush our teeth, or eat food to live. There are some things in life I believe we need to talk to God about, decisions that have the ability to impact our lives on earth until eternity. I believe if we are seeking God with all our hearts, our minds, and our souls we will be led by the Holy Spirit to make the right choices. It does not mean we will not fail, mess up, or misunderstand God. It does not mean God will always tell us what we want to hear. It does mean that living our lives seeking first His Kingdom leads to eternal blessings. Seeking God can only lead to blessings. Choosing our own way can lead to disaster. Think of it this way…

If we honor God with our bodies, He is glorified.

If we honor God with money, then we have the potential to help and bless others by building His Kingdom.

If we honor God by sharing the Gospel, then we can partner with God to see more people enter His Kingdom.

If we honor God with our relationships, then we can see others become more like Christ.

If we put God first, we become more like Him and are able to enjoy His presence.

What if the story of our lives is not only being written by God, it is about God? The truth is, the story is about Him. You may say, “How can God make everything about Him?” Well, He’s God. He can do anything He wants. He’s not a dictator. He is not cruel. He is love. He is good. He is the King of the Universe. There is no one above Him. He has given us full  access to Him-to the One who is perfect, wise, and good. He knows why we are here. If we want to know the purpose of something, we don’t ask the thing-we ask the one who created it. God created everything in the earth. Every human being His idea. He is the one to seek for purpose. Bless you friends! Love, Erin.

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The Fullness of God (Identity in Christ Part 13)

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The quote above from C.S Lewis is spot on for what I wanted to talk about today. We need God. We don’t need another self-help book, or more advice from people, or to have the latest greatest preacher or prophet pray for us and speak over our lives. We need GOD. People spend their lives going round and around in circles looking for answers when God is the answer. He knows all, sees all, and nothing that happens to us or will happen to us is unknown to Him. So, why do we spend so much time seeking our own wisdom, or the advice of others, instead of developing intimacy with God?

I am not stating it’s wrong to seek the counsel of others, prayer from others, or help from people. God created families and communities so we would be able to be blessed by one another. People, however, will never, ever be able to replace God. They are not God and will never be God.

Any good thing done for us is motivated by God. Did you know God can prompt a non-believer to bless you.

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him, Proverbs 16:7.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows, James 1:17.

God alone is good. When we see people doing things that are genuinely good, we can thank God. Remove God and what you have is selfishness and evil.

If God alone is good (which He is), why do we not spend more time getting to know Him instead of everyone else. Here are a few traps that prevent us from going to the true source…

The trap of “I can do it on my own.”

We live in a society that says, “Take care of yourself. Be a self-made person. It’s about you!” The world promotes pride. Pride is what got Lucifer into trouble. He wanted to exalt himself above God. I believe we seek our own wisdom out of pride. There is something inside us that says, “I can figure this out. I know what to do.” The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3:5-8.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

We don’t have to ask God what to wear or about every single detail of our lives. We are encouraged to ask God for wisdom, insight, knowledge, and understanding. God is the fullness of wisdom, intelligence, insight, and knowledge. No one knows more than He does. He created everything we see. How awesome is it that He invites us to ask Him for wisdom. I don’t know about you, but I want to speak to the One who knows it all and cannot lie. People give us their opinions and insight which may be good, however everything God gives is perfect. He not only knows all, He knows what to say and how to say it. I have had people give me their opinions that did not line up with what God was speaking. They went by their perceptions of a situation. God looks at the entire picture. He knows every hair on our heads and knows why we do what we do even when we don’t know. Nothing is hidden from Him.

The trap of “I can’t know God.”

I have heard people say, “I don’t hear God’s voice, and I don’t feel Him near.” So, they give up on developing a relationship with God and settle for less than what Jesus paid for. Some people are waiting for a glorious power encounter like Apostle Paul had on the road to Damascus. The Bible tells us the following. Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me, John 10:27. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse, Romans 1:20.

The Bible tells us two valuable things, God has made himself known and makes Himself known to the world. He set up nature and everything around us so we would ponder who is responsible for it all. We also have a sweet word from Jesus that as His followers we will know His voice. We can learn the voice of God and hear His voice. God makes Himself available to be known. He’s pursuing us more than we could ever pursue Him. When I first became a Christian I did not have the encounters with God that some people around me had. I thought it was only for the spiritually mature, pastors, etc…I read in the Bible I could have a great relationship with God, it simply wasn’t happening the way it was for others. It wasn’t until I read Tommy Tenney’s book Come Thirsty in my late teens that I decided this hearing from God thing was something I wanted every day and I wanted intimacy with God more than anything. I am sure it was all initiated by God, and I take no credit for the desire. Growing to know God is the best thing that has ever happened in my life.

We can all know Him and have as close of a relationship as we want to have with Him. He is no respecter of persons. It’s not for some “special people.” It’s for everyone. Come one, come all!

The trap of “I will talk to everyone but God  or substitute people for God”

We covered this earlier, but we can become obsessed with seeking people for help, counsel, and wisdom. God is the source. People are not to be our primary source. They can not handle the weight of our brokenness. Only God can. People are flawed and sinful. God has no sin. We can be completely vulnerable with God with no fear. People even with the best of intentions can do great harm and damage to us. They operate out of their world view and limited knowledge. I have confidants, but I have learned that not every person who claims Christ is trustworthy, wise, or the right person to ask for help. I now ask God to lead me to the right people instead of allowing any and everyone to speak into my life. Even family can give bad advice and counsel. People, I repeat, people are not God. They will never be God. He alone is God.

The trap of “I am too busy or I will substitute things or activity for God.”

I love the phrase, “If you only pray when you’re in trouble, you are in trouble.” We need God. If we only talk to Him when we are in need, we are running on empty. Jesus operated on full. He regularly prayed to the Father, fasted, withdrew away for alone time with the Father, and when the storms came-Jesus rebuked the storms. He operated on full. He showed us how to live life. He was fully human and fully God. We are fully human and if we are believers, filled with God’s Spirit. We are also called to operate on full and draw from and rely on the Holy Spirit. He is all-powerful. We cannot be too busy for God. He said to love Him first above all. He is to be loved above work, above ministry, above family and spouses, above friends, above comfort, above food and pleasure. God is to be first. If He is not first, then we have an idol lurking somewhere. And our idols can do nothing but enslave us. Whatever is more important than God has to be thrown on the altar, for no person can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We either worship, love, and serve God…or we don’t.

I imagine if I were giving a motivational speech to sum this up it would go something like this….

Do you want more joy, hope, peace, and love in your life? Come to Jesus!

Do you want a more fulfilled life? Come to Jesus!

Do you want more wisdom and insight? Come to Jesus!

Do you want to be a better person? Come to Jesus!

Are you tired, worn out, weary, and without hope? Come to Jesus!

Do you need a friend who will stick closer than a brother and will never leave you, forsake you, or betray you? Come to Jesus!

Are you struggling, hurting, addicted, or in desperate need? Sweet friend come to Jesus!

One size fits all! He has all that you need and more. He is never closed. He always has time for you. He always has your best interests at heart.

We have the treasure that never runs dry. God does not fail. God has unlimited resources that He longs to share with His children. God overflows. He has no lack. He is available 24/7 for us & no one else is. He is the only One who can be with us always, even to the ends of the age. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age, Matthew 28:20b.

So my dear friends, I pray that this year 2013 we will seek first the Kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. When He is first in our lives, we experience the fullness of God. We become like the One we worship. When we are full of God, every person who crosses our paths is blessed beyond measure. The world does not need more people who are full of themselves. The world needs more people who are rooted in Christ and look like their Papa. May we be those people in this dark world. Love, Erin.

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