Tag Archives: Purpose

Love, Joy, and Peace

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”

This devotional comes from Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship.

The future is something we all should be thinking about, because we need to plan ahead. Not only do we need to think about what we will do in this life, but also what we will do for all eternity.

An extensive survey conducted in the United States by a leading polling agency distributed questionnaires to people of various ages and occupations, asking, “What are you looking for most in life?” When the results were compiled, the analysts were surprised. Most expected those who were polled to say they wanted to achieve certain materialistic goals. But the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and peace—in that order.

Galatians 5:22 tells us the fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, and peace. Thus, the very things people are looking for today can be found in a relationship with God. Yet some have given up on these things. They say, “Love, joy, and peace? That’s a pipe dream of flower children. Give me a break. You are not going to find love, joy, and peace in this world . . . not in the real world I live in.”

Would that describe how you feel right now? That isn’t the way life ought to be. In a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are promised not only life beyond the grave, but a life that is full and rich and worth living on this earth. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus gives us life with purpose and, of course, life with the hope of Heaven.

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Better Than Planned

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” Ephesians 5:15-16, 20

broken-downInterruptions are nothing new. Rarely does a day go by as planned.

Life is filled with inconveniences. Our plans are constantly thwarted by forces beyond our control. The list is long and ever-changing: Sickness. Conflict. Traffic jams. Forgetfulness. Appliance malfunctions.

What we cannot see, however, is the other side of inconvenience. We think it has no purpose other than to discourage us, make life more difficult, and thwart our plans. However, inconvenience could be God’s way of protecting us from some unseen danger, or it could be an opportunity to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness. It might be the start of something even better than we had planned or it could be a test to see how we respond to adversity. Whatever it is, even though we may not know God’s reason, we can be assured of His motive; to make us more like Jesus and to further His kingdom on earth.

God had a purpose. Knowing this, we can thank Him, being confident that He is giving us an opportunity to redeem the time.

Spiritual Community

1 Chronicles 12:21-22 They helped David against the band of raiders, for they were all mighty men of valor and were commanders in the army. For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God.”

Hebrews 10:24-25And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

It must have been amazing to watch David amassing men around himself until it was like the army of God — God is doing exactly the same thing in our days. The difference is the kinds of battles we’re fighting. David and his men engaged in physical warfare against bands of raiders; Philistines and local Canaanite tribes. We are in a spiritual war … “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

isolatedA program by National Geographic gives a powerful illustration for us. In the great annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park in Africa a giant herd, thousands of wildebeest, slowly move in groups across the plain. They are invariably followed by stalking lions. But the lions never attack the herd – they simply watch carefully for the stray wildebeest, either careless or seeking greener grass, who separates himself from the larger groups of animals. The isolated wildebeest will become the sudden prey of the lions who attack with lightening speed and ferocity.

We all need real relationships and spiritual community. It’s not enough to simply “go to church”. We need to be the community of believers, actively participating in loving, serving, praying, counseling, encouraging, admonishing, eating, rejoicing, weeping, and forgiving as the family of God.

Far too many people are isolated. Are you one of them? Do you know someone who is isolated? David’s army was successful and safe because they were together in mind heart and purpose. Wildebeest, as well, survive when they stick together. Find your spiritual community and be faithful to it. It should not be a formality, but a family reality with a warfare mentality.

Transformational Leadership

Practically every day of your life you are exerting some form of influence over someone else.

Army-ROTC

The Army defines leadership as influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation — while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization. Leaders are dealers in hope.

It’s true. We don’t even realize it most of the time. What’s worse, we don’t stop to consider whether that influence is good or bad. Our words, our actions, our reactions — almost everything we do is evaluated, processed internalized by those around us. It’s a tremendous power we don’t even realize we have.

In the military, we’ve not only considered that power, we’ve studied it and now we even teach others about it. As a leader you need to take hold of your influence and learn to use it for the glory of God. As the scripture says:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13

Let us become transformational leaders who seek to be a positive example for others to emulate and imitate.

Now This Explains It

John 17:21-22  “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.”

If you are going through a solitary way, read John 17, it will explain exactly why you are where you are – Jesus has prayed that you may be one with the Father as He is. Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or have you some other end for your life? Since you became a disciple you cannot be as independent as you used to be.

The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God, and this is revealed in John 17. There is one prayer God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus – “that they may be one, even as We are One.” Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that?

God is not concerned about our plans; He does not say – Do you want to go through this bereavement; this upset? He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter, better, nobler men and women; or they are making us more captious and fault-finding, more insistent upon our own way. The things that happen either make us fiends, or they make us saints; it depends entirely upon the relationship we are in to God. If we say – “Thy will be done,” we get the consolation of John 17, the consolation of knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom. When we understand what God is after we will not get mean and cynical. Jesus has prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far off it, and yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.