Purpose of Living

Extenders of Mercy

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Extenders of mercy are considered to be good Samaritans, willing to come to the aid of another. They seem ready to extend kindness by doing the unexpected, extending compassion instead of judgement, pity instead of criticism.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

Mercy extenders are mercy receivers.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” (Psalm 23:6)

God made a promise to those who choose to follow Him as a shepherd leader who would never leave us during our journey through life. He promised goodness and mercy would dwell among us. Thankfully, He also gave us the insight into how this lifestyle could be maintained, He knew that we could not be extenders of mercy without first receiving His mercy.

“…for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

We are described as sheep without a shepherd, lost and exposed to all the dangers of life before coming into the sheltering mercy of God. He is the originator of Mercy, delivered to mankind through His Son, Jesus. (Luke 19:10)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

We become recipients of mercy when we believe in Jesus, the Savior of the world. Once this happens we are called to become extenders of mercy. Only then can we begin to understand the vastness of the mercy we have received and the joy of extending it to others. It reflects the security we have in God to meet our needs.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

Enjoy the mercies of God in your life by extending mercy to others!

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Power of Humility

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The power of humility appears to have been cast into the shadows of a view that supports achievement rooted in self-sufficiency. How often do you hear achievers taking full credit for their accomplishments without thanking the One who gave them the ability to achieve. Self-sufficient thinking is a prelude to pride.

Pride is a “lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect” of one’s own opinion of him/herself. Pride takes its own credit in ones confidence of his/hers resources, gifts or talents to achieve without the help of others.

Pride precedes a fall from an exalted position; humility precedes an exalted position.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23: 12)

Jesus, the Christ, is our example of perfect humility and One who modeled it perfectly. He said that “the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) In order to be a great servant we must learn to be a great follower. When Jesus could have chosen to usurp the authority of His parents at the age of 12, He chose instead to humble Himself and return home with them after being found in the Temple. (Luke 2:51)

Jesus also modeled the power of humility. He understood that at times choosing humility would be the most painful route to achieving and fulfilling His purpose on the earth. He also knew that submitting to God’s plan would bring salvation and eternal redemption to a dying world.

Humility places all outcomes into the hand of God. Humility anchors its trust in following Jesus with an open heart and a surrendered life. This is what a true follower of Jesus looks like, a lifestyle of humility that places all trust in God’s ability to lead us better than we can lead ourselves.

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” (James 1:16, 17)

If we choose the way of pride and self-sufficiency we will miss fulfilling our purpose and miss-use our God-given gifts and talents during our stay on earth. Every accomplishment obtained in our own self-sufficiency will be tested by fire and burned up in the end. It will have a diminishing effect on our reward in heaven.

“If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1Corinthians 3:14,15)

God gives grace to the humble. He attached His power to the work of our hands in a way that impacts eternity in the lives of others.

“…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you…” (1Peter 5:5,6)

The power of humility!

Source: Dictionary.com

Everyone Needs A Savior

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From the moment we gasp for our first breath at birth we announce our need for a Savior. With the second breath our struggle begins with embracing it. Instead of embracing this need we strive toward building a self-sufficient lifestyle that conveniently obscures our view of the One who has known us since before we were born, who saw our unformed substance. (Psalm 139:13-16)

The crazy belief around building a life of self-sufficiency is the false belief that independent living is possible, that creating enough resources to get along without help is obtainable. And yet we find that in the last chapter of our lives we suffer regret over relationships that have been sacrificed for gain in life.

We were created for relationship and dependence upon God from the beginning.

 “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

God also provided the resources that we would need during our life on earth and the abilities, gifts and talents to bear fruit, to live a prosperous life balanced in spirit, soul and body.

“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3 John 1)

In our pursuit of self-sufficiency we presume that our resources have come about from our own hard work, gifts or talents. God warns us that when we trust in our own ways all that we build for ourselves will be destroyed. (Hosea 10:13) He encourages us to turn from pursuing a self-sufficient lifestyle to one of dependence upon the One who owns it all.

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” (Psalm 50:10)

At the age of 14 God showed me my need for a Savior and the futility of trying to build a self-sufficient lifestyle. I believed falsely that it would protect me from being betrayed by others and the world in general. God was inviting me to journey through life with Him as my provider and One in whom I could depend on for provision that would result in works that would not be destroyed. His invitation was simple;

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Everyone needs a Savior and His name is Jesus.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Give Thanks

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God gave King Solomon the wisdom to share his perspective on life and how we should view our time on this earth. He declares that there is a time set by God for every event that occurs under heaven.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Knowing what ‘season’ of life you are in can help you in shaping your approach in the comfort of knowing that God has set a beginning and an end. You can decide ahead of time to endure toward victory or defeat as you travel through it, allowing God to accomplish His will for your life.

King David not only walked through a long season of warfare but learned to embrace it as preparation for God’s call on his life. He learned to invite God in on every decision for battle, seeking His advice on how to approach every enemy that was brought before him. He understood that God works in seasons of our lives in order to do good for us in the end. David was committed to endure the war in order to come into God’s good and perfect will for his life.

“…a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiasstes 3:8)

Like King David, when our season of war ends and God brings us into a season of rest from all our enemies, it is a time of peace. And we are to remember to give thanks to God.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!” (1Chronicles 16:34)

If you are in a season of war know that God will supply all that you need to triumph in the end. When He brings you through to peace remember to give thanks for He is good and will sustain you through the war.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!(1Chronicles 16:8) 

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Follow the Blessing

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Discovering God’s will for your life is the path of blessing and it begins the moment we surrender our lives to Him. A surrendered life is intentional about staying on God’s path, knowing that His path is where the blessing is.

We are given a wonderful picture of what it means to follow God in the story of the Israelites when they roamed the wilderness for 40 years in the Book of Numbers. God’s presence was associated with the tabernacle, His cloud covered it during the day and it took on the appearance of fire during the night. They were instructed to settle and move out according to whenever the cloud lifted up or set in place over the tabernacle.

“And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.” (Numbers 9:17)

Following the blessing provides direction and provision towards being established in God’s will. This is the only path that produces lasting fruit in our lives and the lives we are fortunate to impact along the way. God’s path refines and clarifies, it rids us of sin and unnecessary baggage that hinders our effectiveness in the areas of our purpose. It cultivates obedience and intimacy as we get to know God better with every step.

To follow the blessing means placing your trust in God’s direction and His ways of accomplishing the desired results in your life. To do this well we must believe in His sovereign wisdom and care for us as we journey the path, even when it doesn’t make sense.

“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)

When we choose to follow the blessing, God promises to fulfill every word that He has spoken over our lives. The Israelites that chose to follow God’s blessing came into the full inheritance that was promised to them under Joshua’s leadership. God’s path lead them into the ultimate blessing, the promised land.

“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)

Be sure that you are following the blessing by following God. He promises to offer strong support to those whose hearts are turned toward Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) You will find that He is the blessing and that the blessing is found in Him!

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Enduring Faith

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Enduring faith requires a long-term view driven by divine purpose that is specifically designed to shape your heart for the work and impact God has placed you on this earth to fulfill. And the secret to enduring is obedience.

Jesus modeled obedience in a very practical way. His example did not require years of maturing and experience nor perfect life circumstances or achievements. He simply chose to submit Himself to God and His plan for His life. He believed that the only way to please the Father was through living in obedience to Him.

“But have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God…emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant…He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Enduring faith is also rooted in our love for God. If we truly love God we will choose and commit to the process of enduring trials or tests that come into our lives. John the Apostle said that our love for God is proved by our obedience to Him.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

Lastly, enduring faith requires waiting. Those who endure are promised supernatural provision to persevere to the end. Jesus goes before us and brings light to our path, we must choose to follow Him. He is the way, the truth and the life according to John 14:6. And when our enduring has accomplished God’s desired end, when we have been transformed by taking on more of the likeness of Jesus, we will know that God’s work in this area is completed.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

God cares for you.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

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Your Labor is Not in Vain

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Have you ever been asked by God to choose the less traveled road that seemed to include sacrifice and loneliness? If you obeyed His voice you know that it required a faith deeper than you had at the moment of acceptance. And you had to come to terms that obeying came with no guarantees on the desired outcome compared to the labor that it seemed to involve. Did you know that God promises that the labor that He calls us to will not be in vain?

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

When God calls us to labor on His behalf it is assumed that we know it can only be done in the Lord. Otherwise how can we be ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding’ in accomplishing what we have accepted to do?

The call to labor encompasses every arena of life and relationships. Some are called to labor for their marriage, family, children, health, home, career or ministry. Whatever the call, whatever the sacrifice involved we are admonished to be ‘steadfast, immovable and always abounding’ in our labor in the Lord.

Labor can involve suffering and hardship, yet it is not in vain. Our faith is tested in the Lord and when we endure we come forth pure as gold, through the refining fire of God’s love. We may not achieve our initial desired outcome but God always delivers a far richer outcome than we could have imagined. Knowing Him more, being transformed into the image of Christ and reaping the divine fruit of faithful labor in the Lord.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

Your labor is not in vain!

Listen to God

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Are you a ‘doer’ first and a listener second or a ‘listener’ first then a ‘doer’? Are you all about accomplishing tasks throughout the day based on what’s important to you and your priorities? God has a lot to say about those who are not willing to listen to His voice before moving through life with a personal agenda that is void of His influence. He longs to have a voice in your life. He knows that without Him we can’t possible make wise decisions all the time. We don’t have  nor ever will have the mind capacity to know everything we need to know when we need to know it. The bible tells us that its foolish to think that we don’t need to listen to God. He is All-Knowing.

“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.” (Jeremiah 5:21)

Like a parent assigning a task to a child that runs off without instructions, we tend to charge through life without taking the time ask God for His instructions. If we don’t ask or listen we will always come up short of God’s best for our lives.

Jesus lived His entire life on this earth based on what He heard from God. To the very end it was all about fulfilling God’s will and not His own. He was so in-step with God and His will for His life that He said:

“My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)

Jesus listened and followed God’s instructions for His life. He was fully obedient and surrendered to accomplishing the work that God sent Him to do.

In a similar way we have been called to follow Jesus’ example, to listen and obey, to do the will of God for our lives.

“This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.” (Mark 9:7)

Become a listener and you will accomplish what God sent you to do!

“When the heart sees what God wants, the body must be willing to spend and be spent for that cause alone.”  Oswald Chambers

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