At a very young age I became aware of my mother’s inner strength and wisdom in navigating the deep valleys of life. Her challenges as a mother of eight children with the added burden of a difficult marriage would either ‘break’ or ‘make’ her as a wife and mother.
Her dilemma must have caused deep soul-searching and the tension of daily choices that would shape and mold her world and ours forever. She was and still is a mother of influence. Her life and relationship choices were filled with love for family, a servant’s heart, self-sacrifice, humility and patience that rested in the hands of her God for all outcomes. She exhibited a rarity that is hard to find today, a life of integrity, an unwavering faith and trust in God who brought her and her children through the turbulent waters of life.
“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)
My mother’s wisdom and influence shine brightly in my life and the family that God has blessed me with. May you and I follow in her footsteps, passing down to our children love for family, a servant’s heart, self-sacrifice, humility and patience that the brightness of God would continue on.
“Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:31)
Do you ever feel like your faith walk is easily affected by life’s circumstances? Do you seem to waver between trusting in God and trusting in yourself to work through the trials of life? When you don’t know what to do, what do you do?
The bible tells us that faith and wisdom work together to bring stability into our daily lives.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” (James 1:5,6)
Did you notice the warning to ‘not doubt’? Doubt embraces uncertainty and distrust, it makes us hesitant to believe, fearful or apprehensive about the truth. God encourages us to receive wisdom from Him and then warns us not to doubt the instruction in truth that He gives. If we doubt we are described as unstable and tossed about as the wind.
“…for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Faith in God and the application of His wisdom in our daily lives will give us the stability we desire that will position us to weather any trial or test that comes our way. This is God’s promise to those who love Him.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
If you have a ‘life vision’ you are living with purpose, you are a visionary. The best visions come from God because His vision for you comes with the power to achieve fulfillment. His vision for your life places you into a company of great visionaries that have come before you, impacting their world for the better, inspiring change and bringing hope and help to all nations and people groups. Don’t settle for the ordinary life that lacks vision when God has given us an extraordinary opportunity to use our gifts and talents to fulfill His will for our lives.
God spoke long ago to those who would follow Him with a trusting heart. He predicted that they would speak of His awesome deeds one day upon the fulfillment of their vision.
“They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness.” (Psalm 145:6)
I have received many visions from God without a clue as to how God would lead me into the fulfillment. Looking back, He has certainly performed awesome deeds on my behalf to support me and my path of fulfillment. His ways cannot be compared to our way of doing things, we must trust in His higher way.
“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)
A vision has to move from the mind to the heart and then to reality. Small faith steps lead to cumulative results that begin to have the impact that God envisioned for us.
What vision has God given you? It’s never too late to start moving and aligning your life toward it. Submit the process to God and with His help you will see the fulfillment and discover your purpose!
“A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul…” (Proverbs 13:19a)
Success is measured in results or outcomes, such as the gaining of wealth, fame or rank. Blessing is measured in the gift of devine favor such as anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune. Success can be momentary whereas blessing is designed to become a lifestyle.
Blessed living speaks to the way of the righteous and not the way of the wicked. The blessed man or woman chooses to become a student of God’s Word, His best practices for blessed living.
“Blessed is the man who[se]…delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1,2)
Living a lifestyle with the singular motivation of gaining wealth, fame or rank can lead us into choosing the way of the wicked and therefore forfeiting the blessed life. This man or woman will walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand with the sinners and sit with scoffers. (Psalm 1:1)
Blessed living is pictured like a majestic tree that is planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in the proper season. This lifestyle has a long term view, investing now for future returns that reap happiness later.
Blessed living is also described as a tree with leaves that do not wither, as in all that this man or woman does prospers. This is devine favor from God.
The wicked may have momentary success but at great cost because it is short-lived.
“The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” (Psalm 1:4)
The way of the righteous is the blessed life so choose wisely the lifestyle that leads to blessed living.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither, in all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)
Desires come from the heart. They seem to be shaped from a combination of experiences, purpose, talent and inspiration from the world we live in and shaped by influencers that grab our heart. Described as “to wish or long for; crave, covet; to ask for; request,” desires can lead us in many directions.
King David prayed in the Book of Psalms for God to teach him to live wisely by making him aware of the brevity of life on earth.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Living a life focused on God Desires can save us from wasting a ton of time chasing after the wrong desires. Pursuing a desire that does not align with God’s best for our lives prevents us from experiencing and fulfilling our highest purpose in this life. In the end we want to be able to proclaim as Jesus did to His Father in heaven when His end was near in the Book of John:
“I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do.” (John 17:4)
How can we know that our desires are God desires? We can begin by following His instruction to delight ourselves in Him, to give great joy or pleasure in desiring to know Him and learning about all His ways. When we decide to shape our lives around this encouragement God promises to give us desires that lead us toward accomplishing the deepest desires of our heart and His. This is the joy of purpose living!
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
God gives a strong warning about the stability of our faith in the Book of Isaiah when the people still had an opportunity to hold fast to His divine promises to spare them from destruction. At the core they were struggling with disbelief.
“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.” (Isaiah 7:9b)
Near the end of King David’s life after God had delivered him out of many life threatening trials, betrayals and warfare he accounted his triumph to his faith in God and His divine promise to establish his throne forever;
“As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity…” (1Kings 1:29)
God also gives a strong warning for the unstable in faith. He connects instability in faith to a lack of trust in His wisdom to lead us through adversity.
“But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:6-8)
Jesus warned us that we would have trouble in this world. He also encouraged us to take heart and trust in Him who has overcome the world. In other words, He has already made provision for us to triumph! We are called to trust the process of being led and God’s readiness to help at every turn of events.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
Be firm in your faith and God will deliver you out of all your troubles!