Why are there so many haters?

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body,sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8

What could have possibly been in his finished messages that caused such rejection?  Or was it that his true compassionate motives fell flat on the dead hearts of his friends?  Could it be that they couldn’t agree with what he was saying completely and rejected him instead of accepting him?  Maybe this pastor was way off base the normal customs or culture of his day.  Or perhaps, just maybe someone was jealous of him and just mishandled the situation.

In any case, they just didn’t know him.

I found out a fact about Vincent Van Gogh recently, you know the one, the well known artist that created many masterpieces that now hang in famous world art galleries.  I knew he was a troubled man and fought a long battle of depression.  But what I wasn’t aware of was that painting canvases wasn’t his first choice in careers.

He grew up with a passion for preaching, giving of himself and showing Christ to his world.  He aspired to be a minister.

“For  three years van Gogh single mindedly pursued his calling to the ministry, first as a student of theology and then as a missionary to the coal miners in the Belgian Borinage. Deeply moved by the poverty surrounding him, Van Gogh gave all his possessions, including most of his clothing, to the miners. Van Gogh admired Christ’s humility as a common laborer and “man of sorrows” whose life he tried to imitate. “Jesus Christ is the Master who can comfort and strengthen a man,” he wrote.”  (www.davidpaulkirkpatrick.com/2013)

Vincent van Gogh, 18

A member from his evangelical church council made an assessment about his actions and determined that his behavior was outrageous, borderline scandalous, and turned him into the higher church authorities.  In other words in today’s Francis Chan lingo, he had Crazy Love for those who had needs and went all David Platt Radical by giving it all away.  The mishandling of his actions and the incorrect assessments of his motivations literally changed his trajectory for a lack of support and encouragement from the church.  “Although van Gogh was successful in his ministry, the hierarchy of the Dutch Reformed Church rejected him, and at the end of 1879 he left the church, embittered and impoverished. “I wish they would only take me as I am, he confessed in a letter to his brother.”  (www.davidpaulkirkpatrick.com/2013)

I don’t know why this story is so shocking to me.  I’ve seen plenty of good Christians wounded by their own.  I have two words for you…“Stop it!”  While Van Gogh grew embittered with the lack of compassion by organized religion, he did not abandon God as the church had abandoned him. He wrote,” I think it a splendid saying of Victor Hugo’s, ‘Religions pass away, but God remains’.

Van Gogh left his occupation and went on to develop his talent as an artist.  But I dare to think this rejection had to deeply affect his future.  Rejection by comrades in the your circle of influence can do damage in more ways than you think.  And the long term affect if not dealt with properly is depression.

Honestly friends, aren’t we all looking for our place in this world?  Of all places that needs the most open of doors is that of the organized religious church.  With the public headlines today, my heart hurts at how many stones are hurled for speaking out for righteousness and truth.  And how unforgiving actions are fueled by anger and propelled by wounding words.

I dare say I am embarrassed when I hear about it.

Perhaps because I know that if we realized how much power our words have, we would use them wisely and think about what we say first and then decide if they should be spoken.  Perhaps, a bit of encouragement and getting to know the heart behind Van Gogh would have changed his ideas about religion.  Perhaps, he wouldn’t have sunk into a pit of depression that lead to an early suicidal death at the age of 37.  Perhaps, if we knew and accepted him for the brilliant talent that was inside of him, he could have changed us.

Perhaps.

Perhaps if we only loved people where they were, we would show people the love that covers a multitude of our own sins and casts out all our fears.  Perhaps, if we didn’t judge people so harshly and then cast them off as trash or used goods, this world would have more art.  Perhaps if we just loved people who are unlovable 24/7 and those hard to love abusers, well, perhaps if we saw them through the eyes of Jesus, and if we saw our own sin, perhaps we would be more forgiving.

Perhaps Van Gogh could have made a longer difference alive than giving into a depressing death.  Perhaps if we love like Jesus and lead with a heart of love instead of ugly pride we could influence more lives for the kingdom.

Where in the Bible does it say you have to be cleaned up before you come to Jesus?  Perhaps we should take a tip from the One who knows us better than we can know ourselves, AND died while we were yet sinners, to sort out the sin tally stuff.  Perhaps Jesus, my Savior is a better sorter of sin.

Perhaps we should use our freedom of speech for noticing the good instead of noticing the no-good in others.

Even when the message of Christ is rejected, and in a world where we are “disheartened by our religious institutions” we shouldn’t give up on the holiness and love found in God.  He never rejects and always reflects a pure love that has room for everyone.

Come just as you are…

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Why I share my faith

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“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  1 Timothy 1:15

One thing I know about me is that my voice carries.  What the Lord has shown me is how far.  We tend to forget that when we are out here in the middle of the world wide web.  This is the “what” of this place, to carry the voice of Grace.  My “why” is…because I don’t know who needs to hear.

I was reading in Psalm 91 today and praying protection over my missionary friends and I got to the end of the verse and there was a line that jumped off the page.  In one line, and since I am a wordsmith, I often get a ton of meaning through just a few words.  God’s Word is my saving grace and perhaps today it could be yours.

I share my faith here is because I don’t know who needs to hear grace today.  There’s a story about Oswald Chambers who, before a big speech, wanted to check the acoustics of the venue that he was speaking in.  He wanted to make sure his voice carried well to all the corners as a large attendance was expected.  The year was 1857.  Standing on the stage he quoted a verse (the one above) from the very spot in which he would being making his speech the next day.  He seemed satisfied with the test and then left to go rest.

Little did Chambers know at the time of the test who needed to hear that verse.  Behind one of the statues inside the venue, a humble worker was kneeling, hiding, and battling depression.  The worker couldn’t find the words to pray, his heart was breaking with guilt and shame, and he couldn’t even cry out with a “help”.  Just as he keeled in silence, a voice boomed from every corner.

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  1 Timothy 1:15 …was the worker’s saving grace-filled words.  Grace carried and bounced through space to bring him hope that day.  From one voice to his hurting heart, he converted to Christ.  Little did Oswald Chambers know that the man was hiding, little did Chambers know his hurt.  Nor do I know who is hiding behind this screen right now.

What I do know is that this one verse speaks truth, and shows us God’s grace.  Chambers didn’t waste his opportunity to speak grace into someone’s life.  I think about anything that Chambers could have offered as a test of the microphone and acoustical sound.  He could have said anything, but because God was his everything, he was ready to speak grace everywhere.  Even in such an empty place, because friends, you just never know who is listening.

We have the most worthy of grace, the words of healing, the most significant of sayings to share.  Don’t miss your opportunity to share grace as your life has been spared.  Because you don’t know who is listening that needs that same long drink of grace, mercy and healing.

This is the “why” my talk lines up with God’s walk!

So as this line jumped into my heart (again) ….“I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation.”  Psalm 91:16.  Would you do something for me today?  Let your mind go to your own empty place and and imagine what the tallest drink of refreshment looks like.  A tall glass of water, tea, koolaid, or whatever your pleasure is.  Now let your mind go to the refreshing qualities of that drink.  It’s cold, icey, endless.  You’ve just come in from a hot summer’s day, and are sooooo thirsty.  Your inmost parts feel like a dry, sandy desert and you need a drink, a long drink that quenches your thirst.  God’s Word is like this long of a drink you are thinking of right now.  Take a taste and let it flow down your throat, hit your stomach, accept it as a substance of truth and let it refresh you in a way that is so quenching.

His saving grace message is worthy, acceptable and true.  Whatever empty place you are hiding right now there is only one Grace that can fill your needs, it’s God’s saving grace, Christ Jesus.  Because I don’t know who’s reading.

Three tiny wisdoms I didn’t learn in High School

We all need a little direction in our lives

I’ve been thinking about graduates given the month we are in.  In my church we celebrated new beginnings and student’s accomplishments and the youth minister said something that was so profound.  It made me think about what I would have said had I the opportunity.  It’s good to think about these things before speaking.

Sometimes my mouth gets me into trouble.  Like the other day I asked a widow of 12+ years how her husband was.  Ooops!  Does this ever happen to you too?  Yeah, it’s just that way isn’t it?  We speak before thinking.

So on the back row of church, I was thinking about what I would have said to students looking at so many new beginnings.  I came up with three ideas I can encourage you with.  If you are facing any kind of new thing or uncomfortable thing or exciting journey, here’s what you need to know.

1.  Don’t take any wooden nickels.  The world is full of fakers and you are about to meet many of them.  My warning to you is to know what you believe in these moments.  You will need the real God to help you through this next phase of education.  Simply said, your beliefs will be tested, so know what you believe and why.  Your faith will be challenged.  A strong foundation of faith will travel with you into the journey ahead of you.  You can’t rely on your parent’s faith, nor someone else’s beliefs.  Faith is just that, a personal journey and a perfecting process.  In the many ways God works in us for our perfecting of faith He never fakes us out or changes.  His word is true and real and authentic.  Fears come disguised in so many lies these days and there are many people who love to tell you about God, but honestly, it’s better to go to God Himself and ask that intimacy of Him directly.  He will always talk straight with you and keep you going the right direction.  I don’t care where you are today, we all still need direction.  Trust the process of learning about God and your faith in this next phase but get to know God on a deeper level.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

2.  Drop your ego at the door.  You’ve graduated, you’ve gotten some honors, you are at the top of your class.  That’s great, but this next phase isn’t about you.  Oh you thought it was?  Heh…heh…nope!  Your awesomeness has been noted but it’s really just evidence of the works of your hands.  It shows you are good at something.  That’s great, now that you know what you can do, now you will learn your limitations.  This is where responsibility kicks in, accountability, and life will meet you in each nook, corner, and cranny to do the right things, every time.  No more skating by on your good looks.  You’ve got some skills, now you get to use them or fine tune them to make a difference in this world.  What you have inside of you is God’s gifts to you, what you do with what God has given you is your gift back to God.  Use them wisely and you can do more than you think you can.  If you don’t have it figured out, it’s okay, you don’t have to know all the answers.  But knowing the Answer is doing the work that matters.  Once you see that God is with you and directing you He will take you the rest of the way to discover the gifts He has placed inside of you.  Commit those gifts to Him and let Him educate you and promote you for His purposes.

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

3.  Nothing in this world is free.  What people can tell you is that you are awesome, but what only God knows is the steps between where you are right now and awesome.  I want you to know that you are going to be okay but you are going to sacrifice something.  Your future looks uncertain, scary, uncomfortable, exciting, interesting, intense and different.  Every day is like that in the real world.  There will be twists and turns in this daily walk that will throw you for a loop.  You will have to work hard, sweat often, and love much.  But you must know Who has your journey planned for you and you will need your “why”.

Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”  

This verse is the most used scripture this time of year.  Yes, the Lord has plans for us.  But prospering doesn’t mean walking on the easy street of life.  Life is our schoolroom and many lessons often look like failed tests or mistakes to us.  But in the Lord’s eyes they are tests of our obedience in His classroom of prosperity.  He created us to need each other, He created us to live in unity with like minded people, He created us to love everyone.  He created us to reflect His image to a dark world and shine the Light of Jesus Christ.

When I think about how the Lord prospers our faith, it always involves Him perfecting what He has started.  He is our beginning and end, so why wouldn’t He care about our lives and what happens to His creations?  He does, in such a personal way!  God is with us every step of the journey, and He never leaves us out here to handle life by ourselves.  Often I have to back to my “why” to remind me of what to do next.

The Lord knows what He’s put inside of you.  And He hasn’t forgotten where He put those gifts or where you right now either.  He sees you!  When it’s time for you to give the gift back to God, then surrender all that you are with honor and love.  God made us from His deep love for us, so it is with everything we are and do, that we should give what and who we are back to God in the same manner, love and honor.

I wish I would have known then what I know now.  My mother used to say, “If wishes were fishes the sea would be full.” I’ve learned learned wisdom by being on the front row of God’s classroom, in my own personal journey of life itself.  Don’t waste your life!  And if you do?  God gives second chances and He doesn’t waste anything!

So what was the profound advice given by our youth minister?  She said,  “Keep in touch!”  Advice well received.  We should always talk to God before, through and during the process.  He is the only one who will keep you straight, upright, and fully equipped for the steps ahead.  He started your process, He’s in this to win this.  And there is only one thing in this life that is free and for the taking…God’s grace, which is more than enough for everyday you have left.

Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

What to do when you can’t hear God

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The 30-ft eyeball in Dallas, TX

“The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9

Dear you.

I just wanted to tell you, it’s going to be ok.  You are going to be fine.  I see you where you are right now.

You don’t know it just yet, but I’ve seen your future, and one day you will get to where I want you to be.  You keep asking Me to show you, and there’s no comfort in what you are looking at.  But my dear, you certainly can be a part of what I am doing in you, if you would give yourself back to Me.  It’s not to late for you to become who I designed you to be.

I’ve seen you try to fix everything, your life, yourself and might I say in the kindest way possible, that I can do better for you.  You see you can’t see the whole picture like I can.  Your view of Me is dimmed by your circumstances, doubt and selfish pride.  I see you seeking and looking for answers, there’s more than I can tell you right now.  I do know this for a fact, you’re going to be fine.

You don’t know it yet, but my infinite Love is stringing you along.  You say it feels unstable in your mind and want a new thing.  You say you feel alone, yet I yearn for you to be alone with Me.  You say you feel unsafe, yet I have had you in My grip since before you were born.  You say that you aren’t enough, and don’t acknowledge that I am your strength.  You say you just want to know love, and I have already proven My love for you on the cross.  You feel hopeless, yet you are blind to my hope that overcomes death.  You say…you’ve ruined everything.  While you have made some bad choices, you have never been ruined past My repair.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” ~ 1 John 1:8-10

You are going to be ok, but that is only if you start talking to Me.  You only come to Me when you want to blame something you have chosen on Me.  You need Me more than you know.  You are confused, misled, and need some gentle direction.  You need to see that you can’t do life on your own, you need to see that I created you to need other people.  You need to see that I have gifted you and called you my child.  You need to see that My abiding love never fails.

My Love endures.  You say you can’t feel my love.  That’s true, you get further and further away from it when you go the wrong way, when you steer yourself into a pit of regret, when you don’t include me in your conversations, when you self medicate with food, or drugs, or godless porn.  My heart hurts when you look at other people with lust or hate or jealousy.  You grieve me when you don’t trust what I’ve told you, and certainly when you take credit for something that I have done for you.  I even understand why you look to your flesh to see approval and not to Me.

You have fallen and you can’t get up and or out the pit you are in.  I know, I see you.  But my desire for you is to love you to the end of your days, to fill your life with joy, peace, and patience.  To give you goodness and my faithfulness through my gentle ways.  I have been so kind to you.

Even when you don’t see Me, I see you and love you all the same.

When you take time to look to Me, I won’t change.  I’m your strength.  I am your comfort.  I’ll am your wisdom.  I am your direction.  If you seek me and my kingdom, you will find me.  I want to be your all in ALL things.  I want you to be near but the wrong things you continue to do keep Me separated from you.

If you would just talk to me, humbly agree that you can’t do life without me, and turn away from those things that continually drag you down, those choices leave you in pieces, then you can find the joy and satisfaction that I have created you for.  If you could just look to me when you are temped, I will show you a way out.  If you would just give me the attention that I give you, then we could get to know each other again.  If you would just talk with me instead of shouting at me, you will hear My voice.

Why do I keep reminding you that you need Me?

Because you are so worth loving.  Because you are Mine.  Because I made you from my Love.  Because I love you like no one else can.  ~ Your Pappa.

Perserverance of Mother’s heart

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“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

God has been teaching me more about prayer these days.  Not necessarily in the way to do it but the enduring process of prayer.  What this means is that I’m having more consistent conversations with the Lord and He has let me know in His own way that He is listening as I lean in to listen to Him.

I can’t tell you the things that I have heard from Him, that’s for another time.  I wanted to write to you to encourage you to do the same.  One of my teachers is giving a sermon series on prayer and he reminded me that we sometimes ask things that are too small for God.  That was a good reminder because when we are hidden away in our little prayer closets, we sometimes for get what God is capable of.

God is able to do all.

Friends, the words we say to God aren’t just empty words to an “I’m-oh-so-busy-I-don’t have time for you” God.  No, God is not like that.  He strains to hear our words.  He yearns to hear our voices, He loves to hear our cries, He softens when He hears our hearts.  God listens to what we have to say.

Never discount the power of prayer.

I know what you are thinking right now…you don’t know where to start.  That’s kind of what I said to my friend, Larry, who was advising me about how to write a book.  He said, “All you need to do is say ‘HELP’!”  My friend Larry has a way about him that speaks of enduring prayer.   Prayer has gotten him through so many tough years and he has the scars to prove it.

Our role in this Christ-like busyness of life is to model Jesus in every way, in every day.  Jesus certainly endured through prayer, especially in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Many times, Jesus left the company of his friends and followers and sought the Lord out alone, on his knees, downloading from the Father what he needed to hear.   When I think about even Jesus needed to be encouraged, well that speaks a lot to me about how important conversations with God are.  I often forget that yes, even Jesus needed endurance and empowering from prayer while walking on this earth.  I’ve never prayed to the point of sweating by blood, but I have felt the pressure to pray with that kind of intensity.

Part of my daily prayer time is to receive perseverance.  One of the most powerful things we can pray for is to endure and not give up on God.  He will always be there for us.   I’m experiencing those deep emotions in prayer.  I was thinking the other day, if I died today, one thing I know that the Lord would recognize is my voice as he has heard it.  Only He knows what I’ve been speaking and believing in my prayer closet.  Knowing that gives me comfort.

There’s a story of a lady named Lydia who was known for selling purple cloth in the marketplace.  She also hung out down by the river that ran through her community and said many prayers.  She taught many others to pray as well, she started prayer groups and the position of prayer spread like a wildfire.  She probably lead out in the first organized prayer day.  She would’ve done something like that because she knew the power of her words to the Lord.  That same power that she prayed for Paul and Silas, that same jail-breaking power, that same miraculous power is available to us today as well.  You can read her prayer journey in Acts 16.

It’s not noted that Lydia had children, but I know her prayers mothered so many.  Enduring prayer is persevering, consistently, and constantly in prayer.  And if all you can say is “HELP” that’s enough to get God’s attention.

I remember the prayers my mom must have said over me at the kitchen sink.  I have adopted the same practice of a nightly cleaning of my soul and praying for my family, sometimes yes at my kitchen sink.  I remember K.P. Yohanannon saying once, at his home in India, that “I wouldn’t be here today, except for the prayers of my mother.”  It was a striking moment as a powerful man, leader and founder for Gospel for Asia, admitted that the prayers of one devoted heart influenced in him ways that she would never know.

That kind of influence is powerful and power-filled.

When I think about a mother’s heart saying prayers for her children, I know they carry our emotions to the Father.  I believe that our love for them activate more than we realize, no matter their unwillingness, waywardness, and willfulness. Those nurturing character traits are exported into many precious hearts and nurtured by the enduring prayers of our own mothers.

“Lord, show us your ways to endure today”.  “When the fire of prayer goes out, the barrenness of busyness takes over.” George Carey.

Many of us battle silently in prayer, hidden under the wing of God.  Some of our people have forgotten about the privilege of it all.  I won’t forget that God is never to busy to hear us.  Too much of my life depends on His help and I want to show up and be present to hear everything He’s got to say to me today and everyday.  As I hear His heart for me, I understand more of my heart for Him.  That’s the kind of enduring prayer that I need to make it through.

There’s not a victory without a battle.  These days are filled with this fight or that skirmish but there is true victory in being held by the power of prayer that comes from your heart.  No matter where you pray or how you pray, just talk to God.  He’s waiting to hear from you.  Be encouraged, God is listening.

A hard place to be

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”  2 Corinthians 9:8-9

Surrender Sunset
Photo credit: Paul Chasusa

Recently, my husband and I celebrated the 20 year anniversary of his cancer recovery.  Actually 20 years ago, the day of the OKC bombing incident, was when his health demise actually started but it was from that first surgery we count as an anniversary of God’s healing measures that He has given to our married life.

Healing comes in many forms and the hardest place for me to be is in a place to receive the blessings of faith.

Usually when you lose something, you also gain something.  Usually when you surrender what you have, you receive more of what the Lord has for you.  Usually though as it is in faith, the Lord often asks you to give up something and requires you to wait for healing, answers, and blessings.  Usually we expect immediate answers, usually.

It’s twenty years later and we are celebrating our anniversary of faith that has helped us persevere through some very hard times with my husband’s health.  We consider him healed from cancer, but because time takes it’s toll on human bodies, we daily deal with the repercussions that cancer has left.

One of the hardest places for me, his wife, to be is by his side as I watch him daily struggle with health issues.  In fact, I know that he will hate that I am writing this to you.  But my purpose to encourage you today is that when you are in a hard place, the one thing that God requires of us is to just persevere.

Why is this so important?  Because our  faith in what we can’t see, will help us get through what we can see.

“I know what this feels like,” the oncology nurse said, “it feels like you are on a bobsled to Hell.”  Knowing that Hell is a real place and that it scared me to death, her words hit on my emotions.  Yes, when you are in the hard place of cancer with a loved one, it feels like you are on a bobsled towards a dangerous hard place.  Even if you are educated and there are cures available for the type of disease you are experiencing.  There is nothing about illness that feels good or safe.

In our faith, we have to be bound to what we know is true, right, and good.  God is at the end of all those words that direct our unseen thoughts towards Him.

Faith affects our thoughts.  Our thoughts also affect our faith.”  Bill Johnson

When you are in a hard place, and I have no idea how this will hit you, I’m here to testify that your faith is what is going to get you through.  It’s simple to start this process of faith…you humbly come before the Lord and say, “Lord, you are able.”  My faith has been shaped in the hard places of our lives and it has helped me persevere many hard places since 20 years ago.

And yet today, I had to come back to my place of simple faith to remind myself that in this hard place I am in right now, the help of the Holy Spirit will help me persevere.  I am thinking differently about faith these days because of necessity and it keeps me deeper connected to my Father’s heart for me.

What I know about life in general is that fear dictates, but it never bears the fruit of the impossible.  The mind of Christ is my inheritance.  I don’t have to beg Heaven for a thing, because my God has freely given me ALL things.  In believing this in every sense, in my emotions, I know that the Lord establishes ALL things through faith.

When you are in a hard place, you find faith that will establish you in the Lord.  How has your faith helped you through a hard place?  Comment below and share your testimony.  We can all be encouraged together.

A word for graduates

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Let’s face it.  We are all on a journey to find our purpose.  Some of you are just beginning to look, like the graduates who are pressing their caps and gowns at this very moment.  Some of you don’t know where you put your diploma.  Some of you have your shingle hanging for everyone to see.  Yes, some of you know what you were meant to do and are doing it with intention.

This post is for you.

If you know, I offer you a high five!  That’s awesome, incredible, and amazing.  When you know, I say RUN with the flow!  I think I heard that on a beach somewhere.  It’s really cool to be in the right place doing what you do and you loving it.  Most of the people I know, though, are unhappy in doing what they do.  They hate their jobs and wish they were doing something else.

I have found the secret to knowing a purpose driven happiness in life.  It begins in your head and your heart.  That’s right you heard me, it wasn’t a assignement from school.

There was a little boy who served in his church day and night.  As it happened one late night, the little boy was still serving and became tired, so tired that he fell asleep on the floor.  There was only a small lamp lighting the room.  All of a sudden from a deep sleep, the little boy heard his name being called out.  He woke up and went to his pastor to see why he was calling him.  His pastor was asleep and sent him away.  The little boy returned to his place again.  His name was called a second time and yet again he inquired of his pastor, “Did you call my name?”  No, the pastor had not said a word, but encouraged him that if it happened again to respond to the voice speaking, “…your servant is listening.”

Confused, the boy laid down again in his place.  The Voice came again and the boy responded as he was told.  It was on this day the purpose of this young boy knew what he was designed for.  The boy’s name is Samuel and he was visited by God.  This came in a season where people didn’t recognize who God was nor did they hear Him speak.  You can read the story in 1 Samuel 3.

I find this fascinating that this young man had heart intentions of serving God from his very beginning.  That is due the prayers of his mother who was longing for a child, as she had been barren for years.  One day she cried out to the Lord from her spirit’s language in church.  Her pastor spoke a prophetic word over her and she her faith increased to know that soon she would be blessed with a child.  She gave birth to a son and named him Samuel.  When her desires were fulfilled, she didn’t take the blessing of her child’s life for herself.  She dedicated her son’s life to the Lord first and in doing that, the Lord established Samuel’s course.

We don’t hear about Samuel again until later when he’s old enough to serve in the temple.  Because of the prayers of a mom, a child knows his purpose.  Because of the actions of his parents, a child is trained in his life’s calling.  Because of the devotion of a momma’s heart, the Lord honored her request.

Why is this such a big deal to discover your purpose?  Because somewhere in the world, be it your parents, your family, your adopted parents, caregiver, whoever, they are all all speaking life and love over you right now.  All the parents that pray for the kids please raise your hand?  What are we praying for our kids?  To discover their purpose in this world!

What causes parents to pray? Honestly, we feel like most days we have missed the boat on what God has for us, and want better for our children.  I don’t pray success that comes from a person’s hands, I pray for God’s promotion in their lives so they could know Jesus as Lord and Savior first, then that their relationship would prosper according to the plans that the Lord has set for them.

“The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

It all starts with a relationship with your Holy Parent.  Our Father in Heaven wants to impart His direction on your life.  We have a relational God who loves us infinitely and more abundantly that our earthly parents.  To know and discover your purpose in life, what your calling is, what you were designed for, and what your next step is, you have to know God who established His design in you before you were conceived.

Recently I overheard a conversation from outside a closed door.  There were several men gathered in a white design room.  I heard them talking about making a daughter and it was if they were all standing in front of a shelf filled with drawers with specific gifts, emotions, talents and characteristics.  They were getting handfuls of this and that.  One of them came to a drawer labeled “writer”.  One of the men said, “She’s going to need ALL of this gift.”  There was a holy clattering.  All that was heard was the entire contents of the drawer being emptied into the soul of the person they were designing.

Think about the holy conversations that have been said about you, your children, your children’s children, your generational line.  Encourage them with life and love and certainly God’s promotional design that has been established in their lives.  It’s the best words of encouragement I can give to a graduate.

What words of advice do you have for graduates?