Purpose Found in Simplicity

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Matthew 22:37-39 And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (ESV)

Do you find yourself asking those deep internal probing questions?  Who am I? What is my purpose?  What is the God-dream that stirs inside of me? I do, and they get my mind swirling.

Today, I ask what is a God-dream anyways? Is it an actual, physical while-I-am-sleeping dream?  Is it something deep inside of me that is who I am at my very core? Is it something I desire to do or accomplish? The answer is yes – to all of them.

My life has been full of “doing” and I wonder, did any of it fit into God’s plans and purposes?  The tasks, achievements, talents, projects, jobs, creativity have all been part of what has made me who I am today BUT they are not who I am deep within my being. So, I sit at the feet of Jesus today, asking – who am I? What is it that I could not live without doing? What is the dream that sits within me; stirring, driving, waiting to erupt?

At each season of my life I have said YES, grown, and moved by the Spirits direction. Accomplishing many things that had benefit for the Kingdom of God as well as doing the everyday, the needed and those that I take joy in.  Again, the answers are convoluted in my heart. If all of those life accomplishments, gifts and talents were taken away, what is it, that would drive me? What is left? Is that the dream – the God-dream – His plan for my life?

So, here I sit with six decades of life behind me and I’m still asking these questions. Maybe I am just slow but I think I’ve made it too hard.  As I contemplate the life of Jesus and how He answered deep questions I see simple answers – “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, “he who is without sin cast the first stone”, “your sins are forgiven you”, “Lazarus come forth”. Simplicity seems to permeate the character of God – He says it, we believe and we chose to do it. Could all those swirling questions be answered that simply? If so, then I can give a very loud shout to its simplicity.

Though you have been gifted with tasks, achievements, talents, projects, jobs, and creativity to share with others and the world; somewhere in that process you will find the answer – the simple answer, to His plan and purpose for your life – your God-dream.

So, as you dig deep to find that simple plan, take one step at a time and do it.  Keep walking through this life, fighting with the weapons He has given you. Fight forward to see His purposes, don’t hesitate or shrink back. Stand courageous and push back against all that tries to derail you. His plan for you is a victorious one – filled with hope and a future.

II Peter 1:3 Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. (TPT)

Backroad Seasons of Life

Trust that the single-focused road ahead will open divinely-delegated assignments on backroads where distractions dissolve and commonality with the voice of the Father become your primary GPS.

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

Driving through backroads can be intimidating; often there are no signs, lines or enough space for two cars. Our life journey is much like driving the backroads. We come into this world on a single-lane road and go out the same way – alone. The forward movement of our lifetime takes us onto freeways, curves, sharp turns, dead-ends, roundabouts, and sometimes into a ditch or two. Each of these become the map of who we are becoming but our choices at each turn are pivotal.

This amazing road of life brings with it relationships that I am greatly thankful for. It includes an ebb and flow of many individuals – those who expand our lives, teach us life lessons, guide and encourage us, as well as those that take us onto the infinite roundabout. We are allowed to share life with them, even if it is only for a brief time. However, people must come and go; it is part of growing into who God has created us to be.

We seldom drive the full course of our road with the same people, for ultimately, they too, have their own road to navigate. Seasons of life change all of us. With those changes you will suddenly find those you have previously driven with, choosing to take a curve or sharp turn that you are not called to take.

If you know God’s plan, His direction and call on your life this presents a decision. Do I go along with them or do I not? Do I go left or do I go right? During these times, this decision is vital – your ear must be tuned not to your emotions but to the clear voice of Holy Spirit – for this decision may lead you into the ditch, or set you on a freeway. Your choice may require a sacrifice as to who continues on your road. This choice is not easy to make, it may require saying goodbye to travelers you love and have called friends, but the ultimate choice is “what does God want for me?” To ignore the “road closed” sign that stands in your path will drive you to stagnation in a ditch, which is not God’s plan.

Allow the process to move you into all that God has called you too, even if that path places you on a single-lane road for a time. Trust that the single-focused road ahead will open divinely-delegated assignments on backroads where distractions dissolve and commonality with the voice of the Father become your primary GPS.

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.: But they said, “We will not walk in it.”

A Blank Page

Sunset*JKSS007 (Miraculous Day Break)

As the sunrise begins to illuminate the sky, I sit in front of a blank page. I contemplate all that this new year has to offer, not the things of the past but more – more than I have ever asked for or imagined.

A sunrise brings a new day filled with opportunities, but a new year opens a breath-taking landscape of possibilities; the anticipation is palpable.

What are you anticipating, expecting or hoping for, from your new year? This new year is a gift sitting in front of you. God has a plan for your life and it is full of increase – increase to pour out His love through you.

The question is, what does that look like in your life? Jesus desires to use you to impact the world by restoring who He created you to be, your identity; that which He put deep within you, those hidden purposes that make you, who you really are!

What is hidden deep inside, waiting to be ignited, waiting dormant to erupt? Those gifts that you have set up on the shelf, or thought maybe someday? Do you think your time is past, so that gift still sits unopened? He is waiting for you. Accept this new year as a gift, full of purpose – walk into – no – run into a new level of faith that will access heaven over your life.

This is the year!

As the sunrises today – look up, stir your faith, expect Holy Spirit to bring restoration to the once sleeping purposes within you. Watch as He ignites a joyful new life deep inside that will produce a refreshed imagination, explosive energy, and awakened dreams. Step out in faith, access the new places He has planned for you this year. Watch as he awakens forward movement into the agenda He has, not just for you but for the world.

 Ephesians 3:20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this.He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. (TPT)

Just Breathe

This place of “rest” is where His grace flows, the Spirit refuels and where His mercy adjusts life’s pressures.

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A light dusting of snow materialized during the night and a quietness settled over my yard. As I watched the birds float in and out to the feeders, they too, seemed to slow down just a bit. The stillness – a reminder to slow down, rest and “just breathe.”

This time of year, with all of its joy, excitement and wonder also stirs-up chaos. Our “to-do” list grows as the urgent needs tug at our time and energy while sneaking in and assaulting our minds – stealing our peace. The “gotta-get-it-done” of getting the house and tree decorated, gifts bought and wrapped, planning, buying and preparing of special foods, party attendance, baking, as well as, the continual growing “other” details that call out for our attention; all seem to steal the beauty of the season.

How do we adjust this, how do we bring our lives back to the simplicity of the season?

Mark 6:31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.(ESV)

The disciples had just come back from a very busy mission trip where they had been barraged day and night meeting needs as they shared the gospel. Jesus knew and gave them the answer – come away and rest!

This is our answer also, come away and rest! Even in the midst of all that screams it’s need.

The space we create – time to rest at the feet of Jesus – is just like the dusting of snow over my yard – it brings a stillness that allows us to breathe. It is a resetting of our body, mind and spirit. In this place of rest, even if it is a 10-minute respite, Holy Spirit will come to bring peace. Here in this quiet place, you will find a place where those nagging pressures will begin to dissolve.

This place of “rest” is where His grace flows, the Spirit refuels and where His mercy adjusts life’s pressures. Here, in this place of rest – sitting at the feet of Jesus – your priorities, as well as your relationships will be re-aligned and restored with His plans and purposes. It’s here, where you “come away and rest for a while” that you find the simplicity of peace. His stillness will bring a reminder to “just breathe.”

Overflowing Presence

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You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ Acts 2:28 (NIV)

The “presence of God” is not just a nice sounding phrase but is a place of great honor, a place of great surrender, a place of ultimate experience, where in humility we are ushered into a physical encounter with God. Here, at the feet of Jesus we meet Him and nothing else matters. Here, the Holy Spirit draws us into the very presence of God. Here, all that life has thrown at us and all that we have become, what we have done and achieved, all disappears.

We have often been told that finding that place of presence is something we need to “chase” after, yet that is not who Jesus is. His love is great and beyond measure.  He continually pours that love out to us free of charge – we don’t have to “try” or “chase” after it. We need only to hunger, desire and ask.

In your everyday life and in nature, the heart of the Father is shown all around you. His desire is to pour out His presence beyond what you can contain, to bring you joy unimaginable, to saturate you with His love so that the river within you will flow out and bring life in every direction that your daily life takes you.

Let’s look at a couple of examples of His abundance found in the natural which will give you just a taste of who He is:

His little hands expectantly hold out his glass while daddy begins to pour the refreshing liquid. Soon it reaches the top and flows unchecked over the edge yet continues to pour out with no end. The joy in the face of his son stirs his heart to continue the deluge of refreshment, knowing the child can’t contain its entirety.

The awe-inspiring sight and sound of the waterfall stuns her into silence. Its unreachable height, its mighty power, its thundering plunge over the edge, its refreshing spray as it splashes all around her brings a deep feeling of joy. The river that flows from its base, moves in many directions as the thundering fall reaches its destination only to cycle on and on, bringing life everywhere it touches.

As you step into the supernatural presence of God, come expecting a presence that is beyond the natural. You will encounter a God who loves you and desires your presence. He is calling you to come away with Him, to just sit and be with Him.

Be like those little hands holding out the glass with expectation. Be awe-struck by the enormity of His very presence. Jesus has given us access to the presence of the Holy Spirit who is waiting to not just fill your glass but to continually keep it overflowing with Gods very presence. Just hold it out and step under the unending flow.

We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18 (TPT)

 

Whose Got Your Back?

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Our lives are filled with battles – from within and without – the physical, emotional and almost always, the spiritual. As independent people we usually choose to handle them alone, “I’ve got this, no need to bother anyone else.” When we live – or try to live – our life in this fashion, we are ultimately giving-in to a life lived in a form of isolation. We are not meant to handle life alone, we need others.

We all need that friend – you know the one – the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Do you have one, maybe two or three? Ones that no matter when, where, how, or what you need them for – they will be there for you. If not, now is the time to look around and begin that scary relationship that just might lead to that friend. If you have been a Christian for long, you will have picked up some hesitancy here! I know, me too. But in faith, step out and spend some time asking God to direct you to those people.

In biblical times, Kings and Princes had armor-bearers and even today, pastors establish those who they trust to stand in prayer, listen and to be that friend. We have inherited a place of prince or princess – a child of the King – in the Kingdom of God. The need for each of us to walk side-by-side with at least one armor-bearer is imperative. For us to walk with a different spirit as Caleb and Joshua did – one who hears, obeys and battles for the promised land – will require us to gird ourselves with the prayers of those walking this same journey.

As the body of Christ – the church – we hold one another up in prayer consistently, and that is necessary for a healthy church. As individuals we need to go one step deeper – one step of vulnerability – one step of trusting another with our “stuff” that we keep hidden. The days of “I’ve got this, no need to bother anyone else,” are gone. Having a trusted armor-bearer for yourself is much safer than doing it on your own. Being one and having one are two different things – you may be one for one individual yet need a different one for yourself.

If we want to see and walk in a new place of awakening in the body of Christ then we MUST lay down our pride, pick up our swords, fight forward and depend on our trusted armor-bearer to stand and fight with us. So, who is yours?

Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.

I Samuel 16:21 When David came to Saul and entered his service, Saul loved him very much, and David became his armor-bearer.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

Surrendered Silence

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In a world where we are inundated with noise, it is hard to fathom what silence and solitude look like. Periodically we experience a glimpse of this mirage; an early morning sunrise in the desert, a breathtaking walk in the rain forest, the stars eruption as you sit high above the city, or a morning wake-up to a deep blanket of snow. But how does it look within our spirits, our hearts, our emotions or our minds? That place of complete stillness that allows peace to reign. To find it – even for a few minutes – is a practiced discipline.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Ps, 46:10 (ESV)

This scripture is known well, but do we really know what it means? It sounds peaceful and it’s great on a refrigerator magnet, but practicing this discipline is not easy. Try it – spend just five minutes, stilling your thoughts – don’t think, pray or look around – just be still, soak in that silence. Once you have gotten through a few days of practicing, you will find something amazing begin to happen. Sitting silent before the Lord will stir a desire to live in this blissful place.

Finding this place of stillness stirs within a divine depth of peace. Here in this place we find intimacy with our God. In this quiet place of silence, we hear His voice. Adoration and worship – an “awe” of knowing our God – begins to surface, as all of the noise of our world disappears. Here, we step into a place of worship that is found past the music and all of our words. This place is where our words – our requests, desires, needs and prayers – are not needed. This stillness will transform your busy, clattering life into a humble place of just “being” at His feet. Here, you will surrender; be laid bare, open, yielded, and ready to move only as He directs.

The discipline of stillness and solitude require practice, but soon in the midst of your chaotic life, you will find the ability to be still and know the presence of God.

Join me in developing this discipline. As you begin, don’t get frustrated if five minutes seems like forever. It will soon be fifteen minutes and before you know it, sitting in stillness for extended amounts of time, will be time that you will desire and willingly run to. Let’s joyfully surrender to a place of stillness found only at the feet of Jesus.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  Ps. 62:5 (ESV)