Your greatest fulfillment in life will come when you discover your unique gifts and abilities and use them to build up others and glorify the Lord. Neil Anderson
Compare Anderson’s definition with those around you, how they’d define fulfillment. Prosperity. Power over others. Others’ respect. Pleasure. Not so, Jesus showed by his life. He wasn’t in it for the money, refused power over others. He focused on God’s approval, not others’ praise. He lived out the Father’s dream for his life and completely fulfilled his destiny. Now he challenges us to do the same. His Spirit urges us: You ARE unique. You HAVE a dream from God. People will be transformed because you partner with him! We start with, Lord, your will, not mine! As we listen to his Spirit and obey, the dream unfolds. Don’t miss it.
Here lies the tremendous mystery – that God should be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce. He summons us to cooperation. We’re honored in being given the opportunity to participate in his good deeds. Remember how He asked for help in performing his miracles: Fill the waterpots [to the servants, making wine for a wedding banquet], stretch out your hand [to a handicapped man, for healing], distribute the loaves [getting the disciples’ help to feed the crowd]. Elisabeth Elliot
Jesus still invites us to cooperate. Prayer, for instance. It’s a privilege God gives us, partnering with him to influence others. Acts of kindness, words of encouragement and tangible gifts of service to others – other ways we can work with the Spirit. How to make this our lifestyle? Spend time alone with God in solitude and silence. Listen. Become God-aware. Discern his ways, hear his voice and step into his activities. Tell him, Yes! today, I want to walk and work with you and be proactive for opportunities. Experience the abundant life Jesus promised, a life full of adventure.
All of us experience failure, and no one likes it. But for some people it becomes a kind of goad to push on to new learning, deeper persistence, more vigorous commitment, more courageous hearts. For others failure produces utter defeat – a sense of discouragement, a loss of hope, a desire to hide, a secret resolve to never again get out of the boat [unlike Peter, who did in the storm story Matt 14.22ff]. John Ortberg
Our best learning comes from studying others’ failures. That’s called wisdom. When we learn from our own failures, that’s called experience. It’s often painful. But is it fatal to us spiritually? It depends on our perception of God. Does he really give more grace and forgive all our transgressions? Is he really willing to lift us out of the miry pit and remember our sins no more? Is he actually close to the broken-hearted? Yes! Should we steer clear of him, post-failure, and conceal our brokenness from others? No! Some learn from failure and mature spiritually – Peter did, after his walk on water episode. Some shrink. They never risk again. Soberly, most never even get out of the boat. When you fail – we will – run, don’t walk, to Jesus. He’ll not abandon you.
We were built to count, as water is made to run downhill. We are placed in a specific context to count in ways no one else does. That is our destiny. Dallas Willard
We’re unique to God and he has a dream for our lives, each of us. Yes! As we embrace this truth, We start to make a difference in our world. He promises. The Bible is replete with stories of people who got it. Abraham, a nobody rancher, heard God’s call, learned by trial and error to depend on him. He became the father of faith for us all. Esther, only claim to fame: a beauty queen winner. Amazingly, she saved her fellow Jews from total annihilation. David, obscure shepherd boy. God picked him out to became the sweet singer of Israel, plus warrior and king. Burly fishermen became fearless missionaries. Paul, a Talibaner against Jesus-followers, ended up writing half the New Testament. He impacts us today!!! They believed they were here to count, embraced it, saw it happen. You count, my friend. God says, Yes! You echo, Yes! it. Embrace it today, ferociously.
Jesus Christ did not have to touch people as he healed them. He could easily, with that same power, have waved a magic wand. In fact, a wand would have reached more people than a touch. He could have divided the crowd into groups: paralyzed people over there, febrile people here, people with leprosy there, and raised his hands to heal each group en masse, but he chose not to. No, his mission was to people, individual people who happened to have a disease. They came to him because they had a disease, but he touched them because they were human beings and because he loved them. You can’t readily demonstrate love to a crowd. Love is person to person. Dr Paul Brand
Thw doctor speaks from authority. He spent his life as a missionary doctor helping the poorest of the poor in India, the abandoned ones. Lepers. He treated them one by one, touching them, reconstructing their hands, helping them walk, giving them hope. Why? Because he was energized by the One who showed that love is person to person. As you construct your spiritual life, factor this in: the value of each person to God. Touch a person. Get your hands dirty in the messy brokenness of individuals. Be full of Jesus, not yourself. He’ll show you how.
Nature was one of the key forces that brought me back to God. I wanted to know the Artist responsible for beauty such as I saw on grand scale in photos from space telescopes or on minute scale such as in the intricate designs on a butterfly wing. Philip Yancey
The physical world/universe should elicit a Wow! and make us wonder, what kind of Person is this, The Maker of all. That’s what turned PY around, brought him back to God. Fascinating! Sadly, most just say, Whatever, and go on with their self-absorbed lives. Let’s be different. Let’s worship the Creator with praise today for his artistry. Whether it’s constellations or butterfly wings or the human body, let’s slow down, choose something to ponder and delight in, and give honour to the Artist who’s our Father, our Lover. Deal?
Hell appears as a God’s gesture of respect for human choice. All receive what they actually chose, either to be with God forever, worshipping him, or without God forever, worshipping themselves. JI Packer
The Bible’s clear, we’ll live forever. All of us will. Dallas Willard said it superbly, You are an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe. Wow! For those who respond to God, it’s future ecstasy: So shall we all be together with the Lord, the Bible promises. But for those who ignore, reject or defy him? Jesus chose the term for the garbage dump outside Jerusalem to show one’s future destiny. Hell is that equivalent spiritually, where those who waste their lives end up, forever separated from the Lord. No one celebrates this teaching, but Packer’s right. If it’s true – it is! – it should motivate us to pray and plead with others: turn back, get reconciled with God, before it’s too late.
Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time. Oswald Chambers
If we don’t know God much, we won’t risk much. We’ll play life safe, making decisions as best we can, without involving God. How different as we get to know God. Faith = facts + courage: facts about God, then daring to trust him. Trust him to give us a dream and fulfill it. To bring friends and more into our life. To guide us on the right path. The more we know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more we’ll exercise courage to live for him. Learn from Jesus. He didn’t worry. Didn’t love or live for money. He was so trusting he could relax, asleep in a boat during a storm. He prayed and depended, childlike, on the Father to answer. He walked eyes wide open to the horror of the cross, trusting that his Father would work it out. The more you get to know God – through his Word, through experience – the more confident you’ll get. Facts plus courage. You need both. Question: what in your life today requires courageous faith?
Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God. JI Packer
Repentance was the entry point of our new life in Christ. When the good news of Jesus impacted us, the Spirit enabled us to repent in our thinking, feeling and doing. We changed our view about our goodness (we’re not), about Jesus (he’s Lord, we’re not). We felt the seriousness of our rebellion against God. We realized the urgency of getting right with him (not by our right living, but by faith in Jesus’ perfect life and sacrificial death for us). Repentance continues as the Spirit reveals more sin and darkness in us, and shows us Jesus truth and light. Our response: confessing sin, asking forgiveness, and using spiritual disciplines to strengthen us. Repenting, in other words. The more intimately we know God through Jesus, the more we’ll need to repent. Practice it today.
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is tough for all of us. CS Lewis nailed it, Everyone believes forgiveness is a lovely idea until you have something to forgive. We might not even attempt forgiveness, just harbor anger and desire for revenge, were it not for Jesus. His first word from the cross was a prayer, seeking forgiveness for his enemies. Amazing! He models forgiveness to us, challenges us to forgive, and promises grace as we attempt it. Do all you can to process hurts and hate from others, using prayer, wise counsel and the Word. Unforgiveness is toxic, soul-destroying. Forgiveness, as the quote says, brings out the best in us: grace and mercy. And we could add, a peaceful spirit.