The Blessing of Purpose

planner-md…because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Ephesians 1:11 NLT

As another year comes to an end, many of us begin to look back over the months and days of our lives. Often, we begin pondering our purpose.
Why are we in the place we are in? Are we making a difference with our life? What has been accomplished in the nearly 365 days we have just lived?

If you are pondering such thoughts, or asking God such questions, I want to encourage you that each moment you have spent this year was not in vain.
…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 NKJV

As a believer in Christ, God has a plan and purpose for you—one that is good–one that He will bring to fruition in His time.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremaih 29:11 NKJV

Psalm 138:8 ESV says: “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;” Therefore, you can be sure that He is always at work day and night to bring about what is needed in your life to fulfill His purpose for you.

Perhaps your circumstances were not as you thought they should be this year. Perhaps you suffered setbacks, adverse situations, or delays.
Perhaps you encountered obstacles that you had a hard time overcoming or perhaps you were slowed down from moving forward because of some difficulties.
Just trust and believe that God was with you through it all and know that He is working all things out to accomplish His purpose in your life.
Know that nothing can stop the plan and purpose He has for you.

So, as you look back over this year, I encourage you to pause and praise Him for what He has done, is doing, and will still do for you.

For we [believers] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NKJV

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The Blessing of Guidance

Hot day!  The lake looked so inviting!
The clear water had a slight green tint revealing what appeared to be a sandy base.Muddy Water

However, the scene changed as people entered the water!
It’s green color turned to a muddy brown! The lake’s base was not sand but clay dirt!

Most of the people who entered stayed in, either because they didn’t really realize they were swimming in muddy water, or they chose the momentary refreshment of the water over it’s potential health hazard.

As I sat on the shore watching all of this, it caused me to realize how deceptive things in life can be sometimes.
We can easily get mislead by things that seemingly look good.
Once we enter into them we may not notice how bad they are because we are in the midst of it enjoying the moment, but in the long term we may find the things have done us harm.
Or, we may see they are unsavory, however once involved, we decide to overlook the danger in favor of self satisfaction, or just because everyone else is doing it

This is where we should take wise counsel to heart, because those who are sitting on the shore can see the whole picture. They can issue a warning, and if they do, we should listen and obey.

As believers we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit as our guide and God’s Word which is truth. If we listen and obey them we should not get caught up any of life’s muddy waters .

The Blessing of Strength

"Blindsided" Lanturne poemRecently I was “blindsided.” Blindsided means an attack that seemly comes out of nowhere, because the impact hits in such a place where vision is limited, or in an area where a person is vulnerable.
I am sure you have heard the phrase, “ Wow! That came out of nowhere!” or “I didn’t see that coming!” Also, if you are a football fan you know that blindsiding is often practiced in that sport.

My recent blindsiding experience was not physical, but spiritual, and it was aimed at shaking my faith, however, it also did affect me physically.

One evening I was talking with someone whom I love dearly about a totally positive prospect. This person was planning to fulfill a long desired dream and they were relating recent happenings that they thought might lead them to achieving their goal. As I listened in agreement, all of a sudden—“out of the blue”—they said something totally off subject and out of character for them! Instantly it was as if my breath was knocked out of me! When I was able to recover my speech, I shouted “What! What are you saying!” Yet this person, whom I am sure now was someone other than the person I loved, continued speaking of this outrageous, ungodly idea. At the time, I was so totally confused, hurt and shocked that I had to end the conversation. Then, feeling completely overwhelmed, I began to cry.
I found myself so debilitated that I was not even able to pray. Quickly, I called a godly sister in the Lord, who “just happened” to be at her weekly bible study/prayer meeting. “I need help” I said. She instantly prayed for me for strength and then said she would have her group pray also. Soon, my tears ceased and I felt my strength returning.
I was able to “pick myself up” from where I had fallen by opening my bible and reading words of help and hope. As I grew stronger I was able to cry out to the Lord in prayer and stand firm in His power and strength.

Later, when I talked with my sister in the Lord about the experience, I told her how I felt I had been completely knocked off my feet, breath taken away, unable to speak or pray, yet the Lord did renew my strength. I realized since my faith was in Christ, that I was standing on the Rock, and even though the blindsiding knocked me down, I fell onto that firm foundation of Christ, where I was able to regain the strength in my inner man that I had been blessed with in Christ. Therefore, I was able to rise again renewed and refreshed in my faith. As His word says I was “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…” Ephesians 3:16.
I wanted to share this experience with you, so that you could see how these spiritual blessings are indeed alive and active in our daily lives. Isaiah 40:29 says: “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.” Thanks be to God, who has blessed us in Christ with a firm foundation in which to stand in this Spiritual Blessing of Strength!

As a follow up note to this experience, a few days later I did talk with the person again. When I asked them about our previous conversation, they said they wanted to totally apologize for what they had said. They said that they didn’t understand why they had said what they said that evening, because it was not really what they meant at all. That, to me, was a testimony that the enemy had indeed somehow entered the conversation that evening just to blindside me. In the future, I hope that I will be more aware of his tactics and be better prepared to handle his attacks. However, what he meant for evil, God used for good in many ways in my life, and for that, I am grateful for this experience.

 

The Blessing of His Riches

Lastblue diamond month I remember reading in the news about the discovery of a rare blue diamond in a mine in South Africa. It was the size of an acorn and was worth millions of dollars.  Previously, other rare diamonds had been found in that same mine which were also very valuable.  
I am sure the company that owes the mine is very pleased to have found such riches.

Many people would love to have found such monetary wealth, however, as we have often seen, money and/or material possessions are not something that automatically brings happiness, for many people with such wealth are not happy.
Money is necessary in this life to purchase the things we need, however, many people who “have it all”, money and material wise, often say their life is empty or unfulfilled. 
So what good are riches if they don’t bring happiness ? 

There are riches that do offer happiness. 
They are God’s spiritual blessings in Christ.

As believers, we have many riches in Christ, in fact, scripture tells us that we have “exceeding riches” ! (Ephesians 2:7)
Riches are not just defined as monetary, they can be large amounts of possessions, but not necessarily material possessions.
Riches are also good things that are available to use.  Scripture tells us that “every good and perfect gift comes from abpve” (James 1:17)
Therefore, believers have been given many good and perfect gifts, treasures and riches from God, our heavenly Father.
Some of them are the redemption we have through Christ’s shed blood, the forgiveness of sins, the riches of God’s grace and mercy. 
They are the blessings of God’s kindness and favor towards us, the peace we have in Christ, and the wisdom, power, and might of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

God has richly blessed us everything we need daily to live successfully in this world.  We are rich in Him.  We need nothing more.

gemsSo let’s think upon this and stop looking to the world or our flesh for our supply.  Let’s begin using the riches God has provided us with. Let’s begin digging deep in His word where we will find golden nuggets of truth that will be even more valuable than any blue diamond ever could be. Let’s walk in the many blessings we have been given and we will soon discover how rich we really are!

The Blessing of His Power

Recently I came to hear of an interesting idea called “My One Word”
It is based on a book titled “My One Word” written by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen
The idea is that, in the New Year instead of making resolutions, we should pick just one word to focus on for the year.
This word would be something that you hope God would do in you during the year.  The thought is that by doing so, this one word focus could perhaps change your life.

I have not read the book—yet—but I may do so.  However, I did pick my word for this year, only because I had felt prompted to do so
even before hearing about this one word idea.  My one word was in my mind even before the New Year began and it was based on
something I had written back in 2009 that I hoped someday I would use as a foundation for a new devotional series on my ministry website.

Well, this seemed to be the year I was to do that, because the feeling was still strong after I prayed long and hard about it. 
Therefore, on January 2nd I began my new devotional series titled “P-O-W-E-R” which focuses on believers living  in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I also felt led to begin a new scripture memorization titled
“His Power”–which focuses on memorizing “power” scriptures from the bible.

Both of these decisions I feel are something God wants to do through me, as neither are easy tasks, and not something I feel could be done without His help.
So, it is my hope that as I do what He seems to want done, that I too will come to know more about His Power and how I might live in it daily.

Therefore, when I heard about the “My One Word” idea, it was not difficult for me to choose my one word for this year–it is indeed “Power”
It is my hope this year “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection,  Philippians 3:10 NKJV” 
For I, as a believer, have been blessed to receive His Power–the Holy Spirit–within me.  Therefore, I want to know more how to use that Power in my daily life.
I want to know more how to walk in the Spirit, and pray in the Spirit, and just live my life daily in the Spirit’s power and then to also share what I learn with others. 

Such a blessing should be recognized and put to use daily–don’t you agree? 
Perhaps all we believers should choose the word “Power” to focus on this New Year!
Wouldn’t it be amazing to see what happened if we all did!

“P-O-W-E-R” Daily Devotional  http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/DD/

“His Power” Weekly Scripture Memorization Group  http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/mindfulgroup.html

“My One Word”  http://myoneword.org/

The Blessing of His Birth

ChristmasChristmas….it comes into our lives and changes things…once it enters, nothing is the same.

Those were my thoughts yesterday as I packed away the rest of my Christmas decorations. 
Nothing interrupts, invades, or changes my life and surroundings like Christmas does.
My ordinary days, surrounded by everyday mundane things, are suddenly transformed by Christmas!

A tiny Christmas village completely overtakes the table in front of my window, and the other table in my hallway holds a small Christmas Tree filled with various sentimental ornaments collected over the years.  Varied other decorations are placed here and there around the house, a nativity, an advent wreath….all reminders of Christ’s birth.  Christmas Carols, Christmas Cards, and Christmas lights all add to the joy of the season.
Oh, my home and life are so changed by Christmas, just as the world was changed, on that first Christmas so many years ago!

For when Christ came, His presence changed this world forever. 
His birth was a miracle–one never to be repeated–It was a life changing event for many.
His birth interrupted some shepherds ordinary night, and their life was forever changed.
His birth transformed a lowly stable into the birthplace of a King.
As His star shone in the sky it changed the lives of the wisest of men.
His coming changed the world then and it is still changing lives now. 

How blessed we believers are to know Him and celebrate His birth as Christmas.
How blessed we will be to be a part of His second coming–which will change our lives even more!

“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”  Titus 2:13 NKJV
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”  Revelation 22:20 NKJV

Hidden Blessings

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

I was reminded of this verse today after dealing with a splinter in my toe.  I was in the shower and all of a sudden I felt something sharp in my big toe.  Upon looking I see a splinter!  Where in the world did that come from I think!  I am in the shower for goodness sake, what is in here that would give me a splinter!

No matter, it got in somehow and now it needed to come out.  This caused a household search for the tweezers which I finally found in my tool box, of all places!  Hmmmm…hidden splinters, hidden tweezers, something strange is going on here, I am thinking…

Well, after, doing minor surgery on my toe with a needle, tweezers and of course rubbing alcohol, the splinter was gone.  It was then, I remembered a conversation I had yesterday with my grand-son. Ah, so God had a purpose for all of this after all…

I had picked my teenage grandson up because he wanted to come and spend the weekend with me.  During the drive to my house he told me he had helped his dad do some work on an old barn door and somehow his hand got filled with splinters.  I told him when we got to my house I would look at it and perhaps I would be able to remove the splinters for him if they weren’t in too deep.  However, one thing led to another and by the time we got home after running a few errands, both of us had forgotten all about the splinters….at least I had and he never reminded me. 

However, now, since I had gotten a splinter, it caused me to remember his splinters and with a little work I was able to successfully remove them all.  He was happy to have them out and I was happy to have helped him. 

This whole incident could be related to what Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians 1:4.  If we look at it that way, we will be able to “give thanks in all things” as Paul suggests in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, because whatever we might have to go through or deal with could give us the compassion, experience, and knowledge to help someone else out with a similar experience they might be going through. 

Thank You God, for this life lesson today.  May I always remember to give You thanks in all things, for I know that You can cause all things to work together for good in my life and perhaps I can use my experiences to help someone else along the way.

Blessed by Blessings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… Ephesians 1:3

A few days ago I was blessed by a friend with a gift of home-grown apples.  The apples were beautiful to look at and since I love that fruit I rejoiced at receiving them.
Once I got home, however, I had the choice to use them or just let them sit there in the bag looking and smelling delicious. 
Responsibility comes with the receipt of a gift, for a gift is of no use unless it is used. 
I thought about this as I took those apples out of the bag, washed and peeled them, chopped them and prepared them to be put into a pie.  Using this wonderful gift entailed work, but, the end result offered a blessing that I could enjoy and share with others–
a yummy apple piehome-made apple pie!

Believers, God has blessed us with so many spiritual blessings in Christ!  Are we using them? 
It behooves us to think upon all that we have received to see if we are using what we have been given and if so, are we also sharing it with others?

Let’s not let one day go by that we neglect to seek out and use a spiritual blessing that we have been given, for gifts are meant to be used, and as they are, they bring joy to us as well as to others.

The Blessing of Blamelessness

The Blessing of Blamelessness

Ephesians 1:4

It wasn’t that I didn’t spill the milk…I did.  It wasn’t that I didn’t admit to spilling the milk…I did.  It wasn’t that I didn’t say I was sorry…I did.
But….He acted as if it never happened.  He acted as if He never saw it.  I was dumbfounded.  

I grabbed some paper towels and wiped all the spilled milk up.  It made me feel better that all was clean, and back to normal, except,
the milk jug, it was almost empty and there was no way I could replace what had been lost.  No amount of apology or cleaning would bring more milk into that jug.

I went to Him with head hanging low.  With tears in my eyes I said ” I am sorry, I really didn’t mean to spill the milk, it just sort of slipped out of my hand.  I don’t know why.
Now there is not much left for us for supper and there is no way I can get us anymore right now.  I am sorry.  I just won’t drink any milk tonight.  You can have what is left.”

He looked at me and said ” What milk? What spill? Child, My Son, Jesus has this covered.  In Him you are blameless.  I do not see anything of which you are speaking.  
Go your way and rejoice that in Him you are forgiven.”  

Blamelessness is a Blessing we receive in Christ. We don’t deserve it, but God in His grace offers it to us because of our belief in His Son Jesus.

In Christ we are holy and can stand before God in love, not blame, because we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  

When God looks at us He only sees Christ.  Any sins we may have committed are covered by Christ’s blood which was shed for us on the Cross at Calvary.

In Christ we are blameless, forgiven, accepted.   What a Blessing!

He (God)  chose us in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame (blameless) before Him (God) in love, Ephesians 1:4 NKJV