Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thoughts About Purpose

I am reading a book by Dr. Dale A. Fife called The Secret Place.  I first encountered this book in 2002/2003 when I did a one-year internship in Texas at Teen Mania's Honor Academy.  I found this book in my advisor's room.  I asked if I could borrow it and, upon my advisor's approval, I began to read this wonderful book.  I would have very interesting experiences as I read, which drew me back to my advisor's room to borrow this book over and over again.  Now, as an adult, I am reading this book again and it's just a marvelous experience.  Each morning as I rise to read, I feel as if I'm having a fresh encounter with the Lord all over again.  Each morning, there's new understanding or a revelation that refreshes me, opens my eyes, challenges my mindsets, and renews my excitement about life and my appreciation for the privilege of having a relationship with God and being able to know Him.

The thing that blew me away this morning was a short statement I came across as I read.  The statement is as follows:  "Death is not cessation of life. (See Hebrews 9:27.)  Instead, it is the release of life to a different dimension, an eternal dimension."  As I read, I had a mental picture of a person "dying" here on earth -- their life here on earth ending and their body going to the grave, but (their spirit) going on to another world...a place unseen by the physical eye.  All of a sudden, it was like everything I had ever been taught about death -- how we are "just passing through" this life; and how we are simply "living for the next life" -- all made sense. This statement and accompanying understanding totally rocked my world.  I finally began to see life as one long continuum, instead of just a few years here on earth.  I finally understood -- for real, and not just out of mental consent -- that my life -- our lives -- are not limited to a few years here on earth.  Life is eternal.  It does not end.  We just live a few years of it in one dimension and the remainder of it in another.

This revelation/understanding really made me think about my life here on earth... life on earth really is only a blink of an eye compared to eternity -- a speck on the entire timeline of life.  This newly received understanding also made me wonder...what am I here for...?  If I am only here for a few years and then I pass on into eternity...into another dimension, what is the purpose of being here on earth in the first place?  Why not just exist in that other dimension from beginning to end?  Why even make this pit stop here on earth?  These questions reminded me of something the Lord told me a few years ago, "You are here for my purposes."  My only conclusion is that we are here for a purpose or purposes beyond ourselves. We are not here merely for ourselves. We all are here for His purposes.  There is a reason we are alive.  There is a reason breath is in our bodies.  We are on earth for a reason, for a purpose or for several purposes.  The way we discover those purposes is to look to God our creator, the one who created us and has given purpose to every life.

I think it is great that, while we have the opportunity to live here on earth, we also have the opportunity to know the One whom created us, AND... He gives us purpose.  That's simply amazing.  "How do I know what my purpose is?" you may ask.  I would say, first -- seek God.  HE created you and knows what He had in mind when He created you. Develop your relationship with Him. In that relationship, He will speak to you and lead you in the way you should go (Psalm 32:8).  Second -- look at the things you are naturally gifted/talented at doing. Often times, these things are sign posts that can lead us in the right direction or reveal to us things that God has placed in us. Look at the thing you are naturally interested in and drawn to. Is there something you've been doing since you were a child? Is there something others keep asking for your assistance with? (Writing, math, building something, fashion, computers, etc.)  Third - Pursue your interests, but allow God to lead you in your pursuits.  Seek the Lord and obey Him -- even when it does not make sense.  Following Christ leads you directly into your destiny.  You cannot go wrong when you are following Him, for He knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11). We can be assured that God loves us, created us, desires a relationship with us, and desires us to know Him and the plans He has for us. His plans for us are GOOD.

Jeremiah 1:5a NLT
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart..."

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." 

Psalm 139: 16 NLT
"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Psalm 38:2 NLT
The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My testimony Part I

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So, I guess my first post on my new blog is going to be about God -- my First Love.  I think I can finally say that now without feeling like I'm lying, Lol.  You know how, as a Christian, we are taught (OVER and OVER again) that God is supposed to be our very first love.  Well, I don't think that's something that you can teach.  In fact, I think a lot of things in this Christian journey need to come from personal experience and/or revelation before it can truly become a reality.  At least that has been my experience.  So many sayings and things that have come across to me as clich├ęs have become recent realities in my life.  It is amazing the amount of truth that lies within a seemingly overused saying.  I'm guessing these sayings are "overused" because, well, they're true.  Somebody's getting the point, Lol.  I guess I just got a lot of them ... late. 

Anyhow, I am at a very interesting point in my life.  I am at a place where I am experiencing God's love like never before, and It's absolutely amazing.  For the first time (like ever) I am actually content in this life as a single woman.  I honestly never thought that was possible.  And for all those many women who spoke of such a place, I thought they were either lying or hallucinating.  I am realizing more and more that one truly can be whole as a single.  You really can be happy, satisfied and full of life as a single person.  You CAN live a pure and holy life in this world and in today's society.  You don't have to slip and fall every two seconds.  Victory is possible.  

I remember a time (that was not too long ago) God was dealing with me about a relational choice I had made.  He was NOT happy with it!  He had no problem in letting me know how he felt about it!  During that situation, I finally began to realize how seriously God takes us --His Beloved, His creation.  I also began to learn that...He really is jealous for us.  He wants ALL of us -- our whole, entire heart.  That was very hard for me to understand at one time, but I think it's finally beginning to sink in.  

I am seeing that this whole salvation thing really is like a "passport", if you will, that allows you to enter into a real relationship with...God.  Salvation is truly reconciliation.  And Christ -- Jesus -- is the only "passport" by which reconciliation is made possible.  Jesus is the way by which we are reconnected to the God with whom we were originally meant to be in fellowship with.   We were MADE to be loved by Him.  We were MADE to know Him, to walk in the cool of the day with Him, to talk with Him, to fellowship with Him, to chill with Him... etc.  We were made FOR him.  I am soo blown away by that.  The God that created the entire universe... wants me.  And guess what?  He wants you too.  

This point sinks in even more as I think about creation and living things -- trees, oceans, birds, animals, plants, etc. the Bible says that God spoke these things into existence.  But, when he made man, He created man in His image.  We were formed by His very own hands, not spoken into existence.  And THEN, after man was formed, God breathed his very breath into man and man became a living being.  "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7 NIV).  OMG... that right there is LOVE baby.  Man is the only living thing on the face of the earth that has been created in the image of God!!!!  Yow! We are special.  "O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?" (Psalm 144:3 NIV).  "O LORD, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them?" (Psalm 144:3 NLT). 

There is also this one section of text that blows me away every time I read it.  I'll share it with you.  It's from a book called Firm Foundation by Bob and Rose Weiner:

          God created all of this magnificent beauty with just the sound of His voice.  But when God    
          created man, He formed him in His very own image and breathed into him His very life.  And 
          all this was because God's greatest desire was to have a family to share His likeness, to have 
          someone He could dream with and share His life, love and plans.  The whole created universe was a giant birthday gift for His beloved. 

Every time I read that text, I am blown away.  It just reminds me time and again that ... God loves me.  And he loved me BEFORE I became a Christian and/or accepted Christ.  He loved me while I was yet STILL a sinner, while I was SINNING and DID NOT KNOW Him!!  "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8). 

God is awesome.  Point blank.  I think soo many (too many) people have just been hurt and lied to, and I think those experiences jade our view and understanding of God and who He really is.  Because, let me tell you, if you really encountered God and understood his passionate love for you -- someone He created to love and be with -- would you really turn away?  I think I have the grounds, right and authority to speak on this considering that, at one point in my life, I wanted to be an atheist.  Yes, me.  I wanted to be an atheist.  Why?  Because I was hurt and confused.  Someone LIED to me BIG TIME!!!!  I was frustrated and PISSED!  I was tired of trying to figure out what was true.  I gave my life to Christ at an early (and I mean early) age.  I went to church, had Christian friends and did all the Christian stuff.  It was my life.  Somewhere, later in my adult years, I began to see that not everything I had been taught was true...and it nearly devastated me.  I did not know anything else.  I had no other way to live... This was it.  So, what was I supposed to do?  I was serious when I came to Christ (or accepted Jesus as my Lord/Savior) as a child.  I didn't have "one foot in the church and the other in the world" as "they" used to say.  No. I was ALL in.  It was not a game for me.  

So, as I realized that what had been taught to me in my formative years was a bunch of truth mixed with a bunch of lies, I did not know how to separate what was true from that which was the lie.  I instantly began to doubt EVERYTHING I had ever been taught and I questioned EVERYTHING I (thought I) believed.  I even doubted my salvation.  I mean, how did I know THAT was true!?!?!  It was that bad.  It got to the point where I became very depressed.  I could not function one day to the next.  I lived in fear every day with thoughts of eternal damnation consuming my mind.  Finally, I just got tired of being afraid of where I would ultimately end up in life and after.  I was tired of living in fear and depression.  I decided that if I just didn't believe anything, maybe this would all just go away.  So, I had decided that I just would not believe.  Maybe that way I could actually be happy and just move on and live my little life.  I had decided that it would just be easier to not believe in God than to try to figure out what was true and decipher the truth from the lie.  

The only thing that kept me during this very dark time in my life was the actual relationship I had build with God before my walls came crumbling down.  While I was going to church and doing all my wonderful Christian things as a youth, I was also developing a real relationship with the Father.  So, when I saw other people messing up and falling away, it did not affect me much.  I knew they were mere men and God was God.  Just because they messed up did not mean God was not real and it didn't provide an excuse for me to go astray.  But, what did shake my faith was knowing that an undetermined amount of things I believed could have possibly been a straight lie due to flat out BAD teaching.

I'll never forget the night that I sat on the floor beside my bed with the Bible laying in front of me.  I got right down to the nitty gritty and asked God, "How do I know Jesus (really) died on the cross to save me from my sins?  All I have is this Bible that was written X amount of years ago and what some man behind a pulpit told me."  That night, the Word (or scripture) that I had hidden in my heart “spoke back to me” so to speak.  It was as if God spoke His very word (or scripture) to my heart, providing me with the answer.  And it was an answer that I could not refute.  I asked another question to God -- a question that I do not remember -- and the same thing happened again.  He spoke His word back to me...and it provided an answer that I could not refute.  I asked one last question and my interrogation was over.  That night, God spoke to me.  It wasn't spooky.  It wasn't loud or "earth-shattering".  He simply reminded me of what His word (already) says...and I believed it.  I could not refute it.  

That night, I made a decision in my heart that the Bible is the final authority and that it would be The Final authority in my life.  Period.  The Bible says in Romans 10:9, "If you declare with your mouth, ’Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (NIV).  That night, I chose to believe that.  I had already declared Jesus as Lord and believed in my heart that God had raised Jesus from death.  I had already accepted Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior.  So, that night, I decided that I was going to believe what The Word said.  And that night, I went to sleep assured of my salvation.  That night, I chose to believe.  

I woke up the next morning with so much peace (of mind!!!). It felt soo good to believe.  I'll never forget the contrast of believing and not believing.  There was soo much darkness, fear and depression in not believing.  But there is soo much peace and joy that comes along with believing!  I'll never forget the way I felt when I woke up the next morning -- never.  It felt soo good, soo very good, to just believe.   

And that my friends, is where the journey begins...