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Entries in Purpose (3)

Tuesday
Jun252019

How to Find Your Identity and Purpose

Yvonne Ortega has experienced many struggles and tough circumstances, but the Lord has taught her many things through them. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she shares how God helped her find her identity and purpose.

“You have too many Christian friends and family on Facebook. Your posts and website are too preachy," Yvonne said the representative from a speaker’s bureau told her on the phone.

I (Dawn) know how comments like these can be devastating. I once endured a similar disheartening remark from a book agent. But I, like Yvonne, eventually turned that comment into an opportunity to focus on God's perspective.

Yvonne continues . . .

After I heard those words, I faced a challenge to my identity and purpose on earth. I realized I had to choose either what the world considers identity and purpose or what God says my identity and purpose are.

The representative talked about fortune and fame. He wanted me to focus on events that would bring in money and lots of it.

He recommended a new website, new images, and a new identity online.

The catch was that those new things would wipe out my identity as a Christian.

The weekend after that conversation, I knew I had to be true to my divine identity and purpose.

How could I do that?

1. I had to find out who God says I am.

In the Bible He says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

I prayed and meditated on the phrases.

  • God chose me, not someone else. He selected me or picked me out from the crowd.
  • God made me a royal priesthood. The word, royal, captured my attention. God didn’t make me second-rate or a commoner.
  • By his mercy and grace, He made me holy, separated from sin and reconciled to Him through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
  • All of this, and even more, a special possession. I’m not on my own in a struggle to find out who I am. The Bible tells me I’m God’s special possession.

Nothing in 1 Peter 2:9 indicates that my identity and purpose involve striving for earthly fortune and fame.   

2. I had to find out what God’s purpose is for me.

In Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (NIV).

Imagine my joy in that truth. I am not just anyone’s handiwork, but God’s. He created me to do good works, not to please people.

And to make that more powerful, God prepared those good works in advance for me to do.

Before my birth, God knew His purpose for my life.

3. I had to remember that the world cannot change God’s plans.

No matter how attractive or alluring people’s plans can be, I cannot change God’s plans.

When I looked at Isaiah 46:10, I read, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (NASB).

God didn’t say He might try to establish his purpose, nor did he say He hoped to accomplish all his good pleasure. God didn’t show any hesitation or doubt.

I may have to wait a long time to understand God’s purpose, but He is always at work, often behind the scenes.

In the New Testament, God confirmed the truth of Isaiah 46:10. Paul tells us, “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” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

The world’s offer of fortune and fame won’t succeed if God has another plan for me.

Years ago, God put a desire in my heart to reach “Gazillions for Jesus in my lifetime” with the message of His comfort, peace, promise and purpose. That desire has not changed.

Four car accidents in seven years, injuries, cancer, and major losses including the unexpected death of my only child seemed to interrupt or delay God’s plans. At the time, I couldn’t understand those circumstances.

As I look back, I see how God used every one of them to carry on His good work in my life. Now I can walk in confidence that God will do whatever it takes to unfold His plan.

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for my identity and purpose. Thank you that you are in charge and nothing or no one can thwart your plan for me. You will carry it on to completion. Amen.

What will you do this week to find your identity and purpose?

Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is an international award-winning speaker and the author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series. She celebrates life at the beach, where she walks, builds sand castles, blows bubbles, and dances. Discover more about Yvonne at her website and blog.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Stux at Pixabay.

 

Tuesday
Feb192019

How to Be a Woman of Purpose

Practical and biblical, Sally Ferguson invites women to grow in faith as they study God's Word learn how to apply scripture. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she focuses on a woman in the Bible who became a true Woman of Purpose.

"We can learn some lessons from an orphan gal," Sally said. 

I (Dawn) think we can learn lessons from the most unlikely people, if we are alert to how God is using them; and Sally highlights practical lessons from Jewish girl who became an influential queen.

Sally continues . . .

Mordecai and Esther were a part of the contingent living in exile, and as such, they were subject to the decrees of the king of Persia.

One day, the town crier announced a beauty pageant at the king’s palace. The girls were rounded up and transported to the king’s harem.

Did Esther wonder about her purpose during those twelve long months of being sequestered in her quarters? Did she feel forgotten and lost in the crowd of beauties all vying for the king’s heart?

Wonder of all wonders, King Xerxes chose Esther to be his queen and threw a banquet in her honor.

Esther had reached the pinnacle of success in her day, but the red carpet was about to be ripped out from under her sandaled feet.

A man named Haman was cooking up a plot to annihilate the Jews; her people.

What made Esther a woman of purpose?

I believe there are five gems we can see in her life.

1. She was winsome.

Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her (2:15). Verse 17 says she won the king’s favor and approval.

Webster’s Dictionary defines winsome as “generally pleasing and engaging, often because of a childlike charm and innocence.”

Maybe that’s what Paul was referring to when he said in Romans 12:18, “If at all possible… live at peace with everyone.”

He also said in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 that we are the aroma of Christ to everyone we meet. If our words and our actions are winsome, then we represent the King of Kings!

2. She showed respect.

Esther honored her uncle, even after she was removed from his care. She didn’t abandon her upbringing in her palatial environment (2:20). And when an assassination plot against her husband came to light, she gave the credit back to her uncle for the foiled plans.

That’s a refreshing twist to the story when we live in an era where everyone looks out for #1.  

The act of giving deference to another is unselfish and unspoiled. It’s winsome!

3. She cared about the plight of others.

Have you ever cared so much about something that you wept over it? Esther did (8:3).

Isaiah 53:4 says Jesus carried our sorrows and Revelation 7:17 says God will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Who determines the worth of an individual?

Haman and Hitler thought the Jews were expendable.

Today, we have a pandemic of abortions because someone deemed a fetus expendable. Yet, God says every human was made in His image. Isaiah 43:1 says He created us, formed us, redeemed us, summoned us, and we belong to Him.

Esther was a woman of purpose because she cared about others.

4. She sought God.

Esther called for a fast (4:15-16). She had come to the end of herself and realized how much she needed the Lord’s intervention.

It was time to let down the mask of perfection.

It was time to be real about her need.

  • Maybe she had gotten by her whole life by her winsomeness and beauty.
  • Maybe she had lived a sheltered life and never understood what it meant, to not live in captivity.

But now, the stark reality of her own mortality stares back in the mirror and she tastes fear.

What happens when we crucify our own agenda to seek God’s?

2 Chronicles 7:14 says we connect with forgiveness and healing.

Galatians 2:20 says that’s when we really let Christ reign in our hearts.

Esther became a woman of purpose when she sought God with her whole heart.

5. She sought out answers.

In Esther 5:1, we see Esther breaking the rules for the first time in her life. She went against the law of the land of Persia and approached the king’s throne.

Maybe Esther’s request was the beginning of her thinking for herself?

Previously, we see her following instructions:

  • from her uncle,
  • from the eunuch in charge of the king’s harem,
  • and from the king.

Now, however, Esther seems to have come to a new understanding of what it meant to wear her thinking cap along with her crown, as queen of Persia.

Could it be that her time of seeking God gave a newfound courage to step into who He created her to be? Esther 7:3, 9:13 and 9:29-32 all show Esther using her authority to make a difference.

Where has God placed you? How might He want to use you as His agent of change in that place?

Could you, like Esther, be placed in your sphere of influence for such a time as this?

Sally Ferguson is celebrating 15 years of planning women’s retreats! Her coloring book, What Will I Be When I Grow Up? (Warner Press) and ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat are both available on Amazon.  Visit her latest retreat release and her website.

Graphic—Esther by John Everett Millais, 1865—resourced at Wikipedia.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Be On Purpose!

Last year, Kathy Carlton Willis shared how to set true D.R.E.A.M. goals. She continues in that theme with this encouraging New Year UPGRADE.

Most of us set goals for 2015 at the start of the year,” Kathy says. “How many of you are already struggling to stick with the plan? Or was there even a true plan to begin with? It’s possible you had more of a wish list of destinations rather than a roadmap for how to get there!”

Do you have a roadmap for 2015? I (Dawn) think we all need one. Otherwise, how will we know when we’ve arrived at our destination?

Kathy continues . . .

January is National “Be On Purpose” Month. What a terrific time for us to evaluate where we were, where we are, and where God wants us to be, operating in the purpose He has for planting us on earth.

We’ve all heard how important it is to place ourselves in the passenger’s seat and allow God to be in the driver’s seat. (Remember calling out “shotgun” as kids, when we ran to the car at the beginning of a road trip? It was the best seat in the vehicle!)

The next best thing so we can get to our destination is to have that roadmap I mentioned earlier.

Live life on purpose, not random accidents.

Today, someone from out of town called asking for directions to our home. She was quite directionally challenged. I told her to go west and she asked if that was left or right. We realized she worked better with landmarks (such as Dairy Queen) rather than measuring blocks, or watching for street names.

Jean’s problem was, she didn’t have a step-by-step GPS to direct her. She had a map that took her to a dot on the map for our town. She had our street address. But she had nothing to connect the dots from the city limits sign to our home.

Life coaches teach the principle of intentionality.

Setting specific intentions allows life travelers to measure progress.

This is the opposite of the guy on the old donut commercial who arose from bed, still half asleep, and said, “Time to make the donuts.” He went from one task to another, with no extra effort or thought, zero passion, and nothing new to show for his work than the day before.

Donuts.

Intentionality allows you to fulfill God’s passions in your life. It puts steps to your goals.

 God’s blessings don’t rely on our work. But He is pleased when we acknowledge His purpose in our lives.

Think of each intentional choice as a step of obedience. Another mile marker on our journeys.

We don’t get to our destination by accident. It’s living life on purpose.

What Living Life on Purpose Isn’t:

  • You can’t wish it here.
  • You can’t fake it ‘til you make it.
  • You can’t procrastinate it into existence.
  • You can’t hope someone else takes care of your business for you.
  • You can’t skip some of the steps to try to speed up the process.

Your upgraded life requires intention. It takes plans. It works best when you operate within your strengths and giftings. It takes strategy. It requires setting up some steps between departure and destination to act as landmarks so you know you’re going in the right direction.

Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came” (Jeremiah 31:21 NLT).

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What does God want me to accomplish in 2015? What is God’s big picture for my five-year plan, my ten-year plan, my life-plan?
  • How does God lead me to use my natural and spiritual gifts, strengths and personality type to best fulfill these end results?
  • What are the biggest challenges and obstacles in getting to the destination? What detours can I pre-plan to avoid the roadblocks?

Define Your Landmarks:

1. Think of the steps to get from departure spot to destination. Seek God’s wisdom, allowing Him to be a Vision-Caster in your life.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open” James 1:5 (MSG).

2. Write down your plan.

“Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.’” (Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV).

3. Get to work! A dream can’t come true without putting effort into it—not just talk.

For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool’s voice with many words” (Ecclesiastes 5:3 AMP).

 Follow the directions, step by step.

What will you do today to live life on purpose, rather than simply going through the motions of making the donuts?

Kathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold women back and inspires their own lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she has several books releasing over the next three years, including Grin with Grace (release date 3/20/15) with AMG Publishers, CBD and Amazon. She and her husband/pastor, Russ, live in Texas. Learn more at: www.kathycarltonwillis.com/.

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.