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In continuing my journey through The Purpose Driven Life we are coming to the end of the book and are now finishing up Chapter 37.  In this chapter I learned a lot how God can use the things we have gone through in life for His glory and His honor.  Being a believer does not mean that we live with no problems – because the same rain that falls on the unjust falls on the just.  The most important thing we know is that we don’t go through anything without the Lord going with us.  My favorite verse is found in Isaiah 41:10 – where God says  “Don’t be afraid, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

As believers we all have gifts of the spirit.  Our passions will be in these areas.  It is important to listen to where God is leading us.  In a blog I read, I have seen where God is laying a certain area of ministry on someones heart.  Whether or not she will go that direction or not will be up to the decesion she makes regarding this passion she has.  We reach others in the world when they see what our passions are.

To finish out this particular chapter we must not forget that we as believers need is to be faithful in giving out the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The five purposes for our life on earth have been outlined in this book. “He made you to be a member of His family; a model of His character; a magnifier of His glory; a minister of His grace; and a messenger of His Good News to others.  Spreading the Good News is so important; you only have a short time to share your life message and fulfill your mission.”

The next two chapters discuss:  Balancing Your Life and Living with Purpose.  I hope you will join in study.  Please feel free to leave any comments.

I love that question –  Are you balanced or off balanced?  We could probably answer yes to both depending upon where we are in our lives spiritually.  I am ashamed to say that when I was off balanced –  I fell.  Now this question pertains to the spiritual but can be applicable to other areas of our lives as well.  I have fallen so much and have done damage to my knees.  Because I was falling down so often I began to notice what I was doing when I fell.  I usually had my hands full or I was in a hurry.  In some instances my ankle would just turn when I was walking.  I don’t fall as often now because I slow down, I don’t carry so much in my hands and I did exercise to strengthen that ankle.

Now, taking this same principle we have to ask are our spiritual lives off balanced.  Are we falling down because we take on too much to do in the church?  Do we fall down because we are in such a hurry?  Do we need to exercise and have better control of our spiritual muscles?  I love the scripture that tells us when we fall, we are to get back up for the Lord upholdeth us.

I have been journaling The Purpose Driven Life and in this 39th chapter Rick Warren lists five things to help keep our lives balanced.  They are:

1)  Love God with all your heart.  You were planned for God’s pleasure, so your purpose is to love God through worship.

2)  Love your neighbor as yourself.  You were shaped for serving, so your purpose is to show love for others through ministry.

3)  Go and make disciples.  You were made for a mission, so your purpose is to share God’s message through evangelism.

4)  Baptize them into…  You were formed for God’s family, so your purpose is to identify with his church through fellowship.

5)  Teach them to do all things.   You were created to become like Christ, so your purpose is to grow to maturity through discipleship.

If you are a parent, you know your first responsibility is to your family.  It is so important not to get off balanced by doing so much in church or in the community that your family suffers.  To balance your life I would recommend doing things together as a family.  Children learn so much by example.

In the next blog we will discuss four important activities for purpose-driven living.  Thank you so much for visiting and please come again.  Here are some verses that go along with today’s discussion.

Eph 5:15

 

Eph 5:16

redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Eph 5:17

Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;

Rick Warren gives four important activities for purpose-driven living.   A scripture he uses in this chapter is Proverbs 27:17:  “As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other. 

1)  Talk it through with a spiritual partner or small group.  In I Thessalonian Paul writes: “Encourage each other and give each other strength.”  I have found that in reading some blogs, this is exactly what is being done.  We are opening up ourselves with others.  Several of the blogs I read have such examples.  People going through difficult times and they blog about them.  Others will leave comments of encouragement.  This is just one way we can participate in talking through issues.  Of course small groups are excellent.  When we used The Purpose Driven Life  for our Sunday School class we helped each other.  It took us over 18 months to go through the book because we stopped and had discussions.

2)  Give yourself a regular spiritual check-up.  I do this often especially if I get grumpy or cranky.  It is important that when we give ourselves this check-up .  It is important that we don’t compare ourselves with others.  The Bible says:  “We dare not compare ourselves with others, it is not wise.”  II Corinthians 10:12  II Corinthians 13:5 “Make sure you are solid in the faith.  Do not drift along taking everything for granted.  Give yourselves regular checkups…test it out.  If you fail the test, do something about it. ”

3)  Write down your progress in a journal.  When I was sorting out some books of mine, I came across a journal I had written many years ago.  It mentioned the struggles I was having and I am not having those struggles today.  It showed me how I had grown in an area of my life. 

4)  Pass on what you know to others.    This can be done just like you share every day things with others.  We like to tell others about our pets, our family, recipes and things like that.  Just make it natural when you pass it on to others.  Your children and their friends need to have a believer pass on to them the message of hope and peace we find in our Lord.   Get excited, tell others what God has done in your life.   The message of the cross is full of hope and security.

I learned James 4:17 many years ago:  “Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but does not do it, is sinning.”  Rick Warren has used over a thousand scripture references when he wrote The Purpose Driven Life.  I certainly recommend your getting a copy and read it. 

The next blog will begin the wrap up of the book.  It is Chapter 40.  I hope you will join me as I journal.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you will come back and visit again.

On the last post we discussed doing a Life Purpose Statement.  On this post we will look at the five greatest questions that Rick Warren wrote in The Purpose Driven Life.  “When God’s at the center of your life, you worship.  When he is not, you worry.”  I found this statement to be true in my life.  My life turned a point and I know I can not live by myself right now with my health being as it is.  I worry about what would happen to me if my husband died.  Then I realized, that in some of the most difficult situations I’ve been in, I have trusted God to take care of me and God has. 

As you prepare to write your Life Purpose Statement, take a look at the five questions from The Purpose Driven Life .  They are:

1)  What will be the center of my life?  This is the question of worship.  Who are you going to live for?  What are you going to build your life around?  You can center your life around your career, your family, a sport or hobby, movies, having fun, or many other activities.  There is nothing wrong with these things, but they should be secondary to putting Christ first in the center of your life.  (I have been guilty of allowing my career to be the center of my life.)

2)  What will be the character of my life?  This is a question of discipleship.   It takes a lifetime to develop a Christ like character, so be patient.  God is interested in what you are than what you do.  Begin by making a list of the qualities you want to work on and develop in your life.  You can begin by using the Beatitudes or the fruit of the spirit.  I like to go to I Corinthians 13 and read it in several different translations.  I also use Philippians 4:7 and 8 as my purpose in life.

3)  What will be the contribution of my life?  This is a question of service.  This is where you apply what you have found to be your gifts, abilities, personality and experience.  Ask yourself “Who do I have a desire to help most?”  I was so excited when I was given the opportunity to work in Christian education and I was asked to do opening service of the day.  This time was when we gave an object lesson, sang a song and took prayer requests.  I found out that I could teach.  I was delighted and I loved every moment I taught.  Now, I am not good at hospitality where you go bring food to people.  My cooking is not very good and I know when I need to take something, I usually order two pizzas and take them.  Most people do not think about having pizza to take for the funeral meal.

4)  What will be the communication of my life?  This is the question of your mission to unbelievers.  If you are a parent your main mission is to teach your children about Christ and you want to add this to your statement.  You can always take Bible tracts with you as you go to the stores etc. and give them out.  I have a friend who home schools and if she out with her children during the day, she is often asked why aren’t the kids in school.  Then my friend gives a testimony about how she wanted her children to have a Christian education so she home schools them.  I wear my cross necklace and it has an unusual design.  Sometimes something as little as jewelery can open doors for you to speak.

5)  What will the community of my life?  This is the question of fellowship.  This area of our life needs to be balanced.  It is very important to get involved with other believers.  The Bible teaches us to love one another, to help one another etc. and if we are isolated in our own little world we will not be balanced like we need to.  This is especially important for the entire family.  You want your children to have interaction with other believers.

Next post we will bring The Purpose Driven Life to a conclusion.  Thank you for visiting and please come back.

Christine

Christine.  In 1968, I gave this name to my daughter.  Admittedly it was not my first choice of names.  I loved the name Deborah Lynn.  Well meaning friends talked me out of that name.  In 1968 you stayed in the hospital three days, if you had no complications, after giving birth.  Hours before being discharged the nurses said “you can’t go home until you decide on your daughter’s name”.  I picked up the book with baby names and their meanings.  I had already searched but I kept going back to the name Deborah Lynn and Christine.  Once I read the meaning of Christine “Little Follower of the Lord” I made my decision.  Her name would be Christine Marie.  Marie was a family name given to one of my sisters and my niece.  Lying in the hospital bed the past three days I couldn’t help but go back in time.

During my pregnancy I placed my hands gently over the swelling of my body.  I was a new Believer and all I could think about was that I wanted this baby to have the quality of life I never had.  I read where Hannah wanted a child and after years of going barren she had a son.  Hannah’s gratitude to God was so great that she took her son to the temple to be raised by Eli the Priest.    Once a year Hannah lovingly prepared a coat and brought it to her son.  Hannah spent time with Samuel and she watched him grow to become a great man of God.  Samuel became a priest/judge over Israel his life is recorded in history, forever,  in the Holy Bible.

While I was pregnant I lived with my sister and her husband.  Someone gave my brother-in-law a piglet that needed to be raised with a bottle.  I was elected to take care of “Pete” the pig.  I would awaken at all hours of the night with ‘squealing’ that would wake the dead.  Sleepily I stumbled into the kitchen, took the bottle out of the refrigerator and placed it in a saucepan of water.  Pete continued to squeal while I waited.  Time stood still, is this what being a ‘mom” was all about?  At last the bottle was ready.  I tested the milk on my arm making sure it was just the right temperature.  It was cold outside and I shivered underneath my coat.  Pete lived in a box on the back porch and I had a strong urge to bring the box and Pete inside where it was warm.    The box was too heavy and I knew I’ld be in big trouble if I even thought to bring Pete inside.  I would try to quiet Pete as I fed him.  He always would fight the bottle – that was not his mother’s tits.  I would have to squeeze the nipple so he could taste the milk and then he sucked on that nipple until the bottle was empty.  He didn’t stop until it was gone.  Nights became longer while he grew and needed up to three bottles.  Satisfied, Pete would always use his nose and move the rags around until they were piled around him (as though he was trying to lie up against his mother) and then he would fall fast asleep.  During the day my sister and her husband would sometimes feed him and it wasn’t long before we started adding ‘cream of wheat’ to his bottle.

As I took care of Pete, day after day, a bond grew stronger between myself and my baby.  I never felt alone as I sang and talked to my precious baby within my womb.  Hours and hours would pass while I rocked.  Should I keep her myself?  Should I put her up for adoption?  I was a mere child, unmarried, unloved and with no future.  I loved her father so much and miles separated me from the father of my baby.  I had time on my hands and time to reflect………..

When I found out I was pregnant my boy friend talked me into having an abortion.  My Dad was a recovering alcoholic and a widower since I was in the fourth grade.  Before my pregnancy began to show my boyfriend arranged for me to have an abortion.  His older sister found someone who could do it.  It was illegal in 1968 to have an abortion unless it was medically necessary.  I told my Dad I was going with friends and we would be gone for 3 days to visit a college campus.  It was the truth, in part, I was going to a college campus where my boy friend’s sister lived.  I’ll call my boyfriend J for the purpose of writing my story.  The morning arrived and we left  at dawn for we had a 4 to 4.5  hour drive.  J explained that if we kept the child it would ruin his going to college in the fall and both of our lives would change forever.  After all “it really isn’t a baby at this point” and he knew many girls who had an abortion.  I was in shock when he told me that his best friend’s girl friend had an abortion.  She was also one of my best friends.  She had advised me that if you really love your boyfriend it was alright to have sex with him.  It was no different from actually being married.  It was her mother who saw that she got an abortion.

I was in my junior year of high school.  I had college before me.  Since my mother’s death I talked rapidly and muttered.  Our high school, the first in our state, initiated new English programs.  We were required to take one semester each year of English grammar and our other English credits we good choose.  We had numerous classes of literature, typing, speech, journalism, spelling, shorthand etc.   My dad insisted I take the ‘speech’ classes.  I was in my 2nd year of speech and we had just completed the fine art of debate.  Our topics were current events and we went to the front of the class where one by one we drew out our topic out of a bowl.  My topic was “Debate Teen Pregnancy and the choice of Abortion.”  We had to have numerous research sources.  The speech had to last between 8 to 10 minutes and we had one month to prepare.  Our debate counted for 70% of our grade.  My preparation and the hours of research would change my life forever.  I was against one of the strongest debaters in our class.  I was to support “no sex before marriage” and adoption over abortion.

When I told my boyfriend I was pregnant he was extremely upset.  He didn’t want to get married.  He was graduating in a few months and had a scholarship for college.  No, marriage was not an option.  In our small town, in 1968, no one had a baby out-of-wedlock.  It was a scandal.  You certainly couldn’t consider having the baby and raising it on your own.  The baby and the mom would be scared for life.  It was the most horrid thing that could be imagined.

My boyfriend arranged and had the money to pay for the abortion.  We began our journey at dawn.  I was going somewhere, I just didn’t know where we were going.  No details were given to me.  It was all arranged.  It was so quite in his car.  I stared outside the window, miles and miles of prairie, no trees lined the road.  Wood telephone poles outlined the road with birds resting upon the wire.  I felt a stirring within my being which became stronger and stronger.  Each mile I would become more frightened.   All my research about Teen Pregnancy and Abortion ran through my mind.  I read the statistics of young women who had abortions, some died, others never got over the ordeal of ending a life, many were scared for life never to have more children.  My research revealed homes for unwed mothers where they continued their education.  When the time came for the baby to be born the baby was adopted.  Certainly that would be a far better choice than ending a life.

Mile after mile we continued on that long lonely stretch of highway listening to the radio.  We were in the part of our state where you must begin your journey with a full tank of gas as no gas station would appear for hours.  My boyfriend didn’t want anyone to catch us.  He was afraid my Dad would find out and try to stop us.  He was taking the roads no one hardly traveled.  No words passed between us and only the latest tunes could be heard in the car.  My thoughts were so loud I just knew that my boyfriend would hear them.  We loved each other and we had joined ourselves together in that love.  This was his child.  This was my child.  It was not an accident.  It was our love being carried in my womb.

I began to think back to the time J and I started dating.  Often he would get so depressed and he would gaze blankly ahead.  J told me if that happened I was to slap him into reality.  This happened numerous times and as I watched him drive toward our destination his expression was blank.  Didn’t he pledge his love and life to me forever?  I trusted him.  Why couldn’t we make it work?  Why an abortion?  That would end the life that I was carrying.  I feared if I changed my mind now, he would physically hurt me.  Certainly with the help of his Mom (who was a widow) and my Dad we could get married and both of us could still attend college.

Slowly the hours dragged on and the further I was away from home the more uneasy I became.  Finally I asked J to pull over for a minute.  We stopped and faced each other.  I told J how I wanted to keep the baby and it was wrong to have an abortion.  He told me “If you keep this baby it will be the 2nd greatest mistake of your life.  The first mistake was meeting me.”  He opened the door and told me to get out.  I couldn’t control the tears running freely down my face.  I grabbed my overnight case and began walking.  I had no idea where we were, we had passed no cars since we began our drive.  We passed no homes or businesses.  I did the only thing I knew to do, I got out of his car.  I put one foot in front of the other and started walking.  I have no idea how long I walked or even what direction I walking.  I knew deep inside that while I was scared and all alone I was making the right choice.

I had no answers as to what I should do.  I knew, however, that I didn’t want an abortion.  How could I be in this situation?  J was the only one for me.  J gave his life to me and I to him.  J told me we were married in the sight of God.  He told me there was no place in the Bible where it said we had to have a marriage certificate.  As I walked I recalled the research I did for my speech class.  My research indicated there were so many couples who wanted a baby to adopt.  Why end a life when you could give a life?

Time seemed to stand still as I walked alone on the highway.  I had no answers but I was determined to save this life which was living within me – a baby that was created with the one I loved.  I don’t remember now where J had driven to, or if he just stayed in the car where we stopped.  However, he pulled up beside me and demanded I get in. “Have it your way, but don’t drag me into your life.  I’ll deny that his baby is mine!”  Yikes!  The tension between us was so thick.  Is this really who I fell in love with?  The only one I had been intimate with?  J drove like a maniac and took me to the closest town where he bought me a ticket to go home.  Anger boiled within me.  How dare he not take me home!  He was cold like a jagged stone along the river bed.  How could he abandoned me and his child.

After traveling for over three hours I arrived home.  I arrived in the early evening and I had nothing to eat or drink all day.  I didn’t have any money and I was a 30 minute walk from home.  Hungry, thirsty and exhausted I dried my eyes and invented what I believed to be a “credible story’ to give to my Dad why I had come home so soon.  After crying for so long, I couldn’t control what I call the ‘crying hiccups.”  Hopefully my Dad would be out with his buddies on a Saturday.  It was possible I could go home and face the music tomorrow.  Putting on a brave face I began my journey.  A journey that continues today………

(story to be continued)

No part of this story can be copied or used in any way without the written consent of the author, being myself.

We use contracts and agreements for a lot of daily transactions.  Most of the times, in years past, all you needed was a hand shake.  I understand that in some of the third world countries a hand shake is still binding.  Now we are going to discuss a Life Purpose Statement. 

There is a lot of material in this process.  First we look at the definition of Life Purpose Statement.  These are the five essentials you must do in preparing this Live Purpose Statement.  Doing this statement will help you keep your committment to God and not stray away.  Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life gives these five essentials:

1) It is a statement that summarizes God’s purpose for your life.  It is not a list of goals.  Goals are temporary – purposes are eternal.

2) It is a statement that points the direction of your life.  The statement should not only point out only the good things you are going to do but also the bad things you do now.

3)  It is a statement that defines success for you. 

4) It is a statement that clarifies your roles.  Your roles change in your life as you advance in years and your abilities.

5) It is a statement that expresses your shape.  Your shape is the unique way God made you to serve Him.

People struggle with life’s questions:

     Identity – Whom am I?

    Importance – Do I matter?

    Impact – What is my place in life?

Tomorrow we look the five greatest questions: 

Begin thinking about these questions and with tomorrow’s blog will show you how to write your Life Statement.

When I prepare my Life Statement, I must look inward to see myself much as God sees me.  He sees my weak areas, my strengths, my pain, my depression and He sees my hope in Christ.  God knows He is the most important, constant strength in my life.  Consistency?  That has always been a problem for me.  I am including that in my Life Statement that I would be more consistent in my service to Him.
Proverbs 22:18 reads:  “It will be good to keep these things in mind so that you are ready to repeat them.”  Your Life Statement should be read and reread through out the year, then at the beginning of each new year review them and make changes accordingly.  I like to use verses in my Life Statement such as Psalm 119:18, 119:23, 24, Philippians 4:6-8, etc.  Below are the examples to get started taken from The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.  My comments will be in parenthesis.
My life purpose is to worship Christ with my (whole) heart, serve Him with my shape (Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience), fellowship with His family, grow like Him in character, and fulfill His mission in the world so He receives glory.
My life purpose is to be a member of Christ’s family, a model of His character, a minister of His grace, a messenger of His word, and a magnifier of His glory.
My life purpose is to love Christ, grow in Christ, share Christ, and serve Christ through His church, and to lead my family and others to do the same.
The Bible says:  “Many are the plans in man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
I will close this blog by sharing some of my scriptures I am using in my Life Statement.  Don’t forget to include your role in your family, your children and your spouse.  I always like to say “God first, Family second, Others third.  Don’t short change your family, uphold them in prayer and remember you can do little things like “smile”, take time with a senior or a widow or widower, or a home bound person.  Find your place through the desires God lays on your heart.  Don’t ignore  Him.  Seek others out, don’t hide your light under a bushel.  Have a good day and thanks for visiting my blog.  Here is one of my scripture prayers:
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts, and see if
there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Open my eyes, that I may see the wonderful things out of your word.  Teach me to be careful (anxious, don’t worry) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let my requests be made known to you.  I know that your peace of God fill my heart and mind.   Psalms 139:23,24; 119:18, Phillipians 4:6, 7
May I keep the things in my mind that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good reputation; virtues. Phillipians 4:8

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