I hope everyone has had an amazing week!
Mine has been busy. This time of year tends to be that way, right? I have a picture on Facebook somewhere of some of the produce I harvested from my garden.
Gardening was something I gave up so I could write books, but after being in Pittsburgh all spring I had such a need to grow things. So, I put in a late garden (actually, I put in some raised beds), but didn’t expect to get much because it was so late.
I’ve been super excited – and pleasantly surprised – at how well things have done! I didn’t have enough room to plant Hubbard squash, which were always my favorite squash for making pumpkin pies and rolls. (I prefer pumpkin rolls over pumpkin pies any day of the week and twice on Sundays. How about it? Which is better: pumpkin pies or pumpkin rolls?)
Here’s a devotion from earlier this year from the Chat:
Last week I read an email from an author who has a business helping other authors. She sends out little helpful emails a few times a week with tips and advice.
In this particular email she talked about the drama that was going on in the author world and how her advice was to stay out of it.
Ha. I had no idea there was any drama going on, had zero desire to find out what it was and I’m happily staying out of it. : )
It made me think about our lives, though, and how easily we get sidetracked from what we know we should be focused on.
Maybe that’s why I love resolutions at the beginning of the year – they keep me focused on the things I feel are important. Goals, if you will. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t really have a plan to get there.
The same thing is true in our spiritual lives.
What’s our purpose? How do we live it? Are the choices I’m making in my everyday life choices that will put me closer to what my purpose is? Or am I making decisions based on what I want in the moment?
I want to focus on doing the work the Lord has for me. I don’t want to allow myself to get sidetracked by people or things that take my eyes off God. By the unnecessary drama that’s happening all around me. I want to live His purpose for my life.
So…what is that purpose? What am I here for?
I put together a little list for myself based on what the Bible says and I thought I’d share it.
1. I exist to glorify God.
Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
An image is a representation. It gives a general impression of something. That means when people look at me, they should see – not God – but a representation of Him.
God is love. God is kindness. God is judgment. (It’s true.) God is light. And the Bible says: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Sometimes I get sidetracked. I forget that I am supposed to be reflecting God. Letting my light shine so that my life points people to Christ. I choose comfort. I choose convenience. I choose to hoard what God has given me and spend my money on myself and look out for my pleasure and happiness.
I forget that my money isn’t mine. (God owns everything.) My comfort doesn’t matter in light of eternity and my convenience often means someone else’s inconvenience.
Where’s my focus? Often, far from being on God and bringing glory to Him, it’s on ME.
2. I exist to point others to Christ.
I loved the post in the Chat earlier this week about manners and how they’re lacking in today’s world. I loved it because the worse the world gets, the more someone who doesn’t act like the world stands out.
Sure, it’s a lot more inconvenient for us to live in a world that has no values or morals and where basic kindness isn’t considered important.
But the darker the world gets, the easier it is for your light to shine bright. Right? Where you can do something kind and people look at you like you’re a species they’ve never seen before. They might say, “You’re different.” Then they might say, “Why?” Ha. Well, funny you should ask. lol
I’ve seriously had people say those exact things to me.
It’s not easy to return kindness for evil. To be generous when you’re struggling to survive. To choose to give more and have less. To work hard and long and not indulge in the recreation that society seems to think is essential. To enjoy simple things like family dinners and watching sunsets and taking walks and chatting with neighbors. To turn off the world’s entertainment and to open your Bible. To open your home to anyone – literally anyone.
But people notice those things. The Bible says But ye are a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Peculiar means strange or odd. Unusual.
How are we doing with that one?
Can people tell us from the world? Not just because we mention Jesus once in a while, maybe, when the time is right and we’re surrounded by other Christians, but by our peculiar actions.
Go on. Go out in the world and be peculiar. : ) Be so different from Satan’s world, that people notice. Be so joyful, so happy, have so much fun – as you live your life in the image of God – that people look at you and want what you have.
3. To preach with my life by being the biggest blessing I can to people.
In Galations it says: by love serve one another.
Jesus says in Mark: whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
In Philipians it says: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Wow. you could spend a lifetime trying to live just that last verse. Couldn’t you?
Jesus wants us to serve others with love.
Think about how that flies in the face of what psychologists teach us today. They go on about self-esteem and how we need to stand up for ourselves and how you can’t let people walk all over you and how any relationship where you’re doing all of the giving is toxic. Etc. Right?
Now, I agree, it’s much easier to serve people who are nice to you. Ha. Common sense. And it’s really nice to be in relationships where all of you are always trying to serve each other and no one person is doing all of the taking while someone else is doing all of the giving.
Those are the kind of relationships psychologists would have us believe we should be in and if not, we should seek them out or there’s something wrong with us.
But look again at what the Bible says:
Servant of all.
Esteeming others better than myself.
If you’re in a difficult relationship. If you’re living with people who are selfish. If you work with people who are constantly taking, putting you down, being inconsiderate and rude, rejoice!! Look at the opportunity you have to live these verses! You don’t have to seek out an opportunity to be a servant, it’s in your lap right now!
(And, just so no one gets the wrong idea about me, I’m just the same as every other human out there and this does not come easy or naturally and I don’t do it more than I do.)
It’s not easy. It’s not usually fun. But God, in his sovereign, gracious love, is constantly giving us opportunities to become more like Him. To be less selfish and more others-focused. To be less greedy and more generous. To be less hurtful and more loving. To be less like our fallen nature and more conformed to the image of Christ.
See our trials as opportunities for growth.
See the darkness of the world as an opportunity to shine brighter.
Don’t get sidetracked by all the things that don’t matter. Keep your eyes on God and His purpose for your life.
Be so happy, so joyful, so different that people ask what you’re taking because they want some. Then give them some Jesus. That’s what the world needs.
That’s what we’re here for.
Have a beautiful and blessed weekend!
Thanks for spending time with me today.
Hugs and love,