Live with Purpose

It's easy to wonder at times what purpose God has for our life, especially during times that are unsettled. We've been so focused on our job, raising our family, and paying the bills that all we see and feel is ordinary. When we look at other people who have special gifts and seem to have a great purpose for living, we can't see God's purpose in our life. But just because we aren't seeing or feeling it doesn't mean it's not there.

Even the great leader Moses needed to come to the place where he recognized his gifts and learned to walk in God's purpose. Circumstances had caused Moses to be raised by Egyptian royalty, but he ended up having to flee in fear into the wilderness where he stayed for forty years. Everything about his life became ordinary. Then suddenly one day God appeared to him and said, "I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:10). I can only imagine Moses immediately thinking, "You want me to tell the most powerful man in the world to let our people go? Seriously?" Moses pleaded with God to send someone else. "No one will ever believe me. I stutter and have never spoken well. I can't do it."

But God was saying, "I've shaped you from your birth. Every experience you've had and every gift I've placed in you has prepared you for this assignment." Moses couldn't see what God had placed in his life, yet over a thousand years later the writer of Acts stated, "Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action" (Acts 7:22). That was a far cry from what Moses thought about himself! Isn't it interesting that he couldn't see in himself what others saw as being so obvious.

Recognize the gifts and abilities God has given you, then give them over to God to be used for His purposes. He will use them to accomplish great things in your life. But it's up to you to mix your abilities and gifts with faith and move forward with courage because, as with Moses, God's assignment always comes with challenges. We like what's easy, but God is saying, "Take those things that are difficult for you to do and give them to Me because that's how you'll grow." When God speaks to those difficult places, He's speaking to your potential, to becoming everything you were designed to be. And just as Moses did, you're going to look back at a defeated Pharaoh some day and say, "God, You did more than I could ask, think, or imagine. You fulfilled my life purpose."


Roar Back

We all have things that come against us in life that look permanent—a child who's off course, an addiction, a health issue. It seems so big, so intimidating. It's easy to be overcome and think it will never turn around. But the Scripture says, "No weapon formed against you will prosper" (Isaiah 54:17). God was saying, "Trouble may come, sickness may form, people may do you wrong, but don't worry. It's not going to prosper." That's not how your story ends. God has the final say. He doesn't stop every difficulty, but He promises that it has to go back. It's not permanent.

In Jeremiah 5, God says, "I have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it. And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it." Though the ocean may be a billion times bigger and more powerful than the sand, God put an everlasting ordinance in the sand that it would keep the ocean in its boundaries. The ocean may roar and pound the sand with its waves, but because of God's decree, the sand will not be overpowered.

What you're up against may look bigger, more powerful, but when you have God's Word in your heart, that's the everlasting ordinance. His Word is the decree that enables you to withstand storms that are stronger, overcome enemies that are bigger, and accomplish dreams that seem impossible. Now make sure you do your part and keep God's Word in your heart. For any area that you're struggling in, you need to find Scriptures that you can stand on. It's good to pray, but there's nothing more powerful than saying what God says about you. Even when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, He said, "It is written" (Matthew 4:4). With each temptation, He went back to the Scripture and quoted what God said. When you're in difficult times, don't just say what you feel, what you think, or what you want. Say what God says about your situation.

When the enemy roars at you like the waves roaring at the beach, roar back at him. When the thought roars, "You'll never get over this sickness," roar back, "I will live and not die. The number of my days God will fulfill." When he roars, "You can't accomplish your dreams. You don't have the talent," roar back, "Whatever I touch prospers and succeeds. Goodness and mercy are following me." Don't let him have the last roar. You have God's Word. His promises will prevail. Now tell the ocean to go back.


Use the Power of Remembrance

So many times when negative things happen to us, we just tuck them away into the treasury of our heart. Perhaps you've been experiencing some of these over the past weeks. But then when you want to remember what is beneficial and what is good, the negative thoughts break in that make you feel sad, lonely, or depressed. Maybe those negative thoughts make you feel fearful for what could happen in the future. That's what negative thoughts do. They cause us to pause, to not walk in faith and victory. That's why I want to encourage you to remember the good.

Throughout the New Testament, the apostles often made statements such as, "I am writing to remind you." The apostle Paul said to Timothy, "Keep reminding God's people of these things" (2 Timothy 2:14). Peter wrote to his readers: "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking" (2 Peter 3:1). They knew the power in remembering the right things. They knew that when you remember what God has said and done, it will transform your thinking and your life. They knew that it's so easy to put our minds on autopilot and forget all His benefits. We have to know that there's transforming power in our remembrances, especially during times of difficulty.

In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to take time out from their busy schedules seven times a year to celebrate a variety of national festivals, which were times of remembrance marked by thanksgiving and joyous feasting. This wasn't optional. He required His people to regularly take time and pause to remember and celebrate the miracles and the marvelous deeds He had done on their behalf.

Do you know why He wanted them to do that? Because they were a lot like us today. We get busy doing life, struggling so hard to make things happen every day, that we tend to forget what's more important than all that. We forget Who's in control. We forget Who we can depend on to make things happen. We forget Who can do things that we can't do. We even forget the miracles that God has done in our lives—how He's worked in our lives, our victories, our successes, the good times—and we get stuck in negativity.

God wants you to remember the good, what He has done for you and in your life. When you remember the good, it helps you through the tough times. He wants you to move forward today. Use the power of remembrance to strengthen your faith and help you get through.