The Believer’s Purpose


God has a purpose for your life. If that weren’t true, He’d have taken you home to heaven at the moment of salvation. Do you ever wonder why He left you here?

The Lord intends to influence others through you. Our purpose is to be a vessel through which Christ overflows to others–touching those who hurt and desperately need a Savior. Once we are saved, Scripture teaches, our involvement is threefold.

First, we love others. Jesus clearly stated that this was one of the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:38-39).

Second, we share the good news of salvation (Acts 1:8). Some travel across the world to spread the gospel, while others teach neighbors across the street. The Holy Spirit will direct us to the right people if we are willing to obey.

Third, we serve in a variety of ways, like helping those in need, sharing our resources, and lifting others in prayer. Jesus is our perfect example of all three. His entire life was marked by caring for people–both those who loved Him and those who did not. In fact, the Bible teaches that He humbled Himself and became like us, willing to give up His life for our redemption. There is no greater love; there is no greater act of service.

Scripture clearly defines the believer’s purpose. Aligning ourselves with God’s intentions for His children–loving others, witnessing, and serving– bring us great satisfaction. In fact, we’re still on earth not merely to hear more teaching but to act on it and share with others what we learn.

Reposted from In Touch Ministries

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How to Tell If Your Struggles Are from You, God, or Satan


Reposted from Crosswalk

If you’ve been a believer for much time, you’ve been faced with this question at least once in your spiritual life. “Is the battle I’m facing from God, myself, or the Devil?” 

Depending on what side of the church tracks you live on, we can easily give credit to any one of them. I’ve heard the phrases, “God is trying to teach you a lesson” or “The devil is attacking you” in the very same community of believers. What about human choice? Don’t we have a part to play in what we are experiencing?

Our winning and losing in our everyday lives will depend on our understanding of the battle and with whom we are fighting. We won’t be dominant over the enemy until we see this life-or-death fight up close and personal.

The War is Over

The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than for each of us to believe we are fighting for victory and not from victory.  When Christ died on the cross in our place to pay the penalty of sin, the war was over. Spoiler alert: We Won! God has the whole world in His hands and has made a way for us to spend eternity with Him.

So, why do we struggle? Because we still live on the earth. We have a real enemy, and as long as we are alive, we will have to deal with him. We have nothing to fear. If we are living our life in Christ, we will always be more powerful than anything that comes our way. But, the Bible is clear that we aren’t to be ignorant of our enemy.

The Devil is an Angel with a God Complex

You may think of God and the Devil as equal and opposing figures fighting each other from two different sides, much like the cartoon image we have of a devil and an angel perched on someone’s shoulders. But we need to be clear: The story of God and the Devil isn’t one of two gods fighting each other. The Devil is an angel with a God complex. His power and authority are only in his possession because God has allowed him to continue for the time being.

The Devil is a Liar

The only way to know if it’s your enemy is to understand his exact characteristics. Your enemy’s whole purpose in life is to get you to believe a lie about God.  It started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. His lies sound like, “God isn’t that good” or “God’s not telling you the whole truth.”  The lies always go deeper, “God made a mistake when he made you” or “God’s not going to help you.” All grounded in lies about God. One of his greatest and most powerful lies always begins with your identity. It sounds like, “You can’t do it” or “ You don’t have what it takes.” His words are wrapped in fear, anxiety, and shame.

The Devil is an Accuser

Our enemy loves to accuse us. He’s known as the accuser of the brethren (Revelations 12).

Once we begin to live in spiritual confidence, he uses another lie. “Who do you think you are?” often trying to accuse us of pride and arrogance. He loves to use accusation to stop us in our tracks. An accusation is claiming someone is doing something wrong. Our enemy will never stop there. He will always go further hoping we believe the lie, “You are wrong” or “You were made wrong.”  Accusations are dangerous because they will always distract us from our real purpose, which is to live in the abundant life Christ died to give us.

The Devil is a Thief

In John 10:10 it depicts our enemies exact character. It says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;”

The word steal in the Greek is the word klepto. It’s where we get the word kleptomaniac, which means, someone who steals for the thrill of taking. When the enemy operates in our lives, he is stealing from us as well. We may not realize it as it’s happening, but eventually, we feel the sense of loss and see that what is rightfully ours has been taken from us. If we want to walk in daily victory, we must remember that the enemy comes into our lives as a thief.

The Devil Wants Us to Sacrifice

In John 10:10 it uses the word kill, but it doesn’t mean what you might assume. The word kill in the Greek is Thuo, which means to sacrifice. “God’s not coming through for you!” or “You are not going to experience it!” are the enemy’s smoke screens.  When the enemy comes to kill, he’s hoping you will sacrifice everything God has given you. He tells you that you have waited too long, believed for too much, and seen nothing happen. You might as well throw in the towel. The crazy thing is, we believe his lies. The Devil may not have to steal very much from us—especially if we are already giving it away.

Living Spiritually Alert

(…To keep Satan from taking advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2:11 amp). 

Paul points out, “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” I have often heard the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss,” which suggests that if I don’t know something, then life is more comfortable, relaxed, and peaceful for me. But ignorance is not a godly way of living. Being ignorant of the enemy’s schemes only leaves us vulnerable to his tactics.

Being spiritually illiterate doesn’t mean the enemy will leave us alone. It means we are more likely to make critical mistakes due to a lack of full understanding. Ignorance will hurt us and leave us confused, dejected, and deceived. God did not call us to be spiritually blind; he called us to be spiritually alert.

 

Religious – Yet Lost


Reposted from Max Lucado

A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful: Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!

Why The Bible Matters


bibleReposted from Radical Mentoring

Why do so few people read the Bible?

I’m not talking about a random verse pulled out to make a point, I’m talking about the book itself . . . the entity . . . this thing that’s integral to our faith. It’s one of the most important topics!

God’s Word is eternal . . . it’ll last beyond the internet, the Super Bowl, the iPhone, the Final Four . . . everything. In heaven, we’ll recognize the words, the wisdom, and the authors, and we’ll never tire of learning what it all means.

So why bother now? Why not wait until heaven when we’ll have all the time in the world? (. . . or out of the world?) Besides, is this stuff really important? Is it really true? Why do we struggle to ‘get into it’?

There’s the fact that God’s Word has been around . . . unchanged for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and almost half the world’s population believe its essence. A friend of mine was ready to commit his life to the nine ‘insights’ spelled out in The Celestine Prophecy. I asked, “Wow, what if the author changes his mind, or discovers some new truth?” Shortly after, he published The Tenth Insight. My friend later became a Jesus-follower.

Isn’t it smarter to build your life on a time-tested plan?  The New Testament approach to life is wise, effective, stable, practical, and true.

“But isn’t the Bible just a compendium of stories and folklore, pieced together by church people with a motive?”

Sounds convincing, until you try to explain how the Dead Sea Scrolls perfectly matched earlier manuscripts and were untouched by church people from their recording until their discovery in the 1950’s. The Bible is true. You can depend on it.

“But is it relevant?” You bet it is! Here’s just one example . . .

You get a new job or have your first child or move to a new church. You’re scared out of your skin! But when you read 2 Timothy 1:7, God reminds you “the spirit of fear is not of God, but God is love, power and a sound mind.” Suddenly, you realize “Hey, I can do this! God loves me! This fear I’m feeling isn’t coming from Him . . . I have His power within me . . . I can discipline myself . . . I have a sound mind . . . let’s get on with it!” You’re no longer afraid.

And one more point . . . the Bible is supernatural! I’m not kidding.

Remember Hebrews 4:12? For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Paraphrase: God will use His Word to help you sort out your thoughts and attitudes regarding what you want (i.e., your “heart”).

I take that to mean when I read the Bible and ask, “God, what are you teaching me here?” or “Lord, what would you have me do?” He’ll often give me wisdom I’m not smart enough to discover on my own.

And then I try to obey. I also write it down in my journal, because I don’t want to forget. I’ve unearthed much of what’s written in my blog posts this way.

So . . . read your Bible. And chat with the Author as you read. Pray. Ask questions. Listen to His answers and instructions.