Losing Your Purpose

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Losing Your Purpose


Isaiah 23:4
"Be thou ashamed, O Zidon: for the sea hath spoken, even the strength of the sea, saying, I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins."


One of the greatest dangers for an individual, organization or nation is to lose their purpose of existence. In the verse above, it seems as if Zidon had lost its purpose for existence.  Notice what the verse says about Zidon, "I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins." Zidon fell for the trap of trying to do everything that was easy and living for itself.  It forgot that a generation followed whom they were commanded to teach the ways of the LORD.  Because Zidon lost its purpose for existence, they wandered from God's commandments, therefore they had to face the judgment of God.  

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Christian, you must be careful about losing your purpose for existence.  You can clearly see in the verse above that your purpose for existence is not you. God did not bring you into this world so that you could live for yourself.  God brought you into this world to fulfill a task that only you could fulfill, which is training the generation that follows you in the ways of the LORD.  If you fall for the trap that Zidon did, and to no avail, then you will lose your purpose and face God's judgment.  

Furthermore, every church must be careful not to lose its purpose for existence. The purpose of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission. You will notice that the Great Commission is about others.  When a church becomes focused on itself, then a church will lose its purpose for existence.  When a church loses its purpose, that is when a church will start having problems between church members.  Simply put, a church needs to travail over making sure the next generation carries on the truth.  

Once you lose your purpose, it is hard to get it back.  Yet, you must get it back or else you will spiritually die.  The way to get it back is to get some help.  Recently I had a person call me for help in this area.  They told me they had lost their purpose, which led them to make many selfish decisions.  They told me that they needed someone to help them get back on track.  That is exactly what you need to do!  When you lose your purpose, you need to get help from someone who will help you to get refocused on your purpose.

Furthermore, while getting help, you need to get refocused on others.  The best way I have found to do this is through soul winning. Soul winning has a way of getting Christians focused on their purpose for existence.  When you see what sin is doing to people, you will find it easier to get refocused.  Likewise, when you start seeing people saved, the focus of your purpose starts coming back. You must purposely take your eyes off of yourself to get refocused, and the best way to do this is through soul winning.

In closing let me encourage you to keep your purpose of existence. Your purpose as a Christian is to reproduce yourself in others.  That means you need to be a soul winner and lead others to Christ, then help disciple them to go out and do the same.  If you will keep your focus on this purpose, then you will find it easier to obey every command of God, which will keep you from His judgment.

Ruling Your Oppressor

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Ruling Your Oppressor


Isaiah 14:2
"And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors."


 One of the things that everyone will have to endure in their life are things that will try to oppress them.  Whether or not you like them, trials will come your way and will try to oppress you as you try to serve the LORD.  The degree of success in your Christian life will be determined by whether you rule your trials or your trials rules you.  If you allow your trials to oppress you, then you will fail in your Christian life.  Moreover, if you decide to rule over your trials, then you can use those trials as a stepping stone towards a successful Christian life.  

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In the verse above, you will notice that God said He would allow His people to one day rule over their oppressors.  The same people who ruled them in captivity would be the same people whom Israel would one day rule over.  The key to them ruling over their oppressors was taking the initiative to follow God's leading and bringing their oppressors to their land.  

In order for you to rule your oppressor you will have to take several steps that Israel took in the verse above.  First, you must choose to rule your oppressor.  Notice it says in the verse above, "And the people shall take them..." Israel had to choose to rule over their oppressor.  If they would have sat in their captivity and sulked, then they would never have had victory over their oppressors.  Likewise, you will never obtain victory over that which oppresses you until you choose not to let it rule over you.  

Second, you cannot run from that which is trying to oppress you.  Notice in the verse above that Israel brought these people "to their place..."The best way to choose to rule your oppressor is to decide to stay and not run.  People who run from their trials end up letting their trials oppress them.  Though you may not enjoy your trials, you must decide to stay put and not run from them.  

Third, you must realize that the source of your oppression will not leave.  In the verse above, Israel did not rid themselves of their captors, instead they ruled over them.  Many times people think that getting rid of their trials will cause them to overcome their oppression only to be disillusioned when they realize the trials will follow them the rest of your life.  I don't know what you are facing, but you must accept that you may end up having these trials the rest of your life.  Accepting this is part of the steps to ruling your oppressor.  

Fourth, you must control your oppression and not let it control you.  What I mean by this is you must not let it stop you from doing what you have done before. Instead, you must keep on doing what you are supposed to do in spite of your trials.  If you allow your trials to stop you, then they will oppress you.  So, take your trials and decide you will not let them take your joy and stop you from doing what God has called you to do.  Take them and use them as a tool to do greater things for God.  

Last, if you are going to rule your oppressor, you must get God's help.  Israel got God's help in ruling their captors.  Likewise, you must daily ask God to help you to rule that which would like to oppress you.  Without God's help you will wear down.  So, daily ask God to give you the strength to rule your oppressor.  

Christian, don't let your oppressor rule you, but decide right now that you will rule your oppressor.  Take whatever trials you are facing and use them as the tool to serve God in a better way.  By doing this you will find that you can rule your oppressor.

Working What You Know

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Working What You Know


1 Chronicles 28:3
"But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood."   


A very important principle for life is taught in this verse when David was forbidden from building a house for God.  The reason why God would not let David build him a house is because he was a "man of war." It was not that David was a warrior, but God knew that David was better at fighting battles than building temples.  David's knowledge of building a house for God was not his expertise.  For David to build a house for God would be out of the area for which God had made him.  

One of the biggest mistakes that many people make is that they pursue things for which they were not made.  My good friend, Dr. Russell Anderson, constantly tells people about business, "Work what you know, and know what you work." Often people try to go into a business that they know nothing about and end up financially ruining themselves.  Likewise, often people try pursuing something that they know nothing about only to waste a portion of their life and get sidetracked from doing what God wants them to do.  

God gave you some talent at which you are very good. God gave you that talent to use for Him.  God never gives us something for the purpose of wasting it on ourselves; He always gives us something so we can use it for Him.  Christian, whatever talent God has given you, use it to serve Him.  It is selfish and wrong to use it for your gain and not for God's service.  Though God is not against you using it for yourself, the primary purpose of your talent is to serve Him.  

Furthermore, be careful about getting sidetracked in areas where you have no knowledge.  Don't waste your life and talent on things that will pull you away from doing what God created you to do. You will find the greatest satisfaction in life by doing that for which you were created.  One of the greatest lures Satan uses to get you away from serving God is to get you to pursue something for which God did not create you. What you pursue may not be bad, but you are to stay in God's will for your life.  It is in God's will where you will find true satisfaction.  

Be careful to stay in the areas that you know, and work those areas, for that is where you will accomplish the most in your life.

God is not an Elitist

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God is Not an Elitist


1 Chronicles 13:14

"And the ark of God remained with the family of Obededom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obededom, and all that he had."


Quite often in the Scriptures, the name of a person described their character.  Such is the case with Obededom.  The name "Obededom" means, "a worker of Edom." In other words, Obededom was a common everyday man.  Yet, the great thing about this man was that God chose to bless him.  God isn't a God Who only blesses the elite of society; quite the opposite is true.  God is a God Who blesses the common man.  

We live in a day where the common man seems to wonder if he is forgotten or even heard.  The political system of this day has become one of a bunch of elitists who try to tell the common workingman how they must live their lives.  Sad to say that there are even those in Christianity who only want people to believe that only the elite can know what is right and wrong.  Yet when you look through the Scriptures, you will find that God uses the common man because He is not an elitist.  The blue-collar workingman has hope in the fact that God is not an elitist.  

The story in the verse above proves that God is not an elitist.  God blessed the house of Obededom who was a common person. The same blessings that came upon Obededom can also come upon you.  You don't have to be an elitist for God to bless you.  If you are a common person, let me remind you that God enjoys blessing the common man.  

Secondly, one of the reasons why God blessed Obededom was because he was a worker.  God blesses those who work.  It is amazing how "lucky" the hard worker is.  The fact is, the hard worker is not lucky, but they are blessed because God chooses to bless the worker.  The harder you work the more God will bless.  There are many people who fill time, but there are few people who work hard.  If you want God's blessings, then one way to get His attention is through hard work.  

Lastly, the reason God chose to bless Obededom was because he was not concerned about position, but he was simply concerned with being in God's presence.  It is believed that Psalm 84:10 was written about Obededom where it says, "...I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." As long as Obededom could open the door at God's house and be where His presence dwelt, then he was happy just to be there.  When you forget about position and simply desire the presence of God, that is when you will find yourself dwelling in the presence of God's blessings.  

Christian, let me remind you again that God is not an elitist.  God is the God of the common man.  You can receive the blessings of God upon your life like anyone else if you will simply do what it takes to get those blessings.


Very Able Men

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Very Able Men


1 Chronicles 9:13

"And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God."


You see in this chapter the importance of men taking charge and fulfilling their God-given roles.  When God described the men who worked in the house of God, He said they were "very able men." These were not men who could not make decisions, but they were "very able men." These men did not sit at home while their wives served God.  These men did not sit on the sidelines of the temple while the ladies did all the work.  No, these men took charge and did their work because they were "very able men."  

If a church is going to be strong, then that church needs men who are "very able men." If a nation is going to be strong, then that nation needs men who are "very able men." If the home is going to be what it ought to be, then it needs a man who is "very able." If married couples are going to be successful in fulfilling what God has for them to do, then their marriages need a man who is "very able." Don't get me wrong, I don't believe ladies are inferior, but we live in a society where manhood has been attacked, and we need some men who will take charge and become "very able."  

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If we are going to have men who are "very able," then it must start at home with men who will lead their homes.  Men, your boys are not going to become "very able men" if you don't take charge and lead in your home.  Your boys will only follow your example.  They need to see a dad who makes decisions and spiritually leads the home in the direction that it should go.  They will never become "very able men" with a dad who makes his wife make all the decisions because he is too lazy or doesn't care.  You are training your boy by your example.  

Furthermore, mothers need to train their boys to become "very able men." Mothers, teach your boys to make good decisions by leading them to make decisions in the home when dad is gone.  Though you ultimately will make the decisions when dad is gone, it is important that your boys know how to make proper decisions.  Let your boys get dirty when they play so they won't be afraid to get dirty and get a job one day. Let your boys work with dad, even if it is going to inconvenience you.  As a mother you should do everything you can to turn your boys into "very able men."  

This society is dying for men to become men again.  Until the men become "very able men" who make decisions and lead, then this society will continue to be a weak society.  Men, step up and become the "very able" man that you should be, and rear your boys to become "very able men."

Without Children

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Without Children


1 Chronicles 2:30

"And the sons of Nadab; Seled, and Appaim: but Seled died without children."


It is interesting that two times in 1 Chronicles 2 God mentions men who "died without children." For most this would not seem to be that big of a deal, but for some who are trying to have children and can't, this is a big deal.  It is interesting to me because God took notice that they had no children.  I know several people who would love to have children, but for whatever reason God has not allowed them to have any.  To those who have no children and read this devotional, let me briefly talk to you.  

I have an uncle and aunt, L. J. and Bessie Parr, who were not able to have any children. To say the least, though they had no children, they influenced many in their lives.  Instead of complaining about not having any children, they invested themselves into the lives of many other children.  My aunt taught me to be a soul winner and helped me lead my first person to Christ when I was seven years of age. When I was at Bible college, they took care of me as if I was their own child.  These two people, though they had no children, will never be forgotten in my life for the great influence they had upon me.  

To those who have no children, let me remind you that it is not the end of the world.  Though you may want children, you must understand that it must not be God's will.  Stop fighting God, and realize that this is not the end of the world.  There is a purpose as to why God has not allowed you to have children.  If you fight the will of God, then you will never find that purpose that He has for you.  As long as God has not given you children, it is His will and you must accept it.  

Furthermore, because you have no children, what you ought to do is invest your life and efforts into others.  Just like my uncle and aunt invested their lives into me, you should take the time that you would spend rearing your children to help other children who don't have a good home.  Maybe the whole reason why God did not give you children is so that you could take your efforts and invest them into many other children.  God knew that if you had children of your own that you would not have as much time to invest in others, so maybe He didn't give you children for the purpose of you helping many children.  By investing your life in many children, you can take pride in the fact that you had a part in their life.  

Okay, so you are without children, don't let that destroy your spirit.  There are many out there whom you could influence if you do not let this destroy you.  If you will invest your life into the lives of others, then you will find that you will not be forgotten.


Get a steak

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Don't Ask for the Hamburger, Get a Steak


1 Kings 20:10

"And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees."


In the verse above, you find the story of the man of God telling Hezekiah that he would be healed. Hezekiah somewhat doubted that the man of God was right, so he asked for a sign from God to be sure that this would happen.  The man of God asked Hezekiah what he wanted God to show him.  Hezekiah responded by saying, "It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees..." Hezekiah was not asking God to do something easy, but he was challenging God to do something that seemed difficult.  

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I am reminded of a story I heard a preacher tell about a young college student who was praying and begging God to give him something to eat.  He said this college student said, "God, all I am asking of you is a hamburger." Dr. John R. Rice heard that young man praying that prayer and told the young man that he should pray for steak.  He told the young man that if God could give him a hamburger then He could also give him a steak.  

Oftentimes this happens with many people.  Too many people pray asking for the hamburger when God would give them a steak if they would simply ask.  Hezekiah said, "It is a light thing..." Hezekiah wasn't asking God for the hamburger, no, he was asking God for some steak.  I challenge you in your prayer life to stop only asking God for the light things.  Christian, if God can give you a hamburger then He can also give you a steak.  Don't get me wrong, I believe it is important in building our faith to get some "light" prayers answered, but there is a God in Heaven Who wants to give you some great things if you would only ask.  It is not that God doesn't have the power to do the great things for you, it is simply that His people have stopped asking Him to do great things.  

When is the last time you stepped up your prayer from a hamburger to a steak?  God promises us in Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" This promise is for you!  All you have to do is ask.  Christian, don't stop asking for the hamburger, but don't stop at the hamburger and ask God for the steak also.  You will never receive until you ask

O Give Thanks

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O Give Thanks


Psalm 105:1
"O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people."    


Recently I was walking through a store right after Halloween, and I noticed that the store had already started decorating for the Christmas season.  This shocked me because the next holiday was Thanksgiving.  As I thought about this, I began to realize that being ungrateful is one of the problems with today's society.  Yes, I know that stores are most interested in making money, and that is why they quickly switch to the Christmas decorations, yet, I also believe that the ungratefulness of today's society plays a role in this.  

God commands in the verse above, "O give thanks unto the LORD..." God commands His people to give thanks, for He wants to see that people are grateful for what He has done for them.  When God used the word "O," He was trying to catch your attention.  God used this word in such a way that He was trying to shock you into realizing the importance of giving thanks to Him.  God believes that He deserves a "Thank you" for all the good that He does for you.  

Taking this one step further, if God desires people to thank Him, and if man is created in His image, then that means that people desire you to thank them when they do something for you.  For some reason it seems as if it is hard for people to say "Thank you" when someone does something for them.  One reason people don't say "Thank you" is because they are ungrateful.  Another reason is because they believe they deserve what is given to them.  Yet, another reason is because people have so much pride that they are embarrassed to say "Thank you."  

Christian, you need to be sure that being appreciative and grateful is a part of your daily response.  When someone does something for you, a simple "Thank you" will go a long way.  Sometimes it wouldn't hurt you to write a "Thank you" note to the person who has done something for you.  If they could take the time to do something special for you, then the least that you can do is take some time to write a "Thank you" note.  If you don't learn to say, "Thank you" when someone does something for you, then you may end up training them to never do anything for you again.  

Ungratefulness is saying that you didn't need their generosity in the first place.  Make it your common response to God and fellow man to say "Thank you" when they do something for you.

Petty Things

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Petty Things


Song of Solomon 2:15
"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes."

It was a common thing in Israel for a man to have his own vineyard. Throughout the Scriptures you often see comparisons to the vineyard.  One of the main enemies of the vineyard were the wild animals that would come in and destroy the vines.  Because of this, the husbandman would build a hedge about his vineyard to keep the animals out.  

In the verse above, God warned about the "little foxes" destroying the vineyard.  Most of the vineyards were safe from the larger animals, but the little fox could find a small gap in the hedge and get in and destroy the grapes and the vines.  God is teaching us that the little things of life are what destroy more often than the big things.

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As this book is mainly about marriage, we see that this verse is warning us to not allow petty things to destroy the marriage relationship. Rarely are marriages destroyed because of big things; it is usually the little things that destroy a marriage.  Yes, the big things are usually what people blame for the failure of their marriage, but the big things are a result of not dealing with the little things properly.  

We must be careful about allowing the petty things to destroy our marriage. Most arguments in a marriage are over petty things.  Most disagreements in a marriage are over petty things.  For instance, ladies should not allow her husband's socks being in the middle of the floor destroy her marriage.  Likewise, a man should not allow his wife not doing things like he would do them to destroy his marriage.  If you are not careful, you will allow the petty things, or the "little foxes," to destroy your marriage.  

Furthermore, it is the little things that destroy most relationships.  Many church members allow petty things to destroy their attitude towards their pastor and church.  Many employees allow petty things to destroy their spirit about their place of employment.  Many friends allow petty things to destroy a relationship with a good friend.  If you allow the petty things to destroy relationships, then one day you will become a very lonely person.  

Beware of those little petty things that destroy relationships. The greatest way to avoid the petty things is to not make any relationship about you. When you make a relationship about you and what you get out of it, that is when the petty things will bother you. If you will make every relationship you have about the other person, then you will find that most of the petty things won't bother you.  

When you do have a little petty thing that bothers you, ask God to help you not to allow it to destroy your relationship.  If you will wisely talk to the other person about that situation without losing your cool, you will often find that they didn't even know that the petty thing bothered you.  More often than not they will try to avoid that petty thing in your presence if they know about it.  If they don't, then be gracious to them and try to avoid what causes the petty thing to arise.  

Life is too short to allow the petty things to destroy our relationships with others. If you will look at the whole picture in every relationship, you will find that you can make each relationship work in spite of the petty things.  Be careful about focusing on petty things, and enjoy those with whom you have relationships.


Don't Give Up

Please, Don't Give Up


Job 2:9
"Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die."

One of the saddest statements I have found in the Scriptures is in the verse above when Job's wife said to him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die." After all that Job had been through, his wife watched him continuing to fight to keep his integrity.  Most likely the statement above was made out of love for her husband.  Job's wife was watching the love of her life go through unmentionable heartache and physical ailments, and she still saw her husband fighting not to give up his integrity.  A lot can be said about a man who went through all that Job endured and still did not give up.  I am so thankful for the example of this great man who wouldn't give up in spite of all that he endured.  

Sometimes it may seem like you are at your wits end with everything in life, but I want to encourage you not to give up.  It may seem like the battle to stay above water financially never ends, but please don't give up. It may seem that you have tried everything possible to win that lost loved one to Christ, but please don't give up. You may have tried everything you know to get through to your teenager that you want the best for them, but please don't give up.  You may be fighting a deadly disease and feel like you can't go another day, but please don't give up.  

Christian, we all will have our heartaches through life, but there is someone watching you who needs you to keep fighting.  Your example of not giving up is what keeps them going.  You may feel that it's worthless to keep up the fight, but if you give up then you will influence someone else to quit fighting.  

I beg you, please don't give up because there is a better day coming.  I'm thankful that Job never gave up the fight for his integrity because he saw the fruit of the fight at the end of his life.  If you will not give up, you will one day be rewarded for the fight.  Don't allow the hardness of the trials to take your fight away.  Keep fighting and please don't give up!

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