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Purpose - A Devotion

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Romans 8:27-30 (NLT)
And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Looking back over the last three years of our life, it seems like forever and how it has always been. It is difficult to remember the days, weeks and years before cancer became a common word in our life. It seems like everything has changed and nothing is the same. The things in our life that I thought I wanted are forgotten and now I long for one thing – life. The fight for coverage of the lifesaving treatment the doctors have proposed started in January of this year and now it is May. Why so long? How can this struggle be part of God’s Will for my son’s life or our family? Why would a “good” God cast us such a “bad” lot? Or did He? I have exhausted all efforts in this fight. There are days that I grow weary and tired of this plight but how can I give up with stakes that are so high? There are nights when I just want to close my eyes and not open them until this terrible storm passes that has been over us for so long. Rain is part of each season as God brings dead things to life. It has been raining for almost three long years now. It seemed odd in those early days that the scripture that resonated through my heart and mind was Romans 8:28. It seemed to be after-the-fact if you will as though I was putting the cart before the horse. “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose for them.” It has provoked the question, “Lord, is this on purpose?”

Now before you call together the prayer warriors and gossip mongers of the church, I am not at all insinuating for a single second that God gave our child cancer. I believe that it infuriates Him that cancer made its way into his body because the Lord hates sickness and disease. I believe that it is His Purpose and Will to rid my son of cancer once and for all. I believe based on His Word alone (because the statistics and current situation do not indicate such) that our child will live and not die. I also believe that God knew us in advance. He chose us to become like His Son. Having chosen me, the Lord is calling me to come closer to Him. He gave me right standing with Him through Jesus Christ. He gave me right standing so that my life would become glorious. His Holy Spirit lives inside of me so that I will find the Will and Way of God through these trying times and every other difficult thing that I endure. God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His Purpose so I was born for this moment. All I must do is surrender my way to His Way to fulfill this purpose in my life so with that I have determined to live my life on purpose.

Romans 10:1-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

Many years of my life were wasted trying to “find my way” back to the Lord. I was pretty good at it and cleaned up rather nicely. Everything fit into this neat package of obedience. I have a great deal of self-control so it was not difficult to make better choices once my mind was made up to do so. Whether you admit it or not, you know what I mean. We all fall for the guise of religion at some point in our journey back to Jesus. Righteousness seems too easy from the start. I ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and BAM, I am saved! Well, this is absolutely true. However, sometime after that moment when we wash our face, dry our eyes, put on a fresh set of clothing and throughout the obvious garbage in our life, it is our human response to try to earn what has been given to us for free so we try to act all religious. Well, religion failed me when I was heartbroken and all alone the morning after my son was diagnosed. The only thing that kept me alive and breathing was that still small voice inside of encouraging me to take one tiny step at a time. One minute, I was laughing and smiling and the next one I was sobbing breathlessly. I was convinced that I was losing my mind and maybe I was. Jesus Christ accomplished the Law that was given. His Precious Blood saved me from every sin that I committed prior to salvation, during restoration and until the day I leave this place. I was given the opportunity to stand in the Presence of God as His Child. But it was cancer that drove me there.

Romans 14:8-9 (NLT)
If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.

Human beings have a self-preservation mode that causes us to run from death. Darwin called it survival of the fittest but I attribute it to the Eternity that God planted in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and the faith He gave us to find the way back to Him. (Romans 12:2) We think that it is a sacrifice to follow Christ giving up our way to take on His Way. But the truth is that the only that we surrender to the Cause of Christ to live His High Calling is death. If we live, we honor the Lord. In death, we honor Him as we cross from this world into Eternity as promised. But death is the thing that causes us to move our sight from this world to the matters of the heart. We evaluate our life and how we lived it up to this point determining to change our lifestyle to prolong our life. Well I have good news, this is not as hard as you think. Salvation prolongs our life whether we have but a single moment or seventy more years. Death is not a cause of suffering but an end to it. “Then the LORD God said, “Look, the human beings[e] have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24) Death is the grace and mercy of God for the sinner in that it puts an end to our suffering. Sin introduced sickness and suffering to mankind (including cancer). If man had somehow found a way back to the Tree of Life apart from salvation there would be no relief from suffering because they would live forever in sin. Can you imagine having a horrible disease that ravaged your body or living well-beyond your physical years stuck in a broken body unable to transition from here into Eternity? Everyone wants to live. But visit a nursing home and its patients, you will discover men and women who are ready to meet the Lord and will not miss this world that they are leaving behind. But unless we discover our purpose in this life, we will never be satisfied with Eternity. The fear of death will turn us back to Jesus. It is a call to live on purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15 (NLT)
And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

Back in Romans 10:2, it talks about being enthusiasm for God as misdirected zeal. We call on the Lord. We want His Blessings. We claim to desire His Purpose and Promises but if we do not know God then none it of makes sense especially when bad things happen to God’s People. Whatever God does is final, but seems so brutal when we look at this world through our own eyes. It is unclear how God could allow such a place to even exist. The suffering of His People is great even those who pretend to have it all together are the front page suicide the next day. Why suicide? They are looking for more to life than this. Life has become monotonous and meaningless because they do not know God or His Purpose. God’s Purpose is that we would know Him which would cause us to “fear” live in reverential awe. We have nothing to be afraid of because “perfect love” casts out all fear. (I John 4:18) Life has but one purpose – that God and His People are reunited. It is the common thread that runs from Creation to Redemption when Jesus Returns. Futility is introduced when life has no meaning and we do not understand God’s Purpose for our life. God has proposed that we live forever as His People. Jesus died to give us this “rich and satisfying” life, but the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy our purpose to keep us from fulfillment and salvation. (John 10:10) Our purpose is the reason that we exist. It is the intended result of my life. It is what creates my innermost drive and determination. It is a fixed design written by the Hand of God that is only interrupted by my rebellion. However, God is omniscient (all-knowing) and made a provision for this problem. His Name is Jesus Christ. If I cling to Jesus, I am righteous. If I allow His Spirit to come into my heart, I am identified as a Child of God. My purpose is to live like one.

Proverbs 16:1-4 (NLT)
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD and your plans will succeed. The LORD has made everything for his own purposes even the wicked for a day of disaster.

There are days that I must remind myself that I was born for this moment and every single other minute that I live. “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Psalm 139:16) God has provided for every single day that I am alive. Each one has purpose wrapped up inside. His Mercy and Grace are new each morning so that I can remain in right standing as I face the day. Faith gives my hope confidence so that when all hell breaks loose that I know everything is going according to His Plan. The joy that I am promised in the morning carries me through the longest night. This world has nothing for me. My fulfillment is found only in the Lord but it took my life being ripped from my hands, my heart crashing into a million and one pieces, and a devastating disease for me to decide that my hope is only in the Lord. All the idols in my life fell over despite my hurried routine and strict schedule that kept propping them back up. I made my own plans but the Lord had something better. I thought I was righteous but found I was too religious. The Lord gave me an opportunity to examine my heart and I was appalled at its contents. This opened the door to opportunity as I began to put ALL my faith in Him which allowed my confidence in the Lord to be established. Hope is the byproduct of well-planted faith based on trust, knowledge and commitment to God alone. The Lord made EVERYTHING for His own Purpose so please understand that wickedness will not prevail as He draws us back to Him. God’s Purpose is His Passion for His Children. He loves me on purpose so He has given me purpose to live wholeheartedly for Him.

Isaiah 44:1-8 (NLT)
“But now, listen to me, Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. The LORD who made you and helps you says: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, O dear Israel, my chosen one. For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the LORD’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.” This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

God’s Purpose is to pour out His Love on His People. Perhaps, you are thinking but dare not say, “He has a funny way of showing it.” Don’t worry Sarah laughed at the prospect of a child in her old age, but God gave her that baby nevertheless. God doesn’t expect you to live your life flawlessly. He doesn’t expect you to keep every single commandment. He is not telling you to do this or don’t do that with an iron rod of punishment hanging over your head. He provided a rich and satisfying life – mankind wanted something else. He banished us from the garden to prevent human beings from enduring endless suffering with no relief, we are the ones who called it rejection but it was to protect us in our rebellion. God’s motivation in all of this is His Love for us. He sent His Son Jesus so that I would have access not only to His Presence but His Glorious Standard of Living. Hunger drives us to the dump to scavenge for food, but the Lord will ban us from garbage so we can feast in His Presence. He is changing our appetite for less than the best to all that He has prepared for us. He wants us to drink in Living Water and stop relying on a cup of suffering. Nothing the Lord does is without purpose, it is filled with purpose, promises and prosperity. We must learn to live on purpose. “He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.” I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.” (Isaiah 49:1-6) Mama said that there would be days like this…no she didn’t, but daddy did!

Proverbs 19:21 (NLT) You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.

If you ask me what’s next concerning our son, my answer would be I have no clue. We have so many different outcomes churning around out there with multiple plans and participants. I can tell you that he has four scheduled appointments in the next three weeks but that is about it. The Lord told me that very first day that “he would live and not die.” So that is about all I know at this point. I know that Lord’s Purpose for his life will prevail because we have decided to put all our trust in Him. My life is not random and neither is our son’s. Jesus Christ came to fulfill our purpose and return us to right standing with God the Father. (Matthew 5:17-19) It is in Jesus Christ that we “live, move and exist” (Acts 17:28-29) apart from Him death will be disastrous but in Him all things are made new!

I Corinthians 9:25-26 (NLT)
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.

As I walk and sometimes run through life, it is my full intention to live on purpose. No longer shadowboxing with religion or trying to be something that I am not, I will face each day as it comes putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes running on the elliptical, I picture my feet falling on hard ground with dust flying up. I envision that with each step I leave a deep footprint as I press on in this uphill battle. At the top, it is just me and God as we celebrate the victory that lies ahead. It is then that I realize He was with me all along. Pushing me when I wanted to stop, pulling me when I felt like giving up, pressing me when I was stopped up until my life began to overflow with His Goodness again. I have realized through it all that God is Good! His Great Love for me is demonstrated in His Mercy and Grace that meets me when my faith is failing and hope almost dried up – He fills me up and levels my next step so I can keep running the race of faith. I will win this race and the next one, too. I run with purpose and want only one thing. The prize reserved for those who run on purpose to win the prize called fulfillment of His High Calling! “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Psalm 57:2 (NLT) I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

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