Posts Tagged the meaning of life

Seasons, Change and Transition

seasons, change, transition“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

I moved to my current location almost seven years ago, totally convinced of this verse from Genesis 12:1-2 . . . The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  And because I left financial security and a successful ministry, many suggested that perhaps I misunderstood the call. Yes, it has been a tumultuous journey, but I have never doubted my decision. I am in the right place–at the right time–for such a time as this!

This is also my seventh year here and I believe that the number seven means “change” and/or “completion.” It is clear that I am in a new season in my life. It is a time of much change and spiritual restlessness that prevents me from doing anything “as usual.”  My life is clearly in a state of transition.

For months, I desperately prayed for spiritual guidance and for understanding of my purpose. Daily I cried, “Lord, what do you want me to do? Where do I go from here?” I can only say, God hears and answers every prayer, but God’s Ways and Timing are not ours.

Recently, when I was severely pressed, stressed and stretched about the state of my life, I received an email from Alicia Britt Chole, which included excerpts from her book, Pure Joy. The devotional message is below in its entirety.

Transition…Where one season concludes and another commences…When our heart is journeying from one place of service to another…The path connecting who we are with who we will be.
During transitions we uproot and replant our sense of purpose, of value, of self. Between what was and what will be we often feel vulnerable, uncertain, and exposed.
Like Abraham, the Father calls us to “leave and go.” This journey from what is known to what only God can see is the journey of faith. Our map in such a journey is a two-word sentence: “Follow Me!”
We miss many a treasure when we attempt to avoid or rush through these seasons of change. Transitions refine our character and re-awaken our faith.

Needless to say, I rejoiced when I read these words. They answered so many questions I had struggled with and I heard God’s voice more clearly than I had in many years. I understood what God was doing in and through me here. I realized anew that The Holy One kept me through every season and in every place–ALL OF MY LIFE.  As Chole further noted and I agree, “once again [I] must choose the path of dependence and remember that [my] true home is found not in a place but in a Person, our faithful God” who has been with me all the time. I know without a doubt, that I am here for a reason–for this very time and season. I realize this because of an old song my grandmother taught me years ago,which says: “Time is filled with swift transition. None on earth GOD moves can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal and hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

seasons, change, transition

Admittedly, because of the blessing of long life and experience–“I’m old,” I began to think more highly of myself than I ought to think and believed I knew more than I know. But as someone once said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Seasons of change and transition, remind us that we could not survive one nanosecond without God. We must then “reassess our sense of purpose” and “choose again the path of dependence.”

Nothing God allows is ever wasted. Change prepared me for “such a time as this” and to trust God even more.

season, change, transition

It’s a new season and a new day–with a fresh anointing and purpose. But most of all, it’s a Blessing to  know that no matter where I am physically located, my true home, as Chole reminded me, “is found not in a place but in a person, our faithful God.”

Beloveds, Where are you in the season of your life? What changes do you sense in your spirit? Are you satisfied with where you are?

PRAYER:
Father, I acknowledge my weariness in well-doing and trying to “RUN” through the “gift” of life. I know now that You were simply calling me to continue to be faithful and to “WALK” in closer fellowship with YOU every day.” But most of all, thank you for the reminder (no matter life’s season) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”I receive this Word and I thank you for your patience. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen

 

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Life: Risky Business

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“But he that had received one (talent) went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” Matthew 25:18

We cannot go through life “playing it safe.

“Life is risky business. There is always the possibility of hurt and rejection. In order to experience love, you will risk being hurt. In order to find success, you will risk failure. Make what you want greater than your fear.” Les Brown

It is a given that in this life we will have trouble, Scripture says as much. It is also certain that  “playing it safe” is NOT an option. We must take chances, make choices and critical decisions, if we are to live it to its fullest.

Yes, life is like a see-saw, sometimes we are up and sometimes we are down. But more importantly, life is what we make it and we must choose to fully live it.

We cannot go through life with blinders on believing that every day will be sunshine without rain.We must choose to live it moment by moment not merely exist from day to day.

Until recently, I lived vicariously through others who dared to follow their dreams. I watched from the sidelines as a spectator rather than a participant. I believed all the negative news and reports until I deliberately changed the channel of my focus and discovered yes, there is not only good news, but great news  everywhere!  Families are coming together, communities are rebuilding, we are learning a new language of love and acceptance of one another. Yes, there are many who are seeking relevance, ways to make a difference and who have not wearied in their well-doing.

Each day, I discover afresh the freedom to write my own story. Each day I realize anew that every day above ground is ripe for making a new chapter.  Every day I am the star of my own reality and I do not have to accept anything that dampens or detracts from my set. I can choose now to love and to share  with all I meet.  Gratefully and with Grace I embrace each new day as the gift it truly is.

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No matter how things appear, God’s plans for us are far better than anything we can imagine, even in our dreams. We can trust in the Lord and rejoice in each new day, because we know the very reason Jesus came was that we “might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).”   Be Blessed–you are already highly favored.

 

PRAYER:  Father, every day in your presence is sweeter than the day before. Thank you for not allowing me to give up or give in. Thank you for every good and perfect gift, especially the gift of life.  I will live it to the fullest. I will finish my course with joy longing to hear you say,”Well done.”

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Purpose

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A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Why do we exist? Why are we here? What gives our lives meaning? What is the enigmatic reasoning for our existence? WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?

I spent years pondering this very question, when one day, a young woman simply said to me, “Pastor, what I love most about you, is that you don’t just TALK about “IT” (referring to my life and lifestyle) — you BE about “IT.” I wasn’t sure what she was saying at first, but later the point became clear. I have been about my purpose most of my life — positively influencing the lives of others.

 As I have grown older I am grateful to have grown wiser. I have learned that trying to analyze every intricate moment of life can result in what someone coined “analysis paralysis,” which can prevent you from doing anything. And so I  learned early on to “Do something –lest I do nothing.

In the past, like many of us, I believed I had to be perfect, rich, smart and beautiful, to impact the world. I waited, procrastinated, delayed and deferred even the smallest tasks. I convinced myself that I was not a “people” person and that my contribution would not be missed.  But I quickly learned the value of a simple smile, a kind and honest word or a “helping” hand. It’s wonderful how God uses simple things to confound the wise. A “loving” attitude has miraculous power to the broken and hurting. Unintentionally, many times, it is the “hurting” that hurt others out of their own pain. That is why we are witnessing so much bullying, violence, abuse and rage today. These are “trying” times and the world is in intense pain. But whatever else I know, it is that we were not created nor do we exist to exacerbate its suffering.

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That young woman’s words to this day, keep me humbled and focused on what I believe is important to God for us in this life–to love one another as God has loved us–unconditionally. We are not here to placate, pacify or to glorify ourselves. In fact, we have nothing to boast of. We own nothing–not even ourselves. We are merely stewards of everything we have and are. We exist to bless the lives of others and, in so doing; our Creator blesses us. No amount of pondering or planning will get the job done. It takes action–going–doing. It requires (“being” about) whatever our hands and hearts find to do to the Glory of God. And “to whom much is given, much is required.” Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).

One can make a difference, if only in the life of another one. Fulfilling our purpose needs no special preparation or discussion. Like the Nike slogan — “Just Do it!” Don’t just “talk about it”– “Be about it.” Help someone. Give to someone. Lift someone. Offer hope to someone. That’s our purpose. That’s why we’re here.

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All that is necessary to fulfill one’s purpose is a sincere heart and a genuine desire to help someone. This pleases our loving God who is love. Someone once said, and it is true,People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Nothing I ever learned in school or in life assured me more perfectly why I exist than that young parishioner’s words years ago. I have not just “talked about life, I have been about it– To God be the Glory!! Nothing keeps me so grounded as a smile from a child I teach. Nothing humbles me so completely as hearing from someone who has sought me out to say thank you for touching my life.

I know why I am here. What about you? My life has been and simply is my “reasonable service” to God. It is a prelude to a hoped for eternal “Well Done.”

And so beloveds, I share these favorite words a songwriter so gloriously penned:

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he is trav’ling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain.

If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring back beauty to a world up-wrought,
If I can spread love’s message that the Master taught,
Then my living shall not be in vain.

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