You Can Do Hard Things – Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

activating-your-purpose-pg-19Part of my purpose is writing books. It’s hard. I’m continually learning the same lesson repeatedly:  God calls us to do hard things – Tasks that seem overwhelming and meant for someone else.

And it’s not just using our gifts that can be hard. He calls us to forgive each other, start clean, and humble ourselves even when it hurts. God is in the business of stretching us and molding us to become more than we ever thought possible.

As I’ve been in the middle of writing this series, my life has become even busier than it was before, and friends, I didn’t think it was possible. You might have noticed that I’ve missed a couple days in this series, and that is SO not like me. If I say I’m going to do something, then I’m going to do it. I need grace as I tackle hard and wonderful things right now in my life. I’m in the final stages of book design and editing. (By the way, we finally have a title! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!) And, my son is getting MARRIED!!!! Yes, my baby has met the most wonderful girl in the whole world and this mama is helping with wedding planning. I’m busy and very blessed. So I ask for grace as I continue writing through this process. This series will be 31 days, but it might not be 31 days in a row…

As I was working on final edits for the book today, I started having a mini breakdown over last minute citations and all the information included in a book project. It’s a Bible study and it’s the most in depth I’ve ever written, so the Lord has stretched me beyond my limits. Although, I hate to say that because as soon as I feel like I’ve been stretched beyond measure, I’m sure He’ll decide to stretch me some more. Oh, Lord!

Anyway, I want to encourage you with this today: You can do more than you think and you were made to accomplish hard, hard, things. It’s because God knows your potential to succeed in being a kingdom builder. If you’re sitting there thinking this post is meant for you, then don’t think about what might seem too hard. Think about the God who has championed you before time even began to do great and wonderful things.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

-Philippians 4:13

For today’s homework, share this scripture on social media with the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose to encourage someone else.  They need to know they can do hard things, too.

Love,

Jennifer

 

A Purposeful Prayer – Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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The road to purpose is paved with a willingness to know and believe in a God who has everything held tightly in His hands. Through the first half of this series we talked a lot about understanding we have purpose in both good and bad times. We’ve also discussed how those bad times can shape our purpose. Today, I want to share a little piece of Psalm 17. It’s from the heart of David.

Hear a just cause, O Lord, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips. Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright. You have tested my heart;
You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.

Psalm 17:1-3

David says, “I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.”  Within living our purpose, we must choose to trust God in the midst of anything that might occur. A responsibility we have within our faith is to stand on His promises, even when it seems like those promises are for everyone but us.

Many people ask what their specific purpose is… I believe each life is meant to show the light of the Gospel, the love of Jesus, to others through our unique gifts. And, I believe we can do that even in the midst of difficulty. God wants to use each heart to accomplish mighty plans. We may never become fully aware of just how great our purpose is while living and breathing in this life, but we must trust the God who does. Nothing done for Jesus is small.

Today, I would like you to simply pray David’s words in Psalm 17:1-3 over your own life. You can share these verses on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose to encourage someone else.

Love,

Jennifer

 

Learning to Press in Rather than Give Up – Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible. But with God all things are possible.”

-Matthew 19:26

Breakthroughs happen when persistent prayer warriors press into the only One who can intervene. There are many issues I’m asking God to intervene inside. I’ve spent time on my knees making my pleas known, and I’m trying hard not to beat the ear of God as much as converse with Him. That means I say my peace and then stay quiet for a while hoping to hear a whisper deep inside that will, ultimately, lead me to make right decisions, or trust Him more when the situation is completely out of my hands. It often is. I also spend a fair amount of time praying for patience.

However, no matter how much I pray I still have to fight disappointment. When circumstances don’t go my way according to my timetable, frustration mingles with rejection because I find myself easily entangled inside lies that want me to depend on feeling rather than faith.

God isn’t rejecting us when we don’t receive the answers we need. He’s not punishing us when life isn’t working according to plan. What I must come to realize through these situations is that I can’t stop pressing in and praying just because it doesn’t seem like He’s listening and answering.

Following God often defies human logic. It takes faith, which is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It means learning to grasp that what seems like a logical solution to us, is much too simplistic compared to the awesome mind of God who can see every detail in the heart of every person involved in every situation. It means throwing up our hands in surrender and learning to bow in humility. It’s accepting His plan and rejecting our own. To be honest, that last line hurt to type.

It doesn’t matter how long one has served God, how deeply one knows Him, or how much evidence one has of past circumstances in life proving He is faithful. Flesh still wants to rob us of the beauty of hope and the activation of purpose.

Sometimes, my mind screams, “Give up!” while the spirit of God inside simultaneously begs me to press in.  I need to learn how to decipher the correct of the two choices and then live it. You, too?

For today’s homework, please look up Hebrews 11:1, write it down and work on memorizing it. Focus on the words hope and evidence. What do those words mean to you, and how are you asking God to provide hope and evidence for you in the midst of your circumstances? After contemplating those questions, post Hebrews 11:1 as your status on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

What to Think About Before You Lift Your Sword: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Hebrews 4:16 talks about coming boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy in our time of need. If there’s anyone who fits the description of going boldly, it would be David.

King David knew how pray. Sure, he was a mighty man of valor, known for slaying enemies throughout the battle zones. But even more than that, he prayed. Even when he wasn’t living with clean hands before the living God, he knew who his strength came from, and he often dropped to his knees before lifting his sword.

I wish I would be more mindful of dropping to my knees before lifting my sword. Obviously, I’m not speaking literally. However, the tongue proves to be even sharper than a sword. James, the half-brother of Jesus, says the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity and has the power to defile the whole body. He goes onto say it’s full of poison. I have to say that makes me feel like gargling some mouthwash, ASAP.

As we pursue the activation of purpose through the power of Scripture, our hearts become in tune with the calling of God on our lives. And sometimes that means speaking kindly, forgiving boldly, and humbling ourselves even when we feel we’ve been wronged on all sides. You see, the tongue doesn’t just spew hatred, it knows when to hold kindness as well. Sometimes we don’t want to speak to those who have hurt us.

One of my go-to scriptures is Psalm 51:8. Let’s turn there.

Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice.

-Psalm 51:8

David prayed those words after getting himself tied up in a web of sin concerning Bathsheba. In context, this is a prayer from the mouth of a man who lost a son based on his own sin. When I look at this verse, it speaks volumes because though bad things happen, sometimes because of our doing, sometimes not, sometimes a little of both, we have a God we can approach boldly. With all honesty and shame we can say, “Make me, Lord because my humanity is causing poison to spew from my tongue. Make me hear joy and gladness, and may I rejoice in the hard things you’ve called me to do regardless of my pride.”

It might be easier to swallow that mouthwash I mentioned earlier than pray those words, but when we are digging deep inside the heart of God, which is what we are doing when working to pursue His Word to further our relationship with Him, then we cry out in faith using our swords to glorify the living God.

I’ve come to a place where I know that activating purpose doesn’t mean it’s going to feel good. Often, it will be harder than we ever imagined. God calls us to do big things, which mean lots of difficult and uncomfortable moments. But we can be sure that our Living Hope will come through for us just like He did for King David.

Today, may you wake up to understanding that serving God doesn’t mean easy living, but it does mean intentional, purposeful, active love through obedience to the One who is love and gave His Son in an act of love and salvation for you.

For today’s homework, please post Psalm 51:8 on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose. Encourage someone who needs to hear they can have joy and gladness again.

Make this your prayer!

Love,

Jennifer

To find out more about this series, click here for the introduction and scroll down for a list of previous posts.

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The Burning in Your Bones: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Over the next couple days, as we continue to study the significance of prayer as it relates to purpose, I want to tell you how thankful I am we are taking this journey together. Searching for purpose is something we all seem to do, even when we don’t realize we are. It’s so easy for us to stop believing that God wants to work through us. When life gets hard the human condition screams, “stop!” Our flesh not only works to keeps us from moving forward on the path of purpose, but also tries to hinder us from believing we have any purpose in the first place.

Today, we are going to study one small section of a prayer from the prophet Jeremiah. This segment of prayer spoke to my heart when I was grappling with a difficult transition. I’ve found that God often calls me to do hard things. Really, really hard things. Can you relate? I bet you can.

I don’t know if you’ve handled the calling of God on your life the way I sometimes have, but just so you know, I’ve often been caught trying to ignore His map for my life and take my own way. I’ve even tried to convince Him that there must be some type of misunderstanding, because certainly He was calling the girl next door, the lady down the street, or the sweet and kind person who has it all together for this task. He had to have accidently shouted my name instead, right? Wrong. The God of the universe doesn’t make mistakes. He puts a burning deep inside our bones even when life is hard. He tells us to move forward anyway.

Long before any of us living today inhaled the oxygen of this world, there lived a man named Jeremiah who dealt with hard things… really, really hard things! And, thankfully, we can learn from Him. Let’s take a look. Will you please turn to Jeremiah 20? We will be reading verses 7-9 today.

Before we dig into this particular passage of scripture, I’ll give you just a tiny bit of background:

Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet who was devoted to God. He is the author of this Biblical book and his story is told in depth on many levels from personal conflict over the hard tasks assigned to him by the living God, all the way to his experience with opposition, resistance, and persecution regarding the ministry he was called to live.

Throughout his time he witnessed a downward spiral of Jerusalem and the temple. Though Jeremiah lived his calling, he experienced a wide range of emotions through it, which is why I relate so well to the piece of prayer we will study today.

Biblical scholars refer to a certain section of the book of Jeremiah as “Jeremiah’s confessions.” This section of scripture is one of those. He isn’t exactly happy about his calling or how his circumstances are turning out, but there is no denying his wanting to serve God regardless. He clearly holds recognition that there is no other way…

 

O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.

Jeremiah 20:1-7

Jeremiah was obviously in a great deal of personal pain emotionally about what was happening to him as a result of doing the will of the Lord. What I love about this prayer is that, firstly, he opens up to God about exactly how he is feeling, and, secondly, he confesses that even though he tried to deny the purpose of his life, he couldn’t. God placed a fire inside his bones and there was no way he could hold it back.

Don’t hold back the fire in your bones! It was placed there by the Creator for a reason!

(Tweet that to encourage someone!)

First of all, I encourage you to read the above section of scripture out loud and think about how it might relate to you. I’ve been in situations where I knew God was calling me to do or say something, but it wasn’t well received. What I’ve learned is that what God is working in the heart of another has nothing to do with me. I’m only called to be obedient at all times, even when it hurts. Remember that phrase anyway obedience we talked about the other day?

I want to be clear on this point, because I’m not talking about hurting another person with my words or interjecting an opinion when it has nothing to do with me. I’m speaking about times when God has called me to ministry and I’ve experienced opposition with others, or a slow growth that I just couldn’t understand. I’m discussing feeling discouraged from those who it seems have loved me less than they should have. But here’s the thing: From experience, I’ve also learned that if it’s truly the call of God on my life and if He is truly speaking to me, He will continue that ministry to which He’s called me in another way, another place, or another time. He won’t ever stop the work He’s started. And do you know what? I won’t ever quit the work He’s started deep inside me, because I literally feel the fire in my bones. It’s been placed there by the Living God, to keep me moving forward in my purpose.

Maybe you’ve been hurt in ministry. Talk to God about it! Maybe you feel like quitting, maybe you’ve already quit, but you still aren’t content.

I have news: if you stop pursuing the calling God has placed on your life, you won’t ever be content.

(Tweet that to encourage someone!)

You might try to lie to yourself because quitting might be easiest, but overtime you will feel an uncomfortable burn leading you to follow the purpose of your life. And you will! When you do, just remember the words of Jeremiah.

But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not”

For today’s homework, write this verse on paper, and then underneath it write about the one thing you feel deep inside that God has called you to do. Write about how you might take steps to go about living that calling over your life. If you’ve been hurt in ministry, seek God about where to start again and how. He came to bind our wounds and He wants you to be whole in your purpose. Maybe you have some forgiving to do. Maybe you need to learn how to function fully in your purpose without receiving an, “I’m sorry.” We all have to walk that road and it’s never easy, but it is necessary. You cannot depend on others; you have to depend solely on God. Worry about His work in your life alone.

Pray for the heart of the offender, don’t depend on it. God will give you everything you need even if that person never will!

(Tweet that to encourage someone!)

Please share on social media today about the burning in your bones. What’s your dream? What do you feel God might be calling you to do? Use the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose. After you post, follow the hashtag to encourage someone else who has taken a leap of faith and posted about the burning fire they can’t hold back!

Love,

Jennifer

To tweet this post, click here.

To find more information about this series, including a landing page of past posts and what’s ahead, click here.

 

Finding Purpose in Prayer: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Days Series)

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“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

We’ve been focusing on how finding purpose comes from finding God inside His Word. It’s our connection with Him. We are able to learn who He is, and what He promises for us when we seek Him deep within the pages of Scripture. However, there’s another vital element: prayer. It’s our communication with God that strengthens our bond with Him. When you recognize someone’s place in your life and want to form a relationship with them, you speak to them. You ask questions and pursue communication. The same is true with solidifying a relationship with our Father in heaven. We need to talk to Him openly and honestly. Throughout the next few days, we are going to study some prayers we find in the Bible and unearth some treasure regarding activating purpose in the process.

In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 we learn of a man named Jabez. This is what Scripture tells us:

Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10


I’m going to be very honest and tell you that when I first read those verses, what stood out to me most was the last phrase: “So God granted him what he requested.” Oh, yeah! We all shout hallelujah when God answers exactly what we request. Can I get an amen? And, great hope is pumped directly into our souls when we see those words in the truth of the Bible. But there’s more to this…

First of all, the name Jabez is only mentioned in a total of three verses in the entire Bible. They are all encapsulated in 1 Chronicles. What we learn initially in 1 Chronicles 2:55 is there is a place named Jabez. After that, the second and third mentions are regarding the man named Jabez, which come from the verses I’ve listed above. Let’s meet him…

  1. He was honorable; more so than his brothers.

By definition, the word honor means one who deserves respect. An honorable person shows honesty and good moral character, and they are fair and proper…

Right away we are informed that Jabez was a stand-up guy! And, obviously, God noticed this.

  1. His mother named him Jabez because of the meaning of the Hebrew word for this names which translates to The Bible actually says, “Because I bore him in pain.”

Now, I don’t know if she experienced a traumatic birth, because the Bible doesn’t tell us that. I do know that she wasn’t checking into the hospital, choosing a meal plan, and contacting an anesthesiologist for an epidural… STAT. She suffered during his birth; so much so, she chose his name surrounding what she endured.

Back in Biblical times, names held significant meaning and could easily define a person. What I see automatically through this passage is that Jabez didn’t allow the definition of pain to continue throughout his life. His mother may have endured a torturous birth at the beginning, but her son’s life would turn out to be a testament to the living God.

  1. Jabez called on the living God.

That right there tells us more than we need to know. He was upright and honorable not necessarily held in high esteem from the people surrounding him. Now a days you can believe anything you want and if you do good works, you’re deemed honorable. But we know that Jabez was honorable because he practiced moral standing with God. You don’t call on someone you don’t know or believe in. Jabez obviously knew and believed, which led him to call on the only One who could help.

  1. The prayer: Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory. That Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain! And God granted him what he requested.

He trusted in God and the Father met His needs. I also love the play on words: “…that I may not cause pain!” A man who was labeled pain asked that the story surrounding his life would not be one of pain, that he would never again cause another to hurt, and God obliged.

I haven’t read the best-selling book about this prayer. However, I have to admit I’m now curious to read it. But what I see when I look at this is mighty purpose. And the purpose of this man was to know and believe God, depend on Him for his needs, and then stand steadfast in the promises of a Faithful Father. And guess what, our God wanted us to know about this particular man and His dependence upon Him. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been mentioned.

You see, our purpose is wrapped up first in knowing and believing who God is. After that, He will use us to live a beautiful story of hope and redemption. We don’t have to be defined by who anyone says we are or what we’ve done in the past. We can march on in knowing we serve a God who hears us.

Being honorable doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It means we are trying to do the right thing and depending on God in the process. Prayers are hardly ever answered overnight, but when we pray, we ask in faith that God will do the job in His way and His time. Notice that when Jabez prayed, he asked for God to bless, for God to increase his territory, that God’s hand would be on him and keep him from pain. Jabez was depending on God for everything and held no faith in his own ability.

Friend, your purpose means praying with a heart focused on God and His will for you. We must let go and rise above what we think we need, and ask God to do it all. And, we must maintain an honorable, humble heart in the process.

We can learn a lot from this inconspicuous man, Jabez.

For today’s homework, let’s look up the New King James version of 1 Chronicles 4:10, write it, and highlight all the references to God doing the work, after you’ve done that, pray to Him and release control of your own circumstances into His hands.

Example:

Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory. That Your hand would be with me and that You would keep me from evil that I may not cause pain!

It is God who does ALL the work!

Share your thoughts about Jabez on social media using the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose so that we can learn from one another’s insights.

Love,

Jennifer

To learn more about this series, click here to read the introduction and scroll down for previous posts.

To tweet this post, click here.

 

Anyway Obedience When it Seems to be Everybody but Me: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Last night I was part of a discussion including a very touchy topic: The fairness of God. We aren’t ever sure what to make of life when catastrophic circumstances occur to good, godly people. Jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald produced truth in perfect pitch when she sang, “Into each and every life some rain has got […]

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Discipline Activates Purpose: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Yesterday, we talked about an all too familiar question: why do we suffer? I gave you my thoughts and then shared that I was going to tell you what helped me to begin activating my purpose though pain. Here it goes… What helped to pull me out of the pit isn’t anything crazy elaborate. It’s […]

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Why Do We Suffer? Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Finding purpose in pain, both physical and emotional, is probably the largest stumbling block we all face. However, even though every person on the planet inevitably deals with some type of brokenness, we are also called to overcome it. In John 16:33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” Of all the promises […]

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Do Not Despise Small Beginnings: Activating Your Purpose Through the Power of Scripture (A 31 Day Series)

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Many of us confuse purpose with platform. We think if we aren’t doing something that the rest of the world, or at least our immediate circle, considers crazy amazing, we aren’t living with specific purpose. Women are unique in the respect that an overwhelming amount of us are designed as nurturers. We are compassion giving, […]

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