Your Purpose in 2017 in Seven Words

purpose-2017

2017 is almost here…

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about resolutions, goals, fresh-starts…

And purpose.

Everybody wants to know the purpose of life.

Some of us are seriously asking ourselves questions right now like…

Why am I here?

What’s the point of my life?

Why did God make me?

At the risk of oversimplifying the answers to all those questions, I’d like to suggest that your purpose in 2017 (and every other year you live on this earth) can be summarized in these seven words…

Love God wholly.

Love your neighbor radically.

These seven words do not represent a brand-new thought, but they are revolutionary.

They are not rocket science, but they have the power to change the world.

Jesus knew that.

He was the one who made such a big deal about these words to begin with when He said…

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22:37-39)

If we all took Jesus’ words seriously and did those two things in 2017, not only would we find our purpose for living…

We’d find our world a better place to live in.

What do you call Jesus?

call-jesus

Name calling.

We do it all the time.

It started back when we were little and learned to call our parents “mom” and “dad.”

Those were the good old days when name calling was the biggest way we identified with the people who cared for us the most.

Later, when we were old enough to go to school, we learned that not all name calling is good.  Some of us were called “stupid” or “fat.”

We learned quickly that the names we call people are powerful…for good or for evil.

Name calling can be a powerful way to affirm someone, but it can also be just as powerful a way to destroy someone.

Of course, this is nothing new.

The New Testament author, James, once wrote this about our name calling…

“…no one can tame the tongue.  It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.”

Sometimes, we use our name calling to bless…

And sometimes we use our name calling to curse.

Which got me thinking…

With Christmas now less than two weeks away, what do you call Jesus?

Are you like the prophet Isaiah, who called Jesus…

“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace?”

Or, are you like others who called Jesus names like “madman,” “prince of demons,” “good teacher,” and just another “son of a carpenter?”

What do you call Jesus?

The truth is Jesus’ identity won’t change no matter what names you call Him.

But, someday you will have to give an answer for all the name-calling.

This Christmas season may be a good time for you to think about who Jesus really is…

Will you call Him “Wonderful Counselor?”

Will you call Him “Mighty God?”

Will you call Him “Everlasting Father?”

Will you call Him “Prince of Peace?”

Or, will you call Him something else?

May you celebrate the true identity of Jesus this holiday season, and may all your name-calling be a blessing to Him and those who celebrate with you.

 

For a child is born to us,
    a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His government and its peace
    will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David
    for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will make this happen!

 

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

Fighting & Winning Your Everyday Spiritual Battles

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We all have our battles.

Some of them are physical…

Others are emotional…

And, a lot of them are spiritual.

Truth is we face spiritual battles every day in the form of temptation, lies, fear, pride, selfishness, hopelessness, and a whole bunch of other things.

The bad news is that the one fighting against you (the devil) has been fighting a long time, and he’s good at it.  He knows how to push your buttons and he fights dirty.

The good news is that even though the devil has been doing this a long time and has lots of ways that he can beat you, he’s not invincible.

These are battles you can win.

But, it’s going to take the right kind of strength, the right kind of armor, and the right kind of strategy to beat him.

If you want to “stand firm against all strategies of the devil,” and “resist the enemy in the time of evil,” then you need to consider doing these three things:

Fighting your daily spiritual battles with the Lord’s strength and not your own.  (Ephesians 6:10)

One of the reasons why we end up losing our spiritual battles is that we try to do all that we can to fight the temptations and lies of Satan first, and then we ask God for help.

The problem with that is that we’re weak and beatable in our own strength.  But, our God is strong, and He’s already won the ultimate spiritual battle.

Putting on all of God’s armor every day (for a full list of God’s armor, look up Ephesians 6:13-17).

You might know all the right answers (belt of truth), and work hard at being a good person (breastplate of righteousness), but if your faith is weak, the devil knows that…and guess where he’s going to attack you?

You need to put on all of God’s armor every day, because the devil will always attack where he knows you’re weak and the most vulnerable.

Praying in the Spirit at all times throughout your day.  (Ephesians 6:18)

How often do you talk to God during the day?  At meals?  Whenever something bad (or good) happens?  When you feel like you need Him for something?

We tend to think of prayer as something we do only at certain times or in certain places or for certain things…but prayer is something we should be doing all the time.

Think of it as an ongoing conversation with someone that doesn’t ever really stop…

Sometimes you’re talking.

Sometimes you’re listening.

And, sometimes you’re just sitting quietly together.

That’s prayer…and it’s a great strategy for fighting against anything and everything the devil throws at you.

We all have our spiritual battles.

The question is…how will you fight your battles today?

 

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  (Ephesians 6:10-11)