Purpose in the New Year

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By:  Hannah Schelling

New Year, New Me –  That’s usually the statement we all hear from one another as the new year rolls back around. Everyone talks about how they’re going to start diets, make better grades, use less social media; and although we might start off doing those things we shortly fall off track as the New Year continues on. We start to cheat on our diets, spend less time studying for our next exam, and find ourselves spending our valuable free time scrolling through Facebook more and more each day. Before we know it, we are half way through the New Year and already at the same place we started at. Simply wishing we could start all over again and be more determined and actually reach our goals.

During 2017 I found myself doing a lot of this back and forth, “I wish I would have stuck with it when I first set out to do it” kind of lifestyle; but as 2017 is coming to an end this year, the saying, “new year, new me” sounds a lot different. It has a more powerful meaning. Usually when I hear it I just let it go in one ear and out the other, but this year it sounds like a fresh start. It sounds like a chance to live a purpose driven life, without delaying my happiness and purpose by fear driven procrastination. My goal is to find myself, find my purpose, and find what drives my life.

How do you find what drives your life you might ask? Start off by thinking about all of the reasons you don’t do something you really want to, or know that God has told you to do. A lot of people would respond with fear, pressure, or insecurity. These three things are the very reason why we stop in our tracks, rethink our decision making, and take a few more steps away from the purpose God has waiting for us. Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. It makes your life simpler, less complex, and often a lot less stressful. Knowing your purpose creates happiness and joy for your own life; and confidence in every decision you make. Finding your purpose is what prevents the inability to live your life without constantly having to start over again. If we know what our purpose is, we can determine what we do and don’t do. Without it though, we have no firm foundation on which we decide what choices to make. When we don’t know our purpose, we try to do more than we can handle; but it is impossible to do everything. So, we constantly change directions. We change jobs and relationships trying to find that missing piece, that void that we feel inside because we simply don’t know what drives our lives.

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.  (Ephesians 5:17)

When we understand what the will of God is, we can practice our purpose a lot easier.  Finding your purpose creates a stronger relationship with God, and a stronger relationship gives hope and a future to what your goals are. Suddenly, the things you set out to do in the beginning are being accomplished. Suddenly you don’t have to become angry at yourself for having to start from the beginning eight times. Don’t let the opinions of others let you miss out on God’s purpose for your life. Let God fill you with ambition and peace, and live the life that he intended for you to live.  No going back this year! No what ifs and what’s next, no questions. Stand firm in what you know God has set out for you, and live it.

You Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Surrendering to the Potter

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By: Holly Haglan

Isaiah 64:8 says “ Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay and you are the Potter. We are all the work of your Hands.”

This is a verse many of us, definitely myself, could benefit from hearing. As humans, we have the innate desire to follow our flesh and follow the ways of the world. This is one my biggest downfalls, and definitely an area I struggle with.  I love this verse because it encourages me to surrender myself to the Potter, the Lord our God. It reminds me that I am a product of Him, and not of this world. Because of this fact, we must remain aware and active in pursuing the paths that glorify Him, because as Christians we are a product of the Lord and should represent His Kingdom the best way that we know how. The next thing I love about this verse is that He compares us to clay. A substance that has an easy metamorphosis into anything. With God as our Potter, He can make even the hardest and darkest of souls melt under the touch of his sturdy hand. However, this also comes with a caveat. Since we have the ability to  be anything, it is  easy to fall into situations that are not glorifying to Him, which is where I’m sure many of us have found ourselves a time or two before or maybe even now. I hope to encourage anyone in that rut now to surrender themselves to the Potter. Let Him mold you into what you have always been destined to be. Don’t wait any longer. The Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ has no boundaries, no limits. It is infinite. So no matter how far you think you may have wandered, the Potter is ready to complete His Work in you.

 

Hear My Prayers and Open My Eyes Lord

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By: Roslyn Maglione

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:-1-2)

And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17)

It is important to remember that God is always there for us. Even when our spouses or friends do not have time to fully listen to our woes or are too caught up in their own problems to give ours the attention we think we deserve, God is always there listening. Our Father in heaven loves us more than anyone can and He is the only one that can transform our circumstances.

Asking God to open our eyes to His will and His way is something that all of us need to pray on a regular basis.  When we have circumstances that we do not understand, pray for God to give us clarity in the situation. When our way of doing things is no longer working, we need to ask God to lead us on His path. When things seem to be crashing down around us, we must request that God shows us why we must go through the hardship. In all intervals of life, whether times are easy or difficult, we must remember to look at our situation through “spiritual eyes” and not worldly eyes so we can see our reality from God’s viewpoint.

We ask you God to help us never forget that you are the best listener and please open our eyes to see the actuality in all circumstances and not through our own skewed lenses.

Saving of My Soul

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By:  Shannon Chambers

Too busy building my kingdom to seek His first. Losing sight of the righteousness for which I used to thirst. Willingly walking to the block of the slave.Forsaking the freedom He so generously gave. Through the windows of my soul, all colors perpetually diluted. The activity of all creation indefinitely muted.

Seemingly shining from among the multitude. Secretly confined by self-imposed solitude. Attempting to fulfill the requirements of past obligations. Striving to stay free from the lure of current temptations. Desperately searching for someone who understands life’s unrelenting pressures and never-ending demands.

Then along came a man possessing eternal sight. He alone recognized my spirit to be broken and contrite He offered to tenderly examine the root cause of my direction. I stubbornly resisted His efforts, making every objection.Time elapsed and there was great deliberation. Past hurts argued any need for this divine collaboration. The reality was His presence calmed the turmoil of my world. I relented and received Him as my King, my Peace, my Lord.

The religious and right interceded from far away. Never missing an opportunity to gossip, I mean pray. Yet, in all my filth and fallen state, He lovingly and patiently chose to wait. He masterfully traded my ashes for beauty and my shame for His glory; unwilling to insert a period at that point in my story. He transformed my smile-less mourning into smiling mornings. He turned my world right side up without warning.

I endeavored to learn more about this phenomenal man. Standing still, listening to the intricate details of His plan. He selflessly poured love into the cracks of my foundation; creating intimacy, silencing attacks on my imagination. The depth of who He is called to the deepest of me, daring my innermost to revisit the shaping of my identity. I discovered that to be lost in Him was actually to be found. Surrendered and dying to self, reflections of Christ now abound.