Archives For gifts

Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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Today is a gift, but one most of us never discover. We use it, but rarely take notice of it. It comes and it goes, and our life passes by along the way. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, “The day was God’s first creation, something miraculous and mighty in the hand of God. For us the day has completely lost its creaturely and wondrous nature.

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We use it—and abuse it—but we don’t accept it as a gift. We don’t live it.” None of us knows how many days will be gifted to us. Some will have more than others, but we never know until they’ve all been counted. At that point, it’s too late to matter.

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Passion is a popular topic in the personal development space (otherwise known as self-help). There are shelves of books promising to help you ignite your passion, find your passion, fuel your passion, or simply follow your passion. Essentially the message always boils down to the point of doing what you love. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this is good advice.

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I’m more interested in seeing how it relates to our pursuit of God. After all, He’s the One who put such passions inside of us all. The question for me isn’t so much one of whether you should follow your passion, but rather, how can you use your passions to glorify God and further the mission of Christ?

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This is the 1,000th post here on EvenIfiWalkAlone.com. That’s over half a million words, and I admit, a little crazy. When I wrote the first post, I didn’t envision writing 999 more. As I realized I was approaching a thousand posts I had to ask myself, “What’s the purpose of it all?” I don’t write to hear myself talk; I have no delusions of being so interesting. I don’t do it for the money; I’ve never attempted to make a single penny off this site (and never have!). So why do I keep pushing new thoughts out there every Monday and Thursday?

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The answer is, perhaps anti-climatically, because of Jesus. Christ told us to take His Word into all the world. The Internet seems like an efficient way for me to follow His mandate. Beyond that, it’s in hopes of making a difference in a single life. I’m grateful for all of you who read this blog, but I feel I would continue even if there was only one. I would because God gave me the ability to write, the gift to encourage, and the command to share His mission. He’s given a similar assignment to you.

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As disciples of Jesus, our goal is to ever be drawing closer to Him. We want to know Him better, to understand Him on a deeper level, and to love Him more. Satan has other plans. The entire focus for Satan is to keep each Christ-follower unbalanced and distracted.  Sometimes he does this by insinuating himself into tragedies and disappointments we encounter. More often, Satan’s modus operandi is to subtly influence us to look away from God.

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The devil needs only catch the corner of our eye to accomplish his purpose. Whenever we can be influenced to not have our entire focus on God, Satan claims a victory. He is the master of distraction, and his distractions will erode both our walk and our faith.

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What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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My personality is such I try to become better every day. It’s the way I’m wired. What this means for me is, each day I look to improve my relationship with God and the way I live for Him. I look for ways to be better in my job, and to hone my writing craft. I am always on the lookout for processes and methodologies to make me more efficient and effective in everything I do. Truth be told, I’m probably a bit (or a lot) obsessive about these things.

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I am of the conviction God has given me gifts and talents to be used for His glory, and I have an extraordinary appreciation for the shortness of time. I want to maximize whatever He has entrusted to me so I might bring God immense glory and leave His mark on this world before I depart.

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People are always looking to find out what God’s will is for their life. We’ve covered this in several posts before (see these posts), and the inevitable next question is, “What do I do to live out His will in my life?”. We confuse vocation with God’s will. His will is for you to look like His Son. Walk like Jesus walked, talk like Jesus talked, and love like Jesus loved; this is God’s will for your life.

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No matter what you do, if you want to be living the life you were meant to live, you’ve got to become wholly devoted to God. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Until you are ready to give everything over to God, you will never fulfill your potential.

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What does Christmas mean to you? To some its presents, time off from school, or crazy shopping expeditions. To others it is a time of loving, giving, and forgiving; a time of demonstrating peace and goodwill to all. To be certain, Christmas has become a commercialized extravaganza spanning cultures and to the religious and non-religious.

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In this season when the world pauses to celebrate, how do we live in such a way as to point them to the one whose name we have placed at the very beginning of the word Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you? More specifically, what should Christmas mean to a disciple of Jesus Christ?
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As I was praying recently, a thought occurred to me: “I am nothing except what You are through me.” We love to pose and posture. We love to talk about our accomplishments and achievements. But the reality is nothing we do would be possible if not for God. He created us, gave us our skills and abilities, provided our wisdom, and nurtured our development.

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Not a single thing we have ever done would be possible if not for some gift of God. That doesn’t mean everything we’ve done is good or blessed, but it does mean we are all absolutely useless and weak except for the providence of our loving Creator.
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