Save Your Life

The only thing that will keep you alive is living your purpose.  (And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. – Luke 9:23-24). This is the first resort; not the last resort because anything else you tried didn’t work.  He wants you to go out boldly.  He wants you to be audacious.  You have been chosen and you have the Holy Spirit living in you.

I woke up every single morning depressed the pressures of this world when the Bible says we don’t have to try so hard. (Jesus’ Prayer of Thanksgiving25 At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!27 “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” I was constantly depressed.  There was nothing on this planet that could satisfy me.  I was unfulfilled. – Matthew 11:25-30).

We are beings meant to fulfill a purpose.  (Confirming One’s Calling and Election3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. Anything outside the will of God will lead to unfulfillment.  Human beings are the Lord’s most important resource and the most misallocated ones at that.  2 Peter 1:3-4).  I thought that people were just supposed to be born knowing their purpose.  That pastors’ sons became pastors.  Everyone got married the day after graduation.  You needed to have the funds to spend 50k a year on seminary.  That’s how you get into full time ministry.  And anyone who wasn’t in that mold was just secondary.  He has nothing for me that will be spectacular. I took a spiritual gifts test at 28 years old and He told me I was a teacher.  I hated being on stage, I hated speeches, I didn’t like sitting through classes although I enjoyed education.  What does this have to do with someone who’s such a terrible public speaker?  And who makes mouths? he said.  (The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? – Exodus 4:11).  So I signed up for children’s ministry and was good at it and loved it.  I tried to go back to school to get another degree in teaching but I ran out of student loans so it was impossible.

“Why didn’t you tell me this sooner?” I asked the Lord.  “Why didn’t you ask me sooner?” I believe He answered.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was in a position where I could go teach English overseas.  And my church was in Buenos Aires.  I truly believe I was called here.

I no longer wake up in the morning and cry on my way to work.  I’m no longer bullied by everyone in my life, because I have a place in the world.  I can’t tell you if that place will change but it isn’t always where you were born.  Sometimes it is.  I no longer feel hopeless because anything outside of the will of God isn’t safe.  (“When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security. – Deut. 12:10).  This doesn’t mean He isn’t going to bless you if you misinterpret what He said.  It even happens to pastors that they thought He said one thing and then the Lord will make it evident that we aren’t prophets LOL.  I certainly woke up one morning recently where I believe He said, “I appreciate you seeking knowledge; keep it up!  but you already know you’re not a prophet, just in case you need reminding.  I gave you the gift of teaching.”  LOL.  ( If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5)

What was I doing differently than before?  I know that the Lord gave me all of these things that I will tell you, because they are in the Bible.  But they are the things that we fail to read into more deeply.

  1. I was praying to God (Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he:before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.- Isaiah43:10,11) every day that “dangerous” prayer Pastor Rick tells us to pray, “Use me.”  God isn’t going to spoil a willing resource.  If you woke up breathing today it’s because you have some task to fulfill.  Pastor Rick says happiness is the byproduct of doing His will for our lives.  I used to think, “This is like communism.  I didn’t ask to be forced to be here, or do this thing.”  Then I just did what He said in the spiritual gifts test as soon as He told me to do it.  The Lord loves a good miracle.  The Lord is not a communist.   He’s not going to give us a job we hate.  We like to create our own lives built off good intentions.  Let me tell you where good intentions got me: a job and life I hated with awful people.  I felt like I was on a merry-go-round from hell I couldn’t get off of.  Let’s put it this way, if I directed my own movie and Steven Spielberg directed my movie, who do you think would do a better job?  What do you think your Lord and Savior will do for you?  Even Jesus prayed, “If it’s Your will.”  (And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. – Mark 14:36).  I must interject here, that we have heard terrible stories and have suffered terrible abuses from the world.  Praying “use me” doesn’t mean you’re going to get you martyred or jailed although I used both those Biblical examples hahaha.  This is a key part in where your faith lies.  It’s unsafe outside the Lord so you must submit to solace in Him.  He wants to hear your prayers, but you must live a life worthy of your calling (As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. – Ephesians 4:1 when Paul was writing from jail) or you’re cheating yourself and others of your spiritual gift.  Always regift your spiritual gift!
  2. I was praying all day long.  Did I make mistakes?  Absolutely.  Don’t drive yourself nuts.  I also asked the Holy Spirit to pray on my behalf when I didn’t know what to say myself. (In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. – Romans 8:26).
  3. I had to forgive.  It doesn’t mean I need to like, trust, or hang out with people who have harmed me.  The Bible says to be very careful with the people you surround yourself by (24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 8:24) and to guard your heart in all matters. (Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23).  Also, if we are living in unforgiveness, the Lord will only forgive us as much as we forgive others.  (14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15).  Trust me, He will pay them back.  He doesn’t condone abuse and knows it better than anyone.  Forgiveness is a command not an option.
  4. I walked in obedience.  We do not get to ignore the parts of the Bible that we don’t like.  It said that, “If you love me, you WILL keep my commandments. (John 14:15)”  Not you will keep my commands because you love me.  Love is the most important but it doesn’t cancel out every other sin.  (36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”Matthew 22:36-40)  Especially the sins society doesn’t think are popular, the ones that offend people that we need to sugar coat when the Bible didn’t say sugar coat, it said, lovingly tell others (https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-14-gentle-art-correction-2-timothy-223-26) and doesn’t mean we stop witnessing because “Jesus talk” is scaring other people.  You don’t need to hold up signs that say, “Repent or go to hell.”  Those people even bother me.  I spent years apologizing for Christians instead of actually boldly declaring Christianity and living the Great Commission.  Luckily for us, repentance is available because Jesus made us white as snow. (9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9)
  5. It’s our job to be an example to others.  (14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:14-16).  Take the action even if you don’t feel it.  Eventually you’ll want to do it.  Because you were chosen and it’s the healthier choice.  Once the human body is accustomed to healthy food and the human mind is accustomed to love, it doesn’t want to revert to the dread of this world.  We need to be proclaiming the Word and what it says.  Our relationships need to be more intentional.  We need to be supporting the Great Commission, love, service, family units, marriage.  We need to be living these things and not shunning them because people will call us weak, demanding, whiny, etc.  You must be joyful in the Lord and His commands because they’re good for you!
  6. You must be patient.  Patient with yourself and with others until the happiness comes.  It’s no surprise people wake up miserable everyday.  The world is full of sin and selfishness, perversions, demands, and every type of uncomfortability.  Even several folks in the Bible said they wish they had never been born and felt it would’ve been better if they weren’t.  (Elijah, Job, Moses, and many more have conveyed this message!)  If you keep doing these things above they will absolutely pay off.  It will not be perfect.  We’re not in Heaven.  But we must keep praying earnestly for His will to be done here as it is in Heaven (your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10) with details of the things that must be convicted in love in the church, in others, yes your spouses too! and of course ourselves.

I know it’s hard when it doesn’t seem like the Lord is listening, or therapy didn’t work, or medicine didn’t work.  But Jesus is a healer and has sent us His helper (And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. – John 14:16).  and He said that we will do even greater things than these, “because I am going to the Father”. (Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12)  The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and we are people who rise.  We are people who are risen from the dead.  He is always doing something new.  (See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19).  He’s looking to change things, but He isn’t going to do it unless you let Him.  He isn’t going to take your free will.

You will never be fulfilled until you fulfill your calling.  Simply because that is the function you were made to perform.

background photo credit: Rennett Stowe <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/31631781963″>Joshua Tree Morning</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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