VIDEO Living on Purpose

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8

Our English word purpose derives from an old Anglo-French verb meaning “to propose.” When a man proposes marriage to a woman he says, “It is my purpose to spend my life with you and with none other.” The advantage of such a proposal, as it transitions to a life purpose, is that it eliminates a multitude of decisions that might present themselves. Anything that conflicts with one’s purpose in life is not even considered—or shouldn’t be.

When young Daniel was taken as a captive to Babylon, he purposed in his heart not to defile himself in that pagan land. So he proposed to the one in charge an alternative to the diet he was offered. He didn’t have to wonder, “What should I do?” That decision had been made before God many years before. His purpose was to live a life of purity and obedience to God.

How would you describe your purpose in life? Make your future easier by declaring a clear purpose today.

Man forgets his purpose, and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.  Francis Schaeffer

Defying Normal – Daniel 1:8 – Skip Heitzig

Sound the Trumpets

At your times of rejoicing—your appointed festivals and New Moon feasts—you are to sound the trumpets. Numbers 10:10

“Taps” is a trumpet call played by the US military at the end of the day as well as at funerals. I was amazed when I read the unofficial lyrics and discovered that many of the verses end with the phrase “God is nigh” (God is near). Whether before the dark of each night settles in or while mourning the loss of a loved one, the lyrics offer soldiers the beautiful assurance that God is near.

In the Old Testament, trumpets were also a reminder to the Israelites that God was near. In the middle of celebrating the feasts and festivals that were part of the covenant agreement between God and the nation of Israel, the Jews were to “sound the trumpets” (Numbers 10:10). Blowing a trumpet was a reminder not only of God’s presence but also that He was available when they needed Him most—and He longed to help them.

Today, we still need reminders that God is near. And in our own style of worship, we too can call out to God in prayer and song. Perhaps our prayers can be thought of as trumpets asking God to help us. And the beautiful encouragement is that God always hears those calls (1 Peter 3:12). To each of our pleas, He responds with the assurance of His presence that strengthens and comforts us in the difficulties and sorrows of life.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

When have your prayers felt like calls for help? How does the reminder that God listens to our prayers encourage you?

Heavenly Father, thank You that You respond to my call for help and assure me of Your powerful presence and love.

Goals and Conscience

1 Timothy 1:18-19

Perhaps this has happened to you: While working toward a goal that honestly seems good, you realize getting there will require a choice or action that feels troubling. Anytime that is the case, you can be sure the Lord hasn’t approved the plan, because a godly goal will never force you to violate your conscience.

As we spend time in prayer and Bible study, the Holy Spirit builds God’s truth into our conscience, the “filter” through which we process our behavior and decisions. An inner alarm will go off if we think or act in a way that doesn’t align with that filter—it is God’s warning when we have stepped out of bounds. 

The Lord won’t ever approve a goal that is achieved on a godless trail. Following that path will lead only to heartache, disappointment, and regret. If reaching an objective requires violation of your conscience, then you are headed where God has not called you, and the goal is your own—not His.

Good intentions aren’t enough to make a proposed plan right. Learn to appreciate your conscience—God’s gift of an internal warning system—and heed its admonitions.

A Help in Sorrow

“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

Christians have received great joy and hope for the future, but make no mistake, there are troubles in this life. Christ promised that even if we “weep and lament…your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20). The third verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” expresses this well.

Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Our text shows that even when Israel was about to be captured and exiled, Isaiah still anticipated their return and ultimate victory. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).

In this life He has not left us without comfort, for Christ promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Even when death and separation are imminent, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

And in the next life, the “forever” life, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). JDM

The Call of God

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry. —1 Timothy 1:12

“Your calling,” said Meister Eckhart to the clergy of his day, “cannot make you holy; but you can make it holy.” No matter how humble that calling may be, a holy man can make it a holy calling. A call to the ministry is not a call to be holy, as if the fact of his being a minister would sanctify a man; rather, the ministry is a calling for a holy man who has been made holy some other way than by the work he does. The true order is: God makes a man holy by blood and fire and sharp discipline. Then he calls the man to some special work, and the man being holy makes that work holy in turn….

Every person should see to it that he is fully cleansed from all sin, entirely surrendered to the whole will of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. Then he will not be known as what he does, but as what he is. He will be a man of God first and anything else second.   WTA059-060

Keep me focused today on being the person You want me to be, no matter how significant or insignificant the work You ask me to do. Amen.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things—John 14:26

How shall we think of the Spirit? The Bible and Christian theology agree to teach that He is a Person, endowed with every quality of personality, such as emotion, intellect and will. He knows, He wills, He loves; He feels affection, antipathy and compassion. He thinks, sees, hears and speaks and performs any act of which personality is capable.

One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate mind; He can penetrate another spirit, such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual intermingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw. POM065

By nature we are in correspondence with sin; but by union with Christ in His death and resurrection and by the incoming and indwelling of the Holy Spirit we are out of correspondence with it…[and] dead alike to its presence and power. CDL166

Reason to Celebrate

2 Corinthians 5:17

Tax gatherers in Judea in the time of Jesus were considered by their fellow

Jews to be the arch betrayers of their nation. They were regarded contemptuously as collaborators with the Roman authorities for whose hungry coffers they extorted enormous taxes from those to whom they were bound by blood, race and history. Levi was such an individual.

He had sufficient resources to provide a “great feast” for “many” publicans,

“many” sinners, and “many” disciples, and he was affluent enough to do it “in his own house” (Matt. 9:9-11). And what was it that Levi was celebrating? For one thing, a new name, in all probability bestowed by Jesus Himself. Hereafter he would be known as Matthew, “gift of God.” With a new name there would be a new life, a life beyond all imagining.

It would be something of a wonderment if the stylus which, in the hand of Levi, had completed Herod’s tax returns had in the hand of Matthew, recorded the first words a reader would find 20 centuries later when opening his New Testament—copies of which would have been reproduced in the mega-millions and found in every corner of the globe!

At the feast given by Levi, the fraternization was incredible. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners'” (Matt. 9:11) was not merely the voice of curiosity. It was the voice of censure. But it did not go unanswered.

His answer would not soon be forgotten. It was a classic riposte that would echo through the centuries. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matt. 9:12). His task was not to minister to the righteous, but to lead sinners to repentance.

Fare is provided for both soul and mind in pondering what we have come to call “the Feast of Levi,” an event which began by celebrating Levi’s entry into discipleship, and ended with a trenchant reaffirmation by Jesus of His evangelical mission. Levi had been given a new name. He had discovered a worthy vocation. He had found a new life. No wonder he rejoiced and wanted others to share his unbounded joy.

Like Levi/Matthew we, too, have been given a new name—one that is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To have gained through Christ not only a new name but a new nature should provoke us more often than perhaps it does to invite our friends to join us in celebration and provide them with an opportunity to meet our Master.

Arnold Brown, With Christ at the Table