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God’s Will // Praise & Shine

God has better plans for us than we could ever imagine. What is God’s will? What is our purpose?

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Romans 8:28-29: In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose, which is to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Rick Warren the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” explains God’s five purposes for us.

We were planned for God’s pleasure
so your first purpose is to offer real worship.

We were formed for God’s family
so your second purpose is to enjoy real fellowship.

We were created to become like Christ,
so your third purpose is to learn real discipleship.

We were shaped for serving God
so your fourth purpose is to practice real ministry.

We were made for a mission
so your fifth purpose is to live out real evangelism.

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:16-17

We must glorify God in all things by living a Purpose Driven Live. We are all created in God’s image but we are also unique. God’s plans for each of us are different. None of us experience the same things in life. Our goal, however, is the same. Dream big, pray continually and seek to do God’s will.

Joy // Praise Shine

How do we find joy in our lives?

It can be as simple as remembering the acronym joy is a beautiful reminder of where our priority should be. J stands for Jesus, O for others, and Y for yourself.

  1. Put Jesus first
    Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
  2. Next, others
    In Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
  3. Finally, yourself
    “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh [for your own desires], but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14.

So if your looking for true joy in your life, remember Jesus first, then others and yourself last.

Proof // Praise & Shine

People often look for “proof” of God. In the words of Billy Graham, “Can you see God? You haven’t seen him? I’ve never seen the wind. I see the effects of the wind, but I’ve never seen the wind.” God is everywhere, all around us, in the green grass, and the blue sky. From the majesty of the galaxies all the way down to the cells that makes up our bodies. Christ’s blameless sacrifice on the cross paid the ultimate price for us. If you are still looking for proof check out Laminin, the cell adhesion molecule the binds all matter together. A reminder of God’s plan set forth at the beginning of creation. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

Put It Into Action // Praise & Shine

Our actions should characterize a Christ-centered life and stems from a relationship with Jesus. It bears witness to Christ and carries on His work wherever we are, in all we say and do. It is through these actions that we share God’s grace.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14-17

Let’s look at the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him up, and went off, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, but when he saw the injured man, he passes by on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came up to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’ Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

The priests were the religious leaders of the time, while the Levites were the teachers, judges, and caretakers of the temple. The Samaritans, on the other hand, were like you and me. Notice how Jesus says the Samaritan felt compassion. He didn’t only care for the man’s wounds but went above and beyond by giving the man a ride on his animal, likely meaning the Samaritan had to walk. He then puts the man in an inn and pays for his care. Some even say the two silver coins were all the money the Samaritan had. The good Samaritan is the perfect example of what Christian Action looks like, bearing the witness of Christ.

“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” James 2:26

God Equips the Called // Praise & Shine

How often in out lives do we feel unequipped or unworthy? If you feel weak, inadequate or ill-equipped for your task you are not alone. Throughout history brothers and sisters in Christ have struggled with the same feelings. But there is hope. Our heavenly father promises to equip us with everything we need for doing His will.