Making A Difference in the Lives of Others

 

Each of us were meant to make a difference in the lives of others. This includes the people with whom we interact with on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You see God meant for each of us to live a life of divine purpose. Our greatest purpose in life is to share in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. His ministry (lived through us) is not just for those who have a church position, a seminary degree or a license to preach. Ministry is for all of us. It is about fulfilling the specific mission God decreed over our lives even before we drew our first breath.

 

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

 

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I believe that David’s declaration about “the days written about us” specifically includes us making a difference in the lives of others. What will the Lord be interested in when we stand before Him? Will He be concerned with how many degrees we obtained? Or, how much money we made? Or, how many businesses we ran? I think not!

 

When our works are thrust into the fire of His Presence, all that will endure is what we accomplished for Him! To accomplish His will for our lives, we must grasp the importance of His manifested Presence ministering from and through our lives! It is the overflow from His glory that ministers best to those around us. His Presence flowing from us enables others to be touched, healed and changed!

 

It is important that each of us learn and embrace these five statements concerning our purpose in life.

1. We all have been given a purpose and destiny that includes making a difference in the lives of others.

2. We are most fulfilled when we are fulfilling our purpose and moving toward our destiny.

3. Not everyone uncovers or realizes their God-given purpose. We must be diligent (this is the reward of those who diligently seek the Lord) in our process and progress.

4. Our purpose will be revealed as we embrace and enjoy God’s personal design for our lives. Our purpose is not found in the opinions of others (no matter how well intentioned).

5. We will be held accountable concerning our obedience to the purpose to which God has called us.

 

Remember: The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).

 

His Hand-extended

 

 

In the Bible we see at least four different ways God revealed a person’s purpose in life.  This purpose is usually realized as:

 

1. A DIVINE LIGHTNING BOLT OUT OF NOWHERE.  Example: the Apostle Paul. God revealed his purpose and destiny in a moment of time on the Damascus Road. It came by a supernatural event and was instantly clear. Paul remembered this moment the rest of his life.

 

2. WE WALK THROUGH THE DOORS THAT ARE OPEN BEFORE US. (Example: Queen Esther). God revealed her purpose and destiny by ordering her steps. the Lord began by opening the door for Esther to become Queen. He then took something bad (Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews) and turned it into something wonderful. Esther learned her purpose by moving ahead step by step. Greater understanding was given to her as she embraced each new opportunity.

 

3. THE DIVINE CALL TO MINISTRY FROM BIRTH: (Example: Jeremiah). God revealed early in Jeremiah’s life his purpose, call, ministry and destiny. Jeremiah 1:4-7 says, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.” Jeremiah was moved toward his destiny even from before his birth (as was John the Baptist) and his ministry was set in motion in a divine manner.

 

4. GROWING AWARENESS: (Example: Joseph). God reveals purpose and destiny for many people in a general sense. As we move toward our purpose in life, He provides the details. The idea of such comes from the Greek word: kaleo. The word is used chiefly in the writings of the Apostle Paul (though the idea and term are found also elsewhere). George Henry writes that Paul realized “the invitation given to men by God to accept salvation in His kingdom through Jesus Christ. This invitation is given generally and outwardly by the preaching of the gospel, inwardly by the work of the Holy Spirit. With reference to Israel, it is on the part of God irrevocable, not repented of. Having in His eternal counsel called this people, He entrusted them with great gifts, and because He did thus enrich them, He also, in the course of time, summoned them to fulfill the task of initiating the world into the way of salvation, and of preparing salvation for the world.”

 

Paul also wrote that this “high calling” in Christ is made in and from heaven by God on account of Christ (Philippians 3:14). Similarly it is a heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1) as well as a holy calling, holy in aim, means, and end (2 Timothy 1:9). Paul told the Ephesians that every Christian is to walk worthy of this calling (Ephesians 4:1) and to be encouraging others to live in such a way that God will count them worthy of their calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

 

I ask you to consider this…

 

ARE YOU MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS?

IF NOT, WHEN WILL YOU BEGIN?

IF YOU ARE, ARE YOU ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME?

 

I encourage you to do your best to make a difference in the lives of others–today and everyday!

 

I love you,

 

Robert

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Stay Committed to Excellence

The Apostle Paul believed in excellence to the point of admonishing the Philippians to only think  about “virtuous or excellent things” (Philippians 4:8). I have no doubt that Paul would agree that when it comes to our lives, we either choose the pain of self-discipline, which comes from a commitment to personal sacrifice and growth, or we choose the pain of regret, which usually comes by taking the easy road and refusing to fully embrace the opportunities given to us.  

 

Excellence is seldom attained without wholehearted commitment. Many in this day do not fully understand the difference between interest and commitment. (Remember the Yale graduate students I mentioned a few weeks ago?) If we are only interested in something, we give it our full attention only when and if it is convenient. Convenience is the enemy of excellence. Why? Because, when we are really committed to something, we accept no excuses from ourselves or from those who have chosen to be involved in our endeavors.

 

Commitment is the first step beyond convenience. It prepares and enables a person to become effective. Effectiveness can only be maintained through excellence.

 

Commitment is the first price that must be paid. Why?

  • Everything worth having costs something.
  • The better the desired result, the higher the price.
  • Commitment then is determined by the price we are willing to pay.

 

People who are committed to excellence are willing to pay the “high price” because:

  • They have dedicated themselves to stay optimistic and enthusiastic.
  • They refuse to settle for average or mediocre.
  • They pay attention to the details.
  • They work hard to perform with consistency.

 

Finally, those who make excellence a part of who they are:

  • Stay committed to the long haul.
  • Are willing to travel the road alone, if attaining their goal requires it.
  • Able to keep their eyes focused on the prize.

 

We conquer our past by focusing on our future. Therefore, stop thinking about your past and start focusing on the possibilities only found in your future. For God never consults your past to determine your future. Therefore, don’t let people hang around you if they not believe in your future. Always move toward people who are as committed to excellence and away from those who only are committed when it is convenient.

 

Philippians 3:13-15 says,  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

 

And Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

The Gift of Serving Others

 

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A person with the motivational Gift of Serving Others has been given by the Holy Spirit the God given desire, ability and power to give practical assistance to the members of Christ’s body specifically and to all people generally. This type of practical assistance can be seen in the story found in Exodus 17:10-13 which says, “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up– one on one side, one on the other– so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

 

 

 

Aaron and Hur both demonstrated the gift of service when they held up the hands of Moses. The story of their service calls us to take a deeper dive into their motivation. When we look at the word Paul used to describe this gift he used the Greek word diakonos.

 

 

 

The word diakonos directly speaks to someone who executes the commands of another. There are times, like in the Exodus 17 story, when the act of service is neither required, asked for or suggested. This motivational gift moves people to serve. Without thinking about it these wonderfully gifted people see themselves as being a servant, attendant, deacon or minister.

 

 

 

A person motivated by grace to serve others is determined to demonstrate the love and grace of God by meeting practical needs. Sadly, many of these people feel that they are lacking spiritually because of where their attention is drawn to. But the opposite is true. Jesus said that the best thing testimony we can share is revealed in serving others.

 

 

 

Many people who have the motivational gift of serving enjoy doing for others and seeing projects (that benefit others) all the way to the end. To such a person, serving others means serving God. These folks are the example of the statement of Dr. Billy Graham who said, “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service.”

 

 

 

The Christian life is not limited to the vertical dimension of praise, prayer and interaction with the Holy Spirit. It’s not only about lifting your hands up toward heaven. The Christian life (and the Gift of Serving Others) must never stop stretching hands out for the purpose of lifting others up. Being a Christian is not about knowing the words of the Bible but never following what it says. Those with the gift of service want all of us to be doers of the Word. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren said this about the gift of serving. He said, “the last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.”

 

 

 

History tells us that in every age there comes a time when God’s people step forward to meet the needs of the hour. In such a moment, it is imperative that those with the Gift of Serving Others step forward from the crowd. Serving others gives everyone an opportunity to better mankind. The opportunity may be larger than your talents or abilities. It may stretch you beyond anything you have walked through before. Because even though the solution may appear as large as the world, the answer begins with one person serving and that person is you!

 

 

 

If you have the Gift of Serving Others I encourage you to try and make these wise words from The Leader of the Future by C. William Pollard yours. Pollard said, “A servant leader’s results will be measured beyond the workplace, and the story will be told in the changed lives of others. There is no scarcity of feet to wash. The towels and water are available. The limitation is our ability to get on our hands and knees and be prepared to do what we ask others to do.”

 

Serve Today. Be His Hands Extended.

I am continuing my thoughts on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  It has become more and more evident that the modern Christ-follower understands little about the purpose of the Holy Spirit other than to bring about a person’s salvation.  In the last chapters of John, Jesus shared with His disciples that the Holy Spirit’s ministry would be to take of the things (words, will, and ways) of Christ and reveal them to, in and then through the believer.

Such revelation (by both information and installation) enables the believer to follow, live for and then minister not only “for” the Lord Christ Jesus, but “as” Him. Paul used the term “ambassador” to convey the same idea in 2 Corinthians 5. The Lord Jesus Christ desires to shine from and through every Christ follower by the Holy Spirit. But, the Holy Spirit can only do this as the Christ follower submits to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s expression is limited by our level of our surrender, knowledge, understanding, fears, experiences, etc. 

The Holy Spirit seeks to do more than to remind us of the words written in our Bibles. He seeks to make the Word of God experientially known to, in, and through us. His full expression can be prevented and/or limited by many different things. These things include, pride, unconfessed sin, lack of faith, fear of men, lack of spiritual understanding or by our lack of understanding concerning God’s Word.

Why is this so important to understand? It is because the Lord Jesus Christ will not glorify Himself by His own self-expression. The expression of Who the Lord Jesus Christ “is” was given to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit must not be prevented or limited in the very purpose for which He was given to us. Max I. Reich put this beautifully when he said, “If we make room for the Holy Spirit, He will make room for the Lord Jesus.” The converse is also true, that if we do not make room for the Holy Spirit, He cannot make room for the Lord Jesus.4

The Galatian Christ-followers had deviated from the gospel by accepting the teaching of the Judaizers. The Judaizers were Jews who were saved by grace but believed that to be “completely saved or completed in their faith” a believer had to follow the Law of Moses (including all of the fence laws created by the Pharisees and Sadducees). They taught that a Christ follower was not completely saved by grace, but was completed by keeping the Law. In response to them Paul wrote, “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3)

Paul is asking them a rhetorical question as to their belief of being justified by grace and then sanctified or completed through keeping the law. Paul presses the point in Galatians chapter five, verse four, by saying, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4 KJV)

And while Paul does not seem to be telling them they have fallen from grace to the point of losing their salvation. Their salvation (which was a spiritual and legal matter) should and would have been producing a sanctified life—if they were making room for the Holy Spirit to fill and manifest in and through their lives.  

So while Paul does not seem to be addressing their salvation, he is directly addressing the spiritual development of the Galatians. He is telling them that it is impossible to start out in the Spirit and finish in the flesh. It wasn’t that Jesus (their Savior) had become of no use to them. It was that their spiritual development in Christ (the Anointed One and His anointing revealed in and by the Holy Spirit) had become of no effect or use to them. They had drifted away from the original gospel. They saw themselves as being saved without the need to become what God has intended—Christ Ambassadors that were full of the Spirit.

Paul’s solution for the Galatians was for them to stop trying to live the Christian life in their own strength and to experience the victorious Christian life through the Holy Spirit. They had been saved. Their lives had changed. But, they had only experienced a limited amount of victory over sin. But as far their lives radiating the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus, there was very little of that. Why? The Lord Jesus has given that ministry over to the Holy Spirit5 and they were unwilling to recognize and embrace the Holy Spirit’s purpose for their lives.

I want to encourage each of us to come to the following revelation, which is, if the Holy Spirit is not recognized and depended upon for the work of completing and developing our spiritual lives, He simply cannot perform it. We see this same pattern of thought in Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Sprit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We must stop “trying” and start “being.” Our being in Christ produces a becoming that is inspired and conducted by the Holy Spirit. The more we give of ourselves to Him, the more He will develop and reveal Christ in and through our lives.

Take the step. Declare that you are in the state of becoming totally dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Ask the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus to help you make room for the Holy Spirit. Pray to experience Him. Seek to depend upon Him. Walk and live in Him. I promise your life will never be the same. Why? You will become Christ’s hands extended to the hurting and the hopeless. Your hands will be His hands—open, loving and conveying the love of God to everyone around  you.

God bless you.

Robert