Purpose

Holding On

 

Free stock photos of soil · Pexels Pexels3872 × 2592Search by imageMy prayer for you is that you find that something worth holding onto. Cling to it through all the darkness that is and that lies ahead. And may you come to see this shadow is a passing thing. In the end, light will always prevail.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photos of soil · Pexels

God’s Handiwork

 

Photo Credit: Knit – Free images on Pixabay

Created for Community

We were created for community. And we’ll be lost until we find it.

 

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13 Reasons to Live: Longing for More

It was sunny, a pleasant day for a picnic. We were surrounded by people and laughter and food. The kids were enjoying themselves on the playground. And I wanted to cry.

Our friends had invited us to this African community get-together, where ethnic music soared joyfully from the loudspeaker, competing only with the friendly conversations at the surrounding tables. The warmth of the weather was matched only by the warmth of the relationships. There were still crowds gathered beneath the pavilion when we finally left, after the sun had disappeared behind the trees.

It’s been a few weeks since that day, and I still haven’t quite pinpointed what it was that triggered me to near tears in the midst of it all. In some ways, it was the beauty of the day stirring up a longing in me. You know, that empty ache in the soul that can’t quite be explained.

What struck me most, beyond the abundant variety of delicious entrees, the relentlessly happy music and the overwhelming number of people in attendance, was the strong sense of community, and the joy in the midst. The people were open, welcoming, loving, embracing. Everyone seemed to enjoy one another’s company.

In the midst of the busyness of modern culture, we’ve lost this appreciation of community.

I think much of the depression we face today is due to this lack. We bury ourselves in work and technology and things, all in unconscious effort to avoid what we most desperately need. In our pursuit of the world’s definition of success, we fail in what’s more important: relationships. If you find yourself longing for more, maybe part of what you’re longing for is meaningful connection with others.

We were created for community. And we’ll be lost until we find it.

Community is not just being under one roof at the same time. It’s sharing in one another’s joys and sufferings. It’s bearing one another’s burdens. From what I know of those who gathered at the picnic that day, they’ve celebrated together, but they’ve also suffered together. And that suffering builds strength in relationships. And overcoming together breeds genuine joy.

God has placed you here on this earth for a purpose, and part of that purpose is to contribute your gifts, your personality, your talents, and your life to community. You are needed and you are necessary. You’re here in this generation for a reason. Ask God to show you that reason, and to fill your life with his purposes. Ask him to lead you to strong, healthy, life-transforming community.

And when you find it, you’ll find you have reason to live.

Every Small Blessing

Receive every small blessing as a taste of the promise of our final home. Let every investment we make be for those things that truly last. And may the hope of heaven penetrate our hearts with purpose, the constant cognizance that if we have breath, there is reason to live.

 

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13 Reasons to Live: Repurposed

Blog_Repurposed01My cousin has an amazing gift. She’s an artist who takes things the average person would view as worthless and turns it into something beautiful. When she talks about purchasing old furniture, scraps, and other “junk,” she gets excited. Her mind is filled with ideas of how she can repurpose these items, making them valuable again.

In her skillful hands, an old window frame becomes a unique display for cherished family photos. Pieces of scrap metal become eye-catching wall decor. She recently turned an old, broken-down piano into a desk and the spare parts into works of art.

Her work reminds me of another artist I know. This masterpiece-maker formed the galaxies and all the wonders of earth in their beauty and intricacy, and yet his greatest endeavor involves repurposing broken-down lives.Blog_Repurposed

The Bible is filled with stories of people whose lives were messed up beyond repair, yet God intervened, taking their ashes and turning them into something beautiful. Sara was barren, yet she became a great matriarch. Ruth was a widow who became ancestor to the greatest of kings. Esther was an orphan turned queen who saved a nation from destruction. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute who became a humble, respected servant.

As I’ve served God through the years, I’ve seen drug addicts healed, now changing their communities for good. I’ve seen gang members become warriors for peace instead of evil. Marriages on the brink of divorce, restored. Fatherless children adopted into loving families. People in the throes of depression and despair, filled with hope. All in the hands of a loving God.

Nothing is useless, and nothing is wasted. In the hands of a master craftsman, even what most would view as junk can be turned into a priceless treasure. A skilled artist can transform the most useless items into something of matchless worth. And that’s what our loving God is able to do with the most hopeless pieces of our lives.

Knowing this is true, we have more than enough reason to live.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:1,3)

Photo Credits: Aisle 6 by Tracy Linson Neutzmann

To the End

 

My Creator knew me before the beginning and he will carry me through to the end.

 

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