I’m Dying

Bible Study verses:  John 12:24-25  (NIV & The Message bible)

john12-24
King James Version

New International Version –

[24]  “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  [25] The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

The MESSAGE –

24-25  “Listen carefully:  Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.  But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.  In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.

THE SEED PRINCIPLE –

“If you keep the SEED out of the ground, all you have is the SEED.  But when that SEED is planted and then it grows…end of story.  Bury it and it rises.”  [“Are You Dead Yet?” by Michael Walker]

Sounds a lot like RESURRECTION to me!

1 Corinthians 15:36-37 (NIV):

1 Corinthians 15:36
1 Corinthians 15:36

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed…”

DEATH CAN PRODUCE LIFE!

JESUS knows at this point this is His last week on earth.  He knows He is going to be betrayed, beaten, crucified and will die by weeks end.

Since JESUS knows this will be His final week through His preaching, teaching and example, JESUS decides He will take His disciples into some deeper water; make them dive into the deep end of the pool.

JESUS presents not ONE, not TWO, but THREE examples of a Dichotomy for us all as Disciples, followers of Christ Jesus to examine.  So lets all ‘jump in the pool.’

So what is a “DICHOTOMY”?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,  [4] : something with seemingly contradictory qualities; a paradox (synonym) is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses the truth.

In verses 24-26, Jesus shares three important principles of “dichotomy’s” pertaining to our lives.

John 12:24 (AMP):

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.

THE FIRST DICHOTOMY is introduced to the crowd.

DEATH can produce LIFE!

Jesus is trying to let the listeners know that His time is short; He is not going to be the type of Messiah they were expecting.

In the following verses of John chapter 12, verses 27-34, Jesus speaks of His impending departure and when you drop down to verse 34, the crowd seems obviously confused.

“We have learned from the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; how then can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up on the cross’?”

The DICHOTOMY presented in this verse is the FACT that DEATH CAN PRODUCE LIFE.

JESUS uses the example of a grain of wheat.  For it to produce fruit, it has to be put in the ground–then has to DIE in order for it to produce visible fruit.

In context, Jesus is speaking of Himself; how His impending DEATH and subsequent resurrection will be a fruitful event for ALL who will follow Him.

Jesus must DIE giving His life to bring LIFE to us today.

  • When a SEED dies, it produces fruit.  
  • LIFE comes by DEATH.

This principle is true not only in nature but also true spiritually.  When you take a moment and meditate on Jesus’ words, it is directed to our spiritual life.

We must DIE in Christ in order for us to become FRUITFUL spiritually.

Certain changes occur when seed is planted underground.

  • The HARD dry shell softens.

the_seed_by_paweljoncaWhen we are separated from God because of our sin, we need to be born again. The old self (the ‘outer hard shell’) needs to DIE.

Romans 6:5-7 (NIV):

If we have been united with Him like this in death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

This is spoken in context of one who has been BAPTIZED in to Christ Jesus.

When we are immersed into Christ, our old body of SIN is crucified and DEATH frees us from SIN.

The apostle Paul struggled with this principle in his life as many do today as well.

Philippians 1:20-25 (NIV):

[20] I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. [21] For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. [22] If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! [23] I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; [24] but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. [25] Convinced of this, I know I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,…

PAUL was well aware that the end of his physical life was not the end of his existence,  He also knew that he was here on earth for a purpose.

Our life isn’t about getting through it as shortly or quickly as possible, it is about savoring every moment along the way, making sure that we maximize our life for Christ.

VERSE 25 is our next Paradox –

“In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is, destroys life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal”  (The Message).

We have a tendency to think that if we hold on to something really tight we’ll not lose our grip or… that we will do better by holding on tightly.  We do this with our possessions at times, and our relationships.  We can hold on so tight…that we smother the other person, even driving them off.

Jesus tells the crowd that whoever loves their life will lose it.  Now that sounds a bit awkward at first reading. 

This phrase reflects the ‘hard coating of the seed’ and denotes someone who lives only to serve themselves.

Jesus is not telling us not to enjoy life, but He is calling us to a high calling.  Think about that for a moment.  The one who loves his life is the one who only lives to serve themselves.  The presented issues here is…

  • WHO IS FIRST IN MY LIFE?
  • WHAT IS MY PRIORITY?

Your priorities reveal who you really love.  When we live for self, we risk the danger of losing the very thing we are trying to hold on to.

When we LOVE SELF more than we LOVE GOD, we will come up very short in the end.

LOVE is SACRIFICIAL–

Many people look at the word SACRIFICE as being a four-letter word.  When you look at the other end of the bible verse (v. 25), you see Jesus speaking of hating (King James Version) their life and how that will gain them life.

When you LOVE God and willing to lose your life, then the things of this world are hated in contrast to the things of God.  JESUS doesn’t mean we are to HATE our life, but rather OUR LOVE for God is so great…our LOVE of life pales in comparison!

This VERSE is a play on the Greek term psyche, which refers to the essence of a human’s personality or life force (Matthew 10:39; 16:25).   [see FOOTNOTE [i].]

Once someone TRUSTS CHRIST, they are given a NEW Life.  And this NEW LIFE is a gift from God for service, not for personal use.

BELIEVERS are STEWARDS of this new life.

We are freed from slavery to sin and to become SERVANTS of God.

“If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me…”  (Luke 9:23 AMP).

PAUL goes even deeper.

“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me  (Galatians 2:20 AMP).

THIS LEADS RIGHT INTO VERSE 26 –

John 12:26 The MESSAGE:

“If any of you wants to serve me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moments notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.”

Being a SERVANT in this life gives you the highest honor.

The DICHOTOMY is this:  When you look around, it seems those who are being served have made it in this world.  Who doesn’t want an entourage around them to take care of all their needs.  Those are the folks who seem to get the highest honor.  In this life that may be true.

But in ETERNITY…

JESUS is telling us the one who will be honored is the one who serves.  

Look at Matthew 23:11-12:

[11] “The greatest among you will be your servant.  [12] For whoever exalts himself will be humbles, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”  (NIV Bible).

John 12:26 gives us some insight on how we can tell if we LOVE self more than Jesus.

JESUS equates SERVING Him with following Him with our words, and our physical bodies in continuance.  Jesus’ words in verse 26 speaks to our ongoing RELATIONSHIP that leads us to follow!

We FOLLOW Jesus by serving Him, and by SERVING…we maintain our relationship with Him.

The issue of SERVING comes down to our commitment, love and priorities.  When these line up we are in good shape.

When we live for SELF, we are living with an empty existence which eventually leads you to a dead-end! 

dead end sign

THE PARADOXES OF LIFE

JESUS shares the Paradoxes with us, now we have to decide what to do with them.

IGNORE them or EMBRACE them.

In verses 35-36, Jesus is calling the crowd gathered to BELIEVE in Him:

[35] “You will have the Light only a little while longer.  Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting].  

[36] While you have the Light, BELIEVE in the Light [have faith in it, hold to it, rely on it]. that you may become sons of the Light and be filled with Light…” (AMP).

WILL YOU ANSWER THE CALL?

 

 


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS –

Footnote [i]:  Bible Hub/Strong’s Concordance #5590, ‘psuche’; psyche.

Commentary:  Tony Abram Abundant Life Crusades 11 Jan. 1996 notes on “CORN”

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations as noted:  NIV- New International Version; AMP – Amplified bible; MESSAGE – the Message Bible; KJV – King James Version 

 

“Me And My Arrow”

ISAIAH 49:2
ISAIAH 49:2

Bible Scripture – Isaiah 49:1-7 NIV Bible:

Coming up with this week’s title, “Me And My Arrow”, was an epiphany I received from a song by the same name by Harry Nilsson and… from the TV Movie, The Point. [Footnote [i] ]. 

It was an animated movie about a boy and his dog, living in a land where every one thing was “pointed”, including the boys dog “Arrow”–except for the boy.  He didn’t have a point! His name was Oblio:

I can hear catching tune in my spirit of Harry Nilsson’s theme, running constantly through the movie plot:

Me and my arrow

Straighter than narrow

Wherever we go, everyone knows,

It’s me and my arrow.

(I’ll leave out the “Do do do’s”)

I’ll try later to tie this all in,  In the meantime, my study in Isaiah 49 –

A Little Background of ISRAEL’S History –

Troubles, troubles, and more Troubles…

To help in understanding God’s Word in the referenced scripture, I thought first, I would look back in history of Israel:

Beginning with 900 years before JESUS’ birth, king Solomon dies, and his sons can’t decide who will lead in his place.

So, the KINGDOM becomes divided in two…a church split.

Nine tribes form the Southern Kingdom known as JUDAH, and the remaining three tribes for the Northern Kingdom known as ISRAEL.

They enter a time of great stress and fighting amongst themselves–the one great nation of ISRAEL…has now been split…TROUBLE!

Continued TROUBLE!

Fast forward a few years, we see Egypt’s rise to power…starts conquering land.  Assyria rises to power and IT begins conquering land.  You have the Babylonian Empire rising in power and conquering land.

Trouble…trouble…and MORE trouble!

This leads us into 700 BC…(200 years after the death of the great King Solomon); the great Northern Kingdom…the nation of ISRAEL…is fallen!  Leaving just JUDAH…TROUBLE.

600 BC…JUDAH falls.

This begins what is known as the Babylonian Exile.

ISRAEL & JUDAH are destroyed and all its people are scattered like dust in the dry desert wind.

Trouble…trouble…trouble…trouble!!!!

You now have the setting where our Scripture Text lives and breathes.

Scripture Given by the Prophet Isaiah…

ISAIAH is writing in response to all the “TROUBLE”…he writes to his people–exiled…completely defeated and destroyed after all the conflict.  He writes to his people, and he begins addressing the exiles back in Chapter 40…and his first words are this:

“Comfort, O Comfort My people Israel,

says my God”

“Comfort…O Comfort”…

That’s how Isaiah starts…and it keeps going on for 20 more chapters, addressing the people who’ve been destroyed.

In my first reading of the verses, I wondered what the people were hoping for.  And then, there it was, right in front of me.  They were looking for a savior!  A savior to rescue them and deliver them home.  And that’s what Isaiah gives them.  Here, in beautiful language…Isaiah gives them the SAVIOR they hunger for.

Knowing now the CONTEXT behind all this, read along with me in ISAIAH 49:1-7 NIV BIBLE:

“[1] Listen to me, you islands;hear this, you distant nations; Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has mention of my name.  [2] He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me;

Now pay close attention to this next part–

“he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver…[v. 3a] He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel…”

The people have been kicked out of their homeland; they’ve lost the war; their armies decimated; they’re down and out, shouting and shaking their fists at the LORD, and saying…

(Verse 4 a.)

“I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing…”

AND NOW THE LORD SAYS–

“He who formed me in the womb to be His servant to bring Jacob back to Him and gather Israel to Himself ” (verse 5)

(Here he’s talking about bringing them BACK HOME!)

“…for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength–“

(verse 6)

He says:  “It is too small a thing for you to be my SERVANT (“servant” – Here he’s talking about his servant JESUS and ISRAEL together) to RESTORE the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept…”

(If God was going to bring them home, that’s fine…but God wants them to know that He has MUCH LARGER PLANS FOR THEM!)

God continues, “I WILL ALSO… 

make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”

(verse 7)  This is what the LORD says–the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel–to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers;

(Again, He is talKing about JESUS…which is somewhat odd, because they want a savior–a conquering king–to take them home and here Isaiah is talking about the Savior who is despised, abhorred, who is a SERVANT!) 

“Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”

Things are getting even more interesting all of a sudden…

All the verses are filled with a ton of great stuff…all the words of advice to a fallen people.

The FIRST thing I want to focus on, takes me all the way back again, to Verse 2:  “He made me into a polished arrow.”

“A POLISHED ARROW”

isaiah49-21_web

Imagine, if you will, the finest ARROW made from the finest wood, with absolutely the straightest feathers, and the sharpest steel…and then you polish it…and polish it.

This is a “polished arrow,” and they did this for a valid reason:

  1.  So the ARROW would FLY FASTER…
  2.  FLY FARTHER…
  3.  And, FLY STRAIGHTER than any other arrow.

AN ARROW WITH A SPECIAL PURPOSE

Now hold on to that descriptive narrative and take it back to VERSE TWO…

ISRAEL is talking to the LORD at this point and says,

“[God] made us into a polished arrow, and He CONCEALED us in His quiver.”

You make us into an arrow…not just any arrow…but a POLISHED ARROW, and then you put us in Your quiver.

That’s how Israel feels:

  • A polished arrow…
  • With All That POTENTIAL…
  • All of That PURPOSE…
  • All that God has been preparing them for..

And God just tucks them away.

ISRAEL is feeling frustrated…they want to FLY, isn’t that what an arrow is for?

“We want You to use us for the purpose that you made us for!  You are WASTING us in Your quiver.”

Frustration Expressed (verse 4):

“I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing”

Israel is getting a little whiney here I think.  “WE ARE THE ARROWS…”  “WE GAVE YOU EVERYTHING…” and “NOW WE ARE SITTING ON THE BENCH!”

That’s the people of Israel…that’s their situation.

1771893902_2f6883341dDo you ever feel like a “polished arrow”; put back into a quiver…just waiting?

Boy, I sure have.  We feel like a polished arrow…ready and waiting to FLY…but put back into the quiver.

A little…OK, a lot, of FRUSTRATION emerges.

It’s here that the prophet FLIPS IT! – (verse 4 (b))

“Yet what is due me is in the LORD’S hand, and my reward is with my God”

Remember, we just got done whining in at the beginning of verse 4:

“YET”…there’s the “yet”…”Yet what is due me…”

“And now the LORD says–He who formed me in the womb to be His servant to bring Jacob back to Him and gather Israel to Himself…”

Remember, Isaiah is talking about bringing them BACK HOME!

When are we going…BACK HOME!

We go from whining to a PROMISE.  Your time will come!

But, Some Things Are Gonna Have to Change First… 

THE LORD wasn’t prepared at this point in time, to bring the nations back…Isaiah has all the way until Chapter 60 before he gets to the “CELEBRATION!”

We will get to see it…the celebration DOES happen, but understand where we are…the celebration HASN’T happened…the HOPE of a nation is still WAITING to be fulfilled.  This is still the sad whiney time.

Let’s Kick Up the Narrative A Notch…

“Just going home?”  That is what you are whining about?  You just want to go home?  That’s it?  You want a leader to rescue you and just go home?”

Guess what…that is too small a thing.

You are a polished arrow!

Just going home is too small a thing.  

You have a very SPECIAL purpose.

To just send you hoe is too small a thing!

It would be like taking a polished arrow and shooting a gopher!

“When your time comes…”

Isaiah lets the people know that when their time comes…they won’t just go home…but they will ALSO begin the process of opening the door of SALVATION to EVERYBODY!

(verse 6):  “He says:

“It is too small a thing for you to be My servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.  I will also make you a LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.” 

The people are whining about going home, and Isaiah lets them know that their day will come, but in the meantime, they need to remember they ARE a polished arrow.  

They need to understand the PURPOSE of a polished arrow.

What Are You Aiming At?

Target

What kind of target do you save a polished arrow for?

You don’t wanna hit a small target…you want to hit a BIG target!

“Me And My Arrow” – (verse 7):

Thus says the lord, the Redeemer of Israel, Israel’s Holy One, to him whom man rejects and despises, to him who nations abhor, to the servant of rulers:  Kings shall see you and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, Who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, Who has chosen you.  (AMP. bible).

Isaiah wraps it all up; identifying Israel’s purpose:  You are going to have to introduce the entire world to Jesus Christ!

They are a POLISHED ARROW, God is aiming them at a BIG TARGET and that is SALVATION for everyone!

Our PURPOSE Today As Christians–

Do you feel like  “POLISHED ARROW”?  Because guess what, every single one of us that make the confession of a disciple (a “follower”) of JESUS…is a POLISHED ARROW!

God has been working on you, polishing you for a special purpose.  He has made you to FLY straight, FLY true, FLY far, and hit your target.

BUT unfortunately, we haven’t seen our OWN potential.  We’ve spent our energy and spent our purpose aiming at small targets…shooting gophers!

We AIM at small targets, keep our HOPES small, keep our VISIONS small, keep our AMBITIONS small…and the WORD for us is…that is too SMALL a thing.

You are a POLISHED ARROW.  Think about what that means.

Maybe, just maybe, NOW is the time…

Time to take aim at a bigger target.  Let the LORD draw you back, and LET YOU FLY!

God is telling the CHURCH…”Me And My Arrow” (s)…you are polished arrows…you were meant to fly…you were meant to hit a BIG TARGET.  One day, I’ll bring you back home.

 


Footnotes & Credits:

FOOTNOTES:  Footnote [i]The Point, the Movie; Wikipedia @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Point

PHOTO CREDITS: Google Images.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: NIV (New International Version) – [Note: I capitalized words in referenced to God within the text];  AMP (Amplified Bible).

 

Our Destiny Won’t and Can’t Be Overlooked!

Queen Esther
Queen Esther

THE BOOK OF ESTHER:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from else-where, but you and your father’s house will perish.

AND WHO KNOWS but that YOU have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?”  (Esther 4:14).

Do I really have SPECIFIC PURPOSE in Life?

In 1963, I was single and working a grave yard shift at a local grocery store chain in Southern California.  I was a part-time student at a local Community College along with some morning classes during the week.  So, on specific days, I would get off work at 7:30 AM; drive to school and attend a 9 AM class, then come home and sleep until 4:30 PM and do it again starting!   at midnight!  I’m exhausted from just recounting the story.  And to make thing worse– at the ripe old age of 21 at the time, my social life was all but non-existent.

One day, pulling my car up in front of the house and sitting there for sometime, I got out of the car and proceeded to kicked the rear tire, with a  loud proclamation to the neighborhood,  What am I doing all of this for?  There must be a better purpose in life other than work, school, money, girls etc.  Well, maybe not girls!  And by the way, in case you might be wondering, I wasn’t a Christian at this time in my life, nor have any relationship with the Lord.  Oh I knew there was a GOD and I knew what Christmas and Easter were all about…but NO RELATIONSHIP. Not until I was married, had three children and reached the ripe old age of 30 did a new relationship begin!  That’s another whole story.

GOD HAS A PLAN:

Jeremiah 1:5  (KJV):

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Psalm 139:13  (NIV):

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

—  Moses was born to lead the children of Israel of Bondage.

—  Elijah was born to be a prophet.

—  Noah was born to build the ark.

—  John the Baptist was born as forerunner of Christ Jesus to baptize in the wilderness. 

—  Paul was born to preach and write most of the New Testament.

Until we discover our PURPOSE, our EXISTENCE, we have no meaning…because PURPOSE becomes the source of FULFILLMENT.  And, success is NOT PURPOSE…because SUCCESS, without PURPOSE, is LIFE without meaning and no, that statement isn’t out of Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life [sorry, I’ve never read it!].

DURING THE TIME GOD MADE ESTHER QUEEN…

Haman wanted to kill ALL the Jews and Esther being a Jew, was told by her Uncle Mordecai,  she had the POWER to protect her people.  She was given this position as queen by God for such a time as this…

Although there isn’t an explicit reference to God in the Hebrew text, God’s providence is clearly over His covenant people throughout the reading of THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

Seeking a Purpose–

 Many people today turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, career, seeking a PURPOSE.  Putting a 250-channel remote control in our hands…we’re still restless because the things of life don’t really satisfy.  Maybe for an instance, but afterword, we want more!

We have been born to have a RELATIONSHIP with God and when this happens, God’s purpose becomes our purpose…

JESUS CAME WITH PURPOSE AND DESTINY:

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. ~ Luke 9:51 (KJV).

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but (always) Yours, be done. ~ Luke 22:42 (AMP).

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 (NASB).

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning. ~ 2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT).

HOW GREAT is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV).

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be had not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. ~ 1 John 3:2 (NIV).

OUR DESTINY?  WE HAVE BEEN BORN–ANOINTED–SET-APART TO INFLUENCE OTHERS!

The Christian walk in life is a FAITH WALK.  God doesn’t always reveal His perfect will and allow us to see our DESTINY He has set in place for our lives.  But that is no excuse to bury your head in the sand and wait for God to call you home.

He asks us to TRUST Him and take a leap of faith, allowing Him to guide our every step along the way until we come to the end.  Often, it is not until we have reached a milestone or accomplish a major goal that we can look back and see that God has been leading us all along.

With that all said, you might be questioning God right where you are at this moment in time: Why am I here?  Can’t I accomplish great things for your Kingdom at some other place?

Esther Felt the Pain!

Esther couldn’t understand why…why God would allow her to be forced to marry a pagan King; then taken from her family, to live in a palace, where she felt more like a prisoner than a Queen.

According to the Persian Law, Esther could not even go to her husband the King, without his prior approval.  If Esther were to attempt to walk in the presence of the King, without permission, she would be instantly killed if he didn’t want to see her.

Esther’s Destiny Could Not Be Overlooked!

AND THE RESULTS?

Esther’s people shared in the Queen’s Destiny–God’s Plan:

“The Jews had light [a dawn of new hope] and gladness and joy and honor.    And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday.  And many from among the peoples of the land [submitted themselves to Jewish rite and] became Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them”  (Esther 8:16-17 AMP).

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD OR YOUNG TO DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO:

Moses was 40 years old when he began tending sheep in Median and did the same mundane chores for 40 years.  When Moses was 80 years old God called him for His purpose.

When is became a born-again Christian in 1972, I was told by a wise old pastor:  Mel, God has a special calling just for you in life.  My thought process at the time?  Okay pastor, what “calling” is that?  It took over 20 years to discover it and another 20 to follow through with it.  What was it? TEACHING!

Ways to Determine Your Purpose in Life–

When I was investigating Esther’s Destiny; her calling…I uncovered some informative ways to determine God’s calling in your life by John Piper:  10 Ways to Determine God’s Calling in Your Life ~ April 25, 2005.

Although the ten questions were directed to people who desired committing their lives to the Mission Field, I thought Mr. Piper wouldn’t mind if I shared with you a few ways of not overlooking your destiny–your God blessed purpose here on earth.

Our calling can be deep-seated and lasting in our spirit (our hearts).  After all, it is the work of God [not your work] that brings your heart to a point of conviction.  All things considered–including Scripture–this pathway is the path to obedience.

[Esther’s pathway was chosen by God but it was her chosen obedience  that couldn’t be overlooked].

 Conviction is not infallible–

Although conviction isn’t perfect, but when it is of God, it certainly brings peace to your soul.

How does God waken such a calling in our lives?

John Piper suggest 10 Ways in grasping God’s plan for your life and only one of them is infallible–The Bible.  [I’ll present only 2-ways for reference.]  All others are relative and are not absolute but still important for determination.

Also, various combinations he lists are fuel God uses to drive the engine for His calling in your life.

#1. Above all, know your Bible and saturate your mind with it:

God’s Word, His will for your life shapes our minds:  Psalm 1:1-3.

It makes us burn for Christ:  Luke 24:32.

#2.  Know your gifts and know yourself:

Every Christian has spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11 AMP):

“As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of god’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].”

“Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”

Knowing your special gifts shapes your convictions about your calling and knowing yourself (as Paul illustrates in Romans 7:15-24), deepens your sense of fitness in various ministries.  Remember, this can be over-ridden by other facts that come into play.

This is but two means given by John Piper, to get you thinking.  If you want the other 8, you will have to go to John Piper’s book.

ARE YOU LISTENING FOR GOD’S CALL IN YOUR LIFE…DISCERNING YOUR DESTINY?

A blogging friend and published author, Jeannie Pallett, said recently in a message,  “I won’t be blogging this week.  I think my life [‘my destiny’]    is about to change…a sensing God wants me to open our home for my unsaved niece to live here for awhile” [the words in brackets are mine].

God’s Main Call First–

Careful Listening
Careful Listening

First, is to a restored relationship then a close fellowship.  Have you ever tried to have a verbal conversation with someone and they did all the talking?  You couldn’t even get a word in edge-ways ; an answer, if it really was a question.  How do you feel?  How does God feel when you do all the talking–asking all the time, but never listening for His answers.  That is not relationship or fellowship.  That’s spiritual deafness!

Eternal life that comes with being a Christian is not just accepting JESUS as your Lord & Savior, then waiting around to go to heaven and live for ever.  It’s about relationship with God–getting to know Him, serving Him and obeying Him because you love Him:

John 17:3–  Now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 15:15–  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:14–  You are my friends if you do what I command.” 

“God’s call is for you to be His loyal friend, for whatever purpose He has for your life” ~ Oswald chambers “My Utmost For His Highest”.

The apostle Paul tells the church located in Corinth:

“God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”  (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP).

GOD’S SPECIFIC CALLING FOR YOUR LIFE:

What is God’s call in your life?

That’s the question many Christians wonder about and seek an answer to.  Is it full time ministry, or to be a missionary, or to be a lay person, or…?  You need to prayerfully seek God and ask Him to help you discern His special plan and calling designed especially for your life.  Ask Him to give you the faith and courage to follow–obey–whenever He leads you.  You will be the happiest and full of joy when you are in the middle of God’s will and plan.