Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oops, I mean THIS is the final installment

I was mistaken. Here is the last Pure Purpose excerpt. Leave a comment if you would like to be entered in the giveaway.


What if someone took a snapshot of you and made it an example for others so that’s all others know about your life? Some snapshots of our lives can be framed into a nice photo that accurately reflects a particular situation in our lives. However, our lives aren’t mere snapshots. Our lives are rich recordings, capturing our thoughts, emotions, relationships, situations, struggles, growth…every detail of every moment of our lives. Our lives are a marathon. We may stop to walk along the way. We might make a wrong turn and need to get back on track. We may enjoy the refreshing wind at times and sit by the side of the road in tears sometimes. Endurance is movement through the marathon of life, regardless of the varying types and speeds of movement. Endurance involves perseverance. Sometimes we persevere at a sprint, and sometimes we barely shuffle our feet.

When have your legs felt strong and you felt the refreshing wind in your face as you ran through life?

When have you been completely overwhelmed with the path ahead, your legs feeling like massive weights, and you wanted to stop for a long rest?

Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, who through our faith has brought us into that blessing of God's grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God's glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us. Romans 5:1-5

When we have problems and trials, we can develop endurance. (We can also sit and mope and whine and become self-focused.) Endurance develops character. Character develops our hope in salvation. And yet…isn’t it our hope in salvation, our relationship with Jesus, our acceptance and understanding of God’s character, that helps us deal with our problems and trials in the first place?

You see, we often stop where we are because we’re waiting on something. We think we need more faith or we need more strength or we need more courage. We may even ask God for it. And then we wait and wait and wait….when we already have what we need! If you have a relationship with Jesus, you have his strength and courage. You may not always feel like you have it, but it’s there. We may feel completely drained and insufficient and incapable, but it’s not because we actually are. Standing on the promise of Romans 1:5.

The Holy Spirit gives us everything we need. The strength and courage we need is already in us, and not only is it in us, but the Holy Spirit fills us! You have access to God’s love, courage, strength, joy, discernment (and the list goes on…) inside you, accessible at all times. So why do you think we still want to sit beside the road, bury our head in our hands and quit?

My thoughts might not be even close to yours, but here are a few I’ve considered.

1. Even when we know God provides all we need through him, we try to rely into our own strength and courage instead of tapping into his.

2. We wait to tap into his strength and courage only when we’re completely exhausted. We try to hand him the baton, expecting him to run the rest of the way for us, not with us.

3. We rely on the Holy Spirit to guide, equip, and encourage us so infrequently that we’re not sure how to listen and rely on him.

We’re human. I don’t want this to become a crutch we rely on, but we have to admit, we’re going to struggle with our past baggage, current struggles, and future apprehensions. The key is whether we try to manage it all or rely on God to equip us to persevere and endure.

Our marathon doesn’t start the moment we get the phone call, receive the diagnosis, or discover the betrayal. We don’t run through the crisis and check it off our list. Our marathon is our entire life. Challenging uphill climbs. Downhill coasts. Crushed by crowds of people. Feelings of isolation. Encouraged by others. Discouraged as others fly by. Inadequacies. Doubt. Injuries. Milestones. Rejuvenation. It’s all part of the marathon. And you’re in training through the entire marathon. Increase your endurance through consistent training.

Training isn’t just a to-do list. It’s a to-be list. What you do prepares you for who you become. Who you are influences what you do. Both are intimately connected. What is God prompting you to do and who is he prompting you to become?

Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pure Purpose - Week 4

Here's the 4th and final installment of the Pure Purpose excerpts. I also have a pdf sample. If you'd like to take a look at it, just leave your email address in your comment and I'll send it to you. Don't forget to leave a comment so that you can possibly win a free copy of Susan's book!!!


Lord, teach me what you want me to do, and I will live by your truth. Teach me to respect you completely. Psalm 86:11

Authenticity is “being actually and exactly what is claimed.” (www.merriam-webster.com)

Have you ever given advice you have difficulty applying in your own life? Have you ever stretched the truth (a.k.a., lied) to make yourself look a little better or perhaps a little worse in order to avoid doing something? (Perhaps you’ve even deceived yourself.) Are there areas of your life in which you know there are principles you should follow, but you just don’t seem to be able to discipline yourself to apply them or you struggle with how they apply directly to you?

Truthfulness isn’t just about what you say. It’s about the way you live. It paves the way for an authenticity in our lives, a perspective that reflects actually and exactly what we claim. Authenticity is a reflection of God, which means if we want authenticity, we can’t look in our own mirror; we have to use God’s.

Truthfulness affects others. It affects their faith, because it affects how they see God. Whether I have a long-term relationship or momentary encounter with someone, my character, the way I behave, my attitude…all combine to reflect the God who created me for purpose on this earth. No moment, no situation, no person is insignificant.

And here’s the truth. I don’t always reflect the truth of God’s character. Sure, sometimes it has nothing to do with deceit. It might have to do with ignorance. But in all honesty, how often are we ignorant in a situation…versus how often we rationalize we’re ignorant? It’s much easier to plead innocence than to take responsibility.

Not listening to God isn’t the same as not knowing his character. We live in a “shirk responsibility” culture. It’s easier to blame someone else. But when it comes to your personal walk with God, it’s between you and him. I can assure you, he’s not the one creating space. Are we distant from God sometimes? Yes, but we can acknowledge the distance and move. Or we can choose instead to try to figure out the distance, whine about the distance, and end up in the same place weeks or months from now. Are we hurt or confused sometimes? Yes, but again, we can acknowledge our emotions and experience and begin the process of moving to another place, or steep in the turmoil and end up in the same situation, or worse, weeks or months from now.

You’re not a victim. How can I be so sure? Because I know my God. He’s not a victimizer. He’s a Victor. He created you. And he is Truth. There is truth in you. We need to let him reveal it to us, so you see the reflection God sees. So others see the reflection God sees.

God understands all hearts, and he sees you. Proverbs 24:12

(For practical tools for how to “get R.E.A.L.,” authentic in your Relationships, Experiences, Attitudes and Leadership, check out Week Eight of Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence.)

Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pure Purpose - Week #3

Here's another excerpt from Susan Lawrence's study entitled Pure purpose. Be sure to leave a comment and you will be entered into the drawing for a free copy!


Each of us is impacted by our past experiences, family, health, education, relationships, and much more. Consider everything and everyone who has impacted your life from teachers to friends to coworkers to ministers. Jot as many as you can in one minute.

Each time we communicate, we bring our background with us. We use it to make sense of what we’re saying. Others bring different background to their communications. We may have some similarities, but no two people’s lives are exactly the same, and no two people will communicate in exactly the same way. We filter what we say and what we hear. So every time you say something, it goes through two filters: yours and the person’s to whom you’re talking. Every time you hear something, it goes through two filters: yours and the person’s who is speaking to you.

Understanding our filters helps us understand our communications better.

Consider a situation in which you made an assumption that was later proved to be inaccurate about someone.

If one assumption you’re made has been proven inaccurate, consider the possibility than any assumption you make about people might be inaccurate. We hear and give information based on our filters. But our filters aren’t purely clean. Our experiences, relationships, and attitudes clog our screens…and the screens of people we’re communicating with. That’s why we sometimes think someone said something they didn’t say or insist they didn’t tell us something when they actually did.

Being aware of your filters means acknowledging the possibility there’s been a miscommunication. When there’s a miscommunication, who’s responsible?

There are at least two people involved in communication. Both have filters. Does it really matter who’s right and who’s wrong when there’s a miscommunication? If the goal is communication, and communication isn’t complete or effective, strive to focus on the goal-communication- instead of getting stuck in a blame game.

No one should accuse or blame another person. Don't blame the people, you priests, when they quarrel with you. Hosea 4:4

We can’t assume everyone shares our experiences. It can be frustrating to start at the beginning to explain something to someone when we just want to move on, but again, if the goal is communication, and communication isn’t complete or effective, we need to strive to focus on the goal, communication, instead of getting stuck focusing on our filters, who should already know what, how much time we need to take to explain something, etc. Building relationships with healthy communication is always worth time and effort.

Here’s my list of communication tips.

ü No one is a mind-reader. If you want or expect someone to know something, tell them.

ü Take a breath before speaking. Once it’s spoken, you can’t swallow it.

ü Communication will fail. Do your best, but know it’s not foolproof.

ü Communication is not avoidable. You can be quiet, but you’re still communicating.

ü Communication assumes…based on past experiences, relationships, and personality.

ü Communication involves relationship. It’s not just about you, your intentions, and your goals.

How will you reflect God in your communication?

It will not really be you speaking but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Matthew 10:20

Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pure Purpose - Week #2

Here's your weekly taste of Pure Purpose from my friend, Susan Lawrence. If you'd like to win a copy of this excellent study, just leave a comment.


How have you shown compassion to someone you didn’t know. It doesn’t have to be huge. Have you helped someone carry groceries? Paid for someone’s lunch when her debit card was declined? Listened to someone’s struggles while sitting on a plane or in a doctor’s office?

Compassion is sincere. To share a burden or to sympathize with someone isn’t motivated by guilt or obligation. It’s a tug into action, rooted in love, consideration and kindness.

When do you avert your eyes from a need? Who do you pass by? Consider any groups of people or situations you consistently avoid.

Need help? Consider the following:

ð Roadside beggars

ð Veterans

ð Drug addicts

ð Foreign missions

ð Homeless

ð Poor

ð Single moms

ð Door-to-door solicitors

ð Hitchhikers

ð Donation solicitor

What are some reasons for avoiding people?

There are certainly some safety issues we must consider. If you’re walking alone in the mall parking lot and are pursued by a man asking to use your phone to call for help, you should immediately move toward a populated area.

But I wonder how often we rationalize not showing compassion because of an exception, not a rule. How often do we assume we know someone’s motives, and we don’t want to be taken advantage of, so we pass by?

Jesus answered, “As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, some robbers attacked him. They tore off his clothes, beat him, and left him lying there, almost dead. It happened that a priest was going down that road. When he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Next, a Levite came there, and after he went over and looked at the man, he walked by on the other side of the road. Then a Samaritan traveling down the road came to where the hurt man was. When he saw the man, he felt very sorry for him. The Samaritan went to him, poured olive oil and wine on his wounds, and bandaged them. Then he put the hurt man on his own donkey and took him to an inn where he cared for him. The next day, the Samaritan brought out two coins, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of this man. If you spend more money on him, I will pay it back to you when I come again.’”

Then Jesus said, “Which one of these three men do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by the robbers?”

The expert on the law answered, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Jesus said to him, “Then go and do what he did.” Luke 10:30-37

Consider this happening in today’s world. Picture the roadside where you might see this man and what your reaction might be when you encounter him? What are your assumptions, and how do they determine your response?

What happens when we assume we know someone’s past, motives, etc.?

Isn’t it funny, when the other fellow takes a long time to do something, he’s slow. When I take a long time to do something, I’m thorough. When the other fellow doesn’t do it, he’s lazy. When I don’t do it, I’m busy. When the other fellow does it without being told, he’s overstepping his bounds. When I go ahead and do it without being told, that’s initiative. When the other fellow states his opinion strongly, he’s bullheaded. When I state my opinion strongly, I’m firm. When the other fellow overlooks a few rules of etiquette, he’s rude. Tom Knight, quoted by Charles McHarry, New York Daily News

Brothers and sisters, do not tell evil lies about each other. If you speak against your fellow believers or judge them, you are judging and speaking against the law they follow. And when you are judging the law, you are no longer a follower of the law. You have become a judge. James 4:11

Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Peek At Pure Purpose & And Upcoming Giveaway

Once a week, through the month of June I will be sharing my blog with my friend, Susan Lawrence. She has written a wonderful study book entitled Pure Purpose. Susan has been generous enough to offer me a copy of her book to give away. If you leave a comment after any of the Pure Purpose posts, you will be entered in the drawing. Good luck!


When I was a young girl, I’d slip my feet into my dad’s boots. They reached my knees or higher, and my feet slipped forward as I stepped and upward as I lifted my feet. He had big shoes to fill, but I felt special to have them on.

We’re not going to fit into God’s shoes, but the slipping and sliding is totally worth it. I’d rather fall down and get hurt walking in God’s shoes than wearing anyone else’s! Including mine.

Humility reminds us that we don’t fill someone else’s shoes, particularly God’s. But our perspective is often distorted, and our humility is affected. We think too highly of ourselves. Or we don’t think high enough of ourselves – as God’s creation.

Our desire to look good affects humility.

Our desire to feel good affects humility.

Our desire for the best deal affects humility.

We can become bitter when we think we haven’t been given a “fair” life. And we can become complacent or even prideful when we think we’ve been given a “good” life. Both are dangerous, and both are deceptive, because both focus on what we think. You’re not God, so who are you to decide what a good or bad, fair or unfair, life is? Remember, God is the source of your life. He knows every detail. And he knows how all the details work together toward your purpose. And because God is God, we know...he knows “what I am planning for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

The truth is…when we focus on how we look or feel or what type of “deal” we’re getting, our focus is ME-centered, not GOD-centered. You have a choice each moment of your life to either say,

“I can do this pretty well on my own.”


“I can’t and don’t want to do this without God.”

Humility is not about putting yourself down. It’s about a proper relationship with God. Look up to God. When we say “I can do this,” we take God out of it and fail to acknowledge his existence. We become the focus. When we say “I can’t,” we take God out of it and fail to acknowledge his strength. We deflate ourselves or inflate ourselves, and both are wrong. We’re not the source of the air. God is. When we only allow him to inflate us through his encouragement and deflate us through his discipline, we start all our sentences with God. We must acknowledge God.

To the church of God in Corinth, to you who have been made holy in Christ Jesus. You were called to be God's holy people with all people everywhere who pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:2

God can do all things.

That’s all we need to know.

Your worth is in him, my friend, and no one, including yourself, can make you worth any more or any less.

Adapted from Pure Purpose by Susan H. Lawrence. Check out Susan’s blog at http://purepurposebook.wordpress.com/ and follow Pure Purpose on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/PurePurposeFB