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Monday, December 17, 2018 Seventeenth Day of Advent: The Gift of Purpose

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future.”

You have a purpose in life. God did not plop you down on earth and forget about you. He knew you when you were still “in your mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13) and He had a purpose for your life even then.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” (Ps. 139:16 NIV)

It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, God has a purpose for you.

I remember attending a ladies’ Sunday school class many years ago when “Miss” Dottie, a woman in her 70’s, spoke up and stated that she felt her purpose in life was to be faithful to her husband and to raise her children in a Godly home and see them succeed in life. She confessed that she felt God was through with her on the earth–her purpose in life was finished. The Senior Pastor’s wife was teaching this class and her answer applied to every woman in that room. “Your purpose in life is finished when you stand before God in heaven, and not a minute before. Just because you are of an older generation than most of us in this room does not mean your purpose is finished. Don’t put God in a box. He is not finished with you.” “Miss” Dottie lived to her mid-nineties and she became a mentor to other women – young and old. God’s purpose for her was different than she expected in her later life, but it was still His purpose and He used her to influence many women.

Mordecai told Esther in Esther 4:14 that she had been “brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.” I daresay the same statement applies to each one of us. You have been placed here for “such a time as this.”

If you know the purpose God has for you, listen to Him. He will tell you when it’s time to implement that idea. He will give you step-by-step instructions and everything you need to walk in His calling.

For many people, God has more than one purpose planned for them. Listen to Him as He shares His intentions for you.

If you don’t know the purpose(s) God has for you, ask Him and listen. At the right time, He will reveal His plans for you and it will be immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Dear Father, Thank you for having a plan for each of us. Thank you for leading and guiding us to fulfill that purpose. I pray for those who are reading this today who may not know Your will for them. I ask You to show them the plans and purposes you have for them.  In Jesus’ matchless name, Amen.

(c) 2018 Edwina E. Cowgill

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Saturday, December 1, 2018 First Day of Advent: The Gift of Waiting

In 2009, I wrote a series of Advent blogs titled “The Gifts of Advent.” I’ve posted the series several times since and decided to post them again this year because of new readers and because sometimes we could all use a reminder of just some of the gifts from God. I pray that as you read the blog each day, God will reveal more of His character and more of His gifts to you. As you anticipate the birth of our Savior, may your heart be filled with love, your mind filled with peace and may you know the abundance of life our Savior bought for you through His birth, death, and resurrection.

The Gift of Waiting

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired. (Isaiah 40:31 Amplified Bible)

The above verse is one of my favorites. I use the verse when I counsel and frequently in my blogs. When I need to be encouraged, I repeat this verse to myself over and over until once again my heart is at peace, my mind is at rest, and I know that God is still in control no matter what circumstances I am facing at that time. I frequently mention how some Biblical translations use the word “hope” instead of “wait” and that hope can be used as an acronym for Heart Of Peace and Expectation.

More often than not, when we are waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers—to give us wisdom and guidance about a situation we face, to see His healing manifested in our own body, or that of a loved one—there are lessons that God wants us to learn. Perhaps He desires for us to grow in grace and mercy. Maybe He wants us to learn to be more patient. Or He wants our relationship with Him to grow deeper. It could be that the timing is not right for His answer to be known. Regardless of why the answer has not come, there is a reason we are waiting.

Advent is a season of busyness. We go to this party and that gathering, we sing Christmas carols, shop till we drop, bake and cook. I think we have lost the fact that Advent is a season of waiting. We are so busy running from one store to another, one party to another, we have forgotten that Advent is a sacred time, a time of contemplation as we focus on the birth of God’s only son. Just as a mother anticipates the birth of her child for whom she has anticipated, prepared and waited for nine months, Advent is a period of anticipating, preparing and waiting for the birth of our Savior.

It is my prayer that in some small way, these remaining devotions that you will read during Advent will help you to slow down for a few minutes each day and remember the Reason for the Season. As we look forward to the remainder of the Advent season, may the birth of our Savior renew in you a Heart Of Peace and Expectation.         

Father, as we wait during this Advent Season, help us to take a few minutes each day to think about the Reason for the Season. May we wait with a heart of peace and expectation. And when You speak to us, may we hear with open ears, and a heart ready to receive. In Jesus’ most precious name we pray, AMEN.

  “Come, thou long expected Jesus,

               born to set thy people free;

               from our fears and sins release us,

               let us find our rest in thee.

               Israel’s strength and consolation,

               hope of all the earth thou art;

               dear desire of every nation,

               joy of every longing heart.

 

               Born thy people to deliver,

               born a child and yet a King,

               born to reign in us forever,

               now thy gracious kingdom bring.

               By thine own eternal spirit

               rule in all our hearts alone;

               by thine all sufficient merit,

               raise us to thy glorious throne.”

 

 Text: Charles Wellsley 1707 – 1788

Music: Rowland H. Pritchard

(c) 2018 Edwina E. Cowgill