Identity determines purpose.
In other words, who you are determines what you will do.
I have a question for you. A question still ringing in my ears from a secret spot on a sunny hillside at Sweetwater…
Can you tell me, in 10 words or less, why you’re alive?
I mean, are you living today for a reason, or are you just breathing, working, studying…?
Let me tell you a little secret:
Identity determines purpose.
Satisfaction is the fulfillment of that purpose.
I’m blessed to be surrounded by some deep, beautiful people…
You know what we’ve been learning of late?
Just living isn’t enough.
Let me gently remind you who you are.
You’re the King’s son. The King’s daughter…
You’re the broken little lamb that the Shepherd keeps charging into the briers to rescue.
(That’s His blood on the thorns, not yours.)
You’re the pinnacle of God’s creativity.
And you were created to identify with God. And for God to identify with.
And you’ve been broken, and bruised, and horribly disobedient.
But you’ve been redeemed.
That’s who you are.
So now: Your purpose… Your motto. 10 words or less?
Choose them carefully. Because in the end, they’ll be the reason why you breathe, work, study… Live.
Can I tell you why I live? Why I love, preach, blog, breathe?
Why I want to finish Nurse Practitioner and spend 6 months of 12 in a dark land?
“To Make Men Free.”
Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today. For now, let’s just say it was one of the best days of my entire life…
I step out, zipped and buttoned. Black wool and cashmere reach earthward almost to my knees. The very air is alive with vigor, somewhat like my insides… I go to meet my God in a beautiful field, on a beautiful farm, this beautiful morning of mornings.
I sit on sandstone at the spot where two friends of mine became one months ago, and read…
And my journal, this spiral bound book with my handwriting in it, this book that records the secrets of my broken-hearted moments, this book my Nana gave me, it opens my eyes to the goodness of my God.
Every moment I have lived, every mercy I have tasted, every tear I have shed, every battle I have fought, every dream turned to ashes, was for today.
Without them, the new dreams springing up would have nothing to root in; to feed on. Because of them, I love my God more than I love anything else in this great wide world. And I love all that is (are!) His…
Hours pass and I wander around the pond; ponder why my heart is here today anyway…
It was just a pebble.
Just a friend who doesn’t even know it happened. But just because they love Jesus, because they love what is high and holy and pure, and just because I was blessed to catch a glimpse of it when I was momentarily unsure of what to do with my sword, just because of that; them…..
Some day when every wrong is made right, I will understand the true weight of today.
Mean time, I will never again underestimate the power of influence…
Even if it does seem like just a pebble…
I thought I understood forgiveness.
Then the anguished cries of a heartbroken hero filled me first with wonder, then with hope…
Mahanaim, Land of Promise.
A king and a father await word of the battle, from the safety of the city’s gate.
At long last the runners are seen. The pacing ceases. The king must know the state of the nation. The father longs to know the state of his son.
The report arrives, breathless.
King listens. Father waits… Then:
“But what about my boy??“
Beg your pardon?
You mean the one who killed your eldest son? That cold blooded barbarian who sought to steal from you everything you had, ending with the crown? The one that this very day launched a campaign to end your life? That boy?
The one who so slowly, so slyly turned the hearts of your friends against you? Turned your influence to ashes from the inside out? Shamed you? Defamed your character before your counselors? Unravelled every thread of trust in the fabric of your rule? That boy?
The one who won the hearts of the kingdom’s greatest talent, greatest beauty, greatest skill? Split your family in pieces, then laughed at your sorrow? That one?
Yes. Exactly that boy.
And when the king-father hears that his son has fallen, he breaks in pieces.
He breaks into bitter sobs; looks for a place to hide his grief.
The guard tower above the gate will have to do. He stumbles up crude stone stairs meant only for soldiers. Breathless messengers and stalwart guards watch him go, hear him sob:
– – –
I blind with tears even now.
Lord of Glory, teach me the heart of forgiveness…
Don’t misunderstand me. I am known as a merciful man. But this has pushed the bounds of my conscious duty.
How in the world…?
It isn’t complicated.
Forgiveness is simply love, stronger.
Stronger than death.
I mean real love…
Until days ago forgiveness was mechanical in my mind. Simply a releasing of hate. Almost an aloofness that says “I’m fine, you’re fine. I’m not hurt by this.”
But forgiveness isn’t finished with the releasing of hate. It needs the (re)embracing of love.
I can feel from here the throbbing hearts of readers that will never comment on this post. Hearts that cry because trust has been broken, shame has been dealt out. I sense tears, even in the dark. Your soul sinks, because you’re sure there’s more to this I can’t possibly understand.
I don’t pretend to fully understand, but my heart throbs with you. Nor am I so naïve as to believe that healing is always as quick or simple as a choice.
I have a Master’s degree in counseling. And I know and love more broken people than some will meet in a lifetime.
But please, oh please my friend… Listen to me. And then pass the word to every hurting soul you know.
Whether you’ve been defamed, distrusted, shamed, violated, exploited, stolen from, crushed, then laughed at…
David was wounded by his own flesh and blood. His family. And it is those closest that have the greatest power to harm, as well as heal.
But David had love. Love stronger…
Love is stronger.
And to love is to be free.
Tell, oh tell the hurting world…
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” Romans 1:1
I set out to read Romans 1 today,
and I never got to verse 2.
Here’s the sermon in three words…
Paul– Called; Separated.
|up in the fire tower, getting the briefing on the last conflagration|
|10 cents if you can identify that logo.|
|view from the tower|
|faces: my favorite shots|
|the county seat from above|
|more briefing in the tower|
|making merry with the dogs leash|
|another Canon friend|
|to turn chain into ribbon…|
|attentive eyes and a friendly face|
|that would be her Canon strap around my neck. (thanks Jessie! :))|
|[Seán’s] photo of the week|
I got a chance to chat with Jim Rennie at ASI Atlantic the other day. (He’s the director of Asian Aid USA)
He said what they need most desperately is sponsors. People to love.
Because love does.
When we get to Heaven, come find me in the library at the University of the Universe…
I’ll be studying two things:
Love, and music…
“Love is oneness– oh, how sweet
To obey this law,
The unlovely we may meet
Need our love the more.
Make us one, O love, we plead
With men’s sorrow and their need.
We are one in needing love,
(Let us true love show)
Only love’s sun from above
Makes our spirits grow.
‘Love us!’ this is our heart’s need,
‘Let us love’ –and live indeed!
We are also one in this,
We must love or die,
Loving others is true bliss,
Self-love is a lie!
Love of self is inward strive,
Love turned outward is true life.
Let us love and fruitful be,
Love is God’s own breath,
Love will kindle love and see
New life born from death.
Nowhere is a heaven more sweet
Than where loving spirits meet.”
Mountains of Spices: pages 46-47