Equipped for Purpose

Harry Durgin Facebook; Kilauea Eruption, September 2021

God didn’t just throw us into the world, saying: “Sink or swim.”

We were created on purpose. We are where we are on purpose. We are given work to do.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:10

He equipped, and is equipping us

We have what it takes

His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3)

When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  (John 16:13

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrews 13:20–21

We’re being perfected

It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13

We’re being equipped by others

Certain gifts were given to Christians “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:12

We can do the work God has prepared for us!

We Are Responsible

Doing God’s work God’s way is not automatic

We are equipped, but we must learn to walk according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh. (Romans 8:4)

We must study God’s word in order to be equipped

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

We are to help others

Not only are we being equipped, part of our purpose to help others.

Gifts are given to every Christian  

As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Peter 4:10

We are to press on!

Thrilling

This is thrilling, encouraging, comforting. God not only knows exactly our circumstances (since He put us here), but He has prepared us to do the works He intends. We are prepared to serve Him in our circumstances, with the challenges that come our way.

Thank You, Father! 

Partiality Is Sin

God doesn’t look at outward appearances, but at the heart.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7

God’s standards are always the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are Jew or Gentile, your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your income, your looks. What matters is your soul; your heart.

Our standard is to be God’s standard. We are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. We are to act as Christ acts. We are to be impartial.

Partiality is fundamentally inconsistent with being a Christian.

If you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:9)

Personal Story

Many years ago, I picked up a hitchhiker. On the way to church, I drove by someone thumbing a ride. After a block, I felt an overwhelming urge, that seemed to be from the Lord, to go back and pick him up. (I never pick up hitchhikers, and I am not suggesting that you do. But I was convinced–and still am–that the Lord wanted me to.)

He said, “You drove by before, didn’t you?” I told him I was on my way to church and that I thought the Lord tell me to go back and pick him up. Well! He said he’d just become a Christian! I invited him to church, but he said, “I just got off work and I’m really dirty.” I told him it wouldn’t matter. So he came to church with me.

We ended up sitting in different spots, and when I looked for him after the service, he was surrounded by smiling church members.

I was reminded of that today as I read James 2. We are not to show personal favoritism. If we show partiality, we are sinning. 

I am so grateful for those godly church members.

Watch out

I’m determined to watch for, and eliminate, partiality in myself. 

On Purpose

God created us on purpose.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27

God gave our mothers conception for us to be born at this time, in this place.

And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth… (Ruth 4:13

The Lord had closed her womb. (1 Samuel 1:6

God created us for His good pleasure.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16

God created work for us to do.

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. (John 6:29

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep … (Acts 13:36

We are, on purpose, to glorify God.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31

Our times may be challenging, but we are here, right now, on purpose.

Remember the statement to Esther:

And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14

That is true for us. We were created (and prepared) for such a time as this.

Let’s praise God for our opportunities to serve and glorify Him. 

Let’s realize He is with us and for us and will never leave us.

If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31)

Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20

This is exciting!

Let’s press on with purpose and joy.

When It’s Over

When It’s Over

In the gospels, there are several accounts of Jesus leaving a group and going away. In some verses, we read that Jesus hid Himself from them.

This is, or should be, sobering. Terrifying, really.

While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke [to the crowd], and He went away and hid Himself from them. (John 12:36)

 “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them [the Pharisees and Sadducees] and went away.” (Matthew 16:4)

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they [unbelieving Jews] picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:58–59)

Today is urgent. At some point, it is too late. At some point, God leaves people alone.

At some point, if a person doesn’t believe, they won’t be able to believe.

As the days get darker, we are more apt to be confronted or persecuted, but our mission doesn’t change. Respond to questioners and persecutors with truth. Keep praying. Keep speaking the truth in love. Keep telling them of the Savior. Keep inviting them to believe.

Press on.

Does It Matter?

Does It Matter?

We are commanded to pray for the lost. (1 Timothy 2:1-8)

This can seem like an overwhelming endeavor with little or no result, especially when the person, or people, or groups are personally unknown to you.

But it is a command.

And we are told that “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)

Praying is our job. Salvation is God’s.

Here is an example that encourages me:

When Stephen was killed, he prayed for those stoning him. Did it matter? One of those in the group was unconverted Saul, who became the apostle Paul. (Acts 7:58-60)

Obedience always matters. Always.

Let’s pray for the lost.

(See also: Yet More Evil, and Pray for the Lost)

Pray for the Lost!

Pray for the Lost!

I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

We are to pray for the lost. We are to pray for those in authority. We are to pray for the President, his administration, congress, and state officials, and your boss, and and and. We are to pray that people be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

I confess I do not want to pray for some individuals. This is sin! Lord, forgive me, and help me pray for the lost. It is Your choice to save, but it is Your command to me—to us—to pray.

Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh and preach; instead, Jonah ran in the opposite direction. When he did obey, and preached to Nineveh, the entire city repented. And Jonah wanted to be killed. His enemies turned to God! Oh my!

Can individual people in the Taliban, or Antifa, or a serial killer or rapist be saved? Yes, of course. God is sovereign and saves whom He wishes.

Who is saved is not our decision. Our call is to obey by praying for the lost.

Don’t forget: The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5:16)

Father, I am determined to pray for the lost as You command. Please help me.

Yet More Evil

And yet more evil. I mourn about Afghanistan and the evil being done. I’m appalled at the lawless, wicked actions in the US and elsewhere. Lord! Help! Come soon!

What We Should NOT Do

Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. (Psalm 37:1)

Do not envy the prosperous wicked. (Psalm 37:7; Psalm 73)

What We Should Do

Turn to God, the righteous judge.

When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.  (Psalm 73:16–17)

Remember: Almighty God is in control. He has a purpose and works all things after the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)

Trust in the Lord. Delight in Him. (Psalm 37:3-4)

Pray. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Hope: Christ Jesus is our hope.  (1 Timothy 1:1)

Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)

Press on!

The Urgency of Today

Harry Durgin Facebook

The Urgency of Today

If we’re not going to do it now, when will we?  (See If Not Now, When?)

And if we don’t do it now, might it be too late later?  (See It’s Too Late)

We know Christ is coming, but we do not know the day or hour. It might be that all the time we have is right now.  Right. Now.

You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.  (Luke 12:40)

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  (Matthew 24:42)

Sanctification and Service

Christians have been saved from the penalty of sin. We now are being sanctified, being saved from the power of sin. God is working on and in us, and we also have responsibility. We are to work out our [sanctification] with fear and trembling.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  (Philippians 2:12)

We are to be ready for His coming. (See the parable of the virgins, Matthew 25)

We are to be faithful servants, using the gifts and opportunities He gave us. (See the parable of the talents, Matthew 25)

We are to make the most of our opportunities.

making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  (Ephesians 5:16)

Press On!

With boldness and urgency, press on!

Press on!

It’s Too Late

It’s Too Late

The saddest words: “It’s too late.” “It might have been.”

You wanted to do something and now you can’t. It’s too late.

You could have been reconciled with a family member, and now you can’t. It’s too late.

You could have protected your health, and now you can’t. It’s too late.

In Noah’s day, when it started raining, it was too late. (I wonder if they banged on the door!)

As Christians, we are admonished to redeem the time. We can miss spiritual responsibilities and opportunities. Let’s not be too late.

It can also be too late for salvation.

The Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7)

When people harden their hearts to God’s voice, it is both easier to harden even more the next time, and also harder to hear if they do listen.

Today is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Let’s endeavor to fulfill the great commission. Let’s do our parts to tell others about Christ, to encourage them to hear, lest they hear from God: “You shall not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3:11).

Let’s do our part to have them not hear: “It’s too late.”

(See also The Last Knock.)

If Not Now, When?

If not now, when?

A number of years ago I had trouble forgiving someone. One wretched morning, as I was sort of praying, sort of ruminating, wishing things were otherwise, I sensed the question: “If not now, when?”

That stopped me in my miserable tracks. Yes, I knew I was commanded to forgive. Yes, I knew that forgiving was in my best self-interest. I just was stuck.

But the question penetrated every barrier. If I were going to forgive someday, and I knew I would (or would have to), why not now? If I weren’t going to forgive at that moment, when would I? What would make it better to forgive at a future time rather than right that minute?

For me, that question got me over the hump. By an act of the will, I forgave right then. What release! What relief!

That powerful question applies to many things, both spiritual and secular. I’m sure you have a list of “want to” actions that you’ve put off.

There are dangers in waiting. You’ll miss opportunities in the present. You’ll miss blessings now that might not be there in the future. Doors may close.

Is there something you need to do that you haven’t done? What is holding you back? What are you waiting for? What makes it better to do it in the future? What is the problem with now?

If not now, when?