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Abraham

Personal Jesus

JESUS_IN_A_BOTTLEIn this post I want to deal with the ambiguous yet important issue of your life’s purpose in the context of knowing Jesus personally. When you understand your purpose in life you will have the FUEL in your tank to go where you are supposed to go. When you know your purpose you can walk with boldness. In other words you know who you are, where you are going and the target you are after. Purpose will give you clarity for obscurity, certainty for insecurity, and stability for anxiety. You will no longer wander, wonder or waver. Every move you make will be filled with purpose. Every choice you make will be thoughtful and tenacious.

Someone one said, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” I like that. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, β€œThe purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Life is more than being born, living for yourself and dying. We need purpose and purpose produces passion. Passion produces innovation. Innovation changes the world. Denis Waitley once said, “Chase your passion, not your pension.” And the result of what he is saying is when your passion is pointed then your pension will overflow. People pay people for demonstrating their passion. Your purpose on this planet is made known from the expressions of  your passion.

Understand this: Passion is the thing that gets you up in the morning and causes you to accomplish what is in your heart. When you are passionately focused, determined and moving forward with purpose you are willing to take risks. Mark Twain penned this phrase, “Live life out on the limb, that is where the fruit it.” That needs to be a t-shirt, on a coffee mug and anywhere else we can put it to remind us to live life taking risks. And it is passion with purpose that allows you to take risks. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg once said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” You have to take risks to see rewards. Noah had to build an ark. Abraham had to leave his father’s homeland. Esther had to confront Haman in front of the king. David had to face the giant. Jesus had to willing go to the cross. Like the old adage: Without risk there is no reward.

In the New Testament book of James, the namesake author declares the antonym of purpose, “a double-minded man is UNSTABLE in ALL is ways.” Basically, a person who is vacillating or hesitating between multiple options, many opinions, several decisions and numerous voices about what the future will be will undeniably be unstable in all his ways. You become what the political satirist in the 1930’s called a “mugwump” The humorist said a mugwump is, “a bird that sits on a fence with its mug on one side and it’s wump on the other.” It is someone who cannot make up his mind. It is what James said, he is double-minded and therefore unstable in all his ways.

To be unstable means to totter, to be wobbly, to do nothing right because of a lack of consistency. A double-minded man doesn’t know his purpose. And a man without purpose is a man without peace. When you know what your purpose in life is it brings you peace. Until then, while everything is up in the air chaos ensues, turmoil reigns and you can’t sleep right because your purpose is murky. The Greek word di-soo-chos means “double-souled“. It is as though one soul within someone declares, “I believe,” and the other soul within the same person in turn shouts, “Well, I don’t!” This sort of instability is not only apparent when the person prays, but it marks all that he does (i.e. in his personal life, business life, social life, as well as in his spiritual life). The insight is: indecisiveness negates effectiveness.

The scariest thing about being double-minded is what James concluded, a person like this will not “receive anything from the Lord.” This person will have no peace. Peace is distant. It is out of reach. Peace will only be a dream and never a reality. But purpose produces peace. The entire world is looking for peace. But in all the wrong places. There are wars, terrorists, bombings, political disagreements, etc. that circle the globe. But understand this: peace is not the absence of trouble, peace is the presence of God. The world is not going to know peace without knowing the answer. The answer is found on a bumper sticker I once read. It said this: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace. When you KNOW Jesus life changes because your purpose changes.

One day Jesus was asking his friends this question, “Who do you say that I am? Am I a nice guy? Am I a prophetic voice? Am I a professor?” Peter, one of his disciples replied, “You are the Christ, The Son of the living God.” The question Jesus asked was simple yet personal. It comes down to you. No one else can answer this question for you. If you knew who He was. If you knew the gift of God. If you knew Jesus. Guess what you would do? You would drop everything you are doing to run to see Him. You would see His unfailing, undeniable, unconditional love towards you. His heart is revealed in this: His death on the cross brought us eternal life. His purpose in death was to give you life. Jesus died so you could live. It is personal. Jesus came so that you can have life, but even greater so you can have an abundant, joyful, peaceful, victorious life.

Malcom S. Forbes once wrote, “Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” If you have been through some stuff, some losses and crosses and stresses and messes, you will know that victory is sweet when you have experienced defeat. In the book of Colossians the writer, Paul, tells us that Jesus takes all the broken, dislocated pieces of our lives and He puts them back together again. Not all the kings horses and all the kings men…The King Himself. When your life is shattered, when your dreams are devastated, when your purpose is crushed Jesus fixes your life. He puts all the pieces back together again so you can walk in victory. I see too many people walking around in defeat. I see too many people living life below their potential. I see too many people discouraged, downcast and hopeless in this generation. They don’t have victory.

William Ward said, “Discouragement is a dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and a distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today and the insecurity regarding God-given strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought and impoliteness to God.” That is a mouthful of revelation. But the truth is discouragement is real. The Psalmist David in Psalm 3 wrote an interesting phrase about God, “He is the glory and the lifter of my head.” When someone is hanging their head down it is a sign of discouragement. God is the lifter of your head. When you are being attacked. When your boss is ugly (not physically πŸ™‚ but in their actions) When your neighbor is ornery. When your day is going bad and your week is even worse…there is a place you can go to replenish, recharge, be refreshed and to realize your purpose again…Jesus.

The Sons of Korah were a group of brothers in the Bible who were worshippers, musicians and song writers. They were fatherless. They were abandoned. They were mocked by everyone. They had many reasons to throw in the towel. But in Psalm 42 they wrote a song because in the midst of pain and shame they learned to overcome. They said, “He is my God“. Similarly in Psalm 63 David said, “God, you are my God…in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” In that place…the place of shame. The desert place. The deserted place. God gives you victory in the most difficult places. In the valleys and the storms God gives you the victory. God is God of the valley. He went down into the valley of the shadow of death when He was on the cross. There He made a way for you to walk a joyful, victorious life. He became the bulldozer. He destroyed the wall of sin between us and the Father. He came and made a way for us to go to heaven. He destroyed the works of the wicked one – satan. That is the work of the cross – personally. For you. This thing is PERSONAL!!!

Jesus came to work a work that had never been worked in history. Fully God. Fully man. Jesus took the sins of the world – yours and mine and everyone else’s – upon himself and died. Hebrews 12:2 reads, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the JOY set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Beyond the pain there was JOY that was set before Him in eternity. Jesus is preparing to throw the biggest party ever. It is going to be LIT! When He died He rocked the house. He conquered death, hell and the grave. He died so you don’t have to. But that is not the end…it ends in victory. He didn’t just die and it was over. Up from the grave He arose. Resurrection life. He was dead, but now He is alive. Death couldn’t hold Him. Hell couldn’t keep Him. The grave couldn’t detain Him. He got the victory. And there was a purpose – YOU. This was personal. His death on the cross was for you. We need to be reminded. If He died for you, the least you could possibly do is live for him.

You have a purpose in life. A purpose that gives you passion. A purpose that gives you peace. A purpose that motivates your life. He is a personal Jesus. Hear Him ask you, “Who do you say that I am?” 

In grace, Patrick Kiteley

Twitter – @patrickkiteley  Instagram – @patrickkiteley  LinkedIn – Patrick Kiteley


Follow-Through-Enter-Into:

Personally: Name one area in your life where you have experienced discouragement? (Confide)

Practically: Make a decision to make a change in this area of your life. (Decide)

Prayerfully: Father God, I ask you today to help me in my discouragement. I need you, Holy Spirit, to give me courage. I want to live with purpose, passion, and peace. Please help me God, because I want to learn how to trust, submit and to rest in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen! (Applied)


Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53

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Are We There Yet?

It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. – Hebrews 11:8 (NLT)

Have you ever asked the question, “Are we there yet?” It is the famous family road trip question. Every family has experienced this amazing, non-stop inquiry in one form or fashion. It is a childlike phrase of frustration. You want to get there. Even if you don’t know where there is…you want to be there. It is exciting and at the same time it is exhausting. You are waiting and waiting and…are we there yet? The question is ok the first 20 times…then it gets…well…annoying. It is Donkey’s favorite question in the movie Shrek 2, as he, Shrek and Fiona are traveling to Far, Far Away Land. Repeatedly Donkey interrogated them on the proximity of their destination with a tiny, little, bothersome four worded question, “Are we there yet?” Donkey wouldn’t stop annoying them until Shrek finally says, “Yes.” Donkey yells out, “Really?” Shrek answers, “NO!”

Are we there yet? 

Have you ever asked God, “Are we there yet?” I am sure you have. Many, many times throughout our journey in life we do what kids do to their parents in the car, we ask God the same question over and over again, “Are we there yet?” Why do we do that? Because we want to know where we are and when we will get there, and truthfully we don’t like one major part in this thing called: waiting to get there. No one likes waiting. Why can’t we just get Scotty (for the Star Trek fans) to instantly beam us from our house to wherever we are going…right now? If we can work out a deal where we can just get there as quickly as possible with no lines, no traffic, no congestion, no waiting…just boom and we are there…that would be nice. Sometimes we ask nicely yet demandingly, “Hey God, can you get me a fast pass to the front of the line. I don’t like waiting.

Are we there yet? 

Waiting is the place where we learn this rather strange thing that is contrary to our human nature called patience. Patience is the place where we learn to endure what is uncomfortable with self-control and a good attitude. In other words, I could go off right now and lose my temper, but that would not be fruitful or helpful, so instead I will wait with a smile (you can do it) and pray until something happens (P.U.S.H.). Patience is listed as a part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5. The Bible reveals to us that patience is an inward working of the Holy Spirit that leads me to a definite personal choice that I will wait as long as God wants me to wait. And in that process, although sometimes it might be long, I learn the treasures and the measures and the pleasures of waiting. Patience escorts me to a dimension in God where I become as James said, “perfect (mature), entire and wanting nothing.” That is the place where you come to say: it’s might have been difficult to bear, but it’s worth it all.  

Are we there yet? 

Imagine you are Abraham in the book of Genesis. You are in your comfort zone. You are living your life. You are quite successful in your field of work. In fact you are the wealthiest person in the country. You have a beautiful wife. You are close to your family. You could say that life is pretty good and that is when God shows up. Let me tell you something about when God shows up. When God shows up anything can happen because you have entered the dimension where everything is possible. When God shows up your life changes…for the better. God did not intend for your life to be just pretty good. His desire, before you were born, is that your life would be abundant and overflowing with greatness. You were born for more than just existing as another being on the planet. You have a purpose. When you are living at a level that is under your purpose, oftentimes, that is when God shows up. He will never be satisfied with mediocre or mundane for your life and neither should you. The beautiful thing is He doesn’t show up to smack you around and tell you that you are missing it. God shows up to nudge you toward greatness.

Are we there yet?

Imagine you are Abraham living a pretty good life and God arrives to introduce you to something greater and better and stranger than anything you could ever imagine. God says, “Abe, here is what I want you to do. Get your wife. Pack your stuff. Hop on the camels. I am going to bless you. I am going to multiply you. I am giving you a land for your inheritance. A new nation is going to be birthed out of you. It’s going to be so cool. So, go.” Abraham says, “Sounds good, God. I will do it.” And that is when God drops the bomb, “Oh yeah! One more thing. I am NOT going to tell you where you are going, just believe me and go.” What? This is wonderful and terrible at the same time. Blessings. Multiplying. Inheritance. Nations. Cool! But God wants me to pack all of my stuff and go out without knowing where I am going? No map. No GPS. No road signs. Just go!

Are we there yet? 

The Bible reveals to us that “by faith Abraham obeyed.” This is the wildest, craziest kind of faith that one can have. This is the type of faith that pleases God. Abraham went. He did it. He obeyed God’s word even though he didn’t understand it. This was the very moment that Abraham’s life moved from being pretty good to exceeding abundantly, above all that you could ask, think or dream. Get this: in the going was the blessing. When he decided to depart that is when he got a new start. There was a long journey ahead of him. In fact many years, fears and tears were in front of him, but it was in the first step out of the comfort zone that the blessing of God rested on his life. He was going to ask God the question, “Are we there yet?,” a million times along the way, but he had to make a personal choice in every step of the journey that I will wait as long as God wants me to wait. I will not lose heart. I will not give in or give up, even if I don’t know where I am going. God knows. He is already there. So my stance is, I will wait patiently by faith because I know that God is ushering me into a greater place, according to His original intention for my life.

Are we there yet? 

The encouragement for you is this: You might not know all the details of the journey you are on (all of your starts and stops, all of your opportunities and oppositions), but know that patience and faith are the things that are going to not only get you through, but also get you there, especially when you are asking the question at hand, “Are we there yet?”

In great grace, Patrick Kiteley


Twitter – @patrickkiteley  Instagram – @patrickkiteley  LinkedIn – Patrick Kiteley


Follow-Through-Enter-Into:  

Personally: In what areas in your life do you struggle with patience? (Confide)

Practically: Today, what one thing can you do to be more patient with someone or something that you are dealing with in your life? (Decide)

Prayerfully: Father God, I ask you today to give me the type of patience that Abraham had. I know you are here to help me not just to get through it, but, like Abraham, to get to what you have ordained for my life. I want to, without hesitation, obey you by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!  (Applied)


Scripture Reading: Genesis 15:1-5, Hebrews 11:8-16

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