God’s Good Purpose

Woman with white teeth thinking and looking sideways

It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Do you find it hard to believe that God has a good purpose for you? I know sometimes I do. In my small perception of God, I naturally assume He is too busy to plan out a good purpose for me. Yet throughout scripture we are reassured of His plans and purposes. Some people have trouble believing that God’s purposes are good. They tend to think of God as a cruel taskmaster or slave-driver with a whip, ready to lead us into the most difficult life we can imagine. Paul didn’t say that God works in us to will and to act according to His evil plan, or His cracked whip, or His never-ending demands.

No, God works in us to will and to act according to His Good Purpose. This little phrase can be translated as “God’s kind intention or good pleasure.” God not only knows what is well and good, but He has the intention or resolve to work toward that good. We see this same term used in the first chapter of Ephesians, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” Again, we find these words used later in the same chapter, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him.”

Paul wrote in his letter to the Thessalonians, “We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.” I’m also reminded of the well-loved Romans passage, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Do you get the feeling as you read these verses that God has an intentional plan and purpose for us, and it is good? These verses also remind us that it is by His power that He fulfills His good purpose. How wonderful to know that as believers in Christ, we are not alone to try to figure out how to live life. He equips us with His Spirit to both will and to act according to His good purpose. God uses even our difficulties and challenges for His good intentions and plan. It’s funny how so many temptations in this world seem to offer good pleasure, but they leave us less than satisfied. We search and hope to find happiness in people, things or substances and are left wanting. But God has a good purpose and a kind intention for our lives, and it begins with a relationship with Him.

Are you willing to trust His good purpose for you, even when you don’t understand why something has happened in your life? He is faithful and good. He will never leave you. Part of His good plan is His presence to help you and strengthen you each step of the way.

Check out:  A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God. It makes a great summer read or Bible study.

He is Joyful

Happy family playing on the beach at the day time

 “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”  Luke 3:22 NLT

  Do you ever think of God as joyful?  I know we recognize Him as holy, majestic, loving and powerful, but joyful? Yet the Bible tells us that one of the fruits of His Spirit is joy.  We are reminded in Psalms that He delights in the details of our lives. Zephaniah prophesied that God would take delight in His people with gladness and rejoice over them with joyful songs.  Nehemiah encouraged God’s people by telling them, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Yes, God is a God of joy and He encourages us to be joyful too. His joy can be our strength.  Throughout scripture we are reminded to rejoice in the Lord.  As we turn our eyes toward our joyful Father and recognize His love, care and provision, we too can rejoice! We may not find our joy in circumstances or in people, but we can find our joy in the Lord. Rejoice in the God of joy as you walk through your week this week!

This is an excerpt from my devotional, Pursuing God in the Quiet Places. Click Here for more info on purchasing a signed copy.


The Greatest Love

florist woman smiling with white wicker basket flowers of  primroses

Our PWC lesson this month focused on authentic love. We explored Romans 12:9-13 to discover the beautiful portrait of what true love looks like. One of our PWC members wrote the following poem several years ago and shared it with me after the lesson. I’m thankful for this poetic expression of the greatest love we can experience. This week, invite God’s love to flow through you as you encourage the hearts of those God puts in your path.

The Greatest is Love

By Lisa Simmons

It’s not what I speak

no matter how sweet

It’s not in how smart
but what’s in my heart
that shows love
I can give all away
and still be the same
I can show that I’m strong
and be just as wrong
without love
Love suffers long and is kind
Love does not envy
or fill up with pride
Love is not rude
Nor seek its own
love thinks no evil
and doesn’t throw stones
Love is not glad
when you’re luck has run out
Love tells the truth
with no room for doubt
Love bears, believes and hopes all things
Love endures
and gives us reason to sing
Two things that are closely held
Faith and Hope are great as well
But the one most important from above
Cannot be measured-
The greatest is Love

Join us next month at PWC on March 22 as we learn about “How to Succeed in Everyday Interactions” based on Romans 12:14-16.

Reflecting Christmas

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The story of Christmas is rich with promise. This one simple story of a child in a manager offers magnificent hope for all eternity. To think that God chose to enter this world, to connect with sinful mankind and offer salvation through His Son! Christmas reminds us that God sees us, He hears us and He loves us. The grandest part of the story is that He chose to reconcile us to Himself through Jesus.

Christmas compels us to reflect this story, yet the overwhelming distractions from this season tend to keep us from living out its great truths. Past hurts and bitterness prevent us from reflecting His forgiveness and reconciliation. The busyness and bustle of the season, rob us of shining His peace, joy and hope in a dark world.

So let’s go to Him and ask His Spirit to shine boldly and brightly through our brokenness. And as much as it depends on us, let us live at peace with everyone. Let’s reconcile differences and reflect His forgiveness – it doesn’t take extra time as much as it takes extra heart.  May our prayer continually be, Father shine your love and forgiveness through me to the people around me. May I be your light in this dark world and reflect the true story of Christmas in my actions and words.

Inviting the Conversation


When is the last time you opened up a healthy and loving dialogue with someone who doesn’t share the same views as you? Jesus wasn’t afraid to engage in conversation. He asked questions. He loved and did not condemn. He showed us what it looked like to engage with the culture by reaching into the lives of people who needed His love.

The apostle Paul encouraged similar healthy conversation. In his letter to the Colossians he wrote, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” How do we speak the truth of God’s Word, while lovingly reaching out to the culture around us? We must be both gracious and wise in what comes out of our mouths, recognizing that those who do not know Christ do not see life through the same perspective.

Theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer wrote, “Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.” Often Jesus answered a question with a question. Questions can help us get to the heart of the matter and lead people toward truth. Recently I had an e-mail dialogue with one of my readers that went something like this.

            Reader: Do you think ___________________is a sin?

Me: Why do you want to know?

Reader: I want to know if God is mad at me.

Me: Why do you care if God is mad at you?

Reader: I want to know if I am disobeying Him. I don’t want to feel far away from Him.

Me: If you care about what God thinks about you, then you don’t need to know what I think about that sin, rather you need to know what God says about it.

I then led her to the passage in Romans 3 that reminds us that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We all have a sin problem, and yet God in His loving-kindness provided the solution to our sin problem through Jesus Christ. I led her to passages in the Bible about Jesus, so that she could understand His love and mercy, as well as His righteousness and His desire for your life. You see, we need to lead people to the love of Jesus first, because without Him, picking out this sin or that sin is meaningless and unfruitful. When someone is inquiring about sin, they either sincerely want to know what God thinks about sin, or they are trying to get you to say something so that they will feel offended (and sadly this is usually the case).

The message of the Bible is simple: We all fall short of God’s glory, and we all need Jesus. Our objective is to argue less and point to God more. Often our words can be misunderstood or not received in the spirit which we give them. The most important thing we can do is to refrain from surface-level disputes and instead get to the real issue of the heart. Ask questions, listen, engage in conversation, and lovingly lead people to the core issue of Christ’s love. Remember how Jesus handled the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees brought her to Jesus wanting Him to condemn her. Jesus wisely and gently responded by pointing out the fact that all have sinned. We all need Jesus. Our job is not to cast stones at sinners; our job is to point to the gospel of salvation.

Instead of condemning, let’s choose to be engaging. Our first objective is to live biblically and examine our own hearts and motives, repenting and seeking the Holy Spirit’s help in living righteous lives ourselves. As we humbly reflect the love of Jesus in our words and actions, then we have the platform to lovingly share the gospel with a world that desperately needs Him. Are you willing to step out and touch the people who are different than you, just as Jesus did? It all comes down to asking ourselves, “Am I willing to take the time to engage in conversations and build relationships with those who need Christ?” Let’s get the conversation started.

This is an excerpt from book, Becoming A Woman of the Word.