Our lives matter to God. There is a purpose behind your existence…
Ephesians 2: 10 tells us that there are good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. Those good works are God’s plan and purpose for our lives; what He created us to do. God doesn’t wait for you to be an adult before He starts thinking about what you can do for Him or how you can impact lives. He doesn’t even wait until the day you become born again to decide what He wants to use you to do. David, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Paul all discovered that before they were born, God had a plan and purpose for their lives. In Psalm 139: 13, David said “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. In verse 16, he went on to say “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. So David discovered that long before he was even born, God had a plan for His life.
God Himself specifically told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:4-5 that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations”.
Isaiah and Paul also got to understood that God had put in place a plan for their lives even before they were born. In Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah said “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name”. While Paul in Galatians 1:15 said God set him apart from birth to preach Christ to the Gentiles. That purpose did not change even when men like Paul were persecuting Christians and going in a direction completely different from what God originally planned for His life.
These were men who understood that they were created for a purpose and that understanding greatly affected how they spent their time here on earth.
God’s Purpose for Our Lives Is Actually the Reason Why We Are Alive Today
I don’t know how many of us have bothered to ask about the circumstances leading to our birth. For some of us, it’s a wonder we are alive today because we have been through situations that ordinarily should have taken our lives. We have had some real near death experiences but somehow, through it all, God preserved our lives. Some people had actually tried at some point to even take their lives, but nothing happened. The overdose of drugs and various suicide attempts failed. There are even some of us that before we gave our lives to Christ, we were involved in all kinds of wild and dangerous things. You were drunk and drove into an electric pole, yet came out of that accident without even a scratch. God has been preserving our lives, saving us again and again from all kinds of dangers and attacks because of His plan and purpose for our lives. So it’s not about you, that you are safety conscious person, or you know how to pray and fast very well, or because it has always been your desire to start your own business at 40 that’s why God preserved you to see your 40 birthday. It’s all about God and His purpose for our lives (2 Timothy 1:9). We are alive today because of the divine purpose behind our existence.
Moses should have died when Pharaoh gave a law that all Hebrew children should be killed. But somehow for three months while so many boys were being killed, nothing happened to Moses. It wasn’t because his family did a pretty good job of hiding him that was why nothing happened to Moses. Babies will naturally cry and make noise so how can you keep a child from crying so no one will hear the child’s voice? It was because the eyes of the Egyptians were covered from seeing Moses, their hands were kept from touching him, that was why Moses was kept safe (Exodus 1:15 – Exodus 2:3). Even for the period he was kept in a basket on the Nile, no harm came to him. The basket didn’t sink. While floating on the River Nile, a river with snakes, crocodiles, mosquitoes and other insects, nothing happened to Moses. These things weren’t ordinary. It was God taking special care and attention to see that nothing happened to Moses because He had a purpose for Moses’ life which He wanted to see actualized. I pray that every attempt to end your life before the fulfillment of God’s purpose for your life will be frustrated.
The Two-Fold Nature of God’s Purpose
In Jeremiah 29:11 God says “For I know the plans I have for you”. So God has plans for our lives. He has a purpose for our lives. There is the general purpose which applies to everyone generally. This general purpose is that we all have a genuine salvation experience and we grow to become disciples. Reading the Word, praying regularly, knowing God; having a close relationship with God, worshipping the Lord on a regular basis and bringing others to Christ all fall within the ambit of discipleship. Then there is the specific purpose. That is the specific assignment, work, or ministry God has sent you to do here on earth. It is the calling of God upon your life.
What Has God Given Us To help Us Discover & Achieve Our God-Ordained purpose?
- Time – There’s no way Moses could have been born in Noah’s time, before the Israelites even went into captivity in Egypt. God had destined that he would use Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, so Moses’ life had to fall within the period the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. So your purpose actually determines when you will be born and the length of time you need here on earth to achieve God’s purpose. If for instance there’s a major incident God wants to use you to avert in 2017, is not likely that you will be born a year or five years after that incident. So our purpose is connected to certain timelines or events in history (Acts 17:26).
2.Divine Opportunities- For every God-given purpose, there will be more than enough opportunities to accomplish your purpose.
3. A God given burden or passion – there are some people or situations you are deeply concerned about or passionate about. Some people have a serious burden for singles, some for children, some for the poor. Some people are passionate about things like cleanliness, some about education, some about health care, and some about holy living.
4. Talents/Gifts – everybody has a natural talent or talents. Believers in Christ Jesus have a combination of both natural talents and spiritual gifts.
5. God Himself– I add God to the list because you can know what your talent is or what your passion is, but if God is not in the center of your discovery, those passions and talents can be channeled in the wrong direction; a direction completely different from what God intended you to do with that talent and passion. It is in God we can fully discover and understand what our purpose is. It is still from God that we get the wisdom and strength to carry out the purpose. So God is paramount to our discovering and actualizing our purpose for existence. Each person in the God head plays a role in our personal lives to help us discover and achieve our purpose. At the end of the day, even if you have poured your whole life into your passion and talent but God wasn’t a central part of your life, all that writing of 100 songs for example or fixing borehole water in a rural underdeveloped part of the world or feeding all the poor people in your community is all meaningless. You have still wasted your life because a life without Christ is a wasted life. We shall not waste our time here on earth in Jesus mighty name. AMEN!
Now each of these, that is time, opportunities, passion, talents and gifts or how we need God to achieve our purpose, is a major discussion/teaching or sermon on their own. Today I just want us to focus on divine opportunities for I believe there are some crucial things God wants us to understand about divine opportunities so we don’t continue to waste opportunities God brings our way. My prayer for every one of us is that we won’t waste divine opportunities God gives us.
What is A Divine Opportunity?
A divine opportunity is an event, circumstance, or situation orchestrated and arranged by God. Divine opportunities are situations and events planned and arranged by God that can lead to our being saved, delivered, healed, lifted and promoted. God creates opportunities for us to become a recipient of an awesome testimony or meet with our destiny helper. He gives us ample opportunities to be of service to God and humanity, make a difference, be blessed and be a blessing.
Sometimes these opportunities may look like coincidences but they are not mere coincidences. They are the hand of God at work in situations and events of life with the aim of actualizing a divine purpose. It wasn’t a coincidence that Joseph was thrown into the prison at the exact time Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer was also there. Joseph would later discover that meeting Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer when he did was key to God’s plan for his life and was what would later get Joseph to the place God had prepared for him (Genesis 40). It wasn’t a coincidence that Mordecai was at the king’s gate the exact time two of the king’s officials were planning to assassinate him (Esther 2:21-23). Mordecai discovering this plot to assassinate the king was key to God’s plan for his life and was what would later get him to the place God had prepared for him.
The Truth about Divine Opportunities
- Divine Opportunities Are Made Available For Everyone Irrespective Of Age, Sex and Social Status
The same way God created an opportunity to make a difference for the slave girl or house help that told Naaman to see Elisha (2 Kings 5;1-6), is the same way God created an opportunity to make a difference for the rich man Lazarus used to beg at his gate (Luke 16:19-31). Whatever social status we fall into, we either have a Naaman or a Lazarus God has positioned around us. Right before us are God orchestrated opportunities to make a difference in that person’s life. The question is what have you done about your Naaman, what have you done about your Lazarus? You may be a house help, security guard or driver. God isn’t asking you for millions of money to build a mega cathedral. His concern is what have you done to improve the life of the Naaman He brought your way. What advice or word of encouragement have you given to that big boss of yours that doesn’t have any children or is suffering from a serious ailment or has a child with a handicap? Lazarus who sat begging at the rich man’s house wasn’t even asking for much. All he wanted was to eat the crumbs falling from the rich man’s table (Luke 16:21). You may be busy thinking of the hundreds of dollars you need to send your child abroad or for a business project, meanwhile there is a Lazarus just by your side who has never even seen a dollar note in his life. All he needs is a little, insignificant amount for a decent meal or to pay his hospital bill. What have you done about your ‘Naaman’? What have you done about your ‘Lazarus’?
- A Divine Opportunity Utilized Opens the Door for Bigger And Better Opportunities
God blessed Joseph with a special gift; the gift of interpretation of dreams. An opportunity to use this gift and be a blessing to others arose while Joseph was in prison. If Joseph didn’t utilize the opportunity that came his way while in prison, he wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity to use this gift and be a blessing in the palace (Genesis 40, Genesis 41:1-4). What you do with the opportunities that come your way while in ‘prison’, will determine if you will get an opportunity to come over to the ‘palace’. Many today are still in the prison phase of their lives because they haven’t utilized the opportunities that have come their way while in prison which can take them to the palace. The prison phase of life can be described as a phase when you are in the valley. A low period of your life. A trying and difficult time spiritually, physically or financially. A period of your life when you ask questions like why is this happening to me? How long, Lord ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1). It’s a period when you seem to be in a valley of dry bones. Nothing seems to be happening in your life, it appears that you are stagnant (Ezekiel 37). It’s a place of major spiritual battles. You keep moving from one battle to the other (Judges 7:22, Judges 5:15, 1 Samuel 17:19, Judges 7: 8, Joshua 10:12). While the palace is when God lifts you to the mountaintop. It is when God restores, settles and establishes you after you have been through so much hardship (1 Peter 5:10). It is when God places you in that position of glory He had prepared for you from the foundation of time. It is where God’s word, promises and prophecies concerning your life are fulfilled. You shall get to your palace in Jesus mighty name. AMEN!
Divine opportunities will come your way both in the valley situations of life and the mountain top situations of life. Many are praying God take me to the mountain top, when they haven’t done anything with the opportunities that have come their way while in the valley.
- Blessings Come To Those They Were Not Originally Prepared For When Those They Were Meant For Waste Or Miss The Opportunities To Receive Those Blessings
This is the principle of divine substitution. In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells the story of a man who prepared a banquet for certain people. Though the banquet was for so many people, the people that were invited were not randomly chosen. The banquet was prepared for specific people (Luke 14:17). Their names were on the invitation card; their names were specifically attached to this opportunity to attend a special banquet, to this blessing. But when they were invited, they started giving all kinds of excuses like I’m preparing for my wedding, I have a meeting with an important client, there’s so much traffic on the road, I closed late from work, I have to take my daughter for swimming classes, I don’t even have a job and so on and so forth the excuses kept pouring in. Something that must not be treated lightly happened when these people gave excuses not to attend the banquet. Some other people who were not the original guests for this banquet, who were not originally meant to enjoy the benefit of the banquet, were the ones who ended up attending the banquet.
God prepared a banquet for these people. What does it mean? God created an opportunity for them to come and sit down with Him and discuss. Of course as they discussed at table, He would give them some vital information they needed about their life, certain people or certain situations. How can we really move forward when we don’t even have time to sit down with God and listen to what He wants to tell us about our lives? God created an opportunity for divine connection for them. The people that were originally invited to this banquet were carefully selected. Why? Because it was an opportunity to meet certain people that were key to their lives and destines. It was an opportunity to meet people like their destiny helpers, their God-ordained spouse, the person God would use to take them to the next level of their life and others that were a part of their God scripted life-story. But what did they do with that opportunity? They neglected it, they didn’t treat it as important, they wasted it. Part of why some people find themselves in some of the problems they are in today is because God had carefully arranged events and situations that would lead to their meeting their destiny helper, their God ordained spouse, or someone that is key to their purpose in life, but they missed that opportunity and these blessings were given to someone else.
The first set of guests, the guests God originally prepared the banquet for were not randomly selected to attend. They fell into God’s perfect will; what God had originally planned and foreordained (Romans 12:2). The next set however where randomly selected. An instruction was given to pick any poor, crippled, blind and lame person they saw (Luke 14:21). They were not God’s perfect will, they were not God’s original plan, but because they were available, they received a divine permission and approval to be at the banquet. By inviting these second set of guests, His banquet wasn’t wasted; the purpose of putting together a banquet was accomplished. People came in and enjoyed the benefits and blessings of the banquet, but they were not the people He originally intended to enjoy those blessings.
SAY THIS PRAYER: LORD, WHATEVER WILL MAKE ANOTHER PERSON TAKE MY PLACE, WHATEVER WILL MAKE ANOTHER PERSON GET THE BLESSING PREPARED FOR ME, LORD REMOVE FROM MY LIFE TODAY.
- You can actually manipulate and influence people and situations to create an opportunity for yourself. You can maneuver your way around and create opportunities for yourself. But it is better and much safer to move and work with divine opportunities not man-made or man orchestrated opportunities.
In Luke 15:11-16, the prodigal son got an opportunity to travel out. An opportunity came his way to get so much money. But he was the one that manipulated situations to create this opportunity for himself. What was the outcome of this supposedly good opportunity? Spiritual contamination through wild living. Abject poverty. Shame and reproach. The son of a wealthy, respected man in society, now eating from the same bowl with pigs.
What was the real problem with this opportunity the prodigal son arranged for himself. TIMING. The problem wasn’t the money. The fact that the father had this inheritance for him meant the father actually wanted him to have the inheritance, to have the money. But he got it before the father even passed on. He got it before the time the father had planned to give him. The problem was the timing. He went ahead of his father’s plans for him. He created a shortcut for his father’s plans for his life.
Sarah went ahead of God in creating an opportunity to have a child through Hagar. A decision she later regretted (Genesis 16).
It is a dangerous thing to go ahead of God’s will and plan for our lives. God’s process to the achievement of divine purpose is He must be the One ahead, He must go before us, He must be the One in front of us, the One guiding and leading us, not us going ahead of God (Deuteronomy 31:8, Isaiah 45:2, Exodus 13:21, Deuteronomy 1:30).
I’m sure those two years the chief cupbearer forgot to mention Joseph to Pharaoh were a part of a divine arrangement. If the chief cupbearer had told Pharaoh about Joseph, and Joseph got out of prison before Pharaoh had his dream, Joseph may have never had an opportunity to meet face to face with Pharaoh, help him solve a pressing problem and add value to his life. I’m also sure those two years were a period God used to perfect Joseph’s gift of interpretation of dreams. God’s gifts are usually given in their raw form. You have to stir them up; use them consistently to unlock their full potential (2 Timothy 1:6). As Joseph put his gift to use while in prison, he was getting better and better at it so that when the big opportunity came, he would be able to deliver. If Joseph had failed to interpret the cupbearer’s dream, there wouldn’t have been any consequence after all they were both prisoners. But when you come before the King and you are not able to deliver, terrible consequences could follow if he happens to be in a bad mood. King Nebuchadnezzar had put to death all the wise men in the land that were not able to interpret his dream (Daniel 2:2-13). So God used those two years when Joseph felt forgotten and abandoned, to strengthen his gift for maximum impact. God is never behind time.
God has a great plan for our lives which He wants to see fulfilled. He is watching to see that His Word concerning our lives is fulfilled (Jeremiah 1:12). The devil doesn’t want to see this plan actualized. The way he comes about this is to get us to miss, neglect or waste divine opportunities, or to go ahead of God’s plan for our lives. Isaiah 54:16 refers to the devil as the waster. Like Blind Bartimeaus we need to determine in our hearts that whenever a divine opportunity comes our way, we won’t allow anything and anyone prevent us from receiving this opportunity (Mark 10: 46-52). Though promises may delay, blessings may not come how and when we want them, we must continue to press on to toward the goal to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We must press on to accomplish the purpose for which God created us (Philippians 3:14).
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