Destiny by Peggy

 

Destiny—wow! What a loaded topic! I can write all kinds of deep philosophical, theological and even emotional discussions on this topic. Discussions that are sure to raise the ire of some and the agreement of others. But, that’s for another time. In this forum, I’d rather just stick to keeping it simple, from my vantage point.

When my mother was 7 years old, she lived with her Mom and Dad, two brothers and a sister. The year was 1924, they were not well-off, but doing ok; making it together as a family. She was secure and safe. One morning, as told to me by my aunt, their mother was making her daily family breakfast. She stepped into a back vestibule area leading to the outside from the kitchen to grab some potatoes stored there. A bolt of lightning struck the outside door jam, and the current traveled across the floor, striking her in her right foot, traveling up her body and exiting out of her shoulder, while her children looked on. She lived for about a week before infection set into her paralyzed right lung. She succumbed to her injuries and died, leaving her kids and husband behind.

My mother was 7 when she witnessed her mother be felled by a freak lightning strike. She was 7 when she lay in her bed, listening all night to the “whir-shuk” sound of a pump in the bathroom on the other side of her bedroom wall. A pump whose purpose was to empty the blood from her mother’s body and fill it again with embalming fluid. She was 7 as her mother lie “in state” in the parlor of the house where they lived, never left unattended, for 3 days, as was the custom of that time. She was 7 when she had to “take her turn” and sit alone in the living room with her mother’s body which was lying in a simple casket. She was 7 when the family buried her mother. She was 7 a few months later when her brother fell backwards off the front porch, breaking his neck, killing him instantly. She 7 when she re-lived the rituals of preparing a body in the house for burial, attending yet another funeral of one she loved so much . She was still 7 when her father abandoned them, overcome with grief, leaving his other 3 children to be raised by their grandparents. She was 7 when she moved to her grandparent’s house a few blocks away—a house that already contained 8 other inhabitants, 3 of them male borders. In 1924, my mother was 7.

Some would say that surely, she was destined to live a miserable life. The notes of her lifesong were already recorded: tragedy and unhappiness the chords to be played over and over. As if it was so, she dropped out of school in 10th grade (not unusual during the depression years for a woman), she married a man she loved dearly, but who didn’t have the capacity to return it. She had a son who died at age 9 months, a “crib death”. The dirge of her destiny resounded louder in her soul which each passing and painful year. She gave birth to two more sons, but lived a life of fear and unspeakable pain as she was repeatedly and brutally beaten by the man who fathered them. She told me that he convinced her she deserved the beatings—she knew no better than to expect misery. Her destiny was playing out in her life, and she dare not hope or believe for anything better. Until one day, she did know better. One day, her husband took out his anger on one of her boys, kicking him in the head with a steel-toed boot.

Keep safe that which is entrusted to your care1Tim.6:20

Something from deep within rose up in my mother that day: she knew she had to fight—she could no longer accept this destiny. While her husband was at work, she took her boys and went into hiding with them. No one in her family would take her in. She rented a room in a stranger’s house (It was during WWII, and many women took in borders as their men were off to war). She could not support her boys, she of little education and no marketable skills, the scarlet letter of divorce branding her every move. Eventually, she made an agreement with her husband that the boys should go to live with his aunt and uncle, who were willing to take them in. In order, to save them, to change the course of their lives, my mother gave up custody of her boys. Of course she visited them constantly and took them when she could, but she never thought she would recover from the guilt and shame of leaving them with someone else. There is so much more of her life in those years, bad decisions and good ones, but to keep this blog manageable, I’ll just skip ahead: She eventually met my father and married him. Giving birth to three girls, we all lived very happily together. I was not from a broken home and had a very safe and secure life.

“Why?” That is a question we all seem to ask ourselves when faced with circumstances for which we have no explanation. The pursuit of knowledge, to know the reason, is an unquenchable thirst in our soul. That very thing can skew our destiny and set a crooked path. It is a question that my mother asked herself with every fist that landed on her small body. The answer never came, so she gave up asking. Until that day. It’s funny how things come into our minds at odd times. ”Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it.” Isa. 30:21

As a child my mother’s grandparents made sure their charges were raised in church and Sunday school. That day, when that steel-toed boot landed on a tiny skull, she knew what she had to do: ”Keep safe that which is entrusted to your care…” 1Tim 6:20.  She knew it was up to her to keep these boys safe, so she did what she had to do, breaking the curse of a hopeless destiny, and set her sights on a new destination for herself and her boys. She made hard choices, and yes, my brothers were from a broken home, didn’t understand it all, and suffered some scars along the way. But she kept them safe. She made sure they knew they had choices and value and could live happy, productive lives. Her life got better, and she lived it out as a generous, albeit toughened, woman. She cared for people. She didn’t sit in judgment on people’s lives; she knew that everyone had a back story. She helped people when she could, she worked hard and loved unconditionally. The lament of her lifesong was restructured into a symphonic hymn, setting her life on a trajectory to her destination: to provide safety, love and security for her children; to live a life that was well-lived.

She was not a “religious” woman; far from it. She was seasoned and wizened in a harsh world. But His Word was hidden in her heart. How do I know? When my mother was 76 and in the hospital from a heart attack, I had the unique privilege of spending some time alone with her. Visiting hours were over in ICU for the night, and every night the security guard would come around and make sure all visitors were gone. I went to see my mother that day right from work, so I was wearing scrubs. My mother was not really a “touchy-feely” type of woman, but that evening my sister left when I got there, so I was the only one there with her. She told me she was just so darn uncomfortable and she wanted to sit up so she was not leaning against anything. She was also furious that she couldn’t smoke and that OJ was being chased down the highway all day in that white SUV, which totally interrupted her stories and game shows! J I asked her if she wanted me to rub her back and she said “oh, yeah—that would be nice” (very unusual for her). So, I was standing by her bed giving her a back rub when the security guard came around. I guess because I was in my scrubs he just assumed I was a nurse and didn’t ask me to leave. I got to stay an extra hour with her that night, undisturbed. It was then that I asked her outright if she was afraid. In her usual stalwart manner, she said “oh, no—I figure when your number’s up, it’s up, nothing anyone can do about it”. We had a really nice conversation about life and “religion” and heaven. She said that she knew she was going to heaven because when she was 12 she answered an altar call and accepted Jesus, so that meant she was going to heaven, right?   I was shocked to hear her even say that. We had a few discussions over the years about religion and God, but I never heard her say anything so blunt. She went on to say that she tried to be a good person, even though she made a lot of mistakes along the way. She said when she was young she always read her Bible (because her grandparents made them), and knew what it said, even though she rarely went to church as an adult. And then she said that she did have some questions to ask God, because some things in her life she just didn’t understand, but all in all, she was ok with it. She was proud of all of us (her kids and grandkids), and was ok with the way things turned out. Of course, she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was not expecting to die anytime soon! She died the next night. I am so grateful to have spent that time with her!

The dictionaries define the word “destiny” as a state in the future that seems to have been decided before-hand. A future out of one’s control. I don’t agree with that. We are born with free will. Yes, things happen at times in our lives that are out of our control, but how we walk out our lives is within our will. In Jer. 29 God tells us “I know the plans I have for you, to prosper and not harm you, a plan for hope and a future”. When I read that, I put the emphasis on the second “I”: “I know the plans I have for you…” Like God is saying He has a plan for us all, but it is up to us to choose to walk in His ways or our own. If you are like me, you miss it more than you make it. But the Lord says that all things work together for good for those who love Him. And “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, and He will make your path straight”. Prov. 3:5&6

The path—to me that is the key to understanding destiny. In the dictionary according to Peggy (:)), destiny means the path that we take to arrive at our chosen destination. My mother didn’t know what path to take, but she knew she had to get off the one she was on. She stopped thinking about her present state of circumstances, and instead set her eyes on a new destination. What did she want? She wanted to make a safe environment for her children. She wanted to be a wife and a mother. She wanted to be a good person. She wanted to provide a home for her family that contained all of the things that were removed when she was 7. She wanted to end her life knowing that she instilled love and independence in her children. She took a step towards it and purposed to follow a new path.

This is the choice we have: stay in a place whereby circumstances define our life, or set our eyes on a destination and purpose to get there. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. Josh. 24:15   I choose to serve the Lord, and let Him make my paths straight. I choose to see what His plans are for me, rather than taking my chances with whatever life would throw at me. My destination is to end my life in this world, and to have God say “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. He will not say I am perfect, he will surely roll His eyes as He reviews some things in my life, He may even “LOL” at the ridiculousness of me, but I have chosen to live my life seeking His direction. He is my final destination.

Think about it, consider it: Destiny or destination? How do you define your life right now?

Destiny by Andrea

When Peg suggested “destiny” as our topic I wasn’t sure I’d have anything to share.  Our lives here in NJ, on the farm, are extraordinarily blessed for reasons I cannot comprehend. Then something happened this week that made me realize why destiny is troubling for me. My birthday just passed and my daughter had given me an iPod. I’ve had mp3 players and could never quite figure out how to download anything and thus I was surprised when Danielle told me that is what I had asked for hmmm.  So after a few days and a few outbursts and threats of throwing this thing away and exclaiming, “what kind of company makes things that are so difficult to work?”… ugh. It wouldn’t be so hard getting old if the stuff around me didn’t keep getting newer.  This thing is three inches long and an inch wide with these little tiny ear buds that blast a beautiful sound. Amazing.

     So I’m listening to this song.  Bryn Waddell’s, ‘Nothing but the blood’ and I am melting… my soul is crying out for a touch… only by the blood of Jesus and I am immersed in thoughts of Jesus, the cross, His blood that stands in my defense, His grace, and I am utterly undone.  Weeping and although I am sitting in my chair in front of my computer, I am spiritually prone before my Lord.  When my unsuspecting husband lays his hand on my shoulder and I scream. I mean I scream!!  I have this high startle response. My family is aware that it is never good to come around the corner or to scare me, it’s not funny when someone screams in genuine terror, even if it is a momentary thing. This is what my life in Christ is like… I am totally immersed in His grace, love, presence and then I look around at all the lost people, the hurting, the sick and the world crashes in on me and I am momentarily in terror until I get my bearings and then I adjust and once again I fix my eyes on Jesus and am reminded that the Lord is still on His throne and He is still Lord and King, over this broken and often terrifying world. 

     I am already living my destiny. I say this with tremendous enthusiasm and intensity.  I have been found and I am walking in the presence of Christ.  I am aware that most people think this is utterly insane. This Christian life is insane. There is nothing ‘sane’ about the Lord of glory coming to earth and even less sane about His presence in my life, but there He is and I know I am not alone. There are millions and millions of people who belong to this life in Christ… destined to spend eternity with Him and our eternity has begun. I think many people assume eternity begins when they die but that is not what I have found and it is not what I understand from the scriptures. The kingdom of God is all around us, we just need to step into it. Although in this life I am but a shadow of what I will be I know that I sit in heavenly places, that angels pray and sing and stand guard over me.

     I’m writing this so that people who don’t understand can get a glimpse and those that do understand can find the words…. When everyday can be a joy and a wonder because Christ has risen and we are destined to live and reign with Him. Hallelujah!!

    I am on a journey, it began in this corruptible body but will end in an incorruptible body when Christ returns to rule and reign over His new creation. As we eagerly wait, do not forget the journey has begun, I am living my destiny in Christ. 

    God Bless, may you know the joy of living in Christ our Savior, andrea

Destiny by Barbara

Countless of times, I have prayed this prayer over numerous people, “Lord let them walk into their destiny as You have a perfect plan for them. Lord, order their steps. There have been times it was prayed over me as well. So, does God really have a destiny, a plan for each and every one of us? Well the Word says He does. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV) Proverbs 20:24 states: “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (NIV) There it is in black and white, each and every one of us has a destiny.

One of my favorite Christian TV shows is “Joni Table Talk.” The show consists of approximately 4 women. Generally they have one guest per episode. It is quite interesting as they are courageous enough to converse on any topic. In a recent episode, Joni had film writer Randall Wallace as a guest. Mr. Wallace directed the movie “Heaven is for Real.” He actually went to seminary. He thought maybe there was a call on his life to be a Pastor so he met with his own Pastor to discuss it. Randall’s Pastor asked him, “Do you feel a call on your life to be a Pastor?” His reply? “No I don’t. I know it is the greatest call you can have BUT I don’t feel it.” I absolutely love his Pastor’s comeback. “You’re wrong! It’s not the greatest call. The greatest call in your life is the one God has for you.” Now that my friends is destiny! It is fulfilling the purpose, God created you to do.

Truthfully, thoughts regarding destiny was stressful. In my mind’s eye, it was being the leader of a full-size ministry, along with tons of work. “Thanks but no thanks, I think I will pass” was my stance but it troubled me continuously. My view changed when I spent time with the Lord every day. He taught me to take one day at a time, to relax and not dwell on it. He also taught me through His Word. When John the Baptist was in prison, he had doubts that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus sent word to him confirming:

  • The blind see,
  • The lame walk,
  • Lepers are cleansed,
  • The deaf hear,
  • The dead are raised,
  • The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side. (Matthew 11: 4-6 ( The Message)

Listed above are some of the miracles that Jesus performed to prove He was the Messiah but He said, we would do the greater things. John 14: 11-14 commands us to perform the greater things. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. Therefore, if Jesus affirmed that we can do the greater things, what should we at least be doing? We should declare that:

  • The blind see,
  • The lame walk,
  • Lepers are cleansed,
  • The deaf hear,
  • The dead are raised,
  • The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side.

Have I experienced any of this at all? Oh yes! I have been healed many times but that is for another blog. I have also prayed for people and saw them get healed. How can I do this? Easy, it is not me. It has nothing to do with who I am or what I have done. It is all because of who He is and what He has done. I am beginning to realize who I am in Christ. Romans 8:17 tells me that I am a joint heir in Christ. He said I was to do it and I’m stepping out in faith and walking into my destiny. Jesus has an additional responsibility that He wants us to carry out. It is called The Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 instructs us: “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (The Message) Simply put, preach the gospel, and lead others to the Lord.

Years ago, I heard this heartrending story about a believing couple that died never realizing their purpose in life. This is so distressing as it was right under their noses. All they had to do was act on what Jesus said to do. God has called many to have big ministries, become inspiring writers, paint awesome paintings, take breathtaking photos, etc. and this is the destiny the Lord as given them, HOWEVER if you are not among them, do not fret as what could be better than walking in The Great Commission and performing the miracles the Lord told you to do. To put emphasis on this one final time let us look at Luke 4:18:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (NIV)

This is the destiny for ALL believers.

Just a note of caution. When you step out in faith, alas, more often than not, you will deal with the skeptics, critics, naysayers or a phrase I recently heard, ” the dogs of doom.” Unfortunately the negative comments usually come from those that are closest to us as well as from the enemy. Don’t listen!!!! If the Lord has laid something on your heart to accomplish, walk in faith and go for it. It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes as you will probably make plenty but that is ok. We learn from mistakes. Just let Christ pick you up, afterward step up to the plate again. If Jesus said we can do it, we can and that settles it fully!!!!

In closing, the best way to discover what the Lord’s plans are for you is to spend time with Him. As I said in the last blog “Frazzled,” just start out with 15 minutes a day. Don’t make it complicated. Pour your heart out to Him but take the time to listen. Get into the Word also as that is another way that the Lord will speak to you. Remember, He has a perfect plan for your life. Give your life to Him and that plan will come to pass.

Destiny by Ronda

Romans 8:29-30

“For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

FOREKNOW, PREDESTINATE, CALLED, JUSTIFIED, GLORIFIED

Destiny is a powerful word loaded with meaning and images often associated with the future. It may be the achievement of success and accomplishment for some or for others the deep sense of fulfillment and completeness from living life in one’s purpose. Those are the ways I have looked at destiny and the perspective that I have I used to describe it. However, I just recently returned from a Christian’s women’s conference that has deeply affected my perspective concerning destiny: my destiny as a Christian woman.

The theme of the conference was SHINE: Training Women for Greatness. A powerfully profound theme, wouldn’t you agree? I was immediately attracted to this conference because of its theme and my own belief that my destiny and those of many other women is discovered through a revelation of us SHINING as we use our gifts and talents. The conference was remarkable! The presence of God was so tangible. The speakers were true servants pouring out revelation for us to receive. It is difficult to express how deeply I feel I have been changed. Revelation is that way….difficult to express in words alone…it must be accompanied by the Spirit. What I didn’t expect from the conference was to be directly confronted with my OWN lack of revelation concerning WHO GOD created when He created me as a WOMAN.

I would not consider myself insecure, but we as women all know we can be both confident and insecure at the same time. As Christian women, all too often we have had these views of ourselves as “lesser” in the Kingdom of God. The TRUTH of the matter is that in the ETERNAL ORDER of all things we are NOT. As the scripture in Romans reveals GOD has KNOWN us from the beginning. He has foreordained or predestinated us ALL as BELIEVERS (not as male and female) to be conformed to the IMAGE of His Son. We ALL as BELIEVERS are JUSTIFIED. We ALL as BELIEVERS are GLORIFIED in Him, our Christ.

I realized that I was living in a deceived state if I considered my gender as a limitation in the Kingdom of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made women. We are eternal beings, not simply a gender. Our Father chose us to be women for His ETERNAL PURPOSE but it is in NO WAY a limitation to what we can accomplish for HIS KINGDOM. Our Father is the I AM THAT I AM. He sees the end from the beginning because He is ETERNAL outside of time! Our perception as women, OUR

BELIEF about who He created us TO BE can’t be in the future and based on gender. It has to BE a PRESENT BE as in ETERNAL. We are already NOW In CHRIST. (I pray that you are following me.) Holy Spirit revealed to me that my DESTINY isn’t future because it is directly connected to WHO I BELIEVE I AM IN GOD AND HIS CHRIST TODAY! Hebrews says NOW FAITH is….faith is always in the present because faith is ETERNAL. My destiny in Christ, who is in God, isn’t future it’s ETERNAL and it is based on what I BELIEVE TODAY.

I AM FOREKNOWN. God created me as a unique expression of Himself (Who is Spirit and Eternal) in this world. I am come from the very breath of the Almighty God. ( Job 33:4). I AM PREDESTINED. God has already hid me in Christ. I am conformed to the image of His Son. I AM CALLED. God is my Father and He calls me His daughter. I am child of God. I am a daughter of the King. Full rights and full privileges. I AM JUSTIFIED. God gave his Son for me. I am no longer guilty. The blood of Jesus Christ has redeemed me. I AM GLORIFIED. God decided before the foundation of the world that I might be reconciled back to him through his Son and glorified with Him forever.

Our Father determined our destiny as BELIEVERS we would say “a long time ago.” (But remember God is outside of time). TRUTH. It is an ETERNAL DESTINY…and it is manifested by faith NOW in time, as we BELIEVE.

(Morning Star Ministries hosted the conference. For more information on tapes or DVDS of the conference contact the ministry.) http://www.morningstarministries.org/events/morningstar-conferences/shine-training-women-greatness#.U1_F2l6Z1Z8

I am sharing this link to promote the Kingdom of God and Our Christ, not any ministry or minister.

Ronda