purpose

THIS WILL MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT LIFE

Tank_hose

At one time or the other, we have had to use tanks or hoses. For example, in places where water supply is not always guaranteed, it generally makes sense to get a tank or some form of container to store water when it is available so that there would be water to use when it is no longer available from the usual source. We have also used hoses to water our lawns, wash our cars or even siphon fuel (sorry to remind you of the dark and frightful days of petrol scarcity). In life, the tank versus hose analogy might apply to the human experience and may categorize us.

A tank usually has a fixed capacity while the capacity a hose can produce is dependent on the source it is connected to. You cannot put more into a tank than it is built to hold but a hose can have an unending flow through it as long as it stays connected to its source and it has its other end open. The hose never has to bother about how much content it can hold. It never has to bother about having content for itself. As long as it is willing to serve as a hose, it would always have content for itself and for its recipients. Not a bad lifestyle. I heard someone say, Givers never lack.

A tank is usually stationary but a hose moves around. The hose has the opportunity to see more of the world as it serves its purpose. I can imagine a conversation between it and a tank at the end of the day. The hose would have several stories to tell of the places it has been while the tank has a lamentation on how boring life has been looking through the same window. Wow, the life of a hose seems more exciting than that of the tank. Who wouldn’t want a fun-filled life?

The content of a tank can quickly become stale because it is the same of the same! But a hose would always have new content flowing through it. So while a tank is stuck with the same content, a hose gets to have something different flowing through it per time.

A tank can easily retain residue, requiring it to be emptied to be cleaned. The hose always has fresh content flowing through it. It is cleaned by the same process as its use. That is, as liquid flows through it, it is also cleaned. When we live our lives as tanks, we can easily collect unwanted residue and become unnecessarily burdened. In fact, the residue and filth could get so much that our capacity for what we were meant to carry becomes reduced. The hose doesn’t have to bother about such accumulation of residue. For the tank, to get it cleaned, you would usually have to have it drained of its content. Then you can clean it out. At such points, the tank is out of season. Maybe sometimes we feel like that. We feel worthless because we have to be cleaned out. If we were hoses, we might not have such low moments.

A tank could be on its own but a hose is most useful connected to a source. If a tank is filled up, its source could be disconnected but for a hose, it must stay connected to its source to be of any use. The moment, it is disconnected from its source, it is drained of whatever was in it. Hmm, could this be a bad thing or a good thing? One might think that it is good because the tank can be independent. But from another perspective, the hose’s predicament reinforces the need to stay connected to the source. For us, that means staying connected to the source of life, God himself. This cannot be a bad thing. After all, what are we without God? We are alive and breathing because of Him. When we are connected, we can always be assured of fresh content, we can be guided to where we need to offload our contents, we can be sure that we would always stay relevant and we can be sure we would always remain wet. Blessed is the man who delights in the Lord… He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3). So my question to you today is, “Are you functioning as a hose or a tank?”

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ARE YOU DRIFTING?

Lake landscape with dead tree

My wife told me of an experience she and her sister had way back in their teen years. They had gone to the salon to fix their hair on a rainy day. On their way back, they came across a flash flood and had to wade through it to get back home. They knew their way home and thought they could just walk through the water in a straight line. But they soon found out that the force of the water was gently pushing them off course. The flood had prevented cars from moving and several of them had formed a single file along the road, all parked and waiting for the flood waters to recede. People observing the situation advised pedestrians caught in the flood to walk alongside the cars. Following this instruction, my wife and my sister-in-law tried to keep in line with the cars as they waded through the water. They then discovered that when they took their eyes off the cars for as much as two seconds, they would have drifted off their set course, almost being swept away by the flood! That line of cars was their saving grace and by staying close to the line of cars, they were able to maintain the right course and get out of the flash flood.

A drift along our life’s course is something we tend to experience once and again. It takes a lot of focus and deliberate action to stay on course and fulfil our goals and purpose. The year is still relatively new and we have begun the race as it were, pursuing the goals we set at the beginning of the year or continuing with the plans we have been working with over the years. Once and again, we are buffeted by various forces of life tugging at us and pushing us in different directions. Over time, we might discover that we have veered off course in certain aspects of our lives and then we strive to get back on track. It is always good to prevent the drift if possible or spot it early and make the necessary amendments. Some drifts happen quickly but most happen rather slowly. You don’t realize how far off you’ve gone until you are checked by someone or an event. At times, we even begin to feel so comfortable on our new course that we don’t really believe we have drifted.

There are certain key areas we must watch out for drifts and ensure we remain on course.

Drifts can occur in one’s marriage. You discover that you guys no longer do the things you used to do together with so much excitement. The mojo is gone. Life happened and other things have taken the place of the investments you could have made in your marriage. There always has to be a deliberate effort to hold unto the reins of your marriage otherwise you would find out that other things take hold of those reins, push you out of the chariot and run you over before you know it. God forbid!

Drifts can occur in one’s career or business. You get carried away by little pecks and freebies that come with your current position or success and fail to move to achieve those business and career goals you set. You suddenly find out that you have put in ten years in the same place doing the same thing when you actually could have accomplished much more based on your original plans.

Drifts could occur in one’s spiritual life. Personally, this is the most dangerous drift we are exposed to. This drift could cost us eternity. Paul, in Ephesians 4:14, talked about the possibility of being carried away by different winds of doctrine. We must stay focused on the undiluted word of God and watch out for dilutions and inconspicuous corruptions of the Word of God around us.

You could have a drift in your life’s overall purpose. You could get into someone else’s course or race. You could begin to follow the wrong star or get mesmerized by the charisma of someone going in the opposite direction.

The good news is that we can avoid the drift or even get out of one in case that is the situation.

Have a plan for your day, your week, your month and your year. Your daily plan should ultimately fit into your plan for the year. That is, your plan for the day must align with your plan for the week, your plan for the week must align with your plan for the month and your plan for the month must dovetail with your plan for the year. Don’t keep the plan in your head. Please write it out so you could see it with your physical eyes and not just with the eyes of your mind.

Have periodic reviews of your plans to check how you are faring on your course. You must deliberately plan these reviews, setting aside specific times for the reviews. These reviews should cover all aspects of your life, assuming you have made plans for those aspects anyway.

Do daily recaps reviewing the events of the day. I have started doing this regularly. I even have a phone alarm set for this so that I don’t fail to do the recap. It provide an opportunity to review my expenses, tasks completed and those pending and to check if I am on a drift or on course.

Best of all, you must continually set your eyes and heart on the Lord. He is the star that would always keep you on course. King David said, ‘I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.’ This should be our resolution too.

Thought check: What areas of your life do you sense a drift? What tips have helped you avoid or handle a drift?

 

BORN FOR IMPACT

A few days ago we celebrated the birth of the Saviour of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ. He lived a life that was well spent because He did exactly what His Father wanted Him to do (John 4:34). He was born in season and He fulfilled His purpose. You have also been born in season and God has a plan for your life. There could be no better time for you to be on earth than now. You were brought from eternity into this season for a reason. The reason you were born is beyond buying good clothes, cars and houses for yourself. There is a gift, a passion, a talent, a ministry God has given you to bless the world around you with. You were born for impact. You were born to make a change and create a difference in a constantly decaying world.
People are concerned about the business of life – bothered about what to eat, what to wear, what to live in, what to drive, etc. And the outcome of all these has been the decay and deterioration of life around the world. We have loose morals and values, wickedness of various forms, failed systems in every place, and increased poverty and sicknesses. Fulfill your purpose in God and you would discover that you would be contributing to the sustenance and improvement of life. Because God would use you to touch lives positively, give hope to the hopeless, help people advance in life and bring them closer to God.
As you proceed in the New Year, pursue the purpose God has given you. This is what you should focus on and not just the acquisition of earthly possessions. These things are bye products which accrue to the one who pursues the purpose or vision God has given him or her. As you fulfill the purpose of God, the glory of God is revealed in your life and through your life. The beauty of God clothes you and distinguishes you from mere men.

STAY CONNECTED TO HIS THOUGHTS
The sky is not your limit; rather your thoughts define your limit. You can only achieve what you can think about. The natural human mind at its optimum performance is very limited and our thoughts are too. These thoughts define how far we can go this year. The Bible tells us that God’s thoughts are higher than ours and I am glad to let you know that they are not beyond our reach. We can think like God and do greater things by His strength. This is possible through His Spirit who reveals the deep things or thoughts of God to us. His Spirit helps us align our thoughts with His thoughts and keeps us connected for a flow of Godly wisdom and ideas. God can do exceedingly more through us than we can ever think about (Eph 3:20), when we are connected to him.

FRAME YOUR WORLD WITH THE WORD
We understand from Scriptures that the worlds were framed by the Word of God (Heb. 11:3). Life consists of various sceneries and images. You can choose to frame the images and sceneries you want to make a part of your life this year by the Word of God. Speak the good word of God concerning all aspects of your life. Begin to confess the promises of God every day and you shall see God’s best established in your life this year in Jesus’ name.

DARE TO DO SOMETHING GREAT
Start fulfilling the purpose of God for your life by stepping out in faith to do what God has put in your heart to do. The best time to start is now even if you don’t have the full picture or all you need. Sometimes we don’t get God’s next instruction until we take the first step. Prayerfully act in faith and you shall find strength to do great exploits (Dan. 11:32b)
This year would surely be great and wonderful for those who would fulfill the purpose of God for their lives. Go for it.