Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure
Ephesians 1:4 & 5 (Life Application Study Bible).

Why am I here? What is my purpose?

Self-help books suggest you’ll find yourself when you go after your innate desires and dreams. But from experience I know this isn’t enough. The starting place must be our Creator and His eternal purposes for each life.

I was born of German parents in Ukraine which was then part of Russia. During World War II my mother with four small children fled from our country always just ahead of the Russian front. We lived in refugee camps across Europe. As displaced persons we knew that we were not as valued as children born in the country. We were second rate.

Later, when we immigrated to Canada, I became an immigrant girl who never fit in with her teen crowd. I didn’t speak English. I couldn’t relate to the culture. I was hopeless at sports. I was a misfit.

As I listened to the voices of the world and the voice within my own head, I knew I didn’t have what it takes to be a valued person. I carried this negative mind-set well into adulthood.

When I first heard that Jesus loved me enough to die for me (not just for the whole wide world, but for me!), I could hardly believe it. But there was more: He wanted to adopt me into His family. This would happen through Jesus Christ. If I would receive Him as my Savior and Lord, I would become a child of God. He would take me just as I am. One day, I asked Him to come into my life. And He did!

Slowly it began to dawn on me that because Jesus lives within me, I have a place. I have a destiny. I have an inheritance that is eternal. I felt like celebrating my new identity. After careful thought, I gave myself the name Grace. Every time I write my name Helen Grace Lescheid, I’m celebrating the fact that I belong to the best family in the world–God’s family. And all because of God’s grace.

Where are you in this faith journey? Has life dealt you some cruel blows? Do you feel excluded from the in-crowd? These hurtful things don’t have to define you. Stop listening to the world and to the negative voice within you. Start listening to what God says about you. The real truth about you is found in Ephesians 1:3-14. Put your name where it says “we” or “us”. Say the verses out loud to yourself, adding, “this is who I really am.”

Father, may all who read these words today experience the power of the risen Christ within and walk with dignity, confidence, and joy.

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The scripture of Jesus calling forth Peter, James, and John in Luke Chapter 5, is a very popular scripture used in Evangelism, and rightfully so. However, for us as believers to view this scripture as just for those who don’t know the Lord, we are settling for less than what Jesus was offering that day.

Luke 5:11(ESV) “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.”

The New King James version says “they forsake everything”, and as believers in Christ we should find great peace and strength in this. When we actually “lay it all down” at the cross, at His feet; we acknowledge that the burdens of this world are more than we can bear. We become free of these burdens and trust fully in our Father to lead us and direct us according to His will, no longer ours. Paul nailed it when he said, “I die daily to myself”; for this is the forsaking process in which we find daily peace and rest in our Father, all through our Lord and Savior.

Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV) ‘At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Too many believers walk with heavy hearts, and burdens they cannot sustain any longer. Brothers, and Sisters…there is good news! Forsake all that you hang on to, not just your sins…your life too…and come into His peace and rest today, and every day.

Peter, James, and John left everything behind that day that they had ever known and had ever lived for, they left it for something much better; something the world cannot offer us.

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