Our word for 2020 was perseverance. Little did we know then how much that word would be confirmed as important. Covid 19 virus has seemed to change our lives daily. We have just had to persevere!
Seems like where ever we look that word persevere is being used. What does persevere mean? In the dictionary the meaning goes something like this, to continue on even when it is hard and success is not guaranteed.
We are all trying to continue on during this time and we certainly can’t see the future. Sure glad it was not something I would have known beforehand. There is certainly a reason we are not told the future. God knows our future and He wants us to trust Him with it. We are to persevere, taking one day at a time.
So how do we continue to persevere even when it gets hard? Look to God for strength to carry on. Ask Him to keep you hopeful even when others around you may not be. Pray for others and offer help where you can. Stay safe, stay well, and stay strong! Focus on God and persevere.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Hello Finding His Purpose family. Since we are not able to meet we thought we would share a few thoughts with you.
You are not alone
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 Remember God is with us during this time.
Prayer changes things
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 Pray for our world, our nation and our families. Pray for healing and revival for our world.
God can use bad times for our good
“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.” Romans 8:28 NIV Trust that God is in control and can use this for His good and perfect plan for our lives.
As a group with chronic illness and disabilities we are all used to some amount of isolation at times. We can use what we have learned during those times to help others who have never experienced that. Contact others, pray for their needs, offer encouragement. We hope you all will be able to look back on this and say,
We are all experiencing a time where fear is so evident right now in our world. The Coronavirus has made us all aware of the power of fear. We must take this threat seriously but at the same time continue to trust God to see us through this. Our powerful God is still in control and right now we must remind ourselves of that fact. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind “ 2 Timothy 1:7
In the last few months our granddaughter, Mia has been struggling with anxiety. We have talked about how God can calm your fears and how important it is to replace the negative or fearful thoughts with His words of comfort during anxious times. I would like to to share with you some scriptures that can do that for you.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“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.”
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
“neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
We pray for everyone to be safe and well. Keep close to God and let Him calm your fears. Stay in His word and worship Him with praise. God loves you!
The favorite scripture verse that the group Finding His Purpose was founded on was Romans 8:28. “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.”
This verse was perfect for this group because the promise it gives us is one of hope. It reminds us that even in the bad things we encounter, God will work them out for our good. Certainly not everything looks like it will work out for our good. Issues of chronic illness and disability is no where close to a good thing. What God wants to do is to make us more like Him through these trials. Sometimes we don’t notice that God is working behind the scenes of our life. It takes time, sometimes years for the full story to unfold. We soon discover that He indeed took a very bad situation and changed it for our good.
What is our responsibility in this? To LOVE the Lord! This is a promise for those who love Him. The purpose is to make us more like Christ. God wants to mold us into the image of His Son. So no matter what your circumstances put your trust in Him. Let Him take your cares, trials and disappointments and make something beautiful of them as He changes you in the process.
Finding His Purpose started on January 23, 2014. It has been 6 years since the first meeting of this support group. We have seen good and bad in those years. We have prayed for things that did not come to pass. We have experienced some mighty miracles. We have lost some members/friends to illness but know they are with Christ and rejoice in that. We don’t know what the next years will bringbut we do know we will continue to thank the Lord for His blessings and trust He will direct our path. All the glory goes to God and we will always look for the good he works in all of our lives. Pray for all at Finding His Purpose.
Here we are at the Christmas season 2019. Many blessings have come to many of us and many have experienced loss this year.
At Finding His Purpose we have recently lost an important member of our group, Matt Lawlor. We all will miss him and his wisdom he frequently shared with us at meetings. He loved the Lord and we take comfort in that as we grieve. Say a little prayer for Carol as you read this.
Many of us have lost loved ones this year, our family included. So how do we keep celebrating when we feel sad and miss having them here? I think we must go back to the Christmas story and find the promise that the birth of Jesus brings to us all. Jesus is born to give us new life. This is the promise of Christmas and if we know Christ as our Savior we will have eternal life.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
Keep that Christmas promise in your heart and love the ones you have here with you extra this year.
The season is here again. It is Thanksgiving time. Lots of talk about being thankful can be heard all around us. What do you do if you don’t feel so thankful and are having a hard time finding what you are thankful for?
Here’s a suggestion-look around and you will always find something to be thankful for. Maybe it can be as simple as a nice day, or as amazing as a beautiful sunset. Make a list of the things you see and before long you will have lots of things to be thankful for. God gives us so many blessings but it can be hard to see them when life becomes challenging. We all have times when we must work to see the good things right in front of us.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalms 9:1
We come to you with a thankful heart. Let us not only be thankful to you this season but each and everyday. You are our provider and protector. You are our uplifter in times of trouble. You make a way when there seems to be no hope. Help us to always go to you first in times of need. May we always come to you with a heart that is open and thankful for all we do have. Help us to see pass the clouds to see you shine in our lives. Amen
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4
We recently went on a road trip that took us through multiple states. It was long at times but worth the effort to see all the sights and sounds we saw. As we traveled, it became apparent to us that our “little road trip” was giving us some very important life lessons.
We were stopped in traffic for over one hour due to road construction, so patience was something we had to develop. It was interesting to see a car or two weave in or out of the line trying to find a quicker way to move on. Just like in life sometimes we need to slow down and take the clear path, instead of rushing forward to find a major road block in our way.
We also had our GPS on our phone tell us that there was a speed trap ahead- well that’s helpful. We do try to follow the speed limit so we looked and said ok we are fine and kept moving. Up ahead we saw flashing lights and a car stopped meaning that the warning must not have reached that person and they were in trouble. How many times do we hear God give us a warning and don’t listen. We then find ourselves in a big problem that could have been avoided. Following the rules is needed and that is why God gives us boundaries to protect us from harm.
Tunnels were another thing we drove through on this trip. Tunnels are not my favorite but can’t be avoided if you need to get to your destination and there are mountains in your path. So you turn on your lights, hold the car steady so not to hit the side of the wall and keep going. There are lights in the tunnel too, flashing quickly by as you travel through. Just as you are getting weary, you see the other side, the opening with the sun shining as you exit the tunnel. Have you had a tunnel experience in your life? Have you held on tightly praying for answers or a breakthrough that just doesn’t seem to come? God is there with us through the tunnel. His light guides our way if we stay the course. He is showing us the opening with freedom on the other side. Keep going and don’t give up.
After a long journey it is wonderful to get back home. Home is where we feel comfortable and secure. Home is where we find rest and people we love. On the road trip of life, don’t forget that this is not our forever home. Jesus died for us to give us a home in heaven to be with God forever if we believe in Him. Please make sure you know the Lord in a deep personal way so that someday when your road trip is done, Jesus will say to you “Welcome Home.”
Do you have a desire in your heart that you keep hidden? Something that really you want but can be scary to voice? Sometimes the desires we have are not what God would consider the best for us. Sometimes He shows us another desire that will fit our need much better. Sometimes He totally provides the long awaited heart desire in a miraculous way!
God wants us to trust Him with our life, our plans and our heart’s desire. He wants our attention, our praise and worship. He longs to hear us in our quiet time share our most intimate hopes and dreams. He is there in the hard times that set us back and make us question all we thought was so close to our touch. He is there to walk with us as we learn to continue to pray even when we see nothing is changing. God wants us to trust Him completely.
Is this an easy task? No, it is hard to wait and continue to hope in something we have not seen yet. Waiting is hard and time can seem to drag along with no answers. Let God mold you and show you who He wants you to be. Put God first daily. Keep praying, keep growing, keep praising and wait for your miracle!
Our grandson, Kaleb once announced when he was very young, “Sometimes you just get a miracle!” So true. John and I have seen miracles in our life and in the lives of our family and friends. We are still amazed and so thankful for them. We pray that those reading this will also get that miracle in their life, that may have just started as a heart’s desire between you and the Lord. Never forget our God is a God of miracles.
Most of us have heard it said “God is in Control.” Have you ever really thought about what it means? We usually think more deeply about it when we lose a loved one or a tragedy is in our midst. We wonder why if God is in control this could have happened.
It really comes down to God wants us to trust Him in all things. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding ” Proverbs 3:5
We may never know all the reasons for life’s problems until we meet Jesus face to face. He wants us to believe his promises and keep his words in our hearts in times of turmoil. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
As we enter into the Easter weekend we know that when Jesus went to the cross all looked very bleak. Many did not understand what was happening and the pain was very real. Even Jesus’s followers could not see past what they were experiencing at that moment. They did not remember the times Jesus performed miracles and told them he was leaving and preparing a place for them. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3
All they could focus on was that day. If only they knew that what looked so bad was going to turn into a glorious celebration! We do the same thing. We look at our current circumstances in troubled times and give in to despair. We need to remember our past blessings and how God has brought us though worse. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
We need to move our focus off the present and into the future where all is made right. God is in control. He has always been and will always be. We are his creation. Jesus gave his life because of his love for each of us. Thank him for this great sacrifice, accept it, follow him and trust him. Let us move our eyes from the crucifixion to the resurrection and rejoice.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16
Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to see God work. He sometimes asks us to do things we see as impossible but he makes them possible.
Over 6 years ago, John asked me if I would help him start a group for people with disabilities at our church, Calvary Chapel Melbourne. It was a desire and vision that God put in his heart to help encourage and support those with physical disabilities, chronic pain and illness.
So it started, we did our research and found help and ideas for the ministry at Joni Eareckson Tada’s website joniandfriends.org. They had many resources for us to use and learn from. We put together a binder with many of the resources we found and ideas we wanted to explore. The group name was something the Lord gave us when we were working on the binder in the summer of 2013. John’s favorite verse is Romans 8:28 and the verse was exactly what we wanted Finding His Purpose group to be. To seek the Lord in all things even during the really hard times in life. Continue to look beyond the problems to see his ultimate purpose in the circumstances. To know God still has a plan and a purpose for us even with our limitations.
We also looked for other support groups in our area that had a similar focus to see how it worked. God led us to a very active group called “Choosing Joy ” held at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. We found their group description online and contacted the leader, Andrea Goff. Andrea was so kind to correspond with us by email to answer lots of questions we had. The group had been meeting in their church for four years already.
We met with many of the Calvary Chapel Melbourne pastors and shared our desire to start the group. Our first pastor leader was Eric Ward and we all made arrangements to go to Fort Lauderdale to meet Andrea and her pastor leader, Joel Sonnenberg.
Our meeting was so informative and we really felt like we could start this group. So on Thursday January 23, 2014 we had our first meeting. It has been 5 years now and we are still learning and leaning on the Lord for our direction and support. God has blessed us so much. We have met many inspiring people along the way. Members who keep going even when the times are tough, and pain takes it’s toll on their lives. Pastors who encouraged us to move forward. Family and friends who share our vision and prayed for us as we serve.
As we move forward we hope the future will bring many more inspiring stories to share and victories of changed lives. We want to thank Calvary Chapel Melbourne and the pastors for believing in us and allowing us to serve. We thank Pastor Eric Ward for helping us get off to a great start. Thank you to Andrea Goff and Pastor Joel Sonnenberg for encouraging us to begin. We thank our first co-leaders Susan and Gerry Lachapelle for helping us and supporting us in prayer.
A special thank you to our current pastor leader, Pastor Dave Barnes who gives us encouragement, direction and is always there to help. Thank you to our current co-leaders Melissa and David Valentine for serving along with us, praying and helping us move forward.
Thank you to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for guiding us and directing our path along the way. May we always remember that this ministry is yours and we are just caretakers of it. We seek to honor you in all we do at Finding His Purpose.
John and Cynthia Miller
“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.”