Saturday, May 14, 2005

Swim or Drift?

Psalms 139:14-16

Salmon begin their lives in the fresh water rivers of the frigid Northwest. Not long after they’re born they begin a long swim down stream. Their destination is the ocean. It is here that they spend the majority of their adult lives. Then something strange happens. Scientists don’t even understand how, but at some point the adult salmon begins to swim back home. Though they may have swum thousands of miles from that original river location they head back home.

That’s right! They swim upstream, against the current of the river. They swim with determination, leaping out of the water to overcome waterfalls and other barriers impeding their progress. They also face predators like bears and people.Incredibly, though they’ve been gone for years many of them return to the exact spot where they were born. After an incredible effort the fish spawn and then die. The new salmon are soon born and repeat the process.

Does that describe you? Does your life have a destination? Are you going in a specific direction and are you willing to face all the obstacles to get there? If so, you’re like the salmon that possess a God-given determination.

Then there’s the jellyfish. There are numerous species of these weird-looking little creatures. Some of them are tiny. Others have tentacles that can be measured in feet. Jellyfish are born in the ocean and die there too. They have limited movement, but never really use that ability to go in any particular destination. They’re moved along primary by the wind and waves and tides. They drift about stinging and surviving. Occasionally one will wash up on the beach and become a danger to passerbys.

Are you more like a jellyfish than a salmon?--- You just kind of float from here to there. You’re carried by circumstances or other people’s plans, but you really have no particular destination of your own. The difference between salmon and jellyfish is the same as the difference between people. Some have a direction. Most just drift.

The problem with that kind of life is that you don’t accomplish anything of significance. Jellyfish people never find nor fulfill the reason for which they were created. Then there are those who have direction. They can look back with satisfaction because they discovered their life’s purpose and went full force in that direction. That kind of living is one of the secrets of spiritual success.

How can you be used by God in a successful and effective way? It begins with the ability to dream. If you want to find your purpose and begin to experience real success you must first:

Dare to dream.

You’ve got to begin to dream about the possibilities God has invested in your life. Determining your dream helps you find your purpose. Dreams are good because they give us direction. A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. Again and again in the Bible God gives his people a vision of the way life could be. Sometimes we call this revelation. God gave his law as a parameter to help his people achieve his vision for humanity. But we think there’s more freedom if we go with the flow, so we tend to cast off restraint and drift.

People who go after their dream set priorities about how they will spend their time. Without some kind of vision we adopt an “anything goes attitude.”¨ We’re moved by the moment, not by something monumental.The thing that keeps most of us from dreaming is that we let our circumstances and limitation defeat us. Our dreams are so big, but were so small. Don’t let your perceived smallness stop you from dreaming big. That dream can propel you over all changes if you commit to it.

Dare to dream.

As you begin to dream you also have to factor in how you were created. To find your purpose you must determine how God has wired you up.Have HeartWhat are you passionate about? What stirs you up like nothing else. Your heart is inclined in a certain direction and it tells you something about your relationship with God.

”What do I really care about?” Proverbs 27:19 “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.”Your attitude determines your altitude. Your attitude is the limiting factor in pursuing your life’s purpose. If you think you can, you probably will. If you think you can’t you probably won’t.

Both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat, because that is what they look for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.

Your attitude is the lens through which you view life. Jesus said it this way: Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be! Matthew 6:22-23

A dream without a positive attitude produces a daydreamer. A positive attitude without a dream produces a pleasant person who can’t progress. A dream together with a positive attitude produces a person with unlimited possibilities and potential.Someone once said, “Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.”¨Success is not about talent or genius or beauty. Success comes down to a choice: direction or drift. Don’t be a jellyfish. God has a glorious purpose for your life. God gave you a pastor to help point you in the correct direction so pay earnest heed to his counsel. Seek God in earnest prayer and hear His Word, as heralded by a man of God, to find it and then “whatsoever he saith unto you do it.”


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