Creating a Legacy: Living with Purpose

Over the past few weeks, I have heard and/or witnessed one of my dear friends almost dying, going to a funeral of a friend that I hadn’t been able to see for a long time, my pastor getting sick, various people holding grudges against one another (thankfully, not me), and the stress of my workplace getting tested by our company.   In all these things, I believe God has been teaching me to a.) make my life count, and  b.) create a lasting legacy for my life.

I hate to be morbid, but we will all die someday. This is why I believe it is imperative to live with purpose, and create a legacy, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations that may not even know our names.

Even when I was at the lowest depths of my depression, I thought about my purpose in life. I knew that where I was then was not where I wanted to end up, in the final moments of my life.  Yes, I have always had happy moments in my life, despite the looming depression, but I had never really realized lasting joy until recently.  Little by little, God has shown me how to live powerfully, with lasting and great purpose. I believe that anyone here can live their life with purpose and can make a positive and powerful difference in the world around them.

Here is what I learned about living life with purpose:

  1. If you want to live your life with purpose, you cannot be a half-hearted individual.—I see a lot of people around me going through life, not only struggling just to survive, but also without aim or purpose. I was that way when I was growing up. If I was aware that I would forget some of what I learned in school or that I would never see 90% of my peers that I grew up with up until now, I am afraid I would have done more things to get them over with, without any heart, or passion, in what I was doing.  However, during the past five or so years, God has taught me how to live my life with passion and purpose. For more information about finding a purpose in your life, read this post.  At work, for example, when I go into get-things-done mode (a.k.a—doing things to get them over with), I find that I am much less effective in getting said things done right, than if I did them with concentration and put my heart into what I am doing.  This is true for other areas of one’s life as well. For example, if you are married (I personally am not, just my observations of relationships I see) and you do things for your spouse just for duty’s sake or get him or her off your back, you are less likely to please him or her, than if you did said things with thoughtfulness and heart.
  2. If you want to live your life with purpose, you must be willing to forsake certain things.—We all get distracted in life. However, when living your life with purpose, you want to limit these distractions as much as possible.  For instance, if you are living with the purpose of being there and providing for your family, you want to work enough that everyone is adequately fed and provided for, but not so much that you won’t have any meaningful time to spend with them.  So, in that example, the person who wants to be there and provide for his or her family must get a job that would adequately provide for everyone in their family and that they won’t have to work too many hours, at the wrong times, so they can be there for their family.   For me, my purpose in life is to glorify God and love others. This means I must actively strive to forsake things that would prevent me from carrying out this purpose, such as listening to or watching media that promotes the hatred of or devalues my God or others.
  3. If you want to live your life with purpose, you must persevere. –If you want to create a lasting legacy, you must not give up on life, or your purpose, even when it gets tough. For instance, if part of your purpose involves making a positive difference in certain relationships in your life, you must not give up on these relationships when tension or difficulties threaten them. In my life, to my shame, l almost gave up on several people, who hurt me in the past. However, I believe God didn’t allow me to, and something (or Someone) in me kept me from giving up on these people completely. Thankfully, these relationships are restored, and I am able to be, not only a friend to them, but, hopefully, make a positive and lasting impact on them, as well. For another example, if you want to be successful, career-wise, you must not let obstacles get in the way of your goals.  You must not let a couple of failures or bad days at work, make you quit your job completely, if you aim to be successful career or work wise.


These are the principles that I have learned in helping me to live my life with purpose.  If you want people to remember you after your time on earth is up, you must live your life with passion, be willing to forsake certain things, and persevere through it all.  If you want to be remembered well, I believe investing in other people’s lives, instead of only your own, is a good place to start. Yes, it takes work to live with purpose, but I believe it will be well worth it in the end.


Three Things God Has Been Teaching Me

As I have grown more in my faith in Christ, I believe that God has been teaching me more difficult life lessons.  However, even these lessons can be applied by most anyone, regardless of religious belief, to their daily lives.  Some of them, He has been teaching me just through these past couple of weeks, and some He has been teaching me for a longer period of time. Since I am human, I do struggle in these areas still sometimes, but the important thing for me (and you) to remember is that when we fail, we make amends, and then we get back up and try again. So, the three main things that I believe God has been teaching me are:

  1. Surrender
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Gratitude

One of the things that God has been teaching me is to surrender. This does not only include surrendering to Him for His will in my life, but also to authority figures in my life, as well as making the necessary compromises with other people. When I got upset at one of my co-workers on my birthday, I believe I was struggling with this issue of surrender. I won’t go into details, but instead of giving up my right to something, I held on to it until we both got upset at each other. In retrospect, I should have just given up my rights, especially since it involved something very minor.  For a long time, until today, I never really understood why Jesus wanted us not to take vengeance against others when we were clearly wronged, and why, in my mind, we should just let people walk all over us.  Then, while reading, The Cost of Discipleship, which was written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I found the answer. Bonhoeffer says, “Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames.” (Bonhoeffer, 141—bold emphasis mine).  Suddenly, it was like a light bulb in my brain turned on! That is why people should not take vengeance against another, or return violence for violence!  How true that is!  For instance, in my own life, when I wanted to get back at certain people for the wrong they did to me, be it, by purposely avoiding them and giving them an evil stare, or talking smack about them because of how they made me look bad before, I found that the situation with that person actually gets much worse, not better in any way.  However, when I instead counter their evil, by letting them be and by instead countering their evil by trying to still be kind to them, their attacks and evil usually diffuse much faster. Even with people in authority that are hard for you to get along with, this principle of surrender can be used.  For instance, when I did not want to do something, my natural instincts would be a.) to refuse to do said thing, until I wanted to, or b.) get upset about having to do said thing. However, that would be disobedience, because I wasn’t doing said task, immediately, as expected, or with a good attitude.  However, when I surrender my desires to the authority figure and strive to do said task with a good attitude, I find the task to be more bearable than if I tried to put up a fight against doing said task. Also, when I surrender to God’s will, I find that I don’t have to worry about things because I know God will take care of me, and will lead me through.


Another thing that God has been teaching me that goes along with surrender is sacrifice. Sacrifice can be defined as, according to Merriam-Webster, “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.” (source: As I said in a previous post, I worked eleven hours on my birthday, sacrificing rest and possible hoopla over that day, because I did not want us to do badly on our store test, as some Very Important people have been coming in this week to rate the various areas of our store.  I learned, both from God and my pastor that sacrificing something for a greater cause is always worth it in the end.  My parents have sacrificed a tastier meal in order to finish another one that they may like less, so I would be able to eat the tastier meal.  I want to be able to do the same in all facets of my life, not only for God or my parents, but for everyone around me.  I have also learned that one cannot truly love without being willing to sacrifice for another. If you are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices for someone, you should really question how much you truly love them.  For instance, you may have a crush on someone, but it cannot go deeper than that if you are not willing to do what is necessary to ensure that person feels loved and cared about, even above your own desires.  Love is more than just a gooey, good feeling. It involves sacrifice.


Lastly, God has been teaching me gratitude. Gratitude, as I define it, is being thankful for everything you have gotten in life, and not having an entitlement attitude about anything.  Gratitude acknowledges that everything good you get is a gift, and nothing is completely “earned”.  I struggle with this sometimes, but have tried to overcome ingratitude by reminding myself of at least three things that I have to be thankful for that day. Once in a while, I suggest that if you want to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your life, compile a list of all the things you can think of, that you have to be thankful.  I started a list like this in 2011, which can also be found at this link.  Then, when you feel especially discouraged, you can look back at your gratitude list, and remind yourself of all the good that has been given in your life.  We often can become ungrateful because we compare ourselves to those we perceive have it “better” than us. Why not do the opposite? Instead of comparing ourselves to the “better” Joneses, we should compare ourselves to those who have it tougher than us. Then, we can feel better about the situation we are in, and also hopefully focus on how we can help those who are struggling, instead of being so self-focused.

If we all (me included) were more willing to surrender our rights sometimes, be willing to sacrifice for others for a greater good, and if we were more appreciative for what we already have been given, then I believe there would be less strife in this world, and we would be more on our way to make a positive difference in this world.



Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship. SCM Press, 1959.

What I Want More Than Anything

When I came across this question, I knew I had to write about this! After all, these desires motivate me to live life well, and underlie almost everything I do.

 What do you want more than anything in your life? Write about the burning hot core of your desire, and how that desire has changed over your life.



When I was growing up, these are the three things that I wanted more than anything.

  1. For my peers to love and accept me for who I am, and genuinely like me.
  2. To be successful in school, so I could get a high-paying job later in life.
  3. To be happy.

Now, these are the top three things that I want more than anything in the world.

  1. For people to know God’s love and mercy for them.
  2. For God to say to me when I meet him at Heaven’s gate: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
  3. To be able to fulfill God’s purposes in my life.

Growing up, as I have said in previous posts, I was a very self-centered and rigid child.  I did not know how to really love or care for people, though I did the best I could at the time with what I knew. I still remember one classmate in elementary school telling me that I was difficult to get along with!  From third grade until my freshman year of high school, I was also often the target of bullying from my peers.  I had few friends, and I really didn’t feel particularly close to anyone.  I yearned for the day that people would just invest in me and really be there as a confidante for me.  I remember being, often, lonely and/or bored with life, though I did have happy times as well. However, that was mainly with family, not my peers.


Looking back, I realized that I tried to stifle this desire by working very diligently in school. It worked. I remember rarely ever getting anything lower than a B (above average) on my report card. I wished to be someone successful and loved in the world’s eyes someday, a far cry from what my peers thought of me then.  Teachers did appreciate my efforts though, and encouraged me to “believe in myself” more, since I was also often anxious and worried about things.  I would probably have even been labeled a “teacher’s pet,” because I often looked to teachers to encourage and strengthen me in school.


All in all, I wanted to be happy with my life. However, it would be only after my teenage years were over, did I start to find real joy and happiness in my life.


One of the toughest times of my life came when I was sixteen years old. I had maybe only one or two real friends, and one of my teachers was so verbally abusive, that he left an emotional scar that is there to this day.  I was at the end of my rope. All my dreams of being happy, loved by my peers, and successful in the world’s eyes seemed to be coming to a shattering end. All I wanted at that point was to end this pain and suffering that I was going through.


That’s when God came into my life.


As God has come into my life, I believe, little by little, He has showed me a great purpose for my life. Because of His love and care for me, and because of all the love and support I have received from so many others after my sixteenth year passed, my desires have changed.  No longer do I strive as much just to be accepted and loved by my peers, though because of God’s commandment to “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with [everyone].” (Romans 12:18), I still try to get along with everyone.


I would not really be considered a success in the world’s eyes, at least, monetarily.  However, I no longer care about that, because I know that it is no longer a priority to my life.  However, I do strive to be a success in God’s eyes, and to be able to hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant,” rather than “Depart from me, you worker of iniquity [sin]!”


Most of all, I want the world to know and experience God’s love. I have lived through the Columbine massacre, that claimed more than a dozen lives, one of them being my faith hero, Rachel Joy Scott. I have lived through 9/11 that claimed more than 3,000 American lives.  I now live during a time when the world is in turmoil, and people are hungering for love and care everywhere. I don’t completely understand why some people turn to violence and hurting people that didn’t do anything to them, to get attention.  I don’t know why many people just have stopped caring for others , and are giving up on making a positive difference in their world.  However, I know that everyone, including these people, need love and care.  Because of the positive impact that God’s love, as well as the love I received from those around me, has had on me, I can’t help but share it with others.  As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ constraineth us,” meaning the love of Jesus Christ compels me to love others.


I apologize for all the times I did not show God’s love to others, because I am not perfect. However, I strive every day to love others with the same measure (and maybe even above) that has been given to me.

Lessons Learned From My Birthday

At the time of this writing (will be several days later when this is posted), yesterday was my birthday.  I am a whole year older than I was the day before yesterday, and, hopefully, a bit wiser. I admit that I had this idealized picture of what my birthday should be like, but it did not really match that ideal at all. However, I still had a good birthday overall because I learned these three important life lessons that could really be applied by, not only me, but everyone in various facets of their lives:

  1. If you really want to love others, you must be willing to sacrifice for them.—My managers and I held a meeting for work, both to discuss work matters and for me to let everyone know that they were appreciated and cared about by us. As the meeting dispersed, I was able to give the managers and associates I work with a small creation of mine that let them know that they matter to me. I wanted to give the tokens to others on my birthday, instead of everyone just giving me things because I have learned that life is not all about me, even on my birthday. Life is about appreciating others in your life that have held your hand, and have been there with and/or for you in both the triumphs and tragedies of life.  Also, since our store will get a visit from some Very Important people soon, the managers were desperate to get as many people as possible, even some from other stores, to help them get ready for the Big Visit.  If I did not care about the managers and the store I work in, and only considered it a way to earn money, I would have never even considered staying as late as I did last night. Because I care about what managers have to go through, I wanted to let them know by working late that they didn’t have to go through this alone. At work, and in other areas of my life, generally, when I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for someone, not only did they get upset at me, but this showed that I really didn’t love them as much as I said I did.
  2. Humility and a repentant attitude are really attractive traits to have.—I was quite upset at an associate on my birthday, for something (in retrospect), that was very minor. When I came to my senses, I apologized to said associate for having an angry and general bad attitude towards her. After that we made up, and I will genuinely strive to be more patient and humble with her the next time. However, one of my friends doesn’t get along with someone in authority in our store because they feel that they are not being appreciated and feel that they are constantly being put down by this authority figure.  If one or both of them had a humble attitude towards the other, they could very well have a better relationship, too.  One of the reasons my pastor is very well-liked and respected by our congregation is, not only because he is generally a very godly individual, but also because of his humble attitude. He does not lord himself over others and is also very down-to-earth.  Humility and a repentant attitude are very attractive traits to have, not only because of the healing and redemptive power they have on relationships, but also because of the value it places on the other person or persons.
  3. Gratitude for what you have and what has been graciously provided for you produces joy, not only to you—the giver, but to the recepient of your gratitude as well.—A lot of things yesterday could have made me grumble and complain—the fact that I didn’t get a chance to give everyone my token of appreciation, the fact that there will people that were rude to me and/or in bad moods, the fact that I didn’t have a birthday party at work like I did last year, etc… However, when I see things as gifts from God, rather than something I’m entitled to, I find that I have more joy in the things I receive.  I actually felt bad for all the people that were in a bad mood yesterday, and felt good that I, for the most part, was in a pretty good mood.  Even though I didn’t have a birthday party at work this year, I still found great joy in being able to get a lot of things done at work for others and being able to serve God by helping others at my job.  Even though I wasn’t able to give everyone my token of appreciation, the people I was able to give them to appreciated it very much.  And for that I am grateful.  I am also grateful for the many people that cared that it was my birthday, and have loved me as I am.  Being grateful (and not grumbly, as when I am not thinking in a grateful way) makes me very happy! So, I recommend that if you want to be happier in life, make a list of as many things as possible, of what you are grateful for, such as the people in your life that have encouraged you, the abilities you have (i.e If you can walk or see, those count too!), and the provisions that have been given to you to make your life better.

These three things are the major lessons that I took away from my birthday yesterday.  I hope that these lessons will not only be applied by me in my life, but also by others in their lives.  If we loved and were more willing to sacrifice for others, if we were more humble and repentant after we made a mistake, and if we were more grateful for everyone and everything we have been given, then I believe that this world would be a better place.

What I Learned From Peter

The apostle Peter was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, and the writer of 1 and 2 Peter. To me, he is a dynamic example of how God can use the ordinary and make them extraordinary.  These principles I have learned from Peter are so universal that anyone, no matter religion, race, class, ethnicity, gender, or any other human identifier, can apply these to their lives!  I’ve had a tough week, and more and more, I have been thinking about how the apostle Peter also had tough times- -Times where he was hypocritical in his character, so his actions betrayed what he believed;  times where he was persecuted against and rejected by others, times where he felt inadequate to God and to others. All these I have also experienced in my life, and I can bet, some of you have, too.  However, I have learned these following things from the life of Peter that has helped me not only to understand him better, but also to encourage myself and others in our life’s journeys:

  1. Think before doing or saying
  2. You don’t have to be perfect to make a difference
  3. Never give up.

One of the mistakes that Peter made throughout his life, was he did a lot of things without thinking them through.  This is something I struggle with as well.  For example, in Matthew 26, Peter is recorded as saying that he would die for Jesus even if he were being persecuted! We know that he didn’t think about what that really meant, because even when three different people, including a servant girl with no power to do anything bad to Peter, asked if he (Peter) had been with Jesus, Peter denied even knowing of or being with Jesus, all three times! In another instance, the apostle Paul writes in Galatians 2 :11 (KJV), that  Peter “was to be blamed, “ meaning he was to be corrected, because he separated himself from eating with the Gentiles (non-Jews). Peter did this only because he was afraid of what some other Jewish people would think.  Peter did not think about the implications that his actions would have on the Church, as a whole, nor on the example he was setting for the rest of the Jewish believers.  From these two instances, I learn from Peter that it is better to think things through before saying or doing anything. For instance, when I am upset at someone, I want to say very mean and hurtful things to that person as a way of making them “feel” my rage at the time. However, when I really take the time to think through the implications and consequences of my actions, I often am successful at not saying those things.

Another thing that I learn from Peter is the fact that one does not have to be perfect, or even saintly, to make a positive difference in this world.  As I noted before, even the apostle Peter, was far from perfect! However, some weeks after Peter denied Jesus, Jesus encourages Peter by reinstating him to ministry and preparing his heart for this endeavor by asking Peter if he loved Him. Jesus reinstates him to ministry by basically telling him to “feed His sheep,” meaning to encourage people (the sheep) to follow God’s directives by “feeding” them His words and His teachings.  Even though, Paul had to reprimand Peter later, Peter still made a huge difference in helping the early Christians be able to withstand persecution for their faith, and to be able to stay mentally strong despite these persecutions and other life trials.  We know this, through Peter’s writings, where he encourages the churches he lead to stand firm in their faith and persevere.  Sometimes, the perfectionistic-me thinks that when I fail morally or in another way, that I can’t do anything worthy for God or for others. However, through learning about Peter’s life, I am encouraged that this is not the case.  I believe that this is not the case for any of you either. No matter where you are in life, or what you have done or failed to do, you still can make a positive difference in this world. You just have to believe you can!

Lastly, and perhaps, most importantly, I learned from Peter never to give up.  Even when Peter made, what I think to be the biggest error of his life—denying even knowing Jesus, Peter did not give up on life or on himself.  As noted in John 21, Peter went back to hanging out with Jesus and, eventually, accepted his mission from Jesus. Peter did not avoid Jesus or the other disciples that were left, but faced his mistake when Jesus gently confronted Peter with the issue of his love for Him.  In contrast, another disciple (Judas) that betrayed Jesus, went and committed suicide, giving up on life and on everything else.  Also, in several biblical passages, Peter is recorded casting his nets all day, or all night, for fish, but not getting any. Peter could have given up until Jesus came to him, or waited for another day, but Peter persevered.  Eventually, in John 21:11 (KJV), it says, “Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.”

Many times in my life, even several days ago, I have felt so overwhelmed with life, that I just wanted to give up.  However, my faith in God and the hope of a better future, prodded me on.  When I look to the apostle Peter and see his perseverance, I am also inspired to keep going, because I know the reward can be great for me, if I don’t give up. I’m sure the rewards you can get, both in this life and in the next, can be very great, if you don’t lose hope and if you keep on, keeping on!


Sacrifice  written on 2/19/2018

dedicated to a dear friend.

Once, the Savior,

His body shattered

On a blood-stained tree

Became the sacrifice for me


Then, one day He found me

At the end of my rope

Looking for any sign of hope

And gave me His love


One day I found you

Trying to get through life

Even though all around you

Was pain and strife


Since I met you

Everyone always took from you

Without giving you true love

But that’s not what I want to do


Because of my Savior

And everything He is,

All He embodies to me

His love is all I want you to see


His love that would

Take the bullet for you

His love that would

Always prove pure and true


His love that would

Infuse joy into your life

And would be with you

When you experience strife


His love that would

Give His all for you

Because His love is the most true

This love I want to show to you

What I Want For My Birthday

My birthday is in a few days! Normally, when a person has a birthday, they want material gifts like outfits, a birthday cake or special treat to eat, or something that delights their fancy. After all, a birthday is a celebration of that person’s very existence!  Though it is nice for me to have things like these, the things that I want most for my birthday are not solely for me—but for the whole world, especially those I interact with regularly.  They cannot be bought at any store, but their worth is beyond anything that can be tagged with a price. The three things I want most for my birthday are:

  1. For the world to experience God’s love.
  2. For peace for the people around me.
  3. For people around me, both online and offline, to experience joy.

I want the world to experience God’s love because I believe that if they did, this world would be a better place. What do I mean by God’s love?  Mainly, agape love.  According to a source in the Wikipedia, theologian O.C Quick describes agape love this way:

If we could imagine the love of one who loves men purely for their own sake, and not because of any need or desire of his own, purely desires their good, and yet loves them wholly, not for what at this moment they are, but for what he knows he can make of them because he made them, then we should have in our minds some true image of the love of the Father and Creator of mankind.


In other words, this love is so unselfish that when someone loves like this, it is purely for the other’s benefit, not anything that they can gain back from the object of their love.  Agape love is so unconditional that it will love its recipient, even with their flaws, and no matter what their actions may be.

Many people in this world seek this kind of love. Yet, many search, far and wide, for this kind of love, because of its stability and genuineness. However, they come up empty.  They have a gaping hole in their souls where this love should be.  Some have given up hope of ever finding someone who will love them like that, and either they will delve into bitter hate for this world, or have callous indifference to everyone and everything around them.

However, for anyone who has experienced God’s love, agape love, I would strongly encourage you to share it with others, because all of us desperately need this type of love. For those who think they have never experienced this type of love, that have only experienced “love” on the basis of merit or a trade of some sorts, know that agape love is out there for you. Don’t ever give up on this type of love! Agape love can change your life, and change this world for the better.


Another thing that I want for my birthday is for people around me to experience peace. (Yes, this also includes those who read this that I have never met face-to-face.) I don’t really like watching the news all that much because it feeds on our fears.  It seems like every two minutes, the news reports someone being shot or killed.  There is rarely any encouraging news on television, even though I know this type of thing does happen more often than one would think.  Also, I see people at my workplace, my family, and even some of those that attend my church, carrying burdens and cares that have them on edge or worried.  I admit that sometimes I am one of these people. However, when I focus on my blessings and what God has done for me, I am able to be much more at peace than when I focus only on my circumstances and the bad happening around me.  I see how God is working, and how good can come out of a bad situation.

I would love those around me to experience similar peace. I want you all to know that things will turn out OK, or even gloriously, if you don’t give up.  I would advise everyone reading this not to worry your life away.  I used to worry so much about things, when I was growing up, that I did not enjoy life as much as I should and could have.  Now, as I am learning to let go of certain worries and fears, I find that I am able to experience joy and peace much more in my life.


The other thing I want for my birthday is for people to experience joy.  As some of you regular readers may know, I have struggled with depression for many years.  It has only been fairly recently that I have begun to experience true and more lasting joy.  I never want another soul to experience the depression I have battled with for so long. This does not mean I necessarily want everyone to get what they want, especially if their desires won’t really make them experience true joy in the long run.  However, I do want people to experience lasting joy—joy that will last through the trials, the tears, and the pains of life. I want people to have joy that can triumph over every obstacle in its way, and joy that can last forever!

I want those around me to be able to have so much joy in their hearts that they will not even consider comparing themselves to the Joneses, and being jealous of those who supposedly have it “better” than them.  I want those around me to have so much joy, that they can no longer keep it to themselves. –They are compelled to spread their joy, wherever they go.

These are the three things I want most for my birthday. I don’t want my birthday to only be about me, even though it is technically celebrating my existence.  I want my birthday to be about spreading love, peace, and joy to others, so that my special day would not only make me happy, but would make  those around me joyful as well.