Defeating Despair with Purpose

Viktor Emil Frankl was a physician and psychiatrist. He survived the World War II Holocaust. His Nazi concentration camp experiences led him to wonder how any human being could maintain hope under such extreme conditions.

He came to believe that our survival depends upon finding meaning, even in desperate circumstances. Frankl proposed that we have free will to choose our attitudes, even about torture, death, and dying.

He observed that those human beings whose core spirits chose to have faith in the future and who find meaning in the moment, often found the strength and the courage to face the most difficult problems.

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” (Victor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning, 1946).

It is when we find the “why” we want to live that we can endure almost any “how.” The “why” is our purpose.

Frankl found that people with a high purpose can find meaning even in the worst circumstances. In other words, once we have a high calling we will find a way to deal with the suffering that comes our way. If, as Frankl saw, someone decides his or her reason to live is to comfort others, then even in a concentration camp he or she will still have a reason for living.

When we lose our sense of purpose, we lose a sense that our lives mean anything; and we lose hope in the future, for there seems to be nothing worth living for.

What causes us to lose our sense of purpose?

  1. When our purpose is too small and too self-focused.
  2. When we experience suffering and/or inhumanity that is outside our image of how the world should work.
  3. When we commit acts or have thoughts that fracture the image we have of ourselves as being good, kind, and caring human beings under all circumstances.

There is, however, good news. Although we sometimes lose our sense of purpose, we can be restored to a larger sense of purpose. The Bible teaches us that we can be renewed in a life-giving purpose in the following ways:

  1. Make a confession: God calls us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to be.
  2. Make a commitment to turn around: We are called not to wallow in guilt or be stuck in despair, but to step into the future with a commitment to find and live by a higher purpose.
  3. Make a connection to God, to others, and to ourselves: Our higher calling, our higher purpose is to be a part of the community of the faithful, choosing to live and serve as God leads us.

Devotional by: Armed Services Ministry
http://www.armedservicesministry.org


In Psalm 51:10-12 David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Three Men & Their Pit Called Furnace

Like Jeremiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego find themselves in a pit because they were obedient to God.

But their pit is a bit more extreme in that it has flames. Super stoked, fatally hot, unrelenting killer flames. Their pit was a furnace.

They were thrown in simply because they refused to bow down and worship a statue of the king. This was a bold move at the time. Everyone else was doing it. But our three heroes refused to bow to peer pressure and bow to anything or anyone other than God.

The king gave them one more chance, warning them if they didn’t bow, they would be thrown in the furnace and even God couldn’t save them there. That sounds like a challenge.

“We won’t bow, ever, so go ahead and throw us in… our God can save us.. and even if he doesn’t, that’s ok too!” Even if He doesn’t?

What kind of faith is that?

It was actually pretty big faith. It was a faith that knew that God was not there to serve them, but they existed to serve and worship God. They existed because of God, and they trusted that no matter what happened, He was in control. It was a faith that knew that God’s purposes would prevail, even if it cost them something.

And it appears to have cost them everything. The king is so incensed at their “rebellion” that he demands the furnace to be stoked to seven times hotter than usual. So hot that when the soldiers threw the three men into the flames, the soldiers themselves died from the heat.

But what of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? They were tied up! How could they survive?

As the king looked in the furnace he saw the men UNTIED, and walking around freely in the flames! But wait! There is someone else in there too And it looks like God!

So it was there, when things were at their bleakest, that the three men met God face to face. Not on some mountaintop, but rather in a pit of fire.

God could have delivered them before it got to that point, I’m sure. But that would have been at best, just an escape that would only have made the king more angry. Perhaps the furnace would have been stoked ten times hotter the next time.

No, this way, although the hard way, was the right way. Because the king saw that there was a God who could save them and in fact did save them. The king’s heart softened and he brought them out of the furnace decreeing that no one could ever talk bad about this God that saved these men. And he promoted the men to higher positions because the king saw God with these men.

  • As you go through the furnaces you may face, think about this, people are watching you.
  • People are wondering how you do it, and when they see how, when they see Jesus walking next to you, not removing the flames but walking with you through them, then that is the stuff that changes hearts and lives.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego went through a horrific experience. But they came out better for it, protected and promoted by the king, but really, protected and promoted by the KING!

Devotional: Purpose in the Pit

🗝️ Daniel 3:1-30
🗝️ Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
🗝️ 1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Your Pit

This is to good to not share. I read this in a devotional this morning. Maybe you are in a “pit” of some sort, maybe your pit is self-inflicted or maybe you simply stood up for righteousness, justice, Truth and it seems like it has cost you. Take courage. Be encouraged. God’s righteousness does prevail. God sees.


Jeremiah ended up in his pit for a most unlikely reason. He was obeying God. The Babylonians were coming to take the people of Jerusalem captive and Jeremiah knew that resistance would be futile. He had it on good authority, God Himself, that the people would be taken captive and he told them so.

This was not the inspiring message the powers that be wanted to hear, but it was the message God had given. As punishment for his “treason”, Jeremiah was lowered into a cistern where he sank deep in the mud, unable to even squirm his way out. His fate looked sealed. Without access to food and water, he would die, stuck in the mud, in the bottom of a pit. All because He spoke words God asked him to speak.

Jeremiah could have remained silent. This was not the first time obeying God had gotten him into trouble, and it wouldn’t be the last. But Jeremiah makes it clear that when God asks him to speak, he can’t stay silent (Jeremiah 20:9).

Your obedience to God may not result in the kind of life-threatening scenarios Jeremiah faced, but it can certainly feel that way sometimes.
Perhaps you lost friends because you wouldn’t engage in gossip. Or maybe you lost a job because you refused to lie for your boss. Perhaps a romantic interest broke up with you because you put God first.

Sometimes obeying God can feel a little bit like being in a pit, but the great news is that God will never leave you there.

In Jeremiah’s case, Ebed-Melech, an Ethiopian court official, was worried that Jeremiah was going to die in the pit and asked the king if he could help. And the king who gave permission to put Jeremiah in the pit now gave permission to rescue him. Ebed-Melech, took a team of 30 men and pulled Jeremiah out. It is speculated that the rescue was risky and that’s why it took 30 men. Some pulled Jeremiah out, while the others kept watch for the ones that originally put him in the pit. The rescue was also compassionate. They even thought to throw down rags to Jeremiah so he could protect his skin from the ropes. In the end, Ebed-Melech and Jeremiah got the same reward. God promised to rescue them and keep them safe.

You may be like Jeremiah, in a pit for no other reason than you were obedient. Or you may be like Ebed-Melech, filled with compassion for someone who has been unjustly treated. Know that God sees you and God will reward you.

Devotional: Purpose In The Pit

Friend, I hope this has been a encouragement to you.

  • Jeremiah walked with God even when it didn’t make sense. He couldn’t help but tell God’s message.
  • God didn’t reward Jeremiah because he was Jeremiah. God rewarded Jeremiah because he obeyed the Word of the Lord, faithfully walked God’s path, and spoke God’s Truths.

Jeremiah actively choose obedience over self-knowledge or feelings; it didn’t matter that he didn’t understand, it matter because God said so.

Jeremiah actively choose to stand for Truth (God’s Truth) even when he was alone. Can we say the same?

God rewards those who choose to faithfully walk by faith and not by sight. God over everything else.

  • Seek God’s Truth.
  • Obey God’s Truth.
  • Proclaim God’s Truth.

You will never go wrong! Remember, God sees. God rewards. Keep the faith. Stand strong. (Jeremiah 38:1-13; 39:15-18)

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Victory {or} Defeat

We are in a battle. The battle of the unseen. The battle of the world around us. The battle of the world within us. The battle is real and therefore understanding that battle, well…is half the battle. No pun intended.

Once you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior and believed what He did on the cross was for you (His death, burial, and resurrection) and you confessed with your mouth, asked God to forgive you of your sins, cleanse you and be your Lord and Savior — you became a new creature that very second (Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:13; 1 John 5:11; 2 Cor. 5:17).

Hinds sight 20/20, we know that we didn’t fully understand everything, did we, and rightfully so for truthfully that is normal and okay for God Himself knew our hearts. But our relationship with God doesn’t start and stop on the day we accepted His salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. That day marked the beginning of our new life in Christ. That was the beginning of God’s first day of restoration with the love of His life…YOU! Yes, God’s love, His sending His Son to redeem mankind and restore us to Himself was for every human being, but do you realize it was for YOU! The day you became a child of God, Heaven was rejoicing, God did cartwheels (OK maybe not…But do you get how excited He was about YOU?) there were happy tears of joy and all because His love for you is beyond our comprehension. If you were the only person on earth…He would have died for only you that is how much He loves you (Luke 15:7; John 3:16; 1 John 5:13; Rom. 5:8).

Somewhere along the line, throughout the years our salvation: this incredible redemptive love for personal us gets lost in the midst of the happenings of life (whether good or hard if we are not careful). Oh, we are still God’s daughter for we can not lose our salvation, but take a little hear and some there we become distracted by godless things, we grow spirit-complacent, we allow life’s curveballs to draw us away instead of towards Him, we allow the hurts and wounds to be written in stone and our blessings written in dust (if we aren’t careful) I know the list could go on for your mind is already filling in the blanks (John 10:28-29).

But God — (all the while we journey this life) God hasn’t changed one iota. All the while He is longing to carry us and walk along with us for His love is still the same as the day he created Adam and Eve. His love is still the same as He was on the cross. His love is still the same as the day you accepted His gift of salvation. His love is still the same the day you choose to be bitter instead of better. His love is still the same when you choose to lean on Him for strength rather than yourself. His love is still the same when that someone special entered into eternity. His love is still the same whether or not you reject or accept because He has never ceased to love you (Heb. 13:8; Jer. 31:3; 2 Thess. 2:16).
The battle is very real! Psalm 27:13 is such a precious verse to me personally because on a specific day in time past my family and I had a choice to make — God (better) or self (bitter and believe the devil’s lies about God). That day in the midst of enormous grief from the loss of our third child, I choose to believe in the goodness of God in the land of this living I was in. For God was still good, as hard as it was to walk through that valley (Jer. 17:7).

Sunday was a marker day in history for our family. Eight years later much has happened in heart, life and the growth of our family. My little love that is not seen by any but is my heart fills my memory and I have the scars to prove it. I would have rather loved upon and nurtured our little love, but through God’s grace and comforting arms I can stand and say that I rejoice in my salvation and the hope of Jesus Christ for one sweet day we shall see each other again all because of Christ!! And that brings comfort to my heart (Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1 John 2:25).

Life many times doesn’t go as planned, but that doesn’t make it wrong or make God the author of “my life is messed up now.” We are warriors in our King’s army. We serve under His command and must train for the battle. We can’t afford to take one step without putting on the full armor of God; we can’t afford to take one step without immersing our souls in His Word daily; we can’t afford to take one step without feasting in meditation on His Scriptures; we can’t afford to take one step without walking in willful obedience to our God. We can’t. For to not put on the armor is to forgo His power in our lives. It means settling for our own human limitations and weaknesses when we have His supernatural limitless strength at our access (Psalm 62:5; Eph. 6).

Sounds super silly to take our limited self over God’s limitless being, but so often we do because we step into battle with a defeatist perspective? We say things like, “Why even try?” or “It will never happen anyway.” and all sorts of other comments. Friends, what if we approached every battle (hardship, challenge, uncertainty, suffering) knowing the outcome is victory! Knowing that at the end — you win! Because that is our life in Christ. In CHRIST we are CONQUERORS. We don’t fight the daily battles wondering if we’ll defeat the foe. We are already victors! Christ won on our behalf! Our actions display our belief in this!

As children of God, we understand we have this spiritual armor of God and we are free to use it or not. We understand through Jesus Christ we can march boldly into battle with confidence knowing the outcome is victory. But we have a choice — reject or accept. Oh friends, allow God to demonstrate His mighty deeds in your life and experience God’s power and glory in a way you’ve never imagined for His love for you desires too.

My fellow warriors are you in? (Rom. 8:37) When most of us hear the word “desperate,” we wouldn’t put the word “warrior” in the same sentence. Surely, a warrior isn’t desperate, right? Remembering this world is not our home we are just passing through (John 18:36; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 2:17-22; I Peter 1:1). There is a vast opposition between the world’s viewpoints and God’s ways. God will often allow us or lead us to a place of desperation (did God not lead His people into the desert?) so that He can show us His might in our lives (Jer. 33:3; Eph. 6:19-20).

You see, we’ve never been strong. It’s always been God manifesting His strength in us. When we are willing to let God be the mighty One then desperate becomes a powerful word (2 Cor. 12:10; Psalm 51:10; Col. 3:2; Jer. 33:3; Matt. 7:7-8; Isaiah 41:10). “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (Eph. 2:10). Choose Him. You already have the victory. Stand firm my friends, stand firm.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Reblogging 10.25.2018 from the original post dated January 31, 2017; Colleen Woodruff: inchristiamshe.com