by Pastor Dan
A few months back, I was speaking to a group of people about different seasons in our lives.  Different seasons tend to find different places in our hearts and in our minds for how we are to share our lives with others.  These different seasons require a transition that is generally marked by something.  Now, for some of us, maybe there is a thing called retirement where there is a mark of a change.  For some of us, it may be an injury or some sort of physical or mental limitation that has happened in our lives that creates a mark where something must change.  Or maybe we can no longer do the things we used to be able to do.  I know at times, there are other marks.  Maybe it's a lost or changed job where there is a job description that is completely different than the previous one, and that transition has a mark on it.  I don't know whether you have children or not, but the birth of a child can put a mark on your life where things change.  Another way that I have seen different marks in life is through the loss of a loved one; whether that was expected or unexpected, it's still a mark.
The Apostle Paul speaks of a mark when he was writing to the Philippians, and he said this:  “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.  For the Apostle Paul, one mark for him was recorded in Acts Chapter 9 when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Paul's life changed dramatically because of that one mark, so as he writes this to the Philippians, it makes us recognize and wonder a bit about the meaning of this mark on Paul's life.  
“I press on toward the goal.”  Now that's an interesting statement, isn't it?  What Paul is saying is that he sees something ahead that he wants to walk towards.  But in walking, Paul is not just talking about the path but walking in a direction with a purpose.  Purpose.  Now that is an interesting word.  In the New Testament, we find it quite often.  If I could put that in simple terms, it is this:  God designed and made you for a specific purpose.  The discovery of that purpose had to come through different marks of time.  The word “purpose” means that before you were even born, God knew you and set the time of your birth and death and everything in between.  God’s hope is that through theses marks in your life, you would come to recognize and choose His plan for your life and not your own.
The Prophet Jeremiah wrote what God said about him:  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5  Even in my own life, I have had to recognize different seasons and have had to learn to adjust my thoughts and actions to try and enjoy the seasons of life.  Every book in the Bible from Romans to Revelation shares about our lives being for a purpose, and the guide and example of that purpose is Jesus Christ.  I think Peter said it best when he said: “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9
Even as I write this, I am entering a new season of my life, one that I did not see coming nor expect, but it was sparked through an event that has never happened to me before.  While it has been a very difficult experience, it is leaving within me a hope that in this season of life, I can be generous and encouraging, not angry and hurt.  The power of forgiveness is the key to the beauty in Christ Jesus that will make this season exactly what Jesus wants it to be through me, that of encouragement and generosity.