Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”
Though, this passage does not necessarily indicate that animals have souls, but it is inferred that God gave them life. So, is it harmful , or violative of biblical tenets, to believe your pets will be with you in heaven?
By Rick Warren
If you’re a Pastor or church leader of any kind, you most likely found yourself in that place because you want God to use you. And chances are, you want God’s help releasing and freeing other people to be used by God as well for both ministry and mission.
The question is, what kind of person must I be to be used greatly by God? 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them.”
If you want God to use you greatly, here are five things you need to do to make yourself usable by Him.
1. Keep your life clean.
The first step to being used by God is always personal cleansing. Without exception, when you find someone whom God is using in a great way, they’ve dealt with the personal sin in their lives before God.
It’s not about your past or your status in the world your your talent. God uses small vessels, plain vessels, and even broken vessels. But He will not use a dirty vessel. 2 Timothy 2:21 says, “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you’ll be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (NLT)
2. Keep your eyes open.
One of the most misunderstood words in leadership circles is the word vision. We think of vision as prediction, but none of us can know the future the way God does. Vision is seeing God at work in your present situation and moving with Him. It’s about getting in on what God is doing in the world and being a part of it where He has placed you.
If you make up your own vision, you’re already off course. The psalmist said, “Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” (Psalm 105:4 MSG)
3. Keep your heart grateful.
God uses grateful people. Further, gratefulness is one of the keys to longevity in ministry. Doctors refer to gratitude as the healthiest of all emotions because of its physical benefits. If you don’t stay grateful, you’ll become cynical.
Paul said, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV) We need to constantly remind ourselves what a privilege it is to serve Jesus. Never get over the things that God does in, through, and around us entirely because of His grace.
4. Keep your purpose firm.
Remember the basics. You were planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to become like Christ, shaped for service, and made for a mission! These aren’t just good points for teaching others or for leading a church. These are the purposes for which God made you!
One of the verses that has kept me going through all the years of my ministry is Acts 13:36, “David served God’s purpose in his own generation.” That’s my desire! And that’s my desire for you.
5. Keep your mind on Jesus.
Meditate on this verse, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (Hebrews 12:2 MSG)
God’s purpose for your life is far greater than your problems. Don’t give up when it gets tough. Go to Jesus. Keep your mind on Him!
About Rick Warren
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.