Tag Archives: calling

The Right Tools

Recently we were going to sand some floors down to refinish them. The cost to pay someone to do them was astronomical. We decided to do them ourselves. The cheapest way to do them was by hand. That would take forever so we went to rent a machine. I saw the machine I wanted and asked about it. He said it would do the job well, but they were out of sandpaper for it. He grabbed a “less aggressive” machine and then the sandpaper for it. As he rang it up, the sandpaper alone was over $100. I couldn’t believe the price. I had to remind myself that having the right tool was worth the money.

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest” (NLT). Having oxen would require feeding them, watering them, housing them and ultimately cleaning up after them. Many people would look at the down side of owning them and choose not to get them. On the other hand, without them it would be difficult to plow the land or to bring in the harvest. There’s give and take in everything. It’s up to us to count the cost and to understand you get what you pay for, even if the cost is ongoing. In an agricultural society, if you wanted an abundant crop, you needed to invest in oxen.

Each one of us has a purpose to fulfill. You can do it with the natural tools you’ve been given (like sanding the floor by hand) or you can invest in yourself to increase the effectiveness of those tools. Going to school, taking a class, buying books and other ways to increase your effectiveness will cost you. It’s up to you to make sure you use the right tools for what you’re called to do and to invest in your future. There are pro’s and con’s to everything. That’s why we’re encouraged to count the cost physically and spiritually. Investing in the right tools for whatever God is calling you to will translate to your effectiveness.

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Part Of God’s Heart

I was chatting with a friend at church recently. We were talking about the need for satellite churches around the city. As we were discussing locations that would be good, he brought up a certain area of town. He broke down and began to cry. He said, “We’ve got to get in there and take the Gospel to the people who live there.” I could tell his heart was breaking for that demographic. I believe God has given this man that burden and that’s why it bothered Him so much that there were so few churches in that area trying to reach them. His passion touched me, and it got me to thinking about the importance of anguish in a Christian’s life.

Several years ago, David Wilkerson preached a sermon called, “A Call to Anguish”. It’s one of those sermons I’ve listened to many times because it fires me up. In it, he says, “Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart.“ That’s what was going on in my friend, and to be honest, I was a little jealous because I wanted to feel God’s anguish like that.

In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wanted a son. Every day she was reminded of her barrenness. God put it in her heart to have a child so she went to the Tabernacle to pray. Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). I believe her anguish was born in her heart by God. I believe it’s something every one of us need. If you’re not feeling God’s anguish today for a brokenness in the world, ask God to share part of His heart with you. It’s time we wept in anguish for the things that break God’s heart so we can do something about it.

Take five minutes today to listen to these excerpts from David Wilkerson’s sermon “A Call to Anguish” and ask God to share part of His heart with you.

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Equipped And Ready

Gideon is one of those stories in the Bible that I go back to over and over again. He was scared of his enemies, so he was hiding when the angel appeared to him. The angel then greets him with, “Mighty Hero! The Lord is with you” (NLT). I’m sure Gideon had a confused look on his face and then looked around for the hero. He then asked a great question any of us would have asked. If the Lord is with me, why are things so bad? He didn’t get an answer though. Instead, the angel calls on him to save Israel from the very enemy he’s hiding from.

In Judges 6:14, the angel of the Lord said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” I love this response because it is a great picture of who God is. He calls us to do things in our own strength and giftings. When we see ourselves in the mirror, we think who we are and what we have is not enough. God sees beyond our fears and insecurities though. He sees who we can become if we would trust that He’s with us and will pick up the slack for the things we lack if we will simply step out with what we have already been given.

I believe every one of us are called to do something. There is a purpose and a plan that God has for each of our lives. It’s up to us to trust Him to be with us, and to walk in that calling. It’s time for us to quit looking at ourselves with these human eyes so we can trust what God sees in us with His eyes. It’s in our weaknesses and inabilities that His strength is made perfect. He only asks that we trust Him enough to do the things He called us to. If God has confidence in you, I think it’s time you had it too. Through Jesus, you are more than a conqueror. You are a mighty, valiant hero ready and equipped to do what He called you to.

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Participating With God

When God called to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3, He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (NKJV). God then asked Moses to return to Egypt where the Lord would perform miraculous signs and wonders. Moses argued with God and gave excuses as to why he couldn’t speak to Pharaoh. Eventually, God convinced Moses. He then spoke to Pharaoh, God performed 10 plagues and the Israelites were set free from their bondage because of the things God did.

Fast forward 40 years and Israel is finally permitted to enter the Promised Land. They cross the Jordan and begin to prepare to attack Jericho. While Joshua is surveying it, the Lord appears to him in Joshua 5:15 and says, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” Did you catch the difference? When Moses met God, he had to remove both sandals. When Joshua met with Him, he only had to remove one. I believe it’s because with Moses, God was doing all the work, and with Joshua they were going to work together to subdue Canaan.

I believe God wants you and I to participate with Him in living an overcoming life. We can’t sit back and wait for Him to do all the work. You and I are going to have to step out and face some giants. We are going to have to attack some walled cities in our life. The great news is that God will fight our battles if we’ll have enough faith to get onto the battlefield. If we’re going to live An overcoming life, we’re going to have to quit making excuses and letting fear make our decisions. If God is for you, who can be against you? It’s time to quit camping by the Jordan and to fight for the land God promised you.

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Chasing Your Dream

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? What dream would you go after? So many times fear of failure or being defeated is what holds us back from chasing after the things God put in our heart. Back in the early 2000’s, I started writing devotionals. There were no blogs really, and social media was yet to come. I figured I would just email them out to friends and whoever wanted them. I asked about five people if they’d be interested. One person replied, “Please don’t put me on any list. I get enough junk mail as it is.” I didn’t write for 10 years after that. I quit chasing after something God put in me because of something someone else said.

After the Israelites left Egypt, God reminded them that He had promised them land. It was a good, beautiful, fertile land, but they would have to fight to take possession of it. They were guaranteed victory if they were willing to fight for it. Instead 10 of the 12 spies came back confirming what God said about the land, but they were afraid of the giants and walked cities in the land. It took forty years before they had an opportunity again. This time, the spies were told how fearful everyone was of them, and it boosted their confidence. In Joshua 2:24, they reported back, “The Lord has given us the whole land for all the people in the land are terrified of us” (NLT).

The only thing that changed was that they quit listening to fear and started listening to God. That’s exactly what you and I need to do. No, it won’t be easy. Yes, there will be some struggles and battles ahead when you chase after what God has put in you, but you are guaranteed victory in the long run. God is ready to act on your behalf, but you have to be the one to step out in faith to chase after what He called you to. As my friend says, it’s time for you to smash fear in the face! The enemy is afraid of you doing what God told you to do so he uses fear to hold you back. The Lord has given you victory. You just have to step out and claim it.

Photo by Jordan Donaldson | @jordi.d on Unsplash

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Delayed Dreams

When I was 12, I felt like God spoke to me about what He was going to do with my life. I began to have dreams about it. I even kept a spiral notebook next to the bed where I would write down the dreams. Then it all stopped and nothing has happened in years. I told a friend recently that it feels like God has revoked His calling on my life. He kind of laughed and said, “God doesn’t revoke His calling. You’re still in preparation mode.” Even though his words spoke life into my situation, it still feels like it’s going to drag on forever and I’ll never get the opportunity to fulfill the dream God put in my heart.

Have you ever felt like that? Has God planted something in you, but it just feels like it never went anywhere or grew? You’re not alone. It was 15 years between the time David was anointed and he became king. It was 14 years from the time Joseph had his dreams until he became second in command of Egypt. It was about 25 years from when God promised Abraham a son until Isaac was born. I don’t know why there are delays in our lives between when God plants a dream in us until it’s fulfilled. What I do know is that hold onto that dream and prepare for it.

Proverbs 13:12 says, “When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul” (TPT). What God has promised, He will do. David had to fight giants while he waited. Joseph had to spend years feeling forgotten. Abraham had to feel like he was too old and his time had passed. God hasn’t revoked His calling on your life. The dream He planted in you will come to pass. Whatever you’re going through during the delay is preparing you for the fulfillment of it. Press on and hold onto that dream.

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Waiting For God’s Promise

Waiting on God to fulfill His promise can be like waiting to open a present at Christmas. We see it there with our name on it. It is ours, but we have to wait. Every day you see it there. You’re ready to open it and use it, but the time has not come. There is always a waiting period from the time you are promised something and the time that you get it. How you spend that time matters.

There are 3 lessons we can learn from Abraham and Joseph while waiting on God to fulfill His promise to you.

1. Don’t preempt God

When God spoke to Abraham and promised him a son, he was about 85 years old.He could not see how God would do what he said he would do. He decided to intervene on God’s behalf and make the promise come true. He ruined a relationship and started a feud that goes on to this day.

When God makes a promise, our desire is to see it come to pass immediately. Often we are the ones who are unprepared or ready at the time a promise is given. We think we are, so when it delays, we try to step in. God does not need your help to bring about what He has promised. He needs you to prepare to receive it.

2. Bad things may still happen to you

Joseph received a dream that everyone, including his brothers and parents, would bow down to him. Being young and foolish, he had no problem telling others what God had intended to be just for him at the time. While he waited on God’s promise, he was beaten by his brothers, sold as a slave, taken to a foreign land against his will, worked as a slave, was wrongly accused, thrown in jail and forgotten about.

I’m sure it was difficult to trust God to fulfill His promise in any of those situations. You never read of Joseph complaining or crying out “why me, God”. The bible simply says that in each instance, he worked. In working, he found favor with those around him. God used those situations to prepare him and to get him in place for the promise. You may not like or understand what is happening to you in the waiting, but if you trust God and work for Him, He will fulfill it in His time.

3. Have patience

This is easier said than done. Abraham waited 15 years before God fulfilled his promise of having a son. He just thought he was too old at 85! For Joseph, it was 13 years before he interpreted pharaoh’s dream. It was at least more than 7 years after that before his brothers came and bowed down before him. I’m not saying you will have to wait 15 or 20 years for God to fulfill his promise to you, but it could.

We want God to act in our time. We want Him to fulfill His promise when we think we are ready, not when He thinks we’re ready. Patience is tough. Waiting is hard. God may show you the end result now, but wants you to take one step at a time. He may not show you the step after that until you take this one.

What step has God called you to take right now to move towards the fulfillment of His promise? Are you willing to trust Him and His timing? Take each step one at a time. Don’t preempt God. Understand that things may happen between now and the time of fulfillment. They are there to prepare you and to place you. Above all, have patience as He works to bring it about. He keeps His promises.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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