Are you risking it all?

We all have a mission in life. For some the ability to live it out comes with much ease. But for others living out the mission comes with much personal struggle, vulnerability, and sacrifice. But no matter what may come remain focused on Jesus Christ

Jonah was given a mission but chose Tarshish. Saul lived his life to persecute the church. Both men made decisions that lead them in the opposite direction from God. Jonah chose to follow but only after being swallowed up by a whale. Saul chose to follow only after having been blinded on the Road to Damascus.

Following God the way He desires always involves a risk. It’s a risk to change our mindsets, our hearts, and our direction in order to live out His mission through us.

Your mind is the greatest gift God has given you and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him. You should seek to be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 10:5). This will be one of the greatest assets of your faith when a time of trial comes, because then your faith and the Spirit of God will work together. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 11).

What’s your mission? Are you risking to give all of your heart, mind, and soul to God? Keep your mind steadfast on Jesus… doing as Paul has written in 2 Corinthians by bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Dare to risk it all for His glory.

Advertisements

Speak to me

Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  Keeping the commandments our Lord laid out for us is how we show him that we love him.  He has outlined for us in the Bible the way we are to live.  Within in each word he has spoken we find life, direction, hope, love, and the key to fulfillment.  If we love him we will keep those words – we will keep his commandments.

Oswald Chambers points out in Exodus 20:19 (NLT),  “And they said to Moses, ‘You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!,'”

We show how little love we have for God by preferring to listen to His servants rather than to Him. We like to listen to personal testimonies, but we don’t want God Himself to speak to us. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. (My Utmost for His Highest, February 12).

We honor his words by obeying what he has spoken to us.  Do you recall the E.F. Hutton ads? “When E.F. Hutton speaks everyone listens.”  When God speaks we need to listen and obey.  What has God spoken to you lately? It is vital to our walk with Jesus that we take the time to quietly come before him and listen. 

David charged Solomon with this words found in 1 Chronicles 28:9,

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Have you heard him? Ask him today to speak to you.

Paint grace-grafitti on the fences…

As I read Psalms in The Message, I see David’s unique way of communicating to God through praise and prayer. Today I’m reading one of his prayers found in Psalm 17. He begins with, “Listen while I build my case, GOD, the most honest prayer you’ll ever hear.”

David does not lack confidence as he approaches his Heavenly Father. He was sure of himself and he was sure of the One he sought. He spoke directly to God, “Go ahead, examine me from the inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night – You’ll find I’m just what I say I am. My words don’t run loose.” (17:3).

In verse three, he is honest before God. There is not manipulation in his words to try and get his way. He lays his life out before God and asks for an examination. Much like how we do when we go to a doctor for a full physical on our physical health. We want the truth from the doctor and we hide nothing from them.

I have a strong desire to be used in God’s plan on this earth. I want to be available to be used by Him however He desires. Sometimes I seem to get lost in this pursuit. So often I seem to get trapped by the circumstances of the past.  However, I have come to know the God of all grace who sees me through… He has become the Writer of all things new in my life.  David found Him to be that as well.

“I’m staying on your trail; I’m putting one foot in front of the other. I’m not giving up.” (17:5).

David prays in verses 6-7, “I call to you, GOD, because I’m sure of an answer. So – answer! bend your ear! listen sharp! Paint grace-graffiti on the fences; take in your frightened children who are running from the neighborhood bullies straight to you.”

David sought God desperately to get away from the clutches of his enemies. He prayed what he wanted to see happen to those who came up against him. (17:10-14). He didn’t hold back and presented his circumstance to the Father.

Finally in 17:15, “And me? I plan on looking you full in the face. When I get up, I’ll see your full stature and live heaven on earth.” David knew victory would be his. He knew who he was and he knew his GOD… he trusted with all his heart. David didn’t give up or give in. He stayed hot on the trail seeking GOD.

Let’s do the same!!

Who are you facing?

Day 19 of the devotional, “Living a Divinely Inspired Life,” found on YouVersion.com, asks a very thought-provoking question.

If someone walked in your shoes for 24 hours, what would they learn about Christ?

What do you think they would learn? I believe as Christians we have a responsibility to live our lives in a manner that draws the people around us to Jesus. I don’t believe that one needs to be a pastor or minister in order to teach others about Christ. No matter where you find yourself you can make a difference in the life of someone else. I encourage you to look around to see who God has placed around you in order to lead them into a closer relationship with God in Jesus.

“As you enlist helpers for your vision, remember that you are also a helper in someone else’s journey.” (YouVersion.com, Living a Divinely Inspired Life, Day 18)

16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men who are recognized as elders and leaders of Israel. Bring them to the Tabernacle[a] to stand there with you. 17 I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone. (Numbers 11:16-17, NLT)

You can only reflect what or who you are facing. I’m convinced more today than ever of the importance to worship and praise Jesus… to look in his direction and face him. When our worship of Jesus becomes our daily focus there will not be time for anything else that would distract us from the purpose for which God has created us.

When we live with mission, focus, and purpose we will take to heart the words of the Apostle Paul, “And you should imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1,NLT).

The real test of spiritual focus is being able to bring your mind and thoughts under control. Is your mind focused on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Is it your work? Is it your idea of what a servant should be, or maybe your experience of salvation and sanctification? (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 10).

Who are you facing?

Living out God’s plan

Are you in the midst of living out God’s plan for your life?

For some the call has been a spectacular moment with God… a miraculous event.  For me, His call has come in the quietness of my heart, revealed through the Bible, circumstances, and/or the encouragement of other Christians.  The interesting thing for me about His call has been how He has shown up in my life once I have been obedient.  There have been several moments when I knew He had spoken to me and his call required that I respond in action by faith.  Whether that meant I had to move a thousand miles or to have a conversation with a neighbor about Jesus.  Each time I have hoped I was correct in sensing what His Holy Spirit was leading me to do.

Abram, who God later renamed Abraham, was called to follow, “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land I will show you.”  (Genesis 12:1, The Message).  He was basically told to head out with all of his stuff… I will tell you once you have arrived at the chosen destination.  To hear that call from God must have been tough to follow.  Maybe it wasn’t hard for Abram.  Maybe his relationship with God was much closer than the one I have with Him.  Maybe he has experienced so much already in trusting God that this little command to move was just another walk out in the park.  Then again, maybe it was tough for him to lead his wife into this new chapter of life they new nothing of.

The promises from God to Abram are wonderful that follow in the next few verses.  Abram was told: 

  • God would make him a great nation and he would be blessed (Genesis 12:2).
  • God would bless those who bless Abram and he would curse those who would curse him (Genesis 12:3).
  • All the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Note that in The Message, Abram and his wife reached their destination, “safe and sound.” (Genesis 12:5).  I mentioned earlier how God has shown up in my life once I had been obedient to His leading.  It is true, once I have obeyed, God’s presence has always been evident… he has been with me… and the experience has always felt victorious.  I want to be honest here – not every experience has been without some amount of trials along the way.  The thing to remember is that God will see you through to where He is calling you – if you will obey.

Have you considered the voice of God lately?  Have you considered how He wants to use you and bless you through reaching out to your neighbor for the cause of Jesus Christ? Have you been praying about a ministry you think God has called you to but are fearful of the transition? Maybe you are concerned as to how much your obedience will impact your family?  Consider the life of Abram.  Consider how the Holy Spirit has worked in your life up to this point.  Step out in faith and overcome the fear that may be keeping you from moving forward.  You will find just how blessed you will be through obedience… and how blessed those around you will be as well.  Press on into your destiny!

What can I give back to God?

There is nothing more important than our devotion to Jesus Christ.  The most important thing we can do is to praise Jesus – in all things and situations we need to offer our praise to him.

Once someone begins to hear that call, a suffering worthy of the name of Christ is produced. Suddenly, every ambition, every desire of life, and every outlook is completely blotted out and extinguished. Only one thing remains— “. . . separated to the gospel. . . .” Woe be to the soul who tries to head in any other direction once that call has come to him. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, February 2).