buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “faith in action”

Family Secrets

Have you ever had a family secret you wanted to share? There is a verse in scripture that begins with “and we know.” It’s like that family secret – we know it, but others outside the family don’t know it. We know that we know somehow some way everything will come out all right because we know the family secret. All things will work together for good. But it is conditional. It’s not for everybody. The scripture (Romans 8:28) says for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose. That’s us – the family of God.

Sounds a bit like and “us and them” kind of distinction, right? There is a dividing line between us and them. Right now that’s the way it is. However, it isn’t meant to stay that way. God isn’t exclusive. He is a “whosoever” kind of God. Anyone who is breathing has an opportunity to know Him and love Him. It’s the ones who are no longer breathing that have a problem that can’t be resolved if they didn’t know Him before they died. That dividing line is forever etched and can never be erased.

I know it seems rather harsh that God would allow that dividing line for eternity. God did not design eternity apart from Him. He wanted all His creation to be perfect, but sin interrupted the plan. God had a counter move that He put in place to resolve the sin issue. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not die apart from Him (John 3:16 my paraphrase). God’s character is centered on love. But He also has a character based on justice and righteousness. These characteristics cannot be separated. It is who He is. Scripture tells the story and gives us insight to God’s character through the story.

Jesus told everyone that He is the representative of God – if you have seen me, then you have seen the Father (John 14:9-10) – I and the Father are one (John 10:30). The Jews wanted to stone Jesus because of His words, not His actions. They saw the miracles, but they didn’t believe His words even though He backed His words with miracles.

You want to know another family secret? We are to become like Jesus. We are Jesus’ representatives while He is away. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us – the family – so that we could become more like Him. The secret is this – we are more like Jesus when we love others – the ones like us and the ones outside the family. This love changes us and changes the world. The more love we express, the more love we feel from God. God’s love for us never changes. However, we can feel more loved when we love others. It’s the way we grow more like Jesus and fulfill our purpose – to love God and to love others – the two greatest commandments.

You see, it’s what we are designed to do. There is a hole in our soul that only God can fill. When that hole is filled with His love, we express it to others. Love overflows from that place that God fills. It’s like love bursts forth from us. We can’t stop loving others when that hole is properly filled. It has to be constantly filled though. Our salvation is a one shot deal – once saved always saved (if truly saved by confessing sin and believing in God’s one and only Son who saved us from that sin) – but the hole in our soul has to be looked after. If the hole is ever filled with something that is inferior to God’s love, it shows in our actions (or lack thereof).

A couple of years ago, I heard a message from Andy Stanley that speaks to this thing called love. His message was about this statement “what does love require of me?” What’s the loving thing to do? When we are faced with a situation where we don’t know what to do, Andy said this would be a defining question to bring resolution. We should always opt for the loving thing to do.

Living this out is a lifetime project. We will never get it right all the time. But if we do it consistently, we will continue to grow in our love for God and for others. And we know that God will work it out for our good and His glory. It’s part of the plan. I have shared family secrets so that we will all share this gift we’ve been given – not because of who we are, but whose we are. We know that we know. Let’s let them in on the secret.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6

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The Question

The question was asked last Sunday morning from a guest speaker at a church I was attending. Are you a fan or a follower? What does a fan really look like? A fan is more of a cheerleader – ready to cheer Jesus to become famous in my city, state, nation and world! Yea, Jesus! Go Jesus! It’s really no commitment from me. A fan is in it for the entertainment value. The fan can be as involved as they want to be without risking too much. I can spur Jesus on from the sidelines and not really be involved on the playing field. We have a lot of “followers” in our social media but we should really call them fans instead. The ones who “follow” us are just on the sidelines checking out what we do or what we say. They aren’t involved in our lives following along behind us as we move throughout life. Jesus had followers while He walked this earth. He had people who listened to His every word. They lived with Him and ate with Him.

My inclination in answering this question was to say I am a follower. I really did believe that was my answer that Sunday morning. Last night, I heard a different message that fell right along these same thoughts. The message was from Andy Stanley on the “Brand New” message that Jesus delivered that was radically different in His day and time. The message is still radical today. Jesus came to bring an end to the “all about me” religion to the “others beside you” model. The New Testament can be described as the “doing to others as you would have them do unto you” example. This is how we honor and love God through our demonstration of love toward others. When I consider the difference between a fan and a follower, the follower gets this mentality of loving others just as Jesus loved us. The follower will do what Jesus did.

The New Testament is full of Jesus’ example of loving others everywhere, even from the cross. Pastor Stanley’s question was “What does love require of me?” I think this is really the essence of being a follower. All the commands that are reflected in the Bible relate to the “otherness” of Jesus. It’s how we relate to others. When we demonstrate love, it shows our love for Jesus. This is how we know when we are following Jesus. Demonstrating love cost God His Son. Demonstrating love demands more than of us but is pretty simple in application. This is how we should be known as Christians. Jesus said when we do for others then we are doing it for Him. Matthew 25:35-39 gives a list of ways to help others and in the end Jesus said when you do it for the least of these then you are doing it for Me. Pretty practical stuff that is easy to do but will cost us something.

I want to be a follower. I want to keep my eyes on the prize. I want to be on the field playing my heart out. I was a manager on the women’s basketball team in college. I know what it means to be on the sidelines every game. I didn’t have to commit to the hard times to become great on the field. I could be a supporter for those who were playing. I would rather have played, but I didn’t have game. Following Jesus means being committed to His game – His plan. The speaker on Sunday said Jesus really doesn’t need any more fans. Every knee – EVERY knee will bow before Him one day. It’s not a matter of having fans, but having committed followers who want to be in the game. He is the winning side; He has already given us the victory! He wants more players committed to the game. We are called to surrender, sacrifice and serve – that’s what it means to follow by giving our lives to loving others as Jesus first loved us.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:34-36

Abundance

I love food. I have always had an interest in eating. In the early years, it was the unhealthy variety. Since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I have learned to eat better. The diagnosis also caused me to be restricted on several of my favorite items – like flour and sugar. Since I have been restricted I have noticed I focus more on food than ever before. I am considering what I can eat for my next meal; searching for a “treat” for my snack; checking the list of what I need to buy in order to eat for the next few days. It just seems to circulate in my brain so much more now than ever before. In my quiet time in the last few weeks, I noticed a tendency to think more about my morning meal (smoothie and small coconut mini muffin) than concentrating on my praying partner Jesus.

This really disturbs me when I recognize I am doing it again. And I am sure it isn’t something Jesus wants me to focus on either during my quiet time. I know I am not going to starve, but yet I feel this mentality happening. I live in a land of plenty. There is an abundance of food. There is so much food that we tend to throw away much more than we should. We find a bad spot on an apple and toss away the whole apple. I was helping out with a dinner fund-raiser not too long ago where we threw out buckets of potatoes and green beans because there wasn’t a place to take it for the homeless or the ones who had nothing to eat. It really bothered me to throw the food away. I see the likes of other places around the world where people do not have enough to eat and wonder how we can distribute food better.

Then I hear from a news report that one of the most fertile valleys in this land has a water shortage problem due to a three-year drought. I wonder when the abundance will come to an end. In the Bible, prophecies about the end times concerns famine and water shortages. I believe water will be the new “oil” wars. Drinkable water is rare around the globe. One day we will look back at this time and marvel at our abundance. I am sure we will also wonder how we could have been so wasteful. I believe one day too that we will be accountable to God for our excess, wasteful and hoarding tendencies. I don’t know what I am to do about the distribution problem. But I need to start thinking about my own tendencies concerning food. I need to put it in proper perspective. Am I more concerned about my stomach or another person’s? Do I have the things in mind that God does? Am I meeting needs around me?

God has given abundance, but it’s not to build bigger barns to store it for a rainy day. Good quality food will one day be a rarity if we are not careful with the resources God has given us. Next week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in this country. It’s the occasion of excess food. We will pile our plates high of favorite foods and sit down with family and friends. It’s a special time for sure. I enjoy my family time. But I also need to consider how I can feed someone else on this special day. I am grateful for God’s abundance. I shouldn’t ever take it for granted. But the focus should always be on Jesus and what He calls us to do with the abundance. We are to love one another and sometimes that means feeding others instead of ourselves. Jesus and I will be working on this stomach issue in the future (both mine and others)! Love of food is not wrong, until I start to focus on it rather than Jesus.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40

When God Interrupts

Have you ever been interrupted in the middle of a conversation? Isn’t it annoying? It’s also very rude. Yet, when God does it, are we perturbed by it? We can have the greatest vision for our lives, but if it’s not God’s will, He may come in and interrupt those plans. Sometimes He allows us to follow our own course, but at some time He will help us to see something much better – His will for our lives. On Tuesday, my nephew and his family flew out of the country to begin a new chapter in their lives. It’s not something we as a family really wanted for them. After all, they are taking precious little ones far from family. But God has placed a divine interruption right in the middle of their lives and ours. He called them to a higher purpose than living paycheck to paycheck. He called them to go and make disciples to those on the other side of the world. He called them to love people who don’t know Jesus. He called them to something better.

In a way, I feel a bit envious of their new chapter. They know what they are supposed to do in this foreign place. They have their instructions and will have such an incredible time experiencing Jesus in a very different way. They are risking everything they have for the sake of the Gospel. But isn’t that what we are all called to do? Faith means nothing if it isn’t put into action. Faith means stepping out even when the vision isn’t fully revealed. Faith means we will go even when we don’t know what’s in that place where God wants us. Our faith is not for the faint of heart. It means taking huge steps so that God will be glorified in them. The unknown would probably scare us to death if it was revealed. Sometimes, it’s best not to know.

But faith means we place our lives in someone’s hands that is greater and knows all things. There is nothing that surprises our God. He is Sovereign. He sees our circumstances before we even get there. He is already there working it out for good even before we encounter it. God brings us the interruptions so that we can know Him better. We can understand another aspect of who He is. He is more concerned about our heart than He is about our comfort. If He needs to interrupt us, then it will be for our good. It is an opportunity to know Him better and to know His love in a greater way. And it’s always about bringing Him glory.

Yes, I am sad to see my nephew and family leave us. But I can’t wait to hear the stories they will have on how God has shown up in this new chapter. I can’t wait to be able to go to that place where they will be and see all God s doing through them. It’s hard for the grandparents to experience this season. I can’t imagine the loss they are feeling. But I know that God is going to take that pain and use it for another purpose. He is going to make something good out of all of it – I know it because God is that good. He takes it all for His glory and our good. God interrupts our comfortable so that we can experience a greater joy and greater presence than we could ever imagine. God is that good. His love is that good. We just have to have the faith that good will come out of those interruptions!

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21

Significance

This summer I decided to read a few biographies. To date I have read about four different lives that have impacted their generation in significant ways. I have read about Will Rogers, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth I, and John D. Rockefeller. Will Rogers wasn’t as dynamic in view of history, but he impacted the entertainment industry in the beginning stages of the medium of vaudeville, newspapers, radio, movies and television. He was the entertainment megastar of his day. Winston Churchill kept Europe from being transformed by Hitler. Elizabeth I impacted England which led the United States to become the nation it is today. She was the catalyst for change of the Church of England and the religious freedom we enjoy today in the US. She believed she was being used by God. And she was, because God can use anyone to impact the world.

John D. Rockefeller was an interesting man. In the beginning of the industrial revolution, he was the titan of change. There were no regulations in business until he began his mission to become the world’s biggest oil refiner. The change he initiated was on a massive scale. The fortunes he gathered from his vision was massive as well. He came from a humble background and was a devout Baptist throughout his life. He believed the wealth he accumulated was by God’s favor. But he also knew that he was given the wealth for a purpose beyond his benefit. He believed the maxim to much is given much is required.

After his retirement from the oil business, he began to give millions of his money away. In doing so, he changed the nation medically and educationally. He started medical research. He started colleges and universities. He helped the south to become educated by adding high schools which were lacking at that time. He eradicated hookworm in the south. He looked beyond meeting immediate needs and went to the root of needs. The lack of education and the lack of medicine kept people in a state of poverty. He believed in giving a hand up not a hand out.

I look at these great leaders of their times and have a sense of God’s greater purpose. Yes, they all helped the world at pivotal periods in history. They had lives of significance. In August, I began a new Bible study by Priscilla Shirer called Jonah. In the first week, we are told that God interrupts our plans to create divine appointments (interventions) that will lead to significant purposes for God’s kingdom. We are told that Jonah was not well-known as a prophet until the book of Jonah and a big fish story. But the impact he made through his obedience created the greatest revival in history. He changed the greatest city of his time by his obedience to God.

It’s hard to believe that through our obedience we too can have a great impact for God’s kingdom. We might not see everything though in our lifetime. We may start something that is not really that significant now, but the chain reaction could grow massive in a few years time. It might take a generation or two before the significance is revealed. The question is: Can we release our desires to see the greatness to God’s timing and plan? The ball has to start rolling at some point. God may use us to give the first push. And we have to be able to let God do what He wants with our efforts. We just have to be available to be used and say yes to whatever He asks us to do; even if it’s just to push a small ball into the next court to let someone else take it to the next level of significance. We all might not make millions. But whatever God gives us, we have to remember it’s for His glory and His Kingdom purpose.

The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matthew 25:20-21

Restless

Have you ever been restless – wanting more out of life than you currently have? There’s got to be more than this, right? More than the mundane day to day stuff; more than living life for the weekends. I mean really! God tells us He made us for a purpose. Scripture tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that He designed us for good works which He prepared beforehand (my paraphrase). All throughout Scripture, God uses people in amazing ways. He took average, ordinary people and used them for His glory! Did it all stop in biblical times? Or is God still using people in amazing ways today?

The prophets were called in the midst of the ordinary tasks to go and do what God called them to. We find David tending sheep. We find Samuel sleeping. Gideon was threshing wheat. Moses was wandering around in the desert when a burning bush stopped him in his tracks. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishing. Paul was on his way to Damascus – albeit he was going to persecute the Christians when he arrived. But in the midst of the ordinary, God used the people who He placed in different times for different reasons. God knew the times and the places. He knew the people He would use for great things. Could today be any different? Scripture tells me God never changes. He is still at work; working toward the day of Jesus’ return. He still wants to use people to do His work to get the place and people ready for the predestined time. He is the only one who knows the time that is set.

Just like Esther, we are all born for such a time as this. We all have our place, our work that God sets before us. We may not know the work yet. We maybe in the preparation phase. Joseph had a dream. Between the dream and the fulfillment was his preparation time. He had no clue where God was going to take him to fulfill the dream. The pit, the slavery, the prison, the removal of all the things he knew brought about a greater purpose than he could have ever imagined. God may leave us in a difficult place so that He can use that difficulty for something greater. The trouble with difficulty is that we want to get out of it quickly. Joseph endured and apparently without complaining about his circumstances – at least it’s not recorded for us.

All the people God used were in a place of openness to Him and willingness to be used. They were humbled in His presence. I suppose that’s what He is looking for today. If we are not seeing God working through us (okay me), then we need to look into our hearts and find the reason why we are not useful yet. Could it be pride and arrogance? Could there be wrong motivations? If God intends to use us in this time and place, then we need to submit to His purpose; let Him reveal in His time and in His way. God is into the details; we just have to keep our heads in the game! Are you restless where God has you too? Seek first God. Wait for His timing and His ways– God is going to do some amazing things and if He is willing, He will make us able to do whatever it is for His glory and not ours! He’s done it in the past; why not now? Why not us?

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
Psalm 63:1-3 (NLT)

Why?

I got a call from a friend having a crisis of belief. I understood where she was coming from since I have had the same kind of questioning not too long ago. She was questioning why she is trying to help someone when they didn’t seem to care about changing. Some people want to be helped and some don’t. Some have gotten to the point in their lives that they need to change their habits in order to feel better. Others will just pop a pill and deal with the consequences later. It’s hard to know when to give helpful advice and when to keep the mouth shut. The words will just fall on deaf ears if they are not ready to hear. My friend was very frustrated. I understood that frustration and hopefully I was able to give her the encouragement she needed to keep the faith!

The last couple of days, I have been plagued with the crisis of belief as well. I have been in a discipleship class for the last seven months. I have been wondering “why am I doing this?” The group was told Monday night that we need to have a heart for those who are lost and without hope. We are not to judge those around us, but to love those around us. There is only one judge, and we were not appointed to that role. God loved us so much even when we were in the midst of our sins, He sent Jesus to us. Jesus came to give us life. Sin leads to death, but Jesus changes death to life if we believe in Him. I am learning how to share, but I have yet to put it into practice on a daily basis. God wants to use us where we are, but we have to be ready to share what we know with those who are ready to hear.

I need to be ready to help those who are ready to be helped. The crisis of belief doesn’t end the journey; sometimes it just realigns the belief to the truth of the mission. Scripture tells me not everyone will be saved. For the ones that the Holy Spirit is working in, we are to speak to those people. We can’t save the masses, but we can speak to the ones ready to be saved. As the little boy who picks up one starfish at a time and tosses it back into the ocean, he couldn’t save every one of the starfish on the beach, but he could help one. This is the mission that we are called to; one at a time. Why? There are people who are seeking; we have to be ready to go.

I cleaned up my diet and my health. I didn’t understand why I was doing it at the time, except I felt bad and wanted to feel good again. God has shown me recently that I am only able to do the things I do today because He helped me to be well for His purpose. He has a plan for the world to hear, but He needs people who are fit and ready to go. Satan wants us to stay sick and tired. Satan wants to destroy us so that we will not be effective witnesses. Jesus said He came to give us life. That’s why I do the things I do – because of Jesus; He is the right way to life. The crisis of belief shifts the direction of my mind; from my perspective to God’s. When I have the right perspective, everything changes.

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”

That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. Romans 15:1-3 (The Message)

The Sheet

I was reading Acts 11 on this particular morning. God used this passage in my life to move me from High Point, NC to Raleigh, NC. When I was reading it on this morning, I was brought right back to the reason I am here in this city. About fifteen years ago, I was all settled in my new little house enjoying my life. One of my friends had recently moved to Durham, NC. She knew I was getting to a point in my job that I wanted to start searching for another one. She called me with a new job offer for Raleigh. I was not about to move. I was getting everything in order in my new house, and I liked my life there (just not my job). However, I told her thanks for the information and went about the day. I had my quiet time in the evenings before bedtime back in those days. And read the passage about Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 (Acts 11 recounts the story). Peter and Cornelius both had visions from God. I thought that was pretty interesting. I was still relatively new to Bible reading so this story was pretty new to me.

God opened Peter’s eyes to a new perspective. He opened the door to new opportunities to preach the Word to the Gentiles. Peter pondered the revelation. Then Peter recognized the opportunity, and he had the courage to go where he was once forbidden to go. I love this passage. God used this passage to get me to my current city. I didn’t know it at the time, but He was going to open my eyes to a new perspective as well. And He was going to give me courage to step into something new. God used this passage to direct my path. I wasn’t planning to move. I had just started to put out “feelers” for a new job. But God wanted me here for a purpose that has yet to be revealed. I think He’s in the process of revealing bits and pieces but the picture isn’t as clear as the sheet was for Peter.

In my past, I have heard a direct word from God on occasion. This is one of those cases where I knew what I was hearing was from Him. In my prayer time after reading the passage, I halfheartedly prayed about the job opportunity in Raleigh. I tucked myself in bed and went to sleep. During the night, I had a dream. I don’t remember much except the word from the Lord. The word for me was “Denise, I have a job for you to do in Raleigh.” That’s all I remember. When I woke up the next morning, I said I guess I need to call about this job. I did. I got the job. I sold my house and got resettled in about a six weeks time frame. It was pretty quick. But when God says go, look out, it will happen quickly!

Just like Peter, I had the confidence to go to somewhere new to do something else new. I am still waiting for the rest of the story. I don’t know exactly why Raleigh. But in the meantime, I am learning all I can learn. I am faithful with what God has given me. And I will be confident when God has the job ready, I’ll be ready!

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

Ready to Show

I had a strange occurrence not too long ago. I had a call from a realtor about a client interested in my house. I had prayed a few weeks prior to this phone call that God would have to tell me when it was time to sell my house. I asked Him to have someone knock on my door who was interested in my house. The phone call started with a letter that was sent out to my neighbors. I think that’s pretty close to a knock on the door. I have actually been getting ready for this day for quite some time. I went through a cleaning process a few years ago. I got rid of a lot of stuff. Back in 2011, I thought I would put the house on the market and move to another city. Instead God had other plans. But in preparation for this day, I had painted the outside and inside, replaced windows, updated the bathrooms and kitchen all in preparation for the day I would show my house. I did all these projects within the last seven years.

When I got the call, I looked around the house to see where I would need to put away; to make the best effort to show the house properly. After some initial straightening up, the house looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. The house is ready to show with very little effort. I don’t know what will come of the showing. Okay, the house is ready, and I think I am too. I too have been preparing for the next move. But I feel there is still more to do where I am. So is this call from God to move or is this a distraction to keep me from pursuing the things of God? That’s still to be determined so I will wait to see if the client is interested or not, and if my price is met or not.

God gave me this house back in 1999. It is His to do with it what He wants. I am just the manager of His property. As I recall living here, I can see how God has used this house as His protection. Within six months of my moving in, a storm came through; lightning struck the house and caught fire. At that time, I was without a job. I realized the fire was actually God providing for my needs. I was reduced to a house payment and that’s about all. I could live on the unemployment pay without any problems. The insurance took care of the rest of my bills. A tornado came through my neighborhood in 2011; what a scary time! God protected me in that storm as well. I had very little damage to my house. My neighbors hadn’t been so lucky. I had been prepared as God motivated me to make changes throughout the last few years.

If God feels it’s time for a new place, then I know He has already prepared another place for me. Whatever storms I will encounter next, God is already at work preparing me for it. I am ready to show what God has already done and can’t wait to experience all He wants to show me. Whenever the time comes, I am ready – physically, mentally and spiritually!

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 4:24-25

Small Tasks

As I sit down to write on this particular morning, I am humbled by revelations on my character. Sometimes when I write, I feel that I come across as knowing all the answers or I hear such great things from God. I am just a sojourner just like you. Most days all I hear is silence. A few of those days I swing on doubt rather than belief. I have just read the first chapter of Jonah, and I so get his running when he heard what God wanted him to do. If it’s hard or something that takes me out of my comfort zone, I might have the urge to run on most days as well. Most days, I don’t believe I am going to do anything really great for Jesus. I believe He has tasks assigned to me just as Jonah had a task assigned to him. But I think in the grand scheme of God’s plan, they will be small tasks of obedience.

There a just a few people who are called to be Jonah or Moses or Paul of their times. There are many others who are called to be the support staff to those of greater significance in the Kingdom. I am sure there are even fewer who have a great vision or dream that God has placed in them. Whether we just don’t dream anymore or we’re just not prepared properly to receive it.

I am struck by the fact that God prepares us so much more for the tasks ahead for years before the dream or vision is revealed. Moses had forty years in the back country tending his father-in-law’s flock before he was given his great vision. It was the day in and day out tasks of learning how to survive in the desert with a flock – maybe sheep, knowing they relied upon him to feed them and water them. Moses had his support group as he led God’s people in the desert for forty years after their escape from Egypt. He was trained to handle the tasks of moving them about to find the water, the food and the shelter.

King David had years as a shepherd boy then a warrior before he ever became king. David had his mighty band of warriors as well as Jonathon. Jonathon realized his role was not going to be king, but he was a mighty big encourager to the one who was going to be crowned king.

We all have a role in God’s kingdom. We all have to be prepared for it. Each step of obedience is a step toward fitting into the role God has assigned. Each task accomplished is one more character building exercise. God is more concerned about our character than what we actually accomplish. It really takes the pressure off to know that it’s up to God and not us. We are to be obedient in what He gives us, but He has a purpose that He will fulfill, not us. Whew, it’s all about Jesus, not me! Thank you Jesus!

For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:10-11 (NLT)

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