You got this

I’m not a huge risk taker. I have never been prone to accept dares. Well there was that one time that I ate some strange mixture of who knows what. I was a teenager and I did it to get out of a job. I remember the flavor was sweet… and sour… and spicy… and well, just gross in general. That was just that one time. My preferred comfort level with dares is to be the guy standing several feet away shouting, “you got this!” You feel me?

I’ll be the first to high-five a successful dare-taker, though. I will be thoroughly impressed with their stupidity bravery. Such was the case with some Israelites way back in the day. They got a high five for their own risk-taking efforts. They had a crowd shouting “you got this!” So, what was the risk?

Nehemiah 11:2 The people commended all who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.

I know, I know. It doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal. But it was. Jerusalem was pretty much an abandoned city at this point. It didn’t have a bustling marketplace. The farmlands weren’t established. There wasn’t much protection and certainly no army. The only sure thing was that there were enemies who didn’t like the place. Let’s just say that the real estate agent had to get creative on the listing. “A charming little town that needs love.” Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone actually wanted to be uprooted to live there.

However, there were people who volunteered to do so. Apparently, the brave souls decided that a good place to reside was in the city of God. It was an uncertain future, but it was the place that God had ordained. I believe that those who volunteered to live there were not only commended, but blessed. See, when you choose to live in the place God has ordained, you will certainly find His blessing in that place. 

So I encourage to live boldly in the place that God has ordained in your life. What season has He called you to? Live in it. Who has He called you to be life to? Live in that. Where are the places of ministry that He is asking you to step into. Live there! You got this. You can take the risk. You will be commended and blessed!

Haters gonna hate

I don’t like being mocked and ridiculed. Who does? Nobody that I know. It doesn’t feel very good. Over the Christmas season, I watched the movie Elf with my family. One of my favorite scenes is the snowball fight. The poor kid is a joke because he is hanging around with a guy dressed like an elf. But when kids start throwing snowballs at them, Buddy gets even. Take that! I will not be mocked.mocking1

 

Today’s reading is a little longer, but bear with me. This is good stuff.  Nehemiah 2:17-20

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.

They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

Right off the bat, Nehemiah faced opposition to the very thing God had called him to. He would later receive threats, but he set the tone early as to how he would respond. He basically said, “haters gonna hate” and left it at that. It didn’t seem to phase him. There was no worry, anxiety, fear, or trepidation. He wasn’t phased. Instead, he simply didn’t listen to those that set themselves up against his calling.

When we step out in obedience to the things that God calls us to, we will often hear the voices of those who tell us we can’t do it. They will give us all the reasons why it won’t work. They will tell us we aren’t qualified, that we don’t have the resources. The problem is that they are trying to focus us on what we don’t have. We need to focus on what we do have: God! And a calling from Him. 

There are places that God is calling you to. He has a mission for you. Are you listening to His voice? Or are you listening to the voices that tell you it will never happen?

 

How not to respond to your calling

There are legends of the faith that we look up to. People like David, Esther, Paul, Gideon, Ruth, and Moses. Some were brave; others were bold. Some of them endured great hardship, while others reaped incredible blessing. And when we look at the end of their story, we celebrate their lives that were used greatly by God. But not everyone had the best start to walking out their calling… especially Moses.

Basically, God called Moses to do some cool stuff for Him, but Moses wasn’t so sure. He felt under-qualified. He was scared. So instead of taking God at His word, he argued. It’s not that he wasn’t sure if this was God’s voice. I mean if a bush on fire that isn’t burning up starts talking to you and says it is God, then you should listen and obey. Either that or drink more water and take a nap. But in this case, “listen and obey” was the correct answer.

Moses wanted to question everything, though. I wonder what kind of conversation the Trinity had about all that questioning? Did the Holy Spirit ask the Father, “Are you sure this is the right guy?” Did Jesus offer to just go take care of things Himself? Did The Father ask Jesus to hold Him back from killing this guy? I’m not sure exactly, although at one point in Exodus 4, it says that God was about to kill him. So that’s not good. But in the midst of all the arguing with God about his calling, the best part comes in Exodus 4:2-3. Check this out:

Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”     

“A staff,” he replied.    

The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.

scared manOkay, folks. HE RAN FROM IT. He ran from his staff that had temporarily become a snake. I imagine a high pitched squeal went along with his running. At which point God face-palmed.

Folks, Moses ran from that snake staff, but what he was really running from was his calling. He didn’t think he would have what it takes. He was certain God had knocked on the wrong guy’s door. Moses, running from a temporary snake was how he began his calling. Even though many years earlier, the calling of God was in his heart. Even though all along, he knew that God was calling him to greater things. When it came down to it, he panicked.

Later in life, Moses taught a class at the local seminary called: “How not to respond to your calling.” Okay, maybe he didn’t, but Exodus chapter 4 could serve as the curriculum. Here’s the thing: Moses was unable to see what God saw in him. He focused more on his shortcomings than God’s abilities. He worried about his potential effectiveness rather than God’s power to do the miraculous.

The calling of God isn’t dependent on our qualifications. It is not dependent on our readiness. What matters is the calling and the One who is doing the calling. So why not trust Him? Why not stand in awe that He would choose imperfect you to do something great for eternity!? Don’t run from the staff snake and squeal like a little girl. Pick up the mantle that God has for you and begin to walk in it!

 

Taking matters into your own hands

Sometimes, life throws situations our way that just aren’t fair. Things aren’t right; injustice is happening. You know those situations; he ones in which it seems that somebody needs to do something. Maybe you have been in a situation like that. Maybe you’ve said to yourself “I’ve got to do something about this” even when you know that you aren’t really called to do something about it. And so you take matters into your own hands when you shouldn’t. You spring into action when it wasn’t your place to do so. I’ve done it. The results are rarely favorable.

moses kills egyptianIn Exodus 2, Moses found himself in a similar situation. Now Moses, was indeed called by God to rescue the Hebrew people. It was God’s big plan for his life; it was his destiny. But instead of waiting for God’s timing for the calling to be activated, he took matters into his own hands. The outcome was disastrous.

Exodus 2:11-14 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” 14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”

When Moses was defending the Hebrew slave, he must have felt like a hero. However, he quickly realized what he did was wrong. And in that moment, he went from hero to zero. Yes, Moses tried to walk in his calling before he was anointed to walk in it. It’s like there was something in him that knew he was to be a rescuer, but without the anointing all he could do was rescue in his flesh.

This is important: when God calls us to something, we must also wait for God to release us into that calling. We cannot, like Moses, take matters into our own hands. We cannot make the calling of God happen on our own strength. Instead, we must listen to the leading of the Lord and be guided by His hand. It may require that we wait, but when the time comes, it will be right.  If we don’t wait, however, we may end up with destruction instead of destiny.

How did you know that?

Genesis 43:33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment.

how did you knowHave you ever been in a situation where someone seems to know a lot about you, but you know nothing about them? It’s kind of uncomfortable, really. There you are face to face with a stranger and they are talking to you about things in your life that you’ve never shared with them.  You just want to say: how did you know that? Do I know you?

In Genesis 43, Joseph’s brothers were in that same kind of situation. Not only was he asking them about his family, he invited them to dinner and perfectly seated them in their birth order.  I’ll tell you what, they were certainly trippin’ out. How did he know that!?  You see, to them, Joseph was a perfect stranger.  They had no idea who he was but he knew exactly who they were.  He had insight into their lives that messed with their heads.

I think God is like that. He knows us really well. He reveals things about us that we didn’t know about ourselves. Sometimes we are completely in the dark about it. We are living our life for ourselves and He intersects it with revelation. He reveals our identity, our faults, and our destiny. He speaks purpose, and hope, and calling into our hearts that crave it. And we didn’t even know we craved it at times.  He knows. Yes, He knows.

I love to live for a God who knows things I don’t know. He knows me better than I know myself.  Like Joseph’s brothers, it blows my mind some days. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

*The God who knows is the God who formed you. He knows your name and He knows your future.

Unfinished

Genesis 17:5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

unfinishedYou don’t call a boy a man.  You don’t call a caterpillar a butterfly.  You don’t call a construction site a house.  These are things in their unfinished state; they are growing, transforming, being built.  They are in essence – in process.  Abram was in process, too.  Here’s a guy in his nineties being promised that he will have many descendants through his wife Sarai.  She was in her nineties, too, and hadn’t given birth to a single child.

Yet, God renamed him Abraham before anything happened.  He called him a father of many nations when he wasn’t even a father of one nation.   God essentially called a caterpillar a butterfly and a construction site a house.  He called a childless couple a father and mother to nations.  It’s like He knew something they didn’t.  It’s almost as though He had some idea of what was going to come.  Oh, yes, that’s right… He’s God; He does that.

You see, God sees things how they could be, not how they are.  He sees things the way He designed them, not how they are currently functioning.  With Abraham and Sarah, His destiny for them was to be the Father and Mother of nations.  Just because they hadn’t seen it yet, didn’t mean that it wasn’t their destiny.  I love that in this verse, God calls him a father ahead of time.  It reminds me that I need to start speaking out the prophetic identity that God has placed in my life.  You need to start speaking yours out too.

*What is God saying to you that you have a hard time believing?  In what places do you need to start declaring out who He has called you to be?

Now what?

1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

unqualifiedYou just got a new job – how exciting!  It seems like something you can do, no problem.  You got up early this morning, spent your time getting ready, and headed to your new adventure.  Upon arrival, you started orientation, then training.  By now it is mid-afternoon and the realization just hit you: you have no idea what you are doing.  What was I thinking?  Why did I think I could do this job?  It is way out of my skill level.  I am not  qualified for this kind of work.  I don’t think I can do it.  Now what?

Not a great feeling is it? No one likes to be in a situation where we feel under-qualified.  If we would have known it was going to require these skills, maybe we wouldn’t have signed up in the first place.  And for many people, they don’t sign up, they don’t take the job. Worse yet, they don’t step into the calling that God has placed on their lives.  It seems too scary, too out there.  They don’t feel prepared, qualified, equipped, or remotely ready.  And it keeps them from walking in their calling.

No one likes to start a journey only to feel lost.  We don’t like to start a task that we aren’t sure we can complete.  Here’s the thing: The one who calls you is faithful and HE will do it!  It’s not all up to you.  He is the caller and the equipper.  Listen, if He called you to it, He will get you through it.  You may not have what it takes, but He does.  He is faithful!  So don’t shy away from what He is calling you to.  Don’t be afraid that you won’t be able to do it.  Take a step of faith today and find out how faithful your God is!

*Has fear of being unqualified kept you from walking in your calling?