Professional Praisers

There are a plethora of occupations in this world. You can drive a truck or drive a race car. You can stock shelves or sell stocks. You can farm a pasture or pastor a farm church. So many choices for so many people. God made each of us with a unique personality and a unique calling. As I was reading my Bible today, I found an interesting occupation: professional praisers.

Dec. 6, 2009 – Miami, Florida, USA – The Adrienne Arsht Center presents Free Gospel Sundays at the AAC in Miami Dec. 6th, 2009. Credit Image: Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos)

1 Chronicles 23:30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Imagine that – praising God was in their job description. It had nothing to do with their mood or their circumstances. It was their job. They praised Him when things went well and when they didn’t. They praised Him when they felt great and also when they felt sick. They simply praised Him because that’s what they were called to do.

You know what? So are we. And there is so much to praise Him for. Some days it seems like it is hard to find something to praise about. But the truth is, there is always something to praise God for. So praise Him in the morning and praise Him in the evening. Praise Him when things are going great and when things are hard.

Praise will change your outlook and it will change your countenance. It will focus you and it will center you. But most importantly, it will connect you with your God, who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. So be a professional praiser today! Try it and see what happens.

The right guy for the job

Sometimes you just got to know when you aren’t the right guy (or girl) for the job. Something about me: I’m willing to tackle new projects even if I don’t know how to do them. Replace boards on my deck – no problem. YouTube how to repair something minor on my care – sure thing. Build something from Ikea – maybe. But I also know my limit. For example, when my house needed a new roof, I knew I wasn’t the right guy for the job. When my transmission went out on my car, definitely not the right guy for the job.

Now all that has to do with skill set and the bravery to try new things. But sometimes you actually do know how to do something, but you also know that you aren’t the right guy for the job. Maybe someone else is called to do it. Or maybe someone else could do it, but the right guy for the job is YOU. In 1 Chronicles 22, we find that David had been told by God that he was not to be the one to build the temple. God told David that he had someone else in mind and that someone else was Solomon. So David did all he could to get Solomon ready for the calling God had for him.

1 Chronicles 22:11-13 11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. 12 May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. 13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

I love this moment where David turns to his son and says, “NOW is your time. THIS is the moment God has prepared you for. And as you go, I pray that the Lord gives you wisdom and understanding. I pray that the Lord gives you courage. Don’t be afraid. Do NOT be discouraged. Just follow the Lord and He will give you success.”

You might be a David today. You know that you aren’t the right guy for the job, yet God is calling you to do all that you can to prepare the next person for success. You see, David didn’t just take a break knowing this wasn’t his assignment. Instead, he did all that he could to set up Solomon for success. What would happen if you poured in all your resources, not for you, but for the person coming after you?

You might be a Solomon. And now is the time for you to step into the assignment that God has for you. Will you follow God with all that you’ve got? Will you heed the wisdom of those who have gone before you? Will you give into fear or will you tap into the courage of the Lord?

God may be calling you to step into a new assignment or a new calling in the season ahead. Or he may be calling you to invest in one who will someday come after you. Whichever place you find yourself in, look to the wisdom of David and be the right guy or girl for THAT job.

Reminders

I sometimes often need to be reminded to do things. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I don’t remember. Now before you tell me it’s because I’m getting older, you should know that this has been the case for many years. I’m not helping myself here, am I? The truth is, I tend to take on many things at once, so it’s easy to forget some stuff. 20 years ago I used note cards or a Franklin Planner. Remember the Franklin Covey Planner? Amazing!

I don’t use the paper planner anymore, but I do use google assistant on my phone. It’s much simpler and even a better reminder tool. “Ok google, remind me to pick up the kids from school at 3:30.” And you know what? It does! My phone dings and up pops my reminder. It’s like I have a personal assistant!

While these daily reminders are helpful to our daily lives, we also need reminders for the bigger things. Reminders to keep going when we are discouraged. Reminders of the importance of our influence on our children. Reminders to love our wives. Reminders of who we are in Christ. Reminders of God’s calling on our lives. We need reminders.

1 Chronicles 11:1-2  All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

You see what happened there? The people came together and reminded him of God’s calling on his life. They reminded him that God had told him that he would become the leader of Israel. Now I’m not sure if David was hesitant to lead. I don’t know if he eagerly stepped up to the plate or waited to be asked. But I do know this: he had people in his life that reminded him of his destiny.

How about you? Do you need to be reminded of God’s promises today? It is so important to remember what God has spoken over your life. Maybe on the good days, you do remember. But on the hard days, we tend to get discouraged and lose our hope. Friends, google assistant isn’t going to remind you of the promises of God. Franklin Covey certainly isn’t going to do it. We need each other. We are the reminders!

*I encourage you today to seek out people who will remind you of the things God has for you. And I encourage you to speak up to those in your life who need to be reminded.

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.